Untitled Document
Show Me Israel
There's no memories like snow memories

linda_zacks_smaller

The sunny weather dried up the rain, melted the remains of week’s snow and left us feeling… as if we’d imagined it all. Was it only a few days ago that the country was engulfed in storm and wind?

 
Israel's top 10 factory tours

Ever wonder how Michal Negrin makes those sparkly earrings and ornaments sold worldwide? Or how honey goes from the hive to the jar? How do they make Israel’s favorite snack, Bamba? And what really goes on at the Coca-Cola factory in Bnei Brak?

All these questions and more can be answered at some of Israel’s best factory tours. Whether you want to discover what goes into the country’s favorite chocolate bars, or how some of the most luxurious jewelry is made, you can find a tour to match. With advance booking some offer English-speaking guides. Always call ahead to confirm opening hours and to make reservations.

Here are ISRAEL21c’s picks for the best behind-the-scenes factory tours in Israel.

elit-visitor-center_01

1. Strauss-Elite (Upper Nazareth) – Time Out, Chocolate Cow, Pesek Zman and other chocolate and candy products

English on request for large groups only

Strauss Dairy (Achihud) – Danona, Activia, Milky, Ski, Gamadim and other milk products

English on request for small groups only

Sunday 11-4:30, Monday to Wednesday 9-4:30, Thursday 9-2.

Reservations: 1-800-777-777

NIS 18 per person, ages six+

Both Strauss Visitors Centers are in the north; Achihud is between Acre (Akko) and Karmiel. As you’d expect from a very large manufacturing firm, the 1.5-hour visiting experience offers organized fun such as high-tech interactive games, a film and a tour of the factory floor. And don’t worry, you’ll leave with a complementary chocolate and other goodies in hand.

Coca Cola factory

2. Coca-Cola Sensory Center (Bnei Brak)

Sunday to Thursday 9-7; English on request

Reservations: 1-800-596-596; ages eight+

Of Coke’s 2,000 factories around the world, this one is famous for the inventiveness and interactive genius of its visitors’ center. Ten multimedia rooms tell the 120-year-old story of Coca-Cola and the global distribution of its brands, with the Israel Tunnel devoted to Coke in Israel. There’s a 3D ride, an activity park and a music room with Coke-themed instruments to play (that’s for the hearing part of the sensory experience). You get to see the bottling operation, but naturally the tasting room is the most eagerly anticipated part of the tour.

3. Yvel Jewelry Factory and Visitors Center

Sunday through Thursday and Saturday night, by appointment only, in English, Hebrew, Spanish, German or Russian

Reservations: 972-2-673-5811

NIS 25 per person (which goes to the school for immigrants); ages 12+

On this hour-long tour at the jewelry factory just west of Jerusalem, you will not only see craftspeople making Orna and Isaac Levy’s “red carpet” jewelry with pearls and precious stones, but you will also get a tour of Yvel’s unique jewelry-making training program for Ethiopian immigrants, ABSchool of Jewelry & Design. The Yvel tour includes a 3D movie and a browse through the showroom, as well as a chance to purchase items at discounted prices.

4. Michal Negrin’s World (Bat Yam)

Sunday to Thursday, 9:30-3; English on request

Reservations: 972-3-555-3333, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

This visitors’ gallery is designed to dazzle – sort of like a mega-Michal Negrin store. Watch a movie about Negrin’s life, and then see her jewelry, home décor and fashion items getting manufactured. The final part of the two-hour adventure is coffee and cake in the Gallery Café amid displays and crafts, furniture design and textiles, and – designed to really knock your socks off — illuminated and fully furnished doll houses designed by Negrin and built by her husband, Meir. Of course there is a shop on premises.

5. Hazorfim (Kfar Daniel)

Sunday to Thursday, 2-4, English on request

Reservations: 08-918-6633

Ages 18+

A fully renovated visitors’ center at this iconic Israeli silversmith is due to open in January. Hazorfim (The Silversmiths) makes pure sterling-silver Judaica, home décor and collectibles – 300 new items debut every year in shops around the world. In the tour you can see how the pieces are crafted, and learn the history of the company, founded in 1952 by Holocaust survivor Yosef Merdinger. His son, Doron Merdinger, who took the company global, now produces his own line of heirloom gold tableware, jewelry and décor.

