Our Expectations of Team Members

Civility and basic courtesy go a long way when over 100 people are living and working together. Be nice to each other! Keep your sense of humor! We are all working towards the same goal–a fun and productive dig season.All members of the Kiriath-jearim Expedition will exhibit sensitivity to the cultural, political and religious differences in Israel and the region. The monastery is home to many people, and all team members will respect their property and privacy.Any behavior that threatens the well-being of any Team Member and/or threatens the successful execution of the excavation and/or that is in violation of Israeli law is forbidden. Such behavior (assault, vandalism, theft, etc.) will result in immediate expulsion without refund of any fees.All Team Members are expected to take care of their physical well-being to the best of their ability—this means staying well hydrated, not drinking alcohol such that it impairs the ability to work, not engaging in illegal drug use of any sort, and alerting us to any serious medical issues in advance of the expedition.Team members who violate these conditions can be dismissed unilaterally at the Directors’ discretion. No refunds will be made in such instances.

Now, what can you expect your Kiriath-jearim experience to be like? First, what will the work day be like?

The work starts early! All Team Members get themselves up in time to begin work. We arrive at the site ready to work at 5:00AM. Everyone will report to their designated areas and will work under the direction of their Area Supervisor.

 Supervisors will assign excavation tasks depending on the goals of the area and the needs of the day. Team Members almost always remain in their assigned area for the duration of their stay. This allows everyone to become accustomed to the work and to witness progress over time.  Scheduled tours of all the areas of excavation will allow you to learn about the other work going on at the site.

 Activity on the tel can be taxing, but is balanced between heavy excavation and lighter work with small tools. Assignments range from loosening soil with pickaxes or hauling buckets or wheelbarrows of dirt, to trimming the sides of baulks with trowels, sifting for small objects or sweeping the ground to prepare for photography.

 You will clean a lot of dirt! We work under large shades and you will be reminded to drink lots of water. Bathroom facilities are available!  Daytime temperatures range from 82-95° F. (28-35 C.). The work areas are shaded, and some spots enjoy wonderful breezes. Still, it’s hot. Bring a hat and sun block, and a container for water which you can refill on site. Sturdy boots to protect feet and ankles are best. Some folks make due with sneakers that are in good shape. Sandals or any sort of open shoe are NOT permitted in the excavation areas.

 In our “dig camp,” back at the monastery, Team Members will process the material they have excavated during Afternoon Work. This will consist primarily of washing pottery and bones, but may also include assisting with other registration tasks as necessary. Afternoon work is done outside in shaded areas of the monastery and all team members will participate.

 Digs can be fantastic experiences if you come prepared for the outdoor conditions.  Please think seriously about your ability to do manual labor under a hot sun.There is Quiet Time in and around our dorm buildings after 9:30PM. That means no loud noise, music or conversations, in person or on the phone, in the outdoor areas around our rooms. There are plenty of public areas at the monastery that anyone wishing to hold lively conversations, hang out, play music, etc. after 9:30PM may go to. Everyone gets up very early—please respect those who wish to go to sleep early too.

Food and Drink

Three meals per working day are provided. The dining hall is not kosher, but no pork is served. Some seafood may be served. It is possible to have vegetarian meals—please let us know if you are vegetarian or have other dietary concerns. Israel’s tap water is safe and potable, but many people purchase bottled water which is readily available everywhere. Team Members are responsible for providing their own early morning snack before heading to the tel. Coffee, tea, bread, biscuits etc. can be purchased at Abu Gosh stores.

Breakfast is provided every work day—Monday to Friday. It is a dairy buffet bar (sandwiches, vegetables, yogurt, cereal, fruit) and is served at picnic tables in a shady grove on the tel.

Lunch is also provided every work day—Monday to Friday. It is a meat meal and is the main daily meal. A typical lunch meal is chicken, hot vegetables like green beans, corn, or carrots, potatoes or rice, bread, and cold salads (cabbage, cucumber & tomato, humus, etc.).

Dinner is provided five days a week—Sunday night to Thursday night. It is a lighter meal than lunch, for example pizza, pasta, or falafel.

Health and Wellness

Should you become ill during the season, you must tell us! Team Members should notify their Area Supervisor and/or the Team Member Coordinator if they are too sick to work at the site. Your health and safety is our primary concern. Don’t hide out in your room without letting a staff member know how you are!

Team Members must provide the Expedition with proof of medical insurance valid for travel to Israel.

