Much of the value of a tour is due to the tour guide, who may offer special insights into a place that deepens the meaning of the entire experience. GEM tour guides fit that bill exactly. The GEM curriculum goes beyond the typical tourist sites, adding "locals only" experiences that allow participants to feel what it might be like to live in Israel. New experiences are in the works, but here are some of the favorite experiences from previous Gem sessions:
Old City Tours - exploring the rooftop gardens and ancient alleyways of the Old City, excavations from the First and Second Temple periods and ancient synagogues and marketplaces.
Going to Rebbetzin Altusky's apartment in the Matersdorf neighborhood - an amazing cultural experience to sit in her kitchen eating the delicious cheesecake she made for us and learn from such an amazing woman.
Meet Rebbetzin/Artist Rebecca Shore in her home studio in the Old City. Interesting for both the art and the space planning. How do you fit three girls in one small bedroom - the Rebbetzin showed us!
Tour of City of David with Dr. Lisa Aiken - At GEM, your instructors may also be your tour guides providing a wonderful "insiders-only" perspective on the sites that everyone sees. Excavations of King David's Palace and surrounding area which stood almost 3,000 yeas ago! Bring shoes for walking in water as we make our way through ancient aquaducts. We'll provide the flashlights!
Rachel's Tomb - Join a busload of women from Jerusalem in preparing for Shabbat with a trip to Rachel's Tomb.
City of Hebron Tour - with an amazing Hebron resident who made aliyah from the U.S. Includes Jewish neighborhoods, the Museum of the Hebron 1929 Arab Riots, the burial caves of our Matriarchs and Patriarchs and a picnic lunch just outside Herod's ancient building.
Shabbat Dinner with a family whose dining room window overlooks the Western Wall
Western Wall Tunnel Tour
Chain of the Generations Tour. Including excavations next to the Western Wall and an artistic, glass portrayal of our roots.
Southern Excavations Tour with Rabbi Ken Spiro - the instructor who educated us about Jerusalem history then led us on a tour of the newly excavated Southern Temple wall - amazing!
Tour of Bucharia neighborhood with Mrs. Hagid Miasnic - A walking tour of a "locals-only" neighborhood in Jerusalem. Met wonderful people and purchased great gifts of embroidery for our families.
Tour of Moshav Mattitiyahu - visited a religious kibbutz between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to see how people live outside of the city.
Shopping at Machanei Yehuda Shuk Open Air Market on Jaffa Street
Shopping for lovely Judaica gifts in the religious neighborhoods of Geula and Meah Shearim