“Innertain us!” – A wake up call to Israeli tourism…

Israeli tourism needs a spiritual awakening. All too often a trip to Israel is an onslaught of historical facts and sites on a map. But people want more…

For the past decade there has been a revolution happening in the global tourism industry. It’s exploding with hybrids like ‘eco-tourism’, ‘responsible tourism’, even ‘voluntourism’. But the biggest hybrid-bomb of them all is ‘spiritual tourism’. With up to 330 million pilgrims visiting the world’s key religious sites every year, spiritual tourism is by far the fastest growing sector in the world travel business.

Deep down, people are famished for meaning, for deepening, for transformation. They aren’t content anymore with history lessons and mosaic tiles. They want to have mystical journeys that change their lives!

Of course, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism knows that the wave of the future is spiritual tourism. And yet, they seem to be stuck. After all, how do you manufacture a mystical experience for a tour group? How do you train tour-guides to be not just well-informed and charismatic historians, but to be mystics that know how to usher people’s souls?

In this expanding industry, Israel doesn’t need more tour guides, it needs more spiritual guides. It needs individuals who themselves have experienced her sacred sites as true landmarks in their own spiritual journeys… and who can guide others in how to do the same.
Israeli tours need to be encounters with the holiness of this Land…but that is not enough. The tours need to guide the tourist to encounter the holiness within themselves.

And this is where the idea of Innertainment comes in handy. Innertainment is about taking a piece of engaging and fun ‘entertainment’ and using it as an avenue for ushering people deep into themselves. In contrast to typical entertainment where we get LOST in an alternative reality, innertainment takes us inside to FIND our own deepest reality.

I have created a one-woman show with the goal of doing just that. It’s called “Babel’s Daughter” and it is an interactive one-woman show replete with spoken word poetry, story-telling, comic characters and audience-engagement. It traces my own personal path from the Bible Belt to the Holy Land… And yet, it is so much more than simply my tale. My story is just the excuse, the jumping-off point, for audience members to engage with their own story.

How so? Participants are given a PASSPORT to their own inner Israel. Literally. At the outset of the show, each participant receives an empty passport booklet and a pen. At different ‘stops’ throughout the performance, I pose a question to the crowd. I call these “mirror moments” and they basically hold up a reflecting glass to the audience, offering them the opportunity to reflect upon their own experiences, to hear their own story in the echo-chamber of mine.

This approach is based on a fundamental principle found in psychology. When someone takes the time to journal, talk through and process about their experiences, those experiences are better integrated into their being. Processing and integration are the golden keys to mental health.

The show offers a potent context for the visitors to journal and self-reflect, thus getting to process and integrate their journey.
The lasting impact of this type of integration is that once the individual returns to their real life back home, Israel is not just some place ‘out there’ they once visited. It is a place ‘in here’ that they have continued access to. Their trip to Israel is not just a fleeting memory. It is a re-membered part of their own identity, deeply woven into their life narrative.

Babel’s Daughter ushers visitors to move beyond old school tourism into a realm of spiritual journeying where visitors are guided deep into an encounter with Israel… and with themselves.

Israeli tourism would do well to integrate the inner terrain of the tourist as an essential stop along the tour. This show accomplishes exactly that.

*Come check out this innovative approach to entertainment. Upcoming “Babel’s Daughter” show is WEDNESDAY MARCH 12TH – Doors open at 7.30pm. Show will be followed by an Open Mic for others to share their stories. Located in Nachlaot, by the shuk. Or bring the show to your community!

Check out the website

Or the FB event page.

About the Author
Psychotherapist, performance artist & Co-Director of Jerusalem's Shalev Center. Maybe you've seen her one-woman show "Babel's Daughter"?... Maybe you will soon. Chaya lives in Nachlaot with her husband R'Hillel & their three energetic children. Her motto is, "Every mess is Messianic."
Related Topics
Related Posts