6. De Karina Chocolate Factory (Kibbutz Ein Zivan, Golan Heights)

Sunday to Friday, 9-5, one English tour per day

Reservations: 972-4-699-3622, 972-54-252-7040, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

NIS 22 per person; with workshop, NIS 59 for adults

De Karina offers several options: A 20-minute guided tour about the culture and history of chocolate, including a visit to the manufacturing plant, ends with tastings in the chocolate boutique and a sweet treat to take home (there is also kosher café on premises). If you have more time, you can combine a tour with a basic 40-minute chocolate-making workshop for kids, or a 90-minute workshop for adults where you’ll learn to make more sophisticated and specialty items.

You can also view the factory during a tour of Galita’s Chocolate Farm on Kibbutz Deganya Bet in the Galilee, 972-4-675-5608. New Zealand native John Alford gives free half-hour tours of his one-man chocolate factory, Johncolad, in Moshav Manof in the Lower Galilee Monday to Friday by appointment, 972-4-999-9374. And chocolate maker Ornat offers Hebrew tours in its visitors’ center in Tel Mond. Arrangements for an English guide can be made for large groups (ages six+): 972-9-891-3399, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

(Article by Abigail Klein Leichman posted here courtesy of  Israel21C. Read the rest of this article here)

 
Hummus ice cream anyone?

Israel may not be traditionally thought of as an ice cream capital, but it’s time for a rethink.

After all, the average Israeli eats about 10 liters of ice cream per year, compared to 6.2 liters per capita in Italy, home of gelato.

 
NBN trip to the Biblical Zoo - Summer 2012

On a beautiful mid-summer afternoon, hundreds of Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim met at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo enjoying a special group rate for the event. For a number of people it was one of their very first trips in Israel, having only arrived on Aliyah that month.

 
Aliyah Arrival Ceremony - July 2012

What do 3 guitars, 8 saxophones, 1 baby harp and a ukulele have in common? They, along with their owners,were aboard the first Nefesh B’Nefesh charter Aliyah flight of 2012. Musical instruments notwithstanding, this was no ordinary flight. A buzz of excitement has surrounded this summer’s Nefesh B’Nefesh events, with the July 12th flight kicking off a series of special programs and events celebrating a decade of Aliyah for Nefesh B’Nefesh.

 
Summer Festivals

Chutzot Hayotzer

Jerusalem Arts and Crafts Fair – August 8-18, 2012

If you have never been to the Jerusalem Arts and Crafts Fair (Hutzot Hayotzer festival) it is something that must not be missed. Nestled in the valley outside the Old City walls, the festival brings artists from dozens of countries who exhibit native wares and crafts, an international food fair, a glass blowing exhibit, street theatre and more as well as nightly performances by top performers.

 
Israel for Kids

Summertime is a great time to explore Israel. For families with children or for those who are expecting family with children from abroad, exploring Israel with kids is a fun, adventurous and educational experience - one that you and the children will remember forever. There’s so much to do and see it’s important to plan ahead to make the most each trip.

 
Israel's top 10 beaches

Life’s a beach in Israel. This small country is blessed by three seas — the Mediterranean, the Dead and the Red (the Sea of Galilee is really a lake, though it does have beaches too). With the help of recommendations from veteran tour guide Joe Yudin of Touring Israel and Hassan Madah of theTourism Ministry, ISRAEL21c offers you the top 10 beaches in Israel, just in time for summer.

 
Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference

 

Nefesh B'Nefesh is partnering with JerusalemOnlineU.com to bring you the critically-acclaimed movie, Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference FREE for 1 week only.  Watch this sensational film that has been debuted around the world and has everyone talking.  Join our global communities and watch Israel Inside now.

