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Shabbat of a Lifetime was created by a team of Jewish educators with the goal of developing a Shabbat evening program for incoming tourists of all backgrounds to experience an authentic Friday night in Jerusalem.

At Shabbat of a Lifetime, we combine the personal touch of home-hospitality with a high standard of professionalism and attention to detail. On the Shabbat of a Lifetime program, one will discover the beauties of Jerusalem, learn about Friday night traditions, and make personal connections with families living in Israel.

Shabbat of a Lifetime is proud to have a team of over 95 host families around Jerusalem.  Meet some of our families:

Michelle and Natanel Cohen

The Cohen’s, have both been Jewish educators for over ten years. After completing his army service in the IDF, Natanel created curricula for Jerusalem courses, sharing his passion for the Holy City in an exciting and educational way. Michelle has taught in several women’s Jewish institutions for many years while finishing up a Master’s in Jewish education from Hebrew University and raising their four beautiful children.  After several trips to India where the Cohens hosted thousands of Israeli travellers, at times averaging 70 participants a week, and even 350 (!) for festival meals, the Cohens founded Shabbat of a Lifetime in 2011 and have loved every minute of it!

Jenna and Ben Alpern

Ben and Jenna met in the beautiful hills of Tzfat and have spent their time together falling in love with the land of Israel and building a home in Jerusalem. Ben recently became a licensed tour guide and also works as the director of an archeological dig site. Jenna studied Psychology, is a yoga teacher and currently spends her days studying for her masters degree, taking care of her newborn girl growing toddler, and being in touch with Shabbat of a Lifetime participants (in her spare time!). They both love hiking, camping, making their babies laugh and eating delicious food.


Yehoshua and Debbie Looks

Yehoshua is a Rabbi, educator, writer, and consultant. In Israel, using the acumen learned at Harvard Business School and in the for profit sector, he has devoted his energies to working with non-profit organizations. Currently, he is Managing Director for HaOhel Institutions.  Yehoshua contributes a monthly column to the Jewish World section of the HaAretz online edition. Debbie is a social worker and educator, now teaching pre-school and English privately, as well as in groups. The Looks family made aliya in 1996. Their three children, with spouses and grandchildren, are now spread out over three continents – in Palo Alto, CA, Johannesburg, and Tel Aviv.


Hillel and Chaya Lester

Hillel is a Rabbi, therapist and Jewish educator with over 20 years of experience in meditation as a practitioner. Prior to becoming a Rabbi and therapist, Hillel spent nearly two decades as an avid bass guitarist and consultant in the field of acoustical engineering.  Chaya is a Jerusalem-based Jewish educator, psychotherapist and writer, and holds an Ivy League BA in Religious and Jewish Studies, and an MA in Clinical Psychology. Synthesizing Torah, psychology and the arts, Chaya has sculpted an innovative approach to personal transformation and healing in a Jewish framework. Chaya has been widely published in magazines, books and online forums.  In 2012, the Lester’s founded the Shalev Center – for Jewish personal growth.  The Lester’s have four amazing children and reside in Jerusalem ’s Nachlaot community.

Modi and Noa Cohn

Modi (Mordechai) and Noa Cohn live in the Nachlaot area with their five children.  Modi, a native of Jerusalem, teaches Hebrew literature and runs a non-profit called Connections Israel- connecting communities and individuals with IDF soldiers.  Noa, originally from Netanya, studies and teaches art history, and works as the curator for Jewish art in the Jerusalem gallery, The Shelter for Art.  The Cohn’s spent two years in Toronto teaching in local schools and working with the local community.

Meital and Eldan Tesler

Eldan grew up between Cleveland, Ohio, and Modi’in, Israel. Meital grew up between Haifa and Modi’in, and there they met, during high school, for the first time. High-school sweethearts, they are now married for two years and live in Jerusalem. Eldan served in a combat unit in the IDF and then became a commander in a field intelligence unit. Meital, as well, served in intelligence, and now is a student of Communication and History studies in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eldan is going to join her, to study Geography and Middle Eastern studies. They love spending their free time hiking and enjoying the beauty of Israel, cooking together and enjoying a good time with family and friends.

Hillel and Chana Mesberg

Hillel, a financial services professional and entrepreneur, and Chana, an adoption attorney and “gym rat”  — both high energy New Yorkers – made aliyah in 2008 to the quiet of a small Moshav in the Golan Heights.    After several years, “up North” they could not escape the attraction of Jerusalem, and now make their home in Old Katamon.  Since arriving in Israel, Hillel has served as a consultant and advisor to a number of early stage ventures and has become active in Jerusalem’s growing tech community.  Chana enjoys caring for their two grandchildren as well as going to the gym.   In their spare time both enjoy taking advantage of Jerusalem’s many learning opportunities and setting off on “urban hikes” to take in the many sites and beauty of their home town, interrupted from time to time by the occasional trip back to New York to visit family.

David and Galit Lester

David was born in America and made aliya nearly 20 years ago. After studying in yeshiva and serving in the army, David worked as a Jewish educator, including teaching in Jewish communities in Australia and in a conversion program in the Israeli army. Today he works as a therapist in the Israeli school system and in private practice. Galit was born in Israel and grew up in Petach Tikvah. She is an occupational therapist and is currently studying movement therapy. David and Galit have two sons, Yehuda and Shoham.

Yoav and Ariella Amshalem

Ariella grew up between Massachusetts, the Galilee, and Jerusalem, and Yoav grew up in South Carolina. After meeting in Beer Sheva during college they married, spent several years in America, and recently made aliyah with their daughter, Auralee, now four. Ariella is a ballet teacher, professional chef, food tour guide and food writer. Yoav is a Jewish educator, tour guide, and carpenter, and returns to Beer Sheva weekly to complete his master’s degree in Jewish Thought at Ben Gurion University. Auralee is in a public kindergarten, where she thinks she is one of the teachers and then comes home to correct her father’s Hebrew.  The Amshalem’s recently added a new member to their family with the birth of their daughter Alma.

Aaron and Miriam Leibowitz

Aaron and Miriam Leibowitz have five children between the ages of five and seventeen, and have live in the Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem for a decade. R’ Aaron has been an innovative Jewish educator in Israel for over two decades. He served for four years in the IDF, three of them as an Educational Officer in the IDF. He has founded and runs three institutions of higher education: Sulam Yaakov, Threshold and Shirat Devorah. Miriam is an artist, an art teacher, and teaches workshops in effective parenting, in addition to her own role as an effective parent of five.

Ami and Net Glick


Ami was born in Petach Tikva, Israel and served in the Field Intelligence Unit in the IDF.  Nowadays, he works on his own Israeli internet startup company, while enjoying in his spare time playing music, reading, and guiding youth on adventure tours. Net was also born in Israel and is a guide in all of Israel, although her speciality is in Jerusalem.  In her spare time, she enjoys archeology and going to find new things in the digs happening near the Western Wall!