January 2008

DearMimi,

It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I send you the following letter regarding our tour to Israel  with you as our tour guide.. I have decided to break down my letter into a few categories that were relevant to our needs.

 

Pre-Trip Communication:

 Your communication with us via e-mails were numerous and prompt. Whenever a booking deadline (i.e Palmach Museum ) approached where you needed an immediate answer, you always took the initiative to let us know the deadline urgency by e-mail, or you called us by phone to discuss it. We saw every site we asked to see due to your diligence to detail. You worked with our interests and created a comprehensive tour that filled our days in a coherent, fun and orderly way. As we had particular interests, a very large party (24 at one point) and many sources of input from friends and family, you still managed to plan a trip that met every ones need above and beyond our highest expectations.

 

Reservations, mini tours, passes, and accommodations:

 Their was not one exhibit that you were unable to arrange for us. Your connection to Yad Sarah enabled us to retain a wheelchair that proved to be indispensable for us to tour without. We have now made Yad Sarah one of our favored charities. The hotels you recommended were perfect for us. The prices were always reasonable, they were located in great areas, and everybody in our party was pleased by the service, cleanliness and hospitality of each. When we needed space (at Masada) we had ample space, when we needed location in Jerusalem the Eldon was perfect and when we needed comfort in Eilat the Isrotel fit the bill.

The van you chose for us was also perfect for our needs. Big enough to fit everyone and our luggage and the wheelchair. It was comfortable, reasonably priced and small enough to fit under bridges that even you wondered about. Your flexibility on letting me drive worked out well for me. I enjoyed driving.

The mini tours you arranged such as the jeep trip with Chagai was simply splendid. He was entertaining, knowledgeable, safe and charming.

Your ability to work out on-the-spot travel issues, hotels, directions, restaurant reservations and even currency issues for varied members of our family, our children, our siblings, cousins, their children, our children's friends, our Russian relatives, and even our Israeli friends was incredible. I don't think we ever got lost once or had one disappointing meal.

Danielle's Bat Mitzvah was the most beautiful, well organized affair we have ever done. It was simple, personal, and warm and the setting you chose for the meal following at Kibbutz Ein Getti will be remembered always. Our family still raves about it. You and Judi worked hard at making this so perfect.

 

Knowledge, flexibility, resourcefulness and  helpfulness

Your knowledge of the land Israel and it's history is formidable. You gave us fascinating and extensive lectures at all sights not only from the Jewish perspective but from ancient, Ottoman, Babylonian, Christian, Muslim, British and present political perspectives as well. Your discussions with our political-science major son, our high school daughter and our middle school daughter was always appropriate yet sophisticated enough to challenge them - but not overwhelm them. Your willingness to skip areas that were of little interest to us was comforting, yet your passion and enthusiasm for covering as much as possible was both appreciated and gratifying. When certain members of our group wished not to participate in a discussion or tour, you were never phased or offended. You always graciously accommodated us. The few times you insisted we be prompt or emphatically suggested we participate in something was always worthwhile. You pushed us when we needed to be encouraged and we appreciate you were comfortable enough with us to push when necessary. In fact it was a relief on many an occasion when you could draw interest or co-operation from our teenage children when we, their parents couldn't.

When my mother in law felt ill you quickly got us to a pharmacy and translated the necessary information so carefully to the pharmacist.

Even after our trip you were able to arrange getting our son's expensive coat he forgot up north, back to us within 10 days. That was remarkable.

 

All said and done, you provided us with the best bat mitzvah trip/tour a family could have had. I would say that anybody who signed you up as a tour guide is lucky. As a family we feel we did a lot, saw a lot, were safe, and well taken care of. We look forward to seeing you on our next trip to Israel.

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Joel Zelikovitz

Toronto, Canada

jzelikovitz@gmail.com