Independent arrival at