61 Year Grand Reunion

HOTELS UPGRADED, AND AN EXTRA DAY ADDED  (14 March 2022)

We continue to refine the details of our exciting 61 year reunion in Israel in October!

First, we have been able to upgrade our accommodation in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to different hotels of higher quality -- at no extra cost!

Our new hotel in Tel Aviv will be the Marriott Renaissance (https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/tlvbr-renaissance-tel-aviv-hotel/overview/ ) The hotel is well situated on the beachfront, and close to the city centre:

Our new hotel in Jerusalem will be the Herbert Samuel  (https://herbertsamuel.com/en/herbert-samuel-jerusalem-hotel).  The hotel is a short walk to the old city.

And, in response to popular demand for more opportunities to explore Jerusalem, we have added an extra day to our itinerary -- so the dates of our reunion will now be:

Arrival day:  Sunday 23 October

Departure day:  Monday 31 October.

This additional day will add an extra US$125  to your hotel costs.  If this causes you financial strain, please contact Ian in total confidence:   drianrobertson@gmail.com, or  +1 212 675 6969.  (You can use Whatsapp, Signal, or Viber for a free call to this number.)

We are working now on expanding and enriching our itinerary in Israel -- watch for details!

Looking forward to seeing you there,

John Bartlett, Terry Dowdall, Nick Gray, Lee Irvine, Denny Moffatt, and Ian Robertson.

 

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A CHANGE IN ISRAEL ENTRY REQUIREMENTS (23 February 2022)

Dear Classmates,

Israel has just announced that it will no longer require proof of covid vaccination to enter the country.

Instead, visitors will have to present a negative PCR test, taken at a professional lab within 72 hours of their departure.  You will need this test result to board your departure flight.

Additionally, all visitors will have to take a second PCR test on arrival at the Tel Aviv airport. Visitors will be expected to remain at their hotel until they receive the results (usually wihin a few hours)

Please bear in mind that every country's admission rules change in response to trends in the pandemic.  We will keep you up to date with any changes.  It is unlikely, but future changes may include reinstatement of a requirement for two or more vaccinations.

Best regards,

John Bartlett, Terry Dowdall, Nick Gray, Lee Irvine, Denny Moffatt,  and Ian Robertson.

 

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A REASSURING UPDATE   (12 December 2021)

Dear Classmates,

This message is to reassure you that despite the current fuss over a new covid strain, we continue to plan for our reunion in Israel at the end of October next year.  It seems to us that there is adequate time for the present difficulties to be resolved.

We knew when we selected our date that the pandemic could take an uncertain course. But with our members now within shouting distance of 80 years old, we felt we could not wait and wait for the dawn of a perfect year.  So we negotiated hotel block bookings that we can cancel without penalty as late as the middle of September next year.  If there is a need to reschedule our reunion we will consider our options nearer that time.  But in the meanwhile we will press on!

As we confront the challenges of our grand event in Israel, we are reminded of some lines from a poem we studied in 1961, Tennyson's "Ulysses", in which aging comrades contemplate yet another voyage of adventure:

So far we have 45 acceptances.  We look forward to seeing many more of you there!

Best regards,

John Bartlett, Terry Dowdall, Nick Gray. Lee Irvine, Denny Moffatt, and Ian Robertson

 

 

 

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                   ISRAEL 23-30 OCTOBER 2022

We are delighted to announce that our delayed 60 year anniversary celebrations will now take place in Israel from 23 to 30 October, 2022.   Israel will offer an extraordinary setting for our class to reconnect again, some 61 years after we matriculated from DHS!

Please note:

1)  We realise this expedition will challenge some classmates' finances so we are raising funds to provide subsidies where genuinely needed.

2)  We need some idea of attendance numbers, so when you have read the details below,  PLEASE give us some indication (not a commitment at this stage) if you might be coming.  A simple YES, NO or MAYBE  will suffice, but it will be helpful if MAYBE responses include a reason for the hesitation.  Please send your response, and any queries about the reunion you may have, to Ian at drianrobertson@gmail.com, or use the "Contact Us" tab at the top of the home page.  Thanks!

 

WHY ISRAEL AND NOT SOUTH AFRICA?

After long and careful consideration we decided on Israel as our destination, for the following reasons;

Convenience.   About half our members live in SA and about half elsewhere in the world.  Our 50th reunion in 2011 was held in Durban, so the foreigners had to make what was often a long, expensive, and complicated trek to South Africa.  This time we wanted to find a more central location for our far-flung members.  Israel is ideal: almost all of us can get to Israel on a direct, nonstop flight from the capital or other major city in their country of residence.

Cultural appeal.  The immense success of our 2018 gathering in Morocco created much enthusiasm among classmates for another destination with great cultural appeal.  Israel, the "Holy Land" so central to our cultural heritage, fits the bill. It is a fascinating country --  varied in terrain, rich in archeology, vital to three great religions, and full of contrasts between vibrant modernity and ancient tradition.

 

WHAT WILL WE DO THERE?

We will spend four days and nights in Tel Aviv, a modern, informal city on the Mediterranean, and three in Jerusalem, an ancient and more reserved city filled with sites of religious significance.  We will use each city as a base for tours to other locations of interest.  Below is a draft of our program (there may be minor changes depending on group size, travel logistics and any added activities).