 
Go North Pilot Trip - Feb 2012

In February, 15 people traveled to the north of Israel for the 5th Go North pilot trip. The enthusiastic group visited a number of the communities popular with Olim including Ma’a lot, Nahariya, Karmiel and Tzefat. In each city the ‘pilot trippers’ met Olim in their homes, and municipal officials, and participated in a tour of the city.

 
Tu B’shvat Winter Wine Festival for Meir Panim

A group of young NBN Olim and Israelis organized a Tu B’shvat Winter Wine Festival, which was attended by over 200 singles and young professionals in Jerusalem. The event succeeded in raising awareness of, and funds for, the Israeli charity, Meir Panim.

 
Comedy Improv in Gush Etzion

Olim in Gush Etzion had the opportunity to laugh at the funny side of life in Israel with Hahafuch, Israel's premiere English-speaking comedy troupe on Sunday, January 22nd. Led by comedian and NBN Oleh Benji Lovitt, the troupe entertained a packed room with improv, stand-up and comedy sketches about Aliyah that had the crowd laughing out loud.

 
Go North Shabbaton - Winter 2012

Nearly two-hundred Olim flocked to the 3rd annual Go North Shabbaton at the Keshet Yishuv in the Golan Heights in January. The sold-out weekend featured a tiyul to the scenic Park Agmon in the Hula Valley, which millions of birds migrate through each year.

 
A Symposium on Oleh Identity in Literature

On Sunday, December 18th Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim had the opportunity to attend a sold-out, exclusive event, hosted by President of Israel Shimon Peres, on Oleh identity in literature.

 
Thanksgiving Dinner with a Middle Eastern Twist

On Thursday, November 24th, Nefesh B’Nefesh hosted over 150 Olim, including 50 Lone Soldiers, at the Leonardo Basel hotel in Tel Aviv for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. During the dinner, participants enjoyed a short trivia game and music, while dining on turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving dishes, all with a Middle-Eastern twist.

This annual sold-out event was made available free of charge for our Lone Soldiers who, judging by their plates and the smiles on their faces, enjoyed it much more than what they’re accustomed to on base.

This event was part of Nefesh B'Nefesh's ongoing programming for young professionals in their 20's and 30's.

 

 
Your Aliyah Stories

Starting in November, and for a limited time, Nefesh B’Nefesh is offering a special gift for published submissions to our Inspiration portal. The promotion goes as follows: Just send your favorite Israel/Aliyah story, anecdote or humorous event to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If we publish it in our inspiration portal, you will receive a ‘Live the Dream’ t-shirt (60 NIS value)!

Since the promotion began many wonderful submissions have come pouring in. Even videos have been sent in. Visit the website to see the latest winning entries. Better yet, think of your own special stories, and send them in - you may just be the next winner! Don’t forget to include a great photo to go along with it…

 
What do YOU think of when you THINK ISRAEL?
 
MDA Blood Drive

Over 50 donors converged on the NBN offices on a Wednesday afternoonin September to give the gift of life by donating their blood to Magen David Adom. There is a serious shortage of blood in the central Blood Bank of Israel and Nefesh B’Nefesh helps to try alleviate the shortage by having quarterly blood drives in our Jerusalem office. We are truly proud of our Olim, staff and neighbors who came out in record numbers to donate blood and help save lives. 

 

 
Summer 2011 wrap-up

August 16th saw the second summer charter Aliyah flight arrive at Ben Gurion Airport – a jumbo 747 airplane carrying 360 new Olim – including a record 104 new IDF soldiers. The signs were everywhere that this was going to be a flight to remember - and we mean signs… literally!

 
Summer at the Zoo

Nothing like an evening at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to wrap up a beautiful summer in Israel. That is just what hundreds of Olim, new and old, did the last Thursday in August, enjoying special group rates for NBN Olim and an even better rate for those in their first year. Though the temperatures were rather warm that day, our afternoon arrival ensured that cool, evening mountain air would descend during our excursion.

 
Project Negba
Beach party

Since the days of David Ben Gurion, the Negev has captured the imagination of passionate Zionists. Covering 66 percent of Israel’s land mass, but only 8 percent of its population, the Negev represents a major opportunity for Olim. So much of the area’s burgeoning success has been due to the efforts of immigrants from across the globe, yet Olim from western countries have yet to capitalize on the opportunities of Israel’s south. 

