Waiting for our flight in Newark Liberty Airport; checking out the El Al goodies; getting ready for take-off
I first met Nadav Peretz of OUTstanding Travel during his trip to New York City this past summer. Over coffee we quickly began to consider taking a group of gay dad families on an amazing vacation to Israel. When I confessed that I had not been to Israel since 1985, Nadav arranged for me to come for a whirlwind week with one of my kids.
We booked our flight with El Al Airlines, and enjoyed easy and comfortable journeys to and from Israel. (Sadie especially enjoyed the El Al gifts she received!)
Spending time with Nadav and Ori
We spent our first couple of days in beautiful and historic Jerusalem, learning about its rich history and tasting some of the city's best food. While Nadav spent the first day with us, his tour guide Ori took us around on the second day. Sadie bonded quickly and easily with them both.
Walking around Old Jerusalem
During our stay in Jerusalem, we loved walking around the old city. It was especially awe-inspiring to be at the Western Wall and to see Jewish, Christian and Muslim history all within a few minutes walk.
Some of the sights at the incredible Ilana Goor museum in Jaffa
Next, we were off to the incredible city of Tel Aviv. First stop was the old port of Jaffa, considered to be the oldest sea port in the world. Sadie and I agreed that the Ilana Goor museum, an eclectic collection of more than 500 Israeli, international and ethnic art alongside Goor’s idiosyncratic creations, was "awesomely cool!"
Beaching it (Tel Aviv) and taking in the view (Jaffa)
After a day sightseeing, Nadav actually gave us some time off so Sadie and I headed to the beach. Naturally, we ventured to the Hilton gay beach!
Loving our daddy / daughter time and enjoying the company for a special Shabbat dinner
Here are photos enjoying Shabbat Dinner at the David Intercontinental Hotel and walking around the beautiful city of Tel Aviv, which is actually a very young city of only 107 years. Besides being the gay capital of the MidEast, Tel Aviv is also known for its vibrant nightlife, fantastic food scene and hotbed for creativity and high-tech.
Meeting the fabulous Betty band; posing with Yossi
During our walks in Tel Aviv, we had a couple of #celebritysightings! Also touring with Nadav was the band Betty from NYC, famous for the opening song of “The L Word.” (I can't wait to take my husband Ferd to see them perform back home in NYC!) We also bumped into one of the leads from the 2002 international gay hit movie “Yossi and Jagger,” Ohad Knoler.
Near and at the Dead Sea
Of course, no trip to Israel is complete without a visit to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth and the world's largest natural spa. Unfortunately, it was just a bit too cold for us to test just how it feels to float in the sea. (Heard from Nadav that the ladies from Betty were braver than us as they actually went into the water the next day!)
Enjoying a delicious dinner in Jerusalem at the very hip, cozy and child-friendly Tmol Shilshom bookstore and cafe, where we were joined by the gay dad owner and his delightful family!
Our favorite times in Israel were definitely the opportunities we had to meet and hang with local gay dad families, both in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. We look forward to seeing them all again next summer, and I know they’re excited to meet with other families joining us.
Gays With Kids meets the Israeli Gay Father’s Association and the dads from Tammuz International Surrogacy
Our biggest take-away from this trip? Israel has so much to offer to make for an unforgettable and incredible family vacation. Next week, look for our official announcement for our gay dad family vacation (August 13 to 22, 2017)!