with Dana Makover & Rabbi Rebecca Epstein
March 17-24, 2018
East meets West on this special journey to Israel, a land steeped in rich history and a deep-rooted spirituality.
Our week-long adventure together will offer a taste of the diversity of landscape and culture, food and history of this small country (the size of New Jersey!). Accompanied by hand-picked local guides who are “in-the-know” you’ll visit the lush landscapes of the upper Galil, the beautiful Ein Gedi (the mysterious desert oasis) and you’ll float in the healing waters of the Dead Sea. We’ll visit the worshipped, ancient city of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, Israel’s second largest city nestled on the beautiful Mediterranean sea.
We have partnered with the Society for Nature Preservation in Israel and Shatour tours to curate an experience that will be beyond any typical “tour”. Our daily activities will be complemented by our daily group yoga/meditation practices surrounded by stunning, unique Israeli landscapes such as the quirky, ancient city of Safed (Tzefat), the Hahula Valley and Mount Tavor.
We are limiting this experience to 16 students. Please scroll down to reserve your space with a deposit.
I loved the trip. Jerusalem left an indelible imprint on me as did Golan and the other holy sites we visited. Everyone of any faith should visit Israel. It is a place that is both eternal and anachronistic to our secular world.
– Craig L.
Dana is the perfect teacher for the Israel retreat. Her knowledge of her homeland, soft and forgiving approach to yoga, peacefulness, and fun-loving spirit made an indelible memory.
– David M.
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This incredible adventure is open to all. Accompanied daily by an expert tour guide we will learn about the history, culture and diverse geography of this tiny gem.
Northern Israel– Safed, The Galilee and Tiberius The first three days are dedicated to Northern Israel. Upon our arrival, after we settle in we will begin in the ancient city of Safed where it is said that Noah’s sons (from the ark) originally settled. The city is pregnant with folklore and legend, including that of Amuka, a sacred valley where worshippers visit graves of holy sages. We will hike in Agamon Hahula– home to the largest bird migration in the world and visit the lush, green banks of the Banias river. We’ll visit On our second Hammat Gader for the luscious hot springs and we’ll experience the wonder of the Mosaic Beit Alpha Synagogue and fill our bellies with a delicious hummus lunch before driving up to Mount Gilboa for a fascinating biblical tour.
Jerusalem (Yerushalayim in Hebrew and Al-Quds in Arabic, meaning the Holy city) is located in between The Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and considered sacred to the three major Monotheistic world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.We will explore the Jewish, Muslim and Christian quarters of the City of David (now referred to as the “old city” which is covered with ancient buildings and tunnels built as far back as 4th Millennium BCE! We will visit the Western Wall’s underground tunnels and the Holy Temple Mount itself. Jerusalem is also home to a world famous marketplace: Suk Mahane Yehuda, which we will visit to satisfy our hungry bellies after exploring.
Massada, The Dead Sea and Ein Gedi – Massada, an ancient fortress with a dark history overlooking the wondrous Dead Sea is located in the Judean Desert and is one of Israel’s most popular destinations. After our hike up the plateau we will treat ourselves to a much deserved lunch and swim in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is unique – the water is so heavily concentrated with salt and minerals that it feels oily to the touch and provides the mud beneath it healing properties unavailable anywhere else in the world. No matter how much you try, you literally can’t sink. You may see locals reading newspapers and sipping coffee while floating in the water.
Ein Gedi, the Israeli desert oasis is an absolutely stunning nature preserve. We will visit botanical gardens and possibly take a melliw night hike at Havarei Vadi, a beautiful moonlit marlstone (limestone and mudstone) trail.
Negev to Khan Be’erotayim – A uniquely special desert experience, we’ll spend an afternoon and overnight at Khan Be’rotayim Beduin style! You’ll be taken back in time where a grove of giant tamarisk trees meet two ancient water used by hunters and gatherers some 55,000 years ago. In the shade of the ancient acacia tree, is a desert Khan built of mud, palm palms, mats and recycled materials. The natural ingredients, the colors and the variety of shapes / textures and the quiet around – soothe a magical feeling and a completely detached atmosphere. The Khan blends harmoniously with its natural environment, with no entertainment elements to disturb the quiet that allows its visitors to connect to surrounding spaces. The Khan offers hospitality in shares communal spaces, sleeping and eating. We’ll have an incredible shared meal, a group camel ride and a moonlit desert hike. The vastness and desert night sky are something to cherish. We’ll sleep like babies after this sweet day.
