Day 1 :
Departure from North America
Relax and enjoy our scheduled flight from North America.
Day 2 :
Arrive in Tel Aviv
- Meet Our Guide:
Our 24-hour Tour Director will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure.
- Private Coach & Driver:
We will have use of a private coach and driver while touring for the next eight days.
- Settle In:
Our base for the next night will be in the Tel Aviv area. While here, we will enjoy breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
- Visit Tel Aviv:
Located on the Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel. Founded by the Jewish community on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa, Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprises the world's largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings.
- Enjoy a Local Dinner:
Tonight, we will enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant in Old Jaffa.
- Daily Reflection and Group Discussion:
On every evening of the program, we will set time aside to update our Reflection Journal and share thoughts and impressions that have come to the fore in the course of the day.
"We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience"
- John Dewey
Day 3 :
Old Jaffa - Caesarea - Tiberius
- Visit Jaffa:
Drive along the Mediterranean coast to Jaffa, one of the oldest cities in the world. See Jaffa's picturesque Harbor and visit the city's Old Section, which has been restored as a charming artists' colony and cultural center.
- The White City:
Walk along the winding cobblestone lanes past art studios and galleries to see the Clock Tower. Have your camera ready for a photo stop at Jaffa's observation point, overlooking the White City of Tel Aviv.
- Experience Local Culture and History:
Visit the largest Jewish museum in the world, the ANU Museum of the Jewish People. Follow the story of the Jewish people through the generations. Four different wings explore Jewish culture, history, ideological foundations, and worship.
- Travel to Tiberius:
We continue on our journey from Tel Aviv to Tiberius.
- A Biblical Journey:
On the way, we will drive along the Mediterranean shore line to the Herodian port city of Caesarea, where the Romans held Paul prisoner. Our visit to Caesarea will include Pontius Pilate Stella, the aqueduct, the theater, and the hippodrome (Acts 10:24).
- Enjoy Amenities:
Our hotel in Tiberias will be our base for the next three nights. While here, we will enjoy breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
- Historical Tiberias:
Tiberias is an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Its Old City holds important Jewish and Christian pilgrimage sites including the Tomb of Maimonides and Abulafia (Etz Chaim) Synagogue. The waterfront features the restaurant-lined Yigal Allon Promenade, a marina and a fish market. South of the city, Hamat Tiberias National Park is home to famed mineral hot springs dating to antiquity.
Day 4 :
Day Trip to Nazareth & Capernaum
- Plant a Tree:
As an introduction to Israel, we will plant a tree. Traditionally trees are planted in memory of a loved one or to commemorate a new life or marriage.
- Visit Nazareth:
We will take an excursion to Nazareth, the capital and the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. In the New Testament, the town is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events. In the old city, the domed Basilica of the Annunciation is, some believe, where the angel Gabriel told Mary she would bear a child. St. Joseph's Church is said to be the site of Joseph's carpentry workshop. The underground Synagogue Church is reputedly where Jesus studied and prayed. Nazareth Village, an open-air museum, reconstructs daily life in Jesus' era.
- Tour Nazareth Village:
Visit Nazareth Village, an interactive replica of the Town of Nazareth as it was during Christ's youth.
- Travel to St. Joseph's Workshop:
We will visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, built on the site where Christians believe the Archangel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah. From here, we will view St. Joseph's Workshop, the Grotto where Mary lived, and the blessed Cave where
the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (Luke 1).
- The Sermon on the Mount:
Ascend the Mount of Beatitudes, where the Sermon on the Mount was given.
- Enjoy Lunch:
Today, we will enjoy a special lunch on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
- The Loaves & Fishes:
Visit the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, built on the site where it is believed that Jesus fed a multitude of people with 2 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
- Take a Capernaum Tour:
Journey to Capernaum, the town where Jesus first assembled his disciples to view remains
of the ancient synagogue.
- Jesus Boat Museum:
Continue with a visit to view the 2,000 year old boat at Yigal Alon Center, aka the "Jesus Boat Museum," located on Kibbutz Ginosar.
Day 5 :
Day Trip to Magdala, Caesarea Philippi, & The Golan Heights
- Visit Magdala:
Visit Magdala, where an ancient Jewish town was unearthed in 2009. As construction workers dug, they discovered a First Century Synagogue where it is certain that Jesus taught. Inside the synagogue they also found The Magdala Stone, a discovery many
archaeologists call the most significant archaeological find in the past 50 years. Only 10% of the surrounding Jewish town has been uncovered. Holding importance across both the Christian and Jewish faiths, Magdala is actively working to promote interfaith understanding.
- Tour Safed:
Our next visit will be to the Mystical City of Safed (the birthplace of Kabbalah) one of the Four Holy Cities according to Kabalistic tradition. We will stroll through the narrow, winding alleys, and then visit some of the beautiful synagogues and browse through the artists' workshops and galleries found in the flourishing artists' quarter.
- Journey to Banias:
Today's journey takes us to Banias and the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus gave Simon the keys to the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:13-20). Banias is also home to the largest waterfall in Israel, and in the era before Christ, there was a grotto here dedicated
to Pan, the Greek god of shepherds, flocks, herds, and wildlife.
- A view from Mt. Bental:
Ascend the Golan heights to Mt. Bental, for a stunning panoramic view of the Golan Heights, overlooking the border between Israel and Syria. Learn about the Geopolitics of the region. Then continue north to Tel Hermonit, the area where a major armored brigade battle took place during 1973 war.
Day 6 :
Tiberias - The Sea of Galilee, Life in a Kibbutz, & Qumrun - Dead Sea
- Morning Boat Ride:
We will enjoy a morning boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
- Explore Yardenit:
Visit Yardenit, whose waters flow into the Jordan River then down into the Dead Sea, and where many believe that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13).
- Visit a Kibbutz:
Gain insight into daily life in a kibbutz. A kibbutz, or "gathering", is a type of collective community unique to Israel. Although early kibbutzes were agricultural communes, today the remaining 271 kibbutzes are economically diverse.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls:
Visit Qumran National Park, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by Bedouins in 1947. The scrolls contain 972 texts, including the oldest known copy of the Old Testament. Although the scrolls are now housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, at Qumran there many interesting artifacts. Of particular note are the large number of ritual purification pools.
- Enjoy Amenities:
Our base for the night will be in the Dead Sea area, where breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel.
Day 7 :
Masada, Ein Gedi, & Shabbat Dinner - Jerusalem
- Restful Morning:
We will have the opportunity to catch up on some sleep with a late morning start.
- Enjoy Sightseeing:
Today we will travel from Dead Sea to Jerusalem. We will make several stops along the way.
- Visit Masada:
Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified
Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.
Spend time swimming in the Dead Sea. This famous body of water is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east, and Palestine and Israel to the west. Its surface and shores are 1,407 ft below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea water has a density of
1,240 kg/m3, which makes swimming similar to floating. (Note: this may be rearranged due to scheduling)
- Visit an Oasis:
Visit Ein Gedi, the largest oasis in Israel. Enjoy the springs and waterfalls, and flowing brooks at the foot of the cliffs, home to ibexes and rock hyraxes.
- Enjoy Amenities:
For the next three nights, our base will be in Jerusalem.
- Tour Jerusalem:
Jerusalem, a Middle Eastern city west of the Dead Sea, has been a place of pilgrimage and worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims since the biblical era. Its Old City has significant religious sites around the Temple Mount compound, including the Western Wall (sacred to
Judaism), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (a Christian pilgrimage site) and the Dome of the Rock (a 7th-century Islamic shrine with a gold dome).
- Experience a Shabbat Dinner:
Tonight, enjoy a special Shabbat dinner. We will be welcomed into a Jewish home, where our hostess will explain traditional daily Jewish life and prepare an authentic meal for us.
Day 8 :
Jerusalem - Road to Calvary
- Climb Mount Olivet:
The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City. It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the Silwan necropolis, attributed to the ancient Judean kingdom. Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Acts of the Apostles it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the Mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of pilgrimage for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants.
- The Garden:
Gethsemane is an urban garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before his crucifixion; also known as the site where the agony in the garden took place.
- Tour The Jewish Quarter:
Take a walking tour through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. The 116,000 square meter area lies in the southeastern sector of the walled city, and stretches from the Zion Gate in the south, along the Armenian Quarter on the west, up to the Street of the Chain in the north and extends to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in the east.
- Visit The Western Wall:
Visit the Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world. It became the most sacred spot in Jewish religious and national consciousness and tradition by virtue of its proximity to the Western Wall of the Holy of Holies in the Temple, from which, according to numerous sources, the Divine Presence never departed. It became a center of mourning over the destruction of the Temple and Israel's exile, on the one hand, and of religious - 20th century also national - communion with the memory of Israel's former glory and the hope for its restoration, on the other. Because of the former association, it became known in European
languages as the "Wailing Wall." Visitors also place prayers on notes before slipping them into the cracks of the walls.
- Visit Calvary:
Spend a full day sightseeing in Old Jerusalem. We will enter Old Jerusalem by entering via St. Stephen's Gate to the Pools of Bethesda. The pools date back to the 2nd century BCE and it was where Jesus cured a sick man. Visit St. Anne's Church, a Crusader church that was originally built to commemorate the birth of Mary's mother. Next, we will walk along the Via Dolorosa and the Stations of the Cross to Calvary, the route taken by Jesus as he carried his cross to Calvary, and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Matthew 26). While on our tour of Jerusalem, we will also visit several extremely important religious sites.
- Experience a Holy Site:
Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the location of the last five Stations of the Cross and the holiest Christian site in Jerusalem. The church is built over the location of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The site was picked out by Emperor Constantine's mother Helena in the 4th century and much of the current structure dates to the era of the Crusades.
- Visit the Tomb:
The Garden Tomb is a rock-cut tomb in Jerusalem which was unearthed in 1867 and is considered by some Christians to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus. The tomb has been dated by prominent Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay to the 8th-7th centuries BC. While here, we will participate in communion.
Day 9 :
Old Jerusalem - The City of David - Bethlehem
- The Temple Mount:
View the Temple Mount, home to the Dome of the Rock, where the prophet Muhammed ascended to heaven. The complex itself is lined with trees and during times of non-prayer,
offers a quiet serenity as compared to the hustle and bustle of the city just outside its perimeter. The site is also the former location of the First and Second Temples sacred to Judaism.
- Tour The Israel Museum:
Visit the Israel Museum, which hosts the Shrine of the Book that houses part of the Dead Sea Scrolls and a Model of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple.
- Visit a Holocaust Museum:
Visit to Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, a museum dedicated to the documentation of the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
- King Herod's Burial Site:
Visit the Herodium, the burial site of King Herod. In addition to the remains of Herod's tomb,
there is a fascinating complex of ruins to explore.
- Visit Bethlehem:
Bethlehem is a Palestinian town south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. The biblical birthplace of Jesus, it's a major Christian pilgrimage destination. The birth is marked by an inlaid silver star in a grotto under the 6th-century Church of the Nativity, which shares Manger Square with the 15th-century Church of St. Catherine and the 1860 Mosque of Omar.
- The Birthplace of Jesus:
Enter the Basilica of the Nativity, a church first built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine to honor the birthplace of Jesus. We will descend to the Grotto of the Nativity, the cave where it is believed Jesus was born and placed in the manger.
- Experience Local Life:
Wrap up our tour with unforgettable memories at Genesis Land, located in the Judean desert. Here we will experience life as it was in Biblical times, complete with a camel ride. We will enjoy our farewell dinner here.
- Final Reflection and Discussion Session :
This evening we make the final entries in our Reflection Journal and share some of the most
significant observations and perspectives that have taken shape in the course of our travel experience and how these may be most relevant for us all as we return home.
Day 10 :
Departure from Tel Aviv
- Return Home:
Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as we return to the airport on our final day.