 
2011 NBN Summer Ceremonies

One of the highlights of the summer at Nefesh B’Nefesh is the ceremonies marking the arrival of hundreds of Olim on our Charter Aliyah Flights. The anticipation, the exhilaration and the emotion – both of the new Olim, and indeed of all of the guests at the airport – inspires anyone who is present.

 
The Singles Scene

Fifty-one singles arrived in Israel to much fanfare on NBN’s first charter flight of the summer. Yediot Acharonot published a full-page spread on our single Olim and it generated so much interest and excitement among young, eligible Israelis, that we found it necessary to create a dedicated Facebook group called The Singles Scene.

 
Sailing at the Herzliya Marina

On Friday, June 24th, sixty young professionals met at Derech Hayam YamClub at the Herzliya Marina for a beautiful summer afternoon, sailing on the Mediterranean Sea. Participants enjoyed breathtaking views and beautiful surroundings as they kicked back over a glass of wine and snacks.

 
Deerland family park

Every Pesach, Sukkot and Chanukah Nefesh B’Nefesh organizes a trip designed for families; this past Pesach was no exception. On Wednesday 20th of April, over 400 NBN Olim came out to enjoy the natural forest overlooking the breathtaking view of the Ella Valley, and the numerous attractions.

 
The Israeli National Pastime: Mangal!

"Mangal" is the Hebrew word for "Barbeque," which always struck me as a little funny-- mangled meat roasting on a grill. However, "mangal" in Israel is a national pastime, and a very integral part of days off, going to parks, Saturday afternoons, what have you. Israel on the weekend smells like barbequeing kebabs (sausages), chicken, steaks. And it isn't Yom HaAtzmaut without some mangal, as well as the International Bible Quiz championship... which is kind of like the National Spelling Bee, only in Hebrew and about obscure portions of the Tanach.

 
Jerusalem Challenge 'Friday Night Unplugged'

There were over 165 people in attendance at the Jerusalem Challenge ‘Friday Night Unplugged’  dinner at the community center on Emek Refaim on March 4th. The crowd of Israelis, new Olim, some veteran Olim and visitors were treated to wine and a three-course meal. Doors were open to everyone for dessert featuring Kolture Shock, an a capella group made up of Olim and Israelis. Kolture Shock mesmerized the audience with their voices and did a great job of entertaining with content. 

For upcoming events keep an eye on our calendar: www.nbn.org.il/events/israel-calendar.

 
Pub Quiz at Mike’s Place

There was a full house at Mike's Place on March 14th, when over 90 people came together for some competitive fun in the NBN Pub Quiz. Twelve teams battled it out, testing their trivia and general knowledge skills for a range of prizes, but team ‘Sissu V’Simchu’ won the main prize of  burgers & fries for ten at Mike's Place.

The evening's entertainment also celebrated the launching of NU's social innovation clothing store - promoting and supporting Israeli causes and stories. (For more information go to www.nucampaign.com.) 

Following the quiz there was an Open Mike Night open to everyone.

To see the rest of the photos go to Nefesh B'Nefesh/NU Pub Quiz Photos

 

 
NBN NEWS - March 2011 - Adar II 5771

First Aliyah Group Flight of 2011

Group-Flight…And they keep on coming! February 8th saw the arrival of the first Aliyah Group Flight for 2011. The flight out of Newark, New Jersey brought 31 excited Olim hailing from across North America – from Alaska to Alabama.

As part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s ongoing efforts to streamline the Aliyah process and make integration into Israeli life easier, the newcomers on this flight were able to sign up for Health Insurance at the airport immediately upon arrival. This is the first time that this service has been available at the airport.

 
From solar to wind energy - Israel is open to ideas

The impressive performance by Israeli companies at the Cleantech Open IDEAS competition confirms the country as a place where people are open to new ideas and thinking outside the box.

The Wind Tulip, fashioned like an environmental sculpture, is designed so that people will feel comfortable living next to a high-efficiency, clean-energy solution.

