2015 Israel Tour
14 DAYS IN THE LANDS OF
ISRAEL FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
FEBRUARY 14 - 27, 2015
You get yourself to L.A. The trip starts from L.A.
$4,495 from Los Angeles
(if we have 15 or more passengers)
$4,750 from Los Angeles
(if we have 14 or fewer passengers}
DAY 1 - Saturday, February 14, 2015 – LOS ANGELES / ISTANBUL
We leave from LAX in California on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, Turkey. The flight includes three meals and on-board entertainment.
DAY 2 - Sunday, February 15, 2015 – ISTANBUL / TEL AVIV / NETANYA
We transfer for a flight from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, Israel. Dinner and overnight off the Mediterranean coast in a city called Netanya.
DAY 3 - Monday, February 16, 2015 - CAESAREA / MOUNT CARMEL / MEGIDDO / NAZARETH VILLAGE / TIBERIAS
This morning we proceed to Caesarea, built by Herod the Great. This is one of the most researched archaeological sites in the Holy Land. We will visit the Roman port, Crusader’s Moat, Hippodrome, Roman Theater, and aqueduct. From here we continue to Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged Baal’s priests. After lunch, we proceed to Megiddo to visit the excavations that unearthed 20 different civilizations. It is better known as Har Megiddo, or “Armageddon.” We then proceed to Nazareth Village in Jesus’ hometown where we will go back 2,000 years. We will have a chance to interact with folks living during the boyhood days of Jesus. Finally, we make our way to our hotel (a kibbutz) on the Sea of Galilee for dinner for the first of three nights. Before dinner, feel free to take a swim in the Sea of Galilee and be sure to visit the petting zoo! (2 nights)
DAY 4 - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 – BAPTISMS AT JORDAN RIVER / GINOSSAR / CHORAZIN / DAN / CAESAREA PHILIPPI / TIBERIAS
This morning is a special time to practice the ordinance of water baptism. We will go to the Jordan River where those participants who have never been baptized (or who do not remember their infant baptism) will have a chance to give their testimony and be immersed in the same way as Jesus. Next, we head north to Chorazin, through the Hula Valley to Hazor, where we will see ruins of the powerful Canaanite city destroyed by Joshua and rebuilt by King Jabin and then by Solomon as a chariot city to command upper Galilee. We continue to the northern limits to Dan, where we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of the ancient ruins, topped by the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). Next we’ll take a short drive to Banias (Caesarea Philippi), dedicated to Pan the Greek god of pastures, flocks and shepherds, where Peter made his great profession of faith. Driving along the base of Mount Hermon, we ascend onto the Golan Plateau for a magnificent view of upper Israel. Return to the hotel at the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - SEA OF GALILEE / CAPERNAUM / TABGHA / MOUNT OF BEATITUDES / ST. PETER’S FISH LUNCH / BET SHEAN / TIBERIAS
There’s nothing like an early morning boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where we will be able to look to the same shores seen by Jesus and His disciples. It will be a chance to meditate, worship, and even learn a Jewish dance. At the end of our journey, we will get a chance to view the New Testament boat found two decades ago during a drought. It dates from the time of Jesus. Next we continue to Capernaum where we can see Peter’s mother-in-law’s home as well as a synagogue that has been fully excavated. From here, we visit Christian churches located at Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes—a place where we can read from the Sermon on the Mount. An added bonus: We will stop by a Sea of Galilee restaurant to experience a St. Peter’s fish lunch—get ready to take a picture! After lunch, we then travel along the Rift Valley to Bet Shean, an amazing archaeological site associated with the death of King Saul. We will have the opportunity to see the ancient theater and take a hike up the tell (the ancient mound) comprising more than a dozen civilizations. We will spend the night at the Sea of Galilee for a third night and get ready for our drive down south in the morning.
DAY 6 – Thursday, February 19, 2015 – CAMEL RIDE / MASADA / DEAD SEA RESORT HOTEL
We start the day by taking an extended bus ride down to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the earth (1300 feet below sea level). Before we arrive, we will go to a Bedouin camp where we can ride camels in the desert. This is what it must have felt like 2,000 years ago! After sampling authentic Bedouin tea or coffee, we head over to Masada and ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from AD 70-73, Jewish defenders made their historic stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We will have a chance to explore as we can visit the storehouses, cisterns, and palace created by Herod the Great. We then head over to the Dead Sea where we have planned a special retreat at a resort hotel. This is a place where you can enter the waters of the Dead Sea for a swim and mud yourself. Or, if you’d like, utilize the basement spa area of the hotel—just sit back and let the bubbles relax you. Whatever your choice, it will be a treat.
DAY 7 - Friday, February 20, 2015 –EIN GEDI / QUMRAN / JERICHO / JERUSALEM (Joel Kramer speaks in the evening)
We start off the day at Ein Gedi and take in a little bit of Paradise in the desert as we observe the wildlife and a wonderful waterfall. In these caves David found Solomon and cut off part of his robe. Next, we’ll go up to Qumran at the north coast of the Dead Sea where we meet filmmaker/ archaeologist Joel Kramer at the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We can look around the village where the ancient Essenes lived. These ancient Jews copied hundreds of manuscripts (later known as the Dead Sea Scrolls), including the earliest manuscripts we have of the Old Testament. For those in shape and who are more adventurous, we will take a hike up the hill to Cave 1, the place where Bedouin shepherds first found the scrolls. (Warning: this trek is not for the timid! Bring good shoes and gloves to hold onto the sharp rocks.) We will hear a devotional from Joel in front of the cave, and you will have a chance to go inside the cave where the scrolls were first discovered. Next we head over to Jericho, the city of Palms, where Joel will give us an on-site “rest of the story” to the complimentary DVD that you received for signing up on this trip. And if we have time, we can also drop by the palace built by Herod the Great at Jericho. Finally, we make our way to the Golden City of Jerusalem for a panoramic view. Our hotel, the Ambassador, will be our home for the next seven nights—we end the trip by not having to unpack ever again! Spread out and enjoy! After dinner, Joel Kramer will speak to the group about archaeology.
DAY 8 – Saturday, February 21, 2015 – HERODIUM / BETHLEHEM / SHRINE OF THE BOOK/ ISRAEL MUSEUM / HOTEL
We head south a few miles from our hotel, passing by Rachel's Tomb and traveling to a hilltop for a good view of Bethlehem. We then visit Solomon's Pools, Jerusalem's main source of water for almost 2,000 years. Passing the monastery of Hortus Conclusus ("the sealed garden") in Artas, we head over to Herodium, the palace set in a conical mountain that was built by Herod and where his tomb was uncovered in 2007. Next, it’s off to Bethlehem to visit one of the possible sites for the Shepherds' Fields—let’s sing “Silent Night” inside one of the cave!—and then see the Church of the Nativity, the place where Jesus was born, as well as visit the quarters where Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate in the fourth century. We’ll take time out for lunch as well as shop at an olive wood store. In the afternoon, we travel back to Jerusalem to see the Shrine of the Book, home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as study an outdoor model of the ancient city of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple period. This campus is also the location of the Israel Museum, the top biblical museum in the world, where we can see the Caiaphas ossuary, the Tel Dan inscription, and so much more. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 9 – Sunday, February 22, 2015 – Joel Kramer’s WEST BANK DAY / Mt. GERIZIM / JACOB’S WELL / SHECKEM / JOSEPH’S TOMB / SAMARIA / BETHEL / AI / JERUSALEM
Today we will have a chance to see sites that many tourists will never see, as Joel Kramer will lead us for the second day. First, we begin at Mt. Gerizim, a place the Samaritan Jews still worship today and sacrifice animals for atonement. This was the place of the northern temple. Next we visit Jacob's Well where Jesus had a conversation with the Samaritan woman. We then head over to Sheckem where a gate from the time of Abraham and a temple mentioned in Judges are located. From here, we visit Joseph's Tomb before heading to Samaria to see the Israelite ruins of the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. We then head over to Bethel and we’ll have a chance to see a place where Abraham pitched his tent; we’ll end the day at Ai, the city conquered by the Israelites as discussed in Judges. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 10 – Monday, February 23, 2015 - RABBI TUNNEL / WESTERN WALL / SOUTHERN STEPS / WOHL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM / NEW JERUSALEM / HOTEL
This morning we will experience the Western “Wailing” Wall, the holiest place in all of Judaism, before touring the Rabbi Tunnel, which takes us down to the very foundation of the walls. From here, we will visit the Southern (Teaching) Steps—Jesus was certainly here, right outside the temple itself. After a devotional, we enter the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to visit the Wohl Archaeological Museum. Remains of this area of Jerusalem date back to the time of the Herodian Dynasty (37 BC to AD 70). After lunch in the Old City, we will stop by Mount Zion, the Upper Room, the tomb of King David, and Dormition Abbey. After dinner back at the hotel, we can shop in old Jerusalem. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 11 – Tuesday, February 24, 2015 – Joel Kramer Day 3 / HEBRON / LACHISH / CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPEULCHER / HOTEL
We begin in Hebron, which is known as the City of the Patriarchs. From here we continue to Lachish and “Tel Lachish,” which is site of an Old Testament city and is now an archaeological site as well as an Israeli national park. After lunch, we head back to Jerusalem, where Joel will take us to see some archaeological digs that he’s been involved in as well as have him take us to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional place of Christ’s crucifixion and burial. Although there is plenty of tradition here that goes beyond biblical truth, Joel will help us cut through the incense so we can understand the historical significance of this place. We end at the Ambassador for dinner and overnight.
DAY 12 – Wednesday, February 25, 2015 –St. ANNE’S / TEMPLE MOUNT / GALLICANTU / GETHSEMANE / GARDEN TOMB / HOTEL
We begin the day by visiting the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne's Church, which is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. Let’s sing “Amazing Grace”! Then we will ascend the hill to the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock/al-Aqsa Mosque. The groups will meet at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the place where Jesus was traditionally crucified, buried, and then resurrected. After lunch, we head over to Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. Here, some suggest, was where the high priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus. Next is the Church of All Nations in Gethsemane. There are olive trees in the garden 2,000+ years old! Finally, the climax of our trip: the Garden Tomb! A private communion service will be given at a possible site of the tomb. “He is not here. He is risen indeed.”
Day 13 – Thursday, February 26, 2015 - YAD VASHEM / HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL / SCHINDLER’S GRAVE / (Optional) RAMPARTS / Free time (final shopping opportunity in Jerusalem) / HOTEL
We begin at Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum) to see what evil man is capable of doing without God. We then head over to Hezekiah’s Tunnel to wade in the knee-high water. This tunnel is specifically mentioned in the Bible and is 1500+ feet in length. You will feel the walls that were chiseled 2700 years ago, all the while sloshing through this water tunnel! The water won’t go much higher than your knees, so don’t worry. Just don’t forget the flashlight! After this, you have an option: Go with Eric and Bill on the ramparts (the walls), which involves a lot of climbing stairs but gives you a good overview of the entire Old City of Jerusalem. (This is not covered in our fees. Cost is less than $5.) Or you can finalize your shopping experience in the Old City. We’ll return back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for an early wake-up call on Friday so we can return to the U.S.
DAY 14 – Friday, February 27, 2015-JERUSALEM / TEL AVIV / USA
We transfer to the airport for an early-morning flight home. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading and will enable us to better “own our own faith.” Truly this has been an unforgettable experience!
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