Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the Chai Mission. If you have additional questions, please call 214-615-5273 or email Mission@jfgd.org.
Question: Why a Community Mission?
Answer: A Community Mission will allow us to travel to Israel with a diverse group of individuals from across our community. You’ll meet new people and spend time with friends while on this exciting travel opportunity.
We have created an exciting and inspiring experience that will engage new community members and unite our community. Deepen your awareness of our community’s impact on the land and people of Israel, learn about the challenges facing Israel today, and experience our reinvigorated Partnership program in addition to touring Israel’s top tourism spots.
Question: I have never been to Israel. Is this a good trip for a first-timer?
Answer: Absolutely! This is an amazing trip for first-timers, as well as repeat visitors.
You will visit all the sites that are most important for a first-time visitor, including the Old City and Western Wall, Yad Vashem and Masada. All participants will also have access to sites, speakers and experiences you would never see on any other trip. If you would like to include additional sites that are not on the mission, we will be happy to assist you in extending your stay.
Question: What about security on the Mission?
Answer: Your peace of mind is paramount to us. We want you to relax and enjoy your time in Israel.
Itineraries are reviewed before our arrival by the Ministry of Tourism in Israel that is responsible for the Security of all Federation-led missions.
In addition, when the guards are with the mission the itinerary is also registered with the Tourism Authority who monitors in real time what is happening on the roads and areas that we are visiting.
The United Israel Appeal office in Israel, guards and the Tourism Authority are well connected at all times with the police and other sources, so that missions may be redirected, if necessary, at any given moment according to the information received.
Buses are checked each morning before boarding and are rechecked throughout the day.
Question: Which hotels will I be staying at during the Mission?
Answer: The mission will be housed in three hotels – a decision made with comfort and ease in mind. In Jerusalem we will be staying at the David Citadel. In Tel Aviv we will be staying at the David Intercontinental Hotel. In our Partnership Region, we will be staying at the Dan Carmel in Haifa.
Question: I don't like crowds and I’m concerned that traveling with 200 people will be impersonal. Is this mission for me?
Answer: Yes, this will be a mission of one bus, as well as a community mission. This means that you will travel on an itinerary with your bus, and it may will not be at the same site with other mission buses for some of the travel time. You will come together with the rest of the participants in Israel during Mega Events, Shabbat, and speaker opportunities. You will also have the opportunity to get to know new people during Chai Times. At those times, participants will travel with others who selected the same Chai Times. This will give you the opportunity for a more personal experience while touring and will allow you to be part of a community-wide show of support for the State of Israel.
Question: I have a disability. Will it be possible to participate in the Mission?
Answer: We will do our best to accommodate participants with special needs. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to address each need on an individual basis.
Question: Can I use miles or points to purchase my tickets?
Answer: Absolutely! The pricing listed for the mission is “land only,” meaning all of your ground costs. Participants must book their own airfare either through the recommended travel agent or through the airline whose mileage program you belong to. If you have American Express points to redeem, you can call their travel desk directly.
Question: Can I arrive before the mission or stay in Israel longer? What if I want to stop in Europe? What are my options for deviations?
Answer: You can make any special arrangements you like! Exact start and end times and locations will be provided for the mission. You are welcome to arrive before the mission or stay in Israel longer. When you register, you will need to provide your flight information and note that you plan to extend your time in Israel.
Question: Are there any pre-mission packages available?
Answer: Yes! We have a pre-mission to Budapest Hungary from February 8-12, 2018. The pre-mission to Budapest will include tours of Jewish Budapest, visits to American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) programs in the community, general sightseeing as well as accommodations at a 5-star deluxe hotel.
Question: Will there be any free time for relaxing or shopping in Israel?
Answer: We know how important it is to set aside time for relaxing and shopping. There is free time built into the itinerary that will give you the opportunity to shop, enjoy a meal at a restaurant, and see family or friends. Shabbat will be a day at leisure. There will be walking tours available and there are limited sites that may be visited both in Jerusalem and on Chai Times, but it is also an opportunity to spend the day relaxing.
Question: I have friends or family in Israel. Can I invite them to join us at any point?
Answer: We will not be able to accommodate guests on the bus while we are touring or at meals. However, you can invite them to the Tea Room at the hotel during free time, at night, and on Shabbat . Hosted by the mission, the Tea Room will have snacks and comfortable places to relax, spend time with friends, and host any visitors.
Question: What is the weather like at that time?
Answer: It’s still winter in Israel which means cooler temperatures. Averages in Tel Aviv are 41 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It may get colder around Jerusalem and in the Western Galilee (average low of 34 degrees Fahrenheit) at night.
What to wear: A good fleece jacket is recommended. Those of you who are always cold will want to bring a wool coat. Winter is also the best chance for rain in Israel so we recommend bringing an umbrella and appropriate jackets and shoes.
Jerusalem - 43 to 53 degrees Fahrenheit
Tel Aviv - 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
The North including Akko and Nahariya - 48 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Question: I would like to purchase travel insurance for the mission. Can you please tell me where to book it?
Answer: We recommend purchasing travel insurance from one of the four companies listed below. The Federation does not provide these services directly. Please feel comfortable to book your travel insurance through one of these companies.