All medical costs incurred are the responsibility of the Team Member. You should bring all prescription drugs that you anticipate will be necessary. The pharmacies in Israel are well-stocked and you may purchase any over-the-counter medications you might need.  But, because of our schedule, it will usually be inconvenient for you to get to a pharmacy. The two most common ailments in the course of a season are cough and diarrhea (until your system adjusts to the food and water), so we suggest that you bring cough and cold medicine and diarrhea medicine with you. Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) or acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) can also come in handy.

There is a clinic in Jerusalem for non-emergent medical problems (e.g. you get strep throat and need antibiotics). Tourists typically pay a flat fee of about $100 dollars to see the on-call doctor there and you will need to submit your payment information to your insurer for reimbursement. Except in cases of genuine medical emergency, the Expedition cannot provide transportation to doctors, hospitals or pharmacies, or to banks or other facilities in town.


Weekends begin Friday afternoon and end Sunday evening. Our rates cover your room for the whole length of your stay, including the weekend. You can choose to travel and stay overnight elsewhere, stay and relax at the monastery, or to take day trips and return to the monastery at night.

However, the Expedition does not provide meals on the weekend— You are on your own for Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Many Team Members will use their free weekends to travel around the country. If you choose to stay on the monastery, you can prepare meals in your kitchenette or make a barbecue. The nearby stores stock a wide selection of foodstuffs, e.g. cereals, dairy products, cold cuts, salads, plus meat and barbecue supplies. There is pizza delivery from Abu Gosh, Jerusalem and other nearby options.

Weekends are also a convenient time to do some shopping. Most banks and shops are open on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning but close for the Sabbath from Friday afternoon until sunset Saturday evening. There is no public transportation from late Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. Team members often share rental cars or group taxis. They have even rented a bus! Explore Dan and Banias, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee one weekend, and the coast from Caesarea to Ashkelon the next. Tel Aviv is an hour away and in about two hours you can be in Jerusalem. We will be happy to discuss more details about what to do on the weekends during the season. Returning Team Members always have favorite places to recommend.

I can’t wait! What can I do to prepare?

Getting your travel plans made:

We have team members from all over the world, so we do not organize a group flight.  We suggest online booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity. Start looking early–there are often good deals to be had with a little legwork. We will ask you to provide us with detailed travel information once you have it, and we will try to put people in touch with other participants who happen to be on the same flight.

Once you arrive in Israel, the dig will provide transportation from the airport to the monastery at the start of the season. Details about this bus will be provided closer to the season. There will also be organized transportation back to the airport at the end of the season.

Keep in touch:

You will receive email updates in the months and weeks ahead of the season, and especially important informational emails in the days before your arrival. Be sure the Team Member Coordinator has a good email address for you (e.g. if you graduate in the winter and lose your school account, etc.) Also, ‘like’ the Kiriath-jearim Expedition page and request to join the Kiriath-jearim 2017 group on Facebook .Here you can get additional questions answered, get in touch with other participants and make plans for independent travel before or after the dig, if you choose. All critical instructions will be sent to you by email, but much of that information will also be repeated in the Kiriath-jearim FB group.


Many travel guides mention the following wisdom: Take half the clothes and twice the money. This is good advice! You will almost certainly not need as much stuff as you might think. For tried-and-true advice on packing for Kiriath-jearim, check out the tips and tricks of our veteran, Jen Thum.

Israeli electrical current is 220/240V. Any electrical appliances brought from North America will require the appropriate converters (for the voltage), and/or an adapter plug (to fit in the outlet).

Responsibility for the security of all personal belongings, including passports, cash, credit cards, clothing and other objects, rests with the individual Team Member. As always, when travelling anywhere, you should use common sense and take care of all your belongings. Team Members need enough travelers’ checks, cash and credit cards to handle additional expenses (travel, gifts, entertainment expenses, meals at restaurants, and so on). The Expedition will NOT cash checks or advance money on credit. In Israel, credit and debit cards can be used almost everywhere, but you should always check with your bank or credit card company about fees—some of which can be substantial when using your card abroad. You can exchange money at the airport upon arrival so that you will have some shekels on hand. It is inconvenient during the week to exchange money because of our work schedule. On weekends, you will, if you choose, be able to travel to areas with banks, post offices, etc.

We will miss you when it’s over!

Rooms must be vacated on the final day of the Team Member’s stay. We regret that Team Members are not permitted to remain in the monastery after the close of the Expedition. The accommodations are booked, and must be readied for the next occupants.If you have paid your fees but unexpectedly have to change your plans, refunds for dig participation and/or course withdrawal can be granted prior to April 15, 2017. Refunds for course withdrawal or cancellation of dig participation after April 15, 2017 cannot be guaranteed and are at the discretion of the excavation directors.