Ariel Gabay is a licensed Israeli tour guide and driver with 20 years of experience. Ariel and his wife, Talia Leibler-Gabay, co-own “Down to Earth Tours,” and while Ariel is out guiding, Talia is monitoring your tour from start to finish. Talia and Ariel specialize in tailor-made trips to Israel that are designed to meet the particular requirements of their clients – be they individuals, families, or groups – who want to experience a memorable visit.
Ariel was born and raised on Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev, not far from Beersheva. After high school he volunteered as a group leader for his youth movement for a full year in Jerusalem. He then joined the IDF and served as a paratrooper and commander in a combat unit for three years. Upon completing his army service he backpacked around the world for several years. When he returned to Israel he joined the prestigious Land of Israel Study Program at Beit Berl College, where he completed a B.A. and received his license as a tour guide.
He began his career with the Reform Movement as a guide for NFTY. After they were married Talia and Ariel were sent on shlichut (mission) to the United States for four years, where they taught Hebrew and directed and led teen trips to Israel for the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay in Oakland, California. Upon returning home, Ariel began guiding for Camp Ramah Israel based in Jerusalem.
Now working with a wide range of clients from all over the world, Ariel is fully conversant with the geography of the whole of Israel and has expert knowledge of both Jewish and Christian holy sites. His educational approach in touring the country clearly reflects his love for the Land of Israel and his complete familiarity with biblical sources and the dynamic history of the Jewish people.
TALIA LEIBLER GABAY
Talia Leibler-Gabay was born and raised in Jerusalem. She holds a BA in Informal Education and Israel Studies and an MA in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Talia is the director and co-owner, with her husband, Ariel, of “Down To Earth Tours.” She and Ariel, who is the guide, plan the itineraries and Talia monitors the tours from start to finish.
Early in her career Talia worked for the National Federation of Temple Youth (Reform Movement) for seven summers and for "Birthright Israel," responsible for groups of American teenagers on six-week tours to Israel and Europe. In 2000 she supervised three groups as camp director, coordinating visits to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic as well as to Israel. During the four years she and Ariel spent in the United States Talia got to know the American-Jewish community and was able to develop links between the region’s American Jews and Israeli expatriate community. She worked out of the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay’s Israel Center, and was the director for all of that organization’s trips to Israel. She also worked the Bay Area and Kiryat Malachi sister-communities program, creating and planning a broad range of social gatherings and events related to Judaism and to Israel.
After Talia and Ariel returned home, Talia spent several years with Camp Ramah developing educational trips for American confirmation and synagogue groups, as well as for young people and adults who wanted to come to Israel to strengthen their Jewish identity and create a connection with the country and its people.
Talia now works with a wide range of clients interested in Israel trips of all kinds: Bar/Bat Mitzvah groups, congregational, pilgrimage, theme-based tours, and family excursions. Together with Ariel she creates individual itineraries and sees to all of the logistics and components of every tour.