Day  1.   Sunday 23.    Tel Aviv

Arrival day, with classmates arriving until early afternoon  

Meet and greet at airport

Day at leisure  

Evening reception at private residence

 

Day 2 .  Monday 24.  Tel Aviv

Breakfast at hotel

Orientation meeting in the morning

Tel Aviv explorations

Grand Reunion Dinner

 

Day 3.  Tuesday 25   Tel Aviv

Breakfast at hotel

Coastal drive to Akko (Acre) for lunch, with visits to Caesarea and Haifa.

Evening at leisure

 

Day 4.  Wednesday 26 Tel Aviv 

Breakfast at hotel

Day trip to Galilee - Nazareth -- Capernaum

Evening at leisure

 

Day 5.  Thursday 27  Jerusalem

Breakfast at hotel

Transfer to Jerusalem

Visit Yad Vashem holocaust museum en route

Arrive Jerusalem hotel early afternoon for check in

Religious  sites 

Evening at leisure

 

Day 6.  Friday 28 Jerusalem

Breakfast at hotel

Religious sites

Optional Bethlehem visit

Evening at leisure

 

Day 7.  Saturday 29  Jerusalem

Day trip to Masada and Dead Sea

Lunch at Dead Sea resort with swimming opportunity

Grand Farewell Dinner.

 

Day 8.  Sunday 30 Jerusalem

Breakfast at hotel

Departures for airport

 

GETTING THERE

Passports:  Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date of your entry to Israel.  If you need to renew your passport, please check how long this will take in your country as there are currently extensive delays in the UK, USA, and elsewhere.  South Africans who need new or renewed passports should not delay, given the bureaucratic uncertainties there.

Visas:   You do NOT need a visa if you reside in SA, UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia, or Norway -- which should cover all of us.

Covid proofs:   Covid entry requirements for every country change constantly.  However to enter Israel you will certainly have to show proof of two vaccinations, and very likely three.   We strongly recommend that everyone hoping to make this trip gets two vaccinations plus a "booster" jab.   You may also have to provide evidence of a recent negative covid test.  We will update you on what the exact requirements are closer to the time.   

Flights:  Airlines are currently expanding their flights and destinations, and definite fares for the period of our reunion are not published yet. There will likely be many more options at the time.  However, as a guide the following are the cheapest round-trip, non-stop, economy-class fares to Tel Aviv for next September.  Airlines may charge extra for baggage, seat selection, etc.

Joburg:   El Al --  R 7400 

London:  El Al, EasyJet  -- £ 250

Manchester:  Easy Jet - £ 265

New York :  Delta -- $ 830

Los Ángeles:  El Al -- $ 1000

Toronto:  Air Canada -- CA$ 1100

Montreal:  Air Canada --CA$ 1020 

Paris:  Easy Jet € 200

 

One stopover is required for:

Oslo via Munich:  Lufthansa -- NOK 2200

Alicante via Munich:  Lufthansa € 250

Australians -- Sorry guys, as usual you will have a long haul, but you do have a choice of places like Hong Kong, Bangkok, Istanbul and Dubai to change planes (or to lay over for a mini vacation).  Qantas, Emirates, Cathay and El Al are in the A$2000 range.   We can make a reservation at our hotel for Australian classmates who want to arrive a day early to recover from jet lag.

 

STAYING THERE

Hotels:    We have negotiated block bookings at favourable rates at hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.   The rate is set in US currency at $125 per night, which means that your total for the week will be US $875  (at current exchange rates, R12,000, CA$1080,  £640,  €755, A$1180, NOK 7365).  Just let us know you are coming and will add your name to our bookings list.  You will pay the hotel directly on check out.   

In Tel Aviv, our hotel is the Leonardo Art Hotel which is located on the city's sea front: https://www.leonardo-hotels.com/leonardo-art-hotel-tel-aviv 

In Jerusalem our hotel is the Jerusalem Leonardo Hotel which is close to the major reigious sites:   https://www.leonardo-hotels.com/leonardo-hotel-jerusalem

 

WHILE WE ARE THERE


Meals:   All breakfasts are included at the hotels.   We will provide a reception, two dinners at the beginning and end of the tour, and lunches on our excursions.  You are on your own for most other meals, but Israel has an abundance of eateries at every price point.  Let us know if you have special dietary requirements.

Tours and transport:  We will provide all transport and guides for our various excursions.   We will provide group airport transfers,  and where possible individual transfers.

Mobility issues:  We will make special arrangements for anybody with mobility issues, including provision of a wheelchair if necessary.

WE NEED FUNDS--

We have some funds on hand already but need more for this fabulous event!!  We can accept money (which will be held in an attorney account) and airline frequent flyer miles, or you can sponsor part or all of a particular meal or tour on the spot with cash or credit card.  Please let Ian know if you can help out.

AND NOW:  

If you have not aleady done so PLEASE  respond ASAP to Ian with some indication of YES, NO, OR MAYBE you will attend. You can email Ian at  drianrobertson@gmail.com, or you can use the "Contact Us" tab at the top of the home page.

Hope to see you there!

-- John Bartlett, Terry Dowdall, Nick Gray, Lee Irvine, Denny Moffatt, and Ian Robertson.