Virtual interactive Jerusalem tours fill lockdown void
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Virtual interactive Jerusalem tours fill lockdown void

StandWithUs UK's online experience takes school students, youth movements and families through the Holy City while tourists are unable to visit in person

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

It’s not the same as actually being there, but it’s the next best thing — Jerusalem LIVE.

StandWithUs UK has devised a unique interactive online tour experience, hand-tailored for schools, youth movements or even private family groups. Yoni Zierler, a tour guide and director of StandWithUs Strategic Tourism in Israel, runs the tour, which ends with a visit to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Throughout the tour, viewers can ask questions as Yoni walks through the streets of Jerusalem. And the bonus is when he reaches the Kotel, when he is able to place pre-sent notes in the Wall. He says: “Without a doubt, the most powerful moment is being at the Kotel. As I walk down those stairs, and the online audience is ‘walking’ with me, I prepare them both historically and spiritually to ensure they have a meaningful experience. It’s amazing to give people the power of virtually touching the Kotel walls”.

UJIA has given a grant towards Jerusalem LIVE as part of its  Summer Engagement Fund. Expressing thanks, Sara Sherrard, executive director of StandWithUs UK, said: “While nothing can replace being in Israel in person, StandWithUs are able to bring a little taste of Israel to countless homes across the UK”.

This week StandWithUs delivered individually tailored tours for Year 9 Students at JFS, Yavneh College and King Solomon schools. Simon Appleman, deputy headteacher of JFS, said: “At a time when so many JFS students would have been in Israel with the school, on tour or busy planning family holidays, it was an honour to walk the streets of Jerusalem alongside StandWithUs, giving our students the special opportunity of connecting with Israel in such a meaningful way”.

For more information or to book a tour, go to. https://www.standwithus.com/live-tour-uk

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