 
50 Reasons to make Aliyah

1. If you're Jewish, this is your home. Period.

2. Falafel. Awesome, awesome falafel.

3. There is a very good chance that one of your neighbors is actually a war hero. Or a Mossad agent.

 
Olim Take Off… a Day at the IAF Air Show

The heavens roared and the ground shook as over 300 Olim enjoyed the Wings Ceremony air show at Chatzerim Air Force Base on Thursday, December 30th. It was truly a unique experience to witness the mid-air parade of Israeli military aircraft that included rescue helicopters, in-flight fueling demonstrations and F-16 fighter jets.

The event culminated with the prideful graduation of Israel’s newest generation of IAF pilots. Special thanks to Lt.-Col. Danny Grossman for opening this event to Nefesh B’Nefesh Olim.

 
This is MY Israel

It all started on Sukkot. We were up north camping along various beaches and getting sand all over everything that we own. We spent one day at the Family Fun Festival at Kfar Hassidim. There were a bunch of NBN attendees (we even wore special NBN stickers) and they gave each of us a sign that said "This is My Israel". They told us to take a pic with the sign and send it in to them and maybe we will win the contest.

 
Free and inexpensive family trips in Israel

Since Robin from Around the Island is always taking her family to interesting places, I invited her to share ideas for inexpensive summer activities.

Hi everyone, I’m Robin from over at Around the Island. My family loves to escape the urban jungle get out and enjoy this beautiful country we live in so I was excited when Hannah asked me to share some of our favorite destinations.

 
NBN NEWS - January 2010 - Shevat 5771

2010 WRAP-UP

2010 WRAP UP
2010 saw Aliyah from North America and the UK continue to rise, with hundreds of the Olim arriving on 3 chartered and 17 group Aliyah flights, including the first ever NBN group flight out of Los Angeles. In fact, Nefesh B'Nefesh witnessed a 15% increase in Aliyah from the USA, Canada and the UK compared to the previous year. In addition, over 1,100 people made Aliyah from within Israel through our Guided Aliyah program.

 
Fly the friendly skies — or go to Israel

By Andrew Silow-Carroll

Leaked memo: Unique aspects of a flight to Israel


"El Al and JetBlue will now offer connecting options for customers traveling between the United States and Israel… [B]eginning in October passengers can buy a single ticket for connecting service between Ben Gurion Airport and 61 JetBlue flight destinations in North America from New York's JFK International Airport." — JTA

Dear JetBlue employees:

Welcome to the El Al family — or as we say in Hebrew, Bruchim haba'im! We're so excited about our new partnership. We here at Israel's national air carrier are eager to make this transition as smooth as possible and thought it would be helpful to sensitize you to some of the cultural differences you may encounter with your new customer base.

 
Easy and Inspiring Sukkah Decorations

Wondering how you are going to decorate your sukkah*? Your worries are over! Here Mara Strom of Kosher on a Budget writes about Sukkah crafts.

I love Sukkot. Really, truly love it! I love watching my husband and sons build our sukkah, and hosting friends and family in our humble little home-away-from-home. But every year, the decorating of our sukkah stumps me.

 
Ya’ Gotta Love This Country

I find it hard to get too excited about car insurance. After all, my main interaction with them in the past has been to either pay them money, or make a claim after which I have to - of course - pay them more money.

So I found the following practice in Israel to be quite refreshing to say the least. After all, where else does your car insurance have an automated phone system to call customers to wish them a happy birthday –

 
Only in Israel

Israeli culture and attitudes are unique. People say and do exactly what they want. The honesty of action can be refreshing. Okay, well maybe not always... :-)

We went out to dinner with friends one night and decided to check out a new restaurant we hadn't been to.

“What’s the difference between the two seating sections?” our friend asked the Maitre D’.

 
A Hug from Heaven

By Daniel Gordis - It's been almost a year since St.-Sgt. Dvir Emanuelof became the first casualty of Operation Cast Lead, losing his life to Hamas mortar fire just as he entered Gaza early in the offensive. But sitting with his mother, Dalia, in her living room last week, I was struck not by loss, but by life. And not by grief, but by fervent belief. And by a more recent story about Dvir that simply needs to be told.

