It is only early August, but only 80 slots remain on the Greater Philadelphia Mega Mission 2012, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, which is scheduled for Dec. 19 to 28.
Mission co-chairs Shari Odenheimer, Michelle and Jeffrey Barrack and Michele and Robert Levin anticipate that this mission, which will enable participants to experience Israel through the ages -- from biblical to contemporary times -- will soon sell out. They invite all who want to learn more about this heavily subsidized trip to the Jewish homeland to stop by the Mega Mission 2012 table during the Jewish Heritage Night pre-game festival at the Phillies on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
Mission leadership will answer questions and discuss the full itinerary beginning at 5 p.m. Look for them along Citizens Bank Way, just outside the third base gate, and discover how you can be a part of this life-changing experience.
Pam Pearlmutter, Philadelphia Israel Experience manager, is impressed that more than 50 percent of those who have already registered are first-time Israel travelers, attracted by a special early-booking subsidy that set the price of $3,000 for the first 70 people who replied.
Due to the tremendous response, Federation has made additional subsidies available to encourage first-timers to participate. However they will have to pay an additional $500 to cover the costs of upgrading their hotel accommodations.
Registration fees for return travelers to Israel are also affordable. This $4,000 per person fee includes transportation from the Philadelphia area to and from Newark International Airport, round-trip air transportation, hotel accommodations, air-conditioned bus transportation throughout Israel with an English-speaking guide, admissions to all attractions and most meals. Upgrades are available for those who seek deluxe hotel accommodations.
All adult registrants must make a $500 gift to the 2013 Federation Community Campaign.
Mission participants will experience the excitement of time travel during the opening ceremonies at Neot Kidumim, Israel's Biblical Landscape Nature Preserve. They will savor authentic foods, enjoy special entertainment and leave their personal mark on the Jewish homeland by planting their own tree. On their way to Jerusalem, missioners will become amateur archaeologists, participating in a dig at Beit Guvrin.
Other highlights of this nine-day adventure, which includes separate tracks for first-time and veteran Israel travelers, include: dining in authentic Bedouin tents overlooking the desert while enjoying belly dancers, drummers, fire eaters and more; experiencing an authentic Kabbalat Shabbat at the southern steps -- the same steps once used by our ancestors to enter the Temple Mount -- followed by a festive dinner with lone soldiers at the elegant David Citadel Hotel; riding jeeps in the Carmel Mountains to view the flora and fauna and make tea from native herbs; touring Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter and the recently excavated City of David and underground tunnel; marveling at the miracle of Masada, the ancient fortress where a small band of Jewish zealots took refuge after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 BCE, resisting a prolonged siege by the Roman army; floating in the Dead Sea and splurging on pre-booked spa treatments using mineral-rich mud from the region; thrilling to a performance of the acclaimed Mayumana Israeli Dance troupe in Jaffa and bearing witness to the unveiling of a plaque thanking our Philadelphia community for its generous support of efforts to rebuild the Carmel Forest after a devastating fire in 2010.
Come out to Jewish Heritage Night and find out why so many of your friends and neighbors have already signed up for Mega Mission 2012 -- the ultimate Israel adventure.
For more information, call or email Pam Pearlmutter at 215-832-0837 or [email protected] .