Tel-Aviv On our way to Tel-Aviv we’ll stop for a hike and swim in Nahal David, a stream in the Ein Gedi oasis. Yoga in the desert? Yes! There is so much to do and see in this gorgeous country, but we had to give you at least one day in Tel-Aviv (Dana’s hometown!) Spend the day relaxing at the beach or explore the shopping and fabulous food. Perhaps we’ll grab a falafel at Hakosem or have lunch at the Miznon where they scream your name with gusto at the counter. Tel Aviv is home to many museums, cafes and bars.
Our accommodations for the week are all surrounded by gorgeous natural landscapes and views of breathtaking cities, giving us the perfect opportunity to connect with nature and ground with a scenic yoga and meditation practice before breakfast. If you decide to sleep in on any given day and skip yoga, you’ll have the schedule and can always meet us during or after breakfast.
CLICK HERE for a day by day itinerary
Saturday, March 17th
Once we gather all participants, we’ll drive north for dinner and Overnight at Guest House at Kibbutz Gonen.
Sunday, March 18th
After breakfast and yoga we will begin our journey with the lush Banias nature reserve – a mix of ancient city ruins with the stunning nature of Northern Israel. The Banias waterfalls are most impressive during the winter and spring when the water is plentiful, on its way down to the Sea of Galilee. Next we we drive to Mas’ade, a Druze village in the Golan Height for a delicious Druze lunch. Druze (pronounced druse) are a minority religious group with roots in Islam whose 3 million practitioners worldwide are found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. The Druze are known for their hospitality and welcoming attitude towards guests and the food is delicious and as authentic as Middle Eastern food will get. We are in for quite a treat! Next we travel to Odem for Mama Yorta – to settle into a beautiful yoga space with a lovely overlook from the nearby village of Odem followed by Agamon Hahula. The Hula valley is a major stopover for birds migrating along the Syrian-African rift valley as Israel is home to one of the largest bird migrations in the world . This unique bird/wildlife tour is a wonderful way to end our first day together.
We’ll return to guest house for dinner and rest.
Monday, March 19th
After breakfast and morning yoga at the Kibbutz, we’ll visit the Mount of Beatitudes and the Sea of Galilee, two holy Christian sites: the first on which it is believed that Jesus delivered his famous “Sermon on the Mount” and the second where it is believed that he walked on water. We’ll have lunch at Tzemah junction then head up to the Gilboa to Barkan Mountain and the Irises. (for a very brief time in the spring Barkan mountain is painted with beautiful irises. We are fortunate enough to experience its bloom during our time there!) We will take a leisurely hike enjoying the wildflower-rich scenery and the crisp northern air. Tonight we’ll have dinner at the Restaurant at Hammat Gader and stay at Kibbutz Nir David where we can enjoy the hot springs after evening yoga!
Tuesday, March 20th
After breakfast and yoga, we’ll drive via the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem. Our time in Jerusalem will be a time of connection and introspection. Appropriate meditative practices will be offered to compliment our experiences in this holy city.
We’ll visit the city of David and Hezekiya’s water tunnel, an ancient water tunnel carved during the reign of King Hezekiya to transport water from one side of the city to the other. This is a true immersion into what ancient city life was like. Bring water shoes and shorts foe this excursion. Next, we’ll walk in the old city, visit the Jewish Quarter (Western Wall) and the Via Dolorosa – where it is believed that Jesus carried his cross. Jerusalem is holy to all three Monotheistic faiths and we will experience this religious diversity in all its glory during our time in this city. Lastly, we’ll visit Mahne Yehuda Market – one of the most vibrant markets in the middle east. This is the time to let our senses run wild with tons of options for food and drink. East truly meets west in this wonderful place!
On this night, your evening is free (no group dinner is planned) but suggestions will be offered.
