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Jewish Heritage Tours in Israel: Discovering Your Roots

The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in Israel

Jewish people from around the world feel drawn towards Israel, the Promised Land, the land of the Bible, and the only Jewish state in the world. A trip to Israel offers a unique opportunity to discover your Jewish roots as you explore a land rich in history and culture. There are Jewish tours of Israel that are specifically designed to cover the most important Jewish sites, as well as the iconic landmarks and top attractions of the country. From the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Hebron to the vibrant, modern metropolis of Tel Aviv, Israel has something for everyone interested in Jewish heritage.

Must-Visit Sites on a Jewish Heritage Tour of Israel


No Jewish heritage tour of Israel would be complete without a visit to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Jerusalem is a city that holds profound religious and historical significance for Jews.

Western Wall

Without a doubt, this is the top Jewish heritage site in Israel. This iconic wall is all that remains from the Second Temple that once stood on Temple Mount. Take your time soaking up the atmosphere at the wall where Jews come to pray night and day. You can place a prayer note between the massive stones that make up the wall. If you want to explore this site more thoroughly, take a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels located to the left of the Western Wall.

Visiting the Western Wall Tunnels takes you on a journey beneath the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City. Follow subterranean passageways where you’ll encounter centuries-old archaeological remains and hidden sections of the Western Wall itself.

Old City, Jerusalem

Explore the rest of the Old City, especially the Jewish Quarter where you can see the Hurva Synagogue, archaeological sites, and the Burnt House, and discover interesting sites at every turn. Look out for the four Sephardic synagogues dating back to the 16th century.

Mount Zion

Just outside the Old City is Mount Zion, the site of King David’s Tomb. This is a well-loved place for Jews to pray, but it is also a site mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Experts don’t consider this the actual place of David’s burial but since the early Medieval period, it has been revered as such.

Mount of Olives

Opposite the Old City is the Mount of Olives which is best known for its churches. However, it is also the site of the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the world. For the last 3000 years, it has been the burial site of great statesmen, religious leaders, and biblical figures. For example, it is the final resting place of Rabbi Kook, Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, Golda Meir, and Menachem Begin.

Yad Vashem

One of the must-visit sites on any Jewish heritage tour is Israel’s Holocaust museum. Yad Vashem. Visitors can explore its poignant exhibitions, pay tribute to the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust, and learn about the heroic efforts of those who sought to rescue Jews during that dark period in history.

Ammunition Hill

For more recent heritage sites visit the former Jordanian military post that played a significant role in the Six-Day War. It has been turned into a memorial site and highlights the bravery of Jewish soldiers in the 1967 war.

City of David

Located opposite the Old City is the excavated site of King David’s original city established about 3000 years ago. In addition to excavated palaces, bathhouses, and homes there are fascinating underground water channels carved out of the rock thousands of years ago to bring water to the people of Jerusalem.

Cave of Machpelah

The Cave of the Patriarchs is only recommended if you are touring with a local guide. It is the burial site of biblical figures Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah located at the entrance to Hebron. With an experienced guide, you can explore Hebron and learn about the unique community of Jews who live here.


Visit this picturesque hilltop city in the northern Galilee. It is known as the birthplace of Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah, and is shrouded in a spiritual atmosphere. The Old Town of Safed is a labyrinth of cute stone alleys and home to a vibrant artists community where there are art galleries lining the lane. Also, visit the famous Safed synagogues.

Abuhav Synagogue – See the impressive interior, and the sacred Torah scroll believed to have been brought from Spain during the Inquisition.
Ari Sephardic Synagogue – This synagogue is associated with Rabbi Isaac Luria and follows the traditions of Kabbalah.
Yosef Caro Synagogue – Named after the author of the Shulchan Aruch. Rabbi Caro is believed to have written some of his work while sitting in this synagogue.

Visiting Graves of Famous Rabbis

One of the popular ways to explore northern Israel is by visiting the graves of renowned Rabbis. Sites like the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron; the tombs of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Akiva and his disciple Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes in Tiberias, and the grave of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides or Rambam) also in Tiberias.

Golan Heights

On these magnificent hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee, you can explore several ancient Jewish sites, as well as more recent sites connected with the State of Israel.

Gamla – See the remains of a Jewish town from the Second Temple period.
Katzrin – Tour a reconstructed Talmudic village which is part of the Golan Archaeological Museum, and learn about Jewish life thousands of years ago.
Ein Keshatot (Umm el-Kanatir)– See this well-preserved synagogue from the Byzantine era when it was part of a prosperous Jewish town.
Mount Bental – On the northeastern part of the Golan Heights is Mount Bental where a former Syrian outpost stands abandoned. Visitors can walk through the bunkers, and learn about the largest tank battles in Israel’s history that took place during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 at the foot of the mountain.


No Jewish heritage trip is complete without seeing the wonders of modern Israel and the dynamic vibrant metropolis that the Jews have created. Explore Tel-Aviv’s markets, have fun on the beach, take a walk along the promenade to Jaffa, and visit the excellent art museums. Stroll along Rothschild Boulevard and stop at Independence Hall where Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and enjoy the renowned Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv. Spend time in the picturesque neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, indulge in delicious Israeli cuisine, and relax at the repurposed Tel Aviv Port. While in Tel Aviv learn more about the Jewish people and their journey by visiting the ANU Museum, and the Eretz Israel Museum.

Exploring Israel is not just about discovering your roots but also about celebrating the enduring legacy of the Jewish people. It’s a chance to connect with the past, appreciate the present, and look forward to the future. With each step you take in Israel, you walk in the footsteps of generations before you, and you become part of a timeless story that continues to evolve.