Zivit Blonder is Shatour’s representative in the United States. She is the daughter of Nathan and Hannah Shapiro and she advises American families on the best places to visit in Israel.
Zivit means ‘ray of sunshine’ and echoes her brother’s name, Lior, which means ‘I have light’. She grew up in Jerusalem as an active participant in the Shatour family business and, following in her father’s footsteps, she became a tour guide and worked with the Jewish Agency, escorting incoming groups of tourists. Then 17 years ago she met and married Steve and moved to Chicago. They have two all-American boys, but they bring them to Israel every year to spend the summer with their grandparents and connect with their Israeli roots.
“Visiting Israel every summer keeps me up to date on all the latest attractions that are worth visiting”, explains Zivit. “I take my kids around the country and take notes to help other families plan their Israel tours. Traveling with kids is never easy – it is crucial to give them a chance to burn off energy along the way, and not to bore them with too many educational activities. At the same time, we want our visits to be meaningful and to justify the expense of flying across the ocean!”
Your Personal Trip Planner
Zivit has become a travel consultant for American families who are planning to visit Israel. “I understand the difference between their expectations and the reality on the ground, so I can help them to plan a realistic schedule. I always arrange a personal initial conversation – either face-to-face or on the phone – to discuss the purpose of their trip and their interests and hobbies. We often recommend volunteering opportunities and outings – for example, we help them to get tickets for an Israeli basketball game, which is very different from an American stadium experience!”
“We talk about their level of interest in the history and geography of Israel and Jewish history, and that enables me to match them with the right tour guide for their family. We talk about the different attractions that they want to visit and how to build a realistic itinerary for the ages of their children. It probably helps that I am in their time zone and that my kids are American too.”
Family Celebrations in Israel
This summer, Zivit, Steve and their two boys are celebrating Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah with the extended Shatour family in Israel. They are visiting some of their favorite places to have fun as a family. One of these is the Arazim Valley Park on the northern edge of Jerusalem, where the boys love to compete to solve the interactive games and puzzles. “We love exploring nature in Israel, enjoying its great weather and the creative outdoor toys in its parks. You may not find places like this in any Israel guide books, but at Shatour we can take your family off the beaten track and make your Israel tour even more enjoyable.”
To talk to Zivit about planning your family’s next trip to Israel, contact Shatour today.