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Houston Hillel Perspectives

Winter Packing List



  • Jerusalem - January average lows are in the very low-40s with highs in the low-50s. There's about a 20% chance that we'll see rain. Typically, it rains about 2 inches in January. There are snow flurries about twice each winter in Jerusalem, with a heavy snowfall every three or four years.

  • Tel Aviv - January average lows are in the low-50s with highs in the mid-60s. There's about a 25% chance that we'll see rain. Typically, it rains a bit more than 2 inches in January.

  • During our time in northern Israel we'll stay in an area with weather similar to Tel Aviv, but will take day trips to areas with weather like that in Jerusalem.

  • For comparison, in Houston January average lows are in the upper-40s with highs in the low-60s. There's about a 28% chance that it will rain. Typically, it rains about 3.5 inches in January.

  • In contrast to the United States, indoor spaces in Israel are more likely to have stone floors rather than insulating flooring material like carpet or wood, and may be colder than similar indoor spaces in the US.

Packing thoughts

  • You can bring one large bag and one carry-on. You won’t have access to laundry facilities, so you should think about bringing enough clean clothes for the entire trip. The other option is to hand wash some clothing during the trip. (Kenny does this, so don't be surprised if it looks like he's wearing the same shirt every third day. If you've never hand washed while traveling but think it might work for you, ask Kenny about his plan.)  

  • Any casual clothing works on the street. 

  • However, you’ll have to dress modestly at some religious sites, perhaps on Shabbat (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset), and in the Palestinian areas. Modest clothing probably won't be a problem because we're traveling in winter, when we'll most likely wear clothing that covers our arms and legs. Nonetheless, Men should wear pants and a nicer shirt (probably with a collar) that covers your upper arms. Women should cover their legs to the ankles, along with arms to the wrists. Women will most often be fine with pants and a shirt with sleeves to the elbows. But the local custom can vary, and we might enter a site at which the guard refuses entry to women in pants. It's probably a good idea for women to bring a lightweight opaque easy to pull on full length skirt, and a large scarf or shawl that can be used to cover your head and shoulders.

  • Think twice before bringing expensive jewelry, laptops and other valuables.

  • Houston Hillel will provide each participant with 5 KN95 masks, 20 disposable face masks, one small bottle of hand sanitizer, and one packet of 50 sanitizing wipes.

Bring on the plane in your backpack (a backpack that you can carry with you during the trip)

  • KN95 face masks

  • Hand sanitizer in a carry-on size bottle

  • Sanitizing wipes

  • A change of clothes

  • Sweatshirt or fleece pullover (the plane can get cold)

  • Medication (in original pharmacy containers, if possible)

  • Prescription glasses (and contact lens)

  • Passport and a drivers license (or other government issued ID in place of drivers license). Israel does not stamp passports, and instead provides a small paper visa that you need to carry with you, so consider a safe place to keep it. 

  • Photo of your Covid vaccine card (you don't need to bring the actual card)

  • Cash and credit/ATM cards. You’ll need to buy food in the airports, most lunches and some dinners during the trip. ATMs are all over the place, and you can easily use them to take out some Shekels. (You don't need to get Shekels before you leave.) You should check to see if your ATM card will charge a transaction fee in addition to the usual ATM fee. You should also consider telling your credit and ATM card providers that you’ll be out of the country so they don’t flag your purchases as fraud and freeze your cards. Israeli currency is much more coin oriented than in the United States. Consider bringing a small zippered pouch or coin wallet.

  • Phone, charging cord and external battery

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant

  • Headphones or earbuds

  • Ear plugs

  • Airplane pillow

  • Eye mask

  • Stuff to read

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle - you'll want to carry one with you the entire trip


Other stuff in your suitcase - Let Kenny know if you need help figuring out how many of each you should bring.


  • Short (and maybe long) sleeve shirts

  • Shorts (it might warm up)

  • Pants

  • Sweatshirt or fleece

  • Windbreaker or lightweight raincoat

  • Shabbat/modest clothing 

  • Underwear

  • Socks 

  • Pajamas 

  • Bathing suit (you never know)

  • Small towel

  • Hat with a visor (like a baseball cap) and maybe a winter knit hat

  • Shoes. There’s going to be lots of walking and exploring, so comfortable outdoor shoes are essential. You'll be fine with sturdy running or other closed-tow athletic shoes. You might consider a second pair of waterproof shoes or boots in case we have a lot of rain.

  • Power plug adapters like in the picture for electrical equipment that is adaptable to 220 volts. Cell phones and tablets typically work with just a power plug adapter.

  • Power converter? You won't need one! Things that use a motor, like an electric shaver and hair dryer, are the only items that require a power converter. Most hotels will have a hair dryer and electric outlets that provide 110 and 220.

  • Sunglasses 

  • Toiletries (the hotels will have soap, shampoo and towels). Don’t forget your toothbrush and deodorant. 

  • Sunscreen 

  • Plastic bags for wet and dirty clothes

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