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“The "Un-Guide" Guide: From the Golan to Jerusalem”

Israel Travel Company - Private Guide Day Tours
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Half Day Private Walking Tour of Jaffa
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Private Tour: Old City Jerusalem with Rampart Walk and Western Wall and New...
Ranked #44 of 237 Tours in Jerusalem
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Owner description: The Israel Travel Company strives to provide personal, custom designed & quality travel experiences for individuals, couples, families & private small group travelers to Israel, Jordan & Palestine.Celebrating the rich diversity of historical ,cultural ,social & religious traditions in the Holy Land region, we offer historical ,cultural ,adventure & off the beaten track tours through a carefully built network of travel professionals in all three countries motivated to weave a fabric of people , places & paths for our traveler clients to experience. Each of our tours is custom designed and made to personally fit your travel style ,budget and interests.Particular effort is made to provide the highest quality professional guide services that match your requirements.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The "Un-Guide" Guide: From the Golan to Jerusalem”
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Last year, Zel took our family north through the Galilee and the Golan. My son gave him the title of “unguide” because he shied away from standard, itinerary based touring. Zel crafted our very personal experiences without overwhelming us. The northern Israeli landscape spoke for itself; Zel just helped us to hear the voices.

This spring, I returned north with Zel to see what I had missed earlier. One of the highlights of my trip was Akko, which is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We wandered the narrow alleyways and Templar tunnels, the mysterious fortresses and strongholds, stopped at a spice shop, a coppersmith and listened to the Mediterranean crash against the city walls. We ate lunch at the wonderful Uri Buri fish restaurant and walked through the luxury boutique hotel, Efendi…startling for its seaside vistas and elegance.

The next day, we roamed paths in Gamla Nature Reserve to see the soaring vultures and explored the ancient oaks and volcanic craters of Odem Forest. Zel took me to taste the distinctive wines of Tal Pelter who set up his intimate winery a few miles within the Syrian border. In late afternoon, I enjoyed the cool mists and shade of the roaring Dan River.

Zel stopped at Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel and Spa, the following morning, so I could get “a spot of tea” and ‘drink in” the Hermon Mountains and Sea of Galilee below. The art exhibit featured there had the theme “Israel is The Stage and Her Views Are the Actors.” I could not help but extend the metaphor to Zel’s continuous and unobtrusive “setting of the stage” for this journey. From there, we strolled the cobblestone streets of Rosh Pina, overlooking the Hula Valley, and I discovered the striking mosaics of the talmudic city Tziporri. Zel arranged an early dinner at Makom B’Sejera, a rustic country restaurant in the first settlement of the Galilee. I remember the wonderful smells of the grill and my delight at the organic, homegrown vegetables.

Once we returned to Jerusalem, Zel coordinated a very special tour for me. I wanted to see the synagogues of the Old City, which included the newly restored Hurva complex and the synagogues in the Moslem Quarter. My local guide was a descendent of the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem who struggled centuries earlier to rebuild the Hurva. The morning allowed for private prayer and reflection.

Beyond his vast knowledge of history, Zel has an uncanny sense of what will move and lift the spirit of a visitor to truly understand the beauty and the issues of Israel. My last night, Zel sent me to the Notre Dame Hotel on the east side of the city to see the bright lights of Jerusalem. I was pretty restless and saddened to leave Israel again. For a moment, the colored lights seemed to unify the city and reassure my return.

I am certain that very little of this sounds like an ordinary tour to Israel. “Ordinary” is not what Zel does. You will find Zel’s personality and vision disarming; his understanding of people profound. It would be hard to duplicate this trip with another guide or to even find another “unguide.”

Visited May 2013
2 Thank stargazer223
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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125 reviews from our community

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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Great Way to See Jerusalem”
Reviewed June 13, 2013

Smart, fun, young, and enthusiastic, super-tour guide Sally Lifshitz took my family (kids 10 & 13) on an incredibly entertaining and informative backstage tour of Jerusalem. Whether we were snaking our way through the Old City or hiking the wall's ramparts, Sally gave us historical facts and showed us hidden secret places off the beaten path, making the ancient city come alive. The highlight of the trip was Sally leading the way as we squeezed through ancient water tunnels deep underground,and then taking us to the Western Wall. Her enthusiasm, humor, and friendship really helped make this the trip of a lifetime. I highly recommend seeing the city with Sally Lifshitz.

Visited June 2013
Thank SteveS524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“More Than Just A Guide”
Reviewed June 1, 2013

My husband and I started planning our trip to Israel a year ago. We wanted to travel independently, and with the additional challenge of avoiding the need to rent a car. Over the course of the year, Zel helped us create a personalized experience that met all of our expectations and more. He provided superb hotel recommendations in Tel Aviv, Ein Gedi and Jerusalem, and made other suggestions that fit our budget and goals. When we came up with ideas of possible activities, we appreciated having someone knowledgable about Israel to provide feedback about our choices.

For our final day in Israel, Zel led us on a customized 1/2 day tour of the historic neighborhoods of the New City of Jerusalem, with amazing "Then" images on his iPad of the pre-67 view of the city, while seeing the "Now" image presented before of us. We appreciated his flexibility, and when I told him my mother is a lifelong supporter of Hadassah, he took us to meet Abed Sayd, the famed 87 year old who promised to watch over the grave of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, on the Mount of Olives.

We highly recommend Zel as both a consultant and a guide.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank srcinny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Zel the Amazing”
Reviewed May 16, 2013

Zel Lederman was our family guide for an amazing 1 week trip around Israel. Zel knows Israel well, can relate the local sights to Aussi's and he is as flexible as you need him to be. We loved the kayaking, walking up Masada at dawn and general good company which is a real skill. I could go on, but will keep it short. He's energetic, fact filled, knows how to keep the group informed but not overwhelmed especially with teenage kids, knows all the great food spots, always adjusts his plans to meet the group's needs, and overall makes for a fantastic experience. Thanks Zel and keep it going !!

Visited July 2012
Thank Shane G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Israel - Jerusalem, Golan Heights, Masada, and "magical" Tzfat”
Reviewed May 14, 2013

We were incredibly fortunate to have Zel Lederman as our tour guide for a week long trip to Israel. This was our family's first trip to Israel, and one of the best family vacations we have ever had! Zel was very knowledgeable with regard to the history of the area. We learned so much from him, and he was very patient with our many questions! He kept our teens interested and involved. We saw many fabulous sights, but I will only mention a few highlights here. We did a sunrise hike up Masada, and got amazing pictures from the trail. We went on a jeep ride through the desert and witnessed amazing vistas. We went to the city of David and waded through the irrigation system (our girls loved that part!). Our visit to Tzfat was magical, just as Zel said it would be. Zel essentially became a member of our family for the duration of our trip. He knew the best places to eat, took the time to truly know what our interests were and surprised us with mini side trips suited to our tastes, in addition to the scheduled excursions. I would highly recommend Zel as a guide, and look forward to seeing him when we return to Israel.

Visited August 2012
Thank Lydia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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