Overnight at Harmony Hotel Jerusalem
Wednesday, March 21st
Early rise (no morning yoga today). Visit the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock) ending our time in Jerusalem with a visit to one of the most holy sites for Muslims. This place is not only visually stunning (the dome is painted in bright gold as can be seen in many pictures of the Jerusalem skyline), but it is deeply fascinating both historically and spiritually. Next, we drive to the Dead Sea and visit Massada, a fortress on the mountain with a dark, ancient history overlooking the Dead Sea. Visit the beach on the Dead Sea where we will also have a relaxed yoga class. Afterwards, we head to Ein Gedi Hotel for time at the spa. We hope to offer a bonfire and meditation with our overnight at Ein Gedi.
Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
Breakfast and morning yoga lesson at the botanical garden. We’ll walk thru the Nahal David Nature reserve as we transition into the quiet of the desert. Lush fresh water springs flowing into clear streams and waterfalls nestled between the dry Judean desert and the Dead Sea. After lunch we’ll drive to the Negev to Khan Beerotayim: for a truly authentic desert experience! Spending the afternoon and evening in Beduin style, The Khan is a special experience where we be taken back in time. Sleeping arrangements will be communal is large huts. Each has a shady balcony and hammocks. We’ll settle in, have a gentle yoga session and then we’ll have the opportunity to take a camel ride(!) We’ll share a delicious dinner then take a memorable evening desert hike. The vastness and desert night sky are something to cherish. We’ll sleep like babies after this sweet day.
Friday, March 23rd, 2018
After a relaxing morning, breakfast and yoga, we’ll take a drive to Tel Aviv where we’ll have free time to walk around Nahlat Benjamin — a quirky, charming artisan market in the heart of Tel-Aviv. The best way to experience this city is simply to walk around and take it all in! We have a special last group dinner planned and a last night at hotel in Tel Aviv. Dana will tell you all about her hometown and if you’re looking for nightlife, this is the place!
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
Breakfast and transfer to Ben Gurion airport for departure flights.
Being a very inexperienced yoga student, I appreciated Dana’s easy going, relaxed style of teaching. She picked some excellent locations to do yoga! I’d never done yoga outside… totally wonderful experience. Highlight of the trip – yoga at the top of Masada!
– Stephanie M.
Travel, Additional Information & FAQ’s
More than 80 airlines operate flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport (known simply as Tel Aviv or TLV). Five airlines operate as many as ten flights a day nonstop from North America to Tel Aviv (Air Canada, Delta, EL AL Israel Airlines, United, US Airways).
Since we have participants coming from various parts of the world, we ask that you plan to arrive by early afternoon on the first day (no later than 3pm). We will arrange the airport pick-up at 4pm.
If you decide to arrive 1 or more days early, the meeting place for pick up will be at the Prima Hotel on Mapu Street Lobby. We recommend this hotel for pre-nights.
For those arriving to the airport on the first Saturday, there is a coffee shop in the arrivals hall after customs to the right where the group will gather. Confirmations of flights and more details will be shared with participants closer to departure.
On the first day, we will drive North for our first night together. You may like to check in with us at firstname.lastname@example.org before booking your flights. We will start formally collecting travel details starting in November / December.
Our lodging for the week will be in hotels and guest houses (more detail under “accommodations”) and we’ll have group transportation and private guides in tourist AC mini-bus transport. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be met at the airport and all is planned beautifully for us with private guides to the best sights and private AC minibus transportation. Breakfasts, and 6 dinners are included. We’ll have one free dinner night in Jerusalem and a few light lunches on the go that you should budget a few dollars for.
Each day will be filled with amazing sights, history, culture, food and inspiration! Nature Tours, Bental Mountain, Hammat Hagader hot springs, Harod Valley, Mount Gilboa, the Jordan Valley Road to Jerusalem, the underground Western Wall tunnels, Ein Gedi and floating in the Dead Sea are just SOME of the highlights.
What to pack:
- Yoga Mat
- Hiking/walking shoes
- Comfortable loose clothing (It can be hot even in March!)
- Layering clothing for chillier evenings (It may get a little chilly up north and at night in the desert)
- A couple of nicer outfits for evenings out
- Bathing suit
- Yoga clothes
- Adapters for electronics
For more helpful FAQ’s about traveling to Israel, please CLICK HERE.
Your Teacher & Guide
Dana discovered yoga through a voice teacher who incorporated yoga asana into the art of singing when she was only fifteen years old. Having already suffered from a number of eating disorders and severe anxiety and depression, yoga and singing together created a safe space where being in her body didn’t seem so bad. Having spent her childhood travelling between Israel and Texas, “home” was a loosely defined word. Yoga became a major building block in the long process of making her body into her home.
Dana considers travel a necessary tool for opening her mind and heart. The process of purposely placing oneself in a strange environment surrounded by different sounds, cultures, languages and foods creates more flexibility in the mind than any yoga asana ever could. Through experiencing others in their environments, we learn to better understand ourselves. Travel can truly be a journey to the self through others, a beautifully human way to connect. [Read more about Dana]
Rabbi Rebecca Epstein
Rabbi Rebecca Epstein decided to pursue a career as a rabbi, as a personal response to witnessing the aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11/2001 in New York City. At the time, she was teaching Hebrew school at a synagogue on the Upper West Side. Rebecca concluded that she could connect both students and adults to the wisdom of Jewish tradition as a way to deal with these demanding times. Concurrently, Rebecca explored Eastern spiritual traditions through her study of yoga, which included completing yoga teacher training through Yoga Works in New York. She concluded, however, that Judaism and the path of the rabbinate were the right fit for her, though some doubts about organized religion remained. She began her rabbinical studies in 2004 at the Hebrew Union College, and was ordained in 2009 after completing studies in Jerusalem and New York City.
Upon ordination, Rebecca served Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, New Jersey as Assistant Rabbi. There, she pioneered a teen mentorship program, a women’s spirituality group, a Jewish yoga class, and a comprehensive environmental certification process, in addition to directing the religious school. Since 2014, Rebecca has served as Director of Education at Congregation Beth Israel of Austin, where she strives to connect people of all ages to the wellsprings and challenges of Judaism and Jewish life.
Rebecca grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended Vassar College, graduating in 2000 with honors in Cognitive Science. At Vassar, she also pursued a life-long passion for modern dance and choreography. Rebecca is proud to be married to Barak Epstein and to share in the parenting of their three daughters, Noa, Aviya, and Sonia.
Your accommodations include 2 nights Kibbutz Gonen, 1 night Nir David, 1 night Jerusalem (Harmony Hotel or equivalent), 1 night at Khan Beerotayim, 1 night Kibbutz Ein Gedi, 1 night Tel Aviv (Hotel TBD).
$3495 per person*
$4195 per person*
*our one special night in the desert at Khan Be’erotayim will offer communally shared accommodations and facilities*
- 7 nights accommodations
- Airport transfers
- All yoga classes with Dana
- Guided Tours
- Entrance Fees
- Breakfasts, 6 dinners
- Airfare to Tel Aviv
- 1 dinner and a light lunches
- Travel Insurance
- Gratuities you might like to offer drivers and guides
- Personal expenses
A $695 deposit will secure your space and we would be happy to match you with a roommate.
Refunds and Cancellations: Refund less deposit ($695) before December 15, 2017. No refunds after December 15. In case of cancellation, you may transfer your deposit or your reservation to another person as long as you notify One Yoga Global 21+ days in advance. Due to arrangements made with our vacation hosts, there can be no exceptions to this policy.
If you place a deposit, the balance due will be set to charge in equal installments starting the month after deposit through February 15, 2018, unless other arrangements are made.
In the unlikely case of cancellation by One Yoga Global due to insufficient enrollment or logistical problems (acts of God, war, strikes, etc.) that may impede trip operations, please refer to the policies outlined in the more detailed application and liability waiver provided upon reservation. Participants will be required to sign the application and liability waiver to participate on this trip.
We HIGHLY recommend that you consider purchasing Travel Insurance. Travel insurance companies like TRAVEL GUARD offer policies that insure your investment in case you need to cancel (including “cancel for any reason” coverages), coverages for expenses incurred due to to weather & travel delays, personal property loss and emergency travel medical. Please review policies carefully to choose the coverage you need.
We recommend that you consider purchasing trip insurance in case you need to cancel your trip and/or flights AND for travel / Medical insurance. Travel Guard is one provider of this insurance. Please note that travel insurance may need to be purchased within a limited window of reserving your trip or purchasing airline tickets. Please click for details.