incredible journey through Israel... so much more than a tour... thank you for your passion, education, and friendliness

Dear Jacob,

Thank you for the incredible journey through Israel.

Please feel free to post this on your web-site.
I believe it is important that people understand the kind of experience they are in store for when they tour with you.
Along with my wife, and my brother and his wife, we had a fabulous and inspiring time.

The term “guide” can lead one to believe that you simply take people from site to site, explaining a few things along the way.

What an understatement that would be!

Here is a better description of Jacob Firsel:
Finder of the best hotels
Finder of the best falafel
Advocate of sites you should see
Avoider of sites you don’t need to see
Commentator on current events & Israeli culture (only when asked!)
Kibitzer and Kibbutznik
Safe driver
A friend in Israel
and just enough knowledge of botany, ornithology, and geology thrown in on the side

There were many times where I was in a special place, but did not know it.
You would then describe the historical context, making us feel we were right there during that ancient time.
Or, you’d pull out a bible or the Talmud, and read us the passage that refers to the very place we were standing.

You showed us The Galilee Jerusalem, Eilat, and everything in-between, in a well paced two week adventure.
My family will be talking about this trip all our lives,

Thank You,

Mitchell and Thuy Dancik


Thank you for a wonderful four days. We truly enjoyed your wit, wisdom and knowledge of this magnificent place called Israel — Arad, Beer Sheba, Masada, Ein Gedi, Quomran, Bet Shean, Sippora, the Galilee Boat, Capernaum, Chorizem, Banias/Ceasaria Philipi and Dan. In each location you provided incredible insight and you were a well spring of knowledge. In addition, you must know the best places for lunch in all of Israel. And you seem to be have friends in every location including students you taught, guides you worked with, clerks, cashiers, vendors, ticket takers who know you and respond with a big smile to your presence. I want to thank you for taking me places and showing me things that I did not have the opportunity to see on four other trips to Israel. Jacob, you are the best. I highly recommend you to anyone who wants to see Israel with a knowledgeable, friendly, wise guide to lead them. My very best to you and your family. We are preparing to return to Philadelphia. (We have thoroughly enjoyed the penthouse suite upgrade at the hotel… do you do this for all your clients?)

H. Joe and Lesley

Dear Jake,

Our photos are in our album and Passover Seder is a memory. My clients are all caught up, so I’m taking a moment to write to you.

I must tell you that the Pennock/Federbusch Traveling Show, established in 1992, has voted the Israel experience (we won’t call it a vacation) the all time best trip ever.

You should be proud of yourself. You provided an experience that surpassed our expectations. The itinerary was terrific and exactly the type of trip we requested. We were all impressed not only with your grasp of political, social, and architectural history, but we loved the way we imparted it. And after a while you fit right into our raucous group.

Paul and I would be delighted to speak with anyone, or e-mail our recommendation to anyone interested in contacting us about your services.

Best of luck in the future. Call us if you are ever near Philadelphia-we know a little local history ourselves.

Sincerely yours, Fredda Pennock


We just came home after an exhausting 25 hour journey back to America. I just wanted to take a moment to genuinely thank you for your passion, education, and friendliness to our family and our tour. I cant even describe how much we as a family connected with the country on many many levels. As you know, our son Jonathan made Aliyah in August and is now serving a 2 year commitment in the IDF. We just got so much out of your journey to Israel and your experiences from being an American to making Aliyah to present. Anyway, I would highly recommend anyone to hire you to tour Israel. Your passion, knowledge, commitment and obvious joy in what you do are very very obvious and contagious to everyone around you. Please feel free to use us as a reference and give out our phone number as well. Again, many many thanks and we will definitely see you again soon.

Sincerely, Laurie and Larry Chariton

I hope this finds you well and busy! I was thinking about Israel and you a few moments ago and decided that I really must get off the e-mail that I have been intending to send for two months. It was a wonderful experience for me to be in Israel and participate in the pilgrimage. I hope that not too many years will pass before I have the opportunity again. My two short days with you were very enjoyable. I remain impressed that you were able to guide me to so much in such a short time.

Take care and good luck.
James Cansler

When touring with Jake, be prepared to learn. The stories and historical details just flow as you travel with him. Our schedule only allowed us the opportunity to spend two days with Jake. We decided to simply ask him to show us the places that he thought we should see. That was all we had to do. The next two days were a whirlwind of education, adventure and fun all around Northern Israel. He managed to thoroughly entertain my wife and I along with two teenagers. No small feat! Jake planned out a route that captured several of the “major” attractions including Bet Alpha, Bet She’an, Nazareth, Metula and all the scenery in between. As an added treat he arranged a mountain bike ride down the Manara Cliffs and a waterfront meal in Tiberias. At each site not only did Jake offer a complete guided tour but added additional historical detail that comes only from someone who clearly loves to learn and share information. When we were finished we’d all had an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. It was so much more than a tour!

– The Needell’s


I went on a personal tour with you just over 2 years ago now. I’ve been meaning to drop you a note to thank you again for the wonderful experience I had, thanks to you. It was June, 2001, I drove my rental car and we did 3 days of touring your wonderful country. For me it was the start of a wonderful awakening towards God. I also attended some significant weekend Christian retreats a couple months after my visit to Israel. I’m so thankful God was persistent at touching and awakening my heart. If there is any need of referrals to help you, please have them contact me.

I’ve also been thinking of you as the 9/11 and subsequent events unfolded to put us closer to your situation somewhat – I know it is still far different. I pray this finds you and your family safe.

Thanks again,
Chris Wykoff
Lafayette, IN USA

Good Day.
I want to tell you how satisfied my family is with the guiding of Jake Firsel in Israel. On three separate occasions my family hired Mr. Firsel to guide us on our visits to Israel. Please note that we hired and planned these trips thru “e” mail to Mr. Firsel. The reasons we highly recommend Mr. Firsel is the very professional way he conducted himself thru-out the planning and execution of our trips. He took our ideas of where we wanted to travel and what we wanted to see on our journey and added in-depth research to give us additional options we had not even thought of. This allowed us to enrich our experience beyond the usual. His willingness to put in that extra effort has made Mr Firsel our only choice to guide us in Israel.

Please feel free to contact me for further information on our trips with Mr. Firsel at KCLGEM(AT)

Kenneth Lewin