About Ayelet Tours

Ayelet Tours is best known for our Israel and Jewish heritage tours around the world. We offer group, congregational and custom Jewish tours to Israel, as well as specialized tours for Bar/Bat Mitzvah families and Christian Pilgrims. We create Heritage tours to destinations worldwide through our scholar-led Traveling University program. Our Best-Day Adventures provide unique travel opportunities for active Jewish Singles in their 40s, 50s and 60s. In addition, we provide Conference Management Services for a number of leading organizations.

The name Ayelet means gazelle in Hebrew, and is part of the phrase Ayelet Hashachar – the morning star (literally “gazelle of dawn”). Ayelet Tours takes its cue from this star, leading the way each day with itineraries and exciting programs connecting our travelers to the best of Israel and the Jewish world.

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Ayelet Tours started as an idea. Back in ancient times (aka the mid 1980s), founder Diane Rubtchinsky saw a gap in the Israel travel market and a real need for a niche company. Working from her kitchen table, she took a leap of faith and founded a start-up, focusing on religious-based travel to Israel.

Diane escorted her first Israel tour in 1984 – an interfaith journey led by Rabbi Martin Silverman and Bishop Howard Hubbard from her home-town of Albany, NY. It was on this tour that Diane’s dream of an agency specializing in Israel and open to every faith and nationality was first conceived.

Ayelet Tours moved out of the kitchen and into real offices in 1986. Since then Ayelet has continued to lead the market. Along the way, we’ve accomplished so much as a company – creating a trusted reputation for innovation and excellence in travel, and fostering relationships with both vendors and clients that continue to this day. There are congregations with whom we have now coordinated tours to Israel across four decades!

Besides congregational and private tours worldwide, we proudly continue to coordinate the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), American Conference of Cantors (ACC) and Cantors Assembly (CA) conferences and missions. We’ve run missions for hundreds of participants at a time – such as with the CA missions to Poland and Germany. And of course our long term partnership with Hadassah has put literally thousands of dedicated Zionists in touch with the best of Israel’s potential – each returning home as an ambassador on behalf of the country and the organization we love so deeply.

We’ve been at the forefront of Jewish travel. Our first tours to Eastern Europe traveled shortly after the fall of the iron curtain, when ideas of customer service in the formerly communist regions were tenuous at best. But we stepped into the gap to provide top level experiences, while opening up relationships with the region’s Jewish communities that flourish to this day. We continue in that tradition of breaking new ground with our recently added People to People tours to Cuba, now in overwhelmingly high demand.

Cliché or not, Ayelet Tours is as much family as company. Diane’s son Jeff grew up immersed in the business. After a few years working in finance, and traveling extensively throughout the world, Jeff joined us full time in 2001. And the feeling of family extends further – our staff includes long time team members, providing our clients and partners with continuity, deep knowledge and destination expertise. For example, native Israeli Seffie Epstein has been part of Ayelet’s Management team since the 1990s, and Operations Manager Caralie Cole has been part of our “family” since 1987!

On behalf of all of us at Ayelet Tours – the operators, support staff, guides, drivers and partners in countries around the world – we thank you for the opportunity to fulfill our mission, and to share our love for Israel and the wider world with you – our clients, our partners, our friends. Now…let’s go!

 

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