This past summer, Dalia and some friends planned to go to Hutzot Hayotzer, the artists' colony constructed each summer outside Jerusalem's Old City walls. But Dalia's young daughter objected; she wanted to go a week later, so she could hear Meir Banai in concert.

 
For the Simple Extraordinary Moments

When I was accepted to travel to the States as a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah “ambassador,” I immediately called my best friend from my previous life in Boca Raton, Florida to tell her.  Upon telling her the good news, she burst into laughter.  I thought to myself, this is probably not the same reaction that the other “ambassadors” received when they told their family and friends about the program -- but I personally had anticipated this reaction.

 
60 Things I Love About Israel

by Benji Lovitt

1. I love that people I know from all over the world are always visiting this place, the center of the Jewish world.

2. I love the outdoor cafes/kiosks on Rothschild and that Israelis universally agree that Starbucks (the altar to which American consumers bow their heads and pray) stinks.

 
The Fabric of Israeli Society

People are always telling "Only in Israel" stories. That is simply because these stories and anecdotes are exactly that! Here's one of ours:

My husband and I were in a cab in Jerusalem. Our cab driver was completely secular. On the radio in the cab there was the sad announcement that the haredi rabbi Rav Shach zt"l had passed away.

 
Study: American Aliyah a Good Investment

A study commissioned by the organization Nefesh B'Nefesh shows that encouraging Aliyah from North America is not just Zionist - it's good economics. According to the study, released Monday by the organization and conducted by Deloitte Brightman Almagor Zohar, the Israeli branch of the Deloitte Touche network, American, Canadian and British olim who came with Nefesh B'Nefesh have represented a net economic gain of some NIS 1 billion between 2002 and 2008, when factoring in the combined value of tax revenues, education, tourism and personal assets.

 
Why Do I Love Israel?

Let me count the whys - by Barbara Sofer

Here, in no particular order, is an updated list, with new additions and highlights of recent years:

1. Jerusalem is so quiet on Shabbat that you can hear birds singing even on the main streets.

2. We change our calendars on Rosh Hashana, not January 1, because that's the real New Year

 
The Luckiest Jews in the World

by Caroline Glick

I just published a collection of my essays in English. Each time I am asked if I am also releasing the volume in Hebrew I feel a pain deep inside me when I answer that no, right now, my publisher is only interested in an English edition. Indeed it is a shame because I wrote most of the essays in Hebrew as well.

Writing in Hebrew is a qualitatively different experience than writing in English. Hebrew is a more compact language than English. It has fewer words and the words it has are denser and more flexible than English words.

 
PM Netanyahu’s Speech to the General Assembly

Netanyahu's speech at Jewish Federations of North America GA - September 2009

"My dear friends, leaders of the Jewish communities of North America, The history of the Jewish people has been marked by a paradox. We are at once both small and great. We are few in number but luminous in achievement. In the ancient world, the Jews were a small people on the foothills of Asia touching the Mediterranean. But in Alexandria some 2200 years ago, the Bible was translated into Greek, and the world has never been the same since.

 
More Things I Love About Israel

By Benji Lovitt

1. I love that even though I may not have spoken with someone since the Ben-Gurion Administration, he will call me to check that I have somewhere to go for Passover Seder.

2. I love how you can bring your dog into any café to walk around and no one bats an eyelash.

 
Just Like the Weather

Summer weather here is remarkable for its consistency, a consistency that stands in stark contrast to the events that take place beneath the ever present sunshine.

A few weeks ago, I came out of our building in the morning to find one of our neighbors, an Oleh of two weeks, anxiously scanning the haze covered sky. "I hope it's not going to rain," he said, "the movers are supposed to be coming today with all our stuff."

 
Another 'I Love Israel' Story

As the world keeps it's sinister eyeball hovering closely to our little country, and the powers that be exercise their powerful hijack, regular life keeps on keeping on in Israel. No crappy dictator, no caravan of UN "peacekeepers", can keep Israel from being the best darn country in the world.