Senior trips to Israel mix sights, community service

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The active seniors also take a day or more each week to tour such classic sites as Jerusalem's Old City, the Galilee and the Golan Heights. They also can join "Taste of Hebrew" classes to enhance their language skills.

The combination of service, travel and learning has drawn many repeat participants — some up to 13 times. ARI, which means "lion" in Hebrew, thus has generated its own sequel: ROAR or Return of Active Retirees.

"It's wonderful to see Israel and to be a part of it through our volunteer work," says Belle Cohen, a retired office manager from Hamden, Conn. An 11-year veteran of the program, she has shared it with her sister, Frances, and her brother-in-law, Julius Levine. "We call it among ourselves a mini-aliyah," says Cohen.

ARI has planned the following trips: Oct. 13 to Nov. 10, $3,500; Jan. 16 to March 12, $4,400; April 30-May 28, $3,500.

Based on double occupancy at the kosher Hotel Galil, prices include round-trip airfare via El Al from Newark International Airport, tours, meals, tax and gratuities. Single rooms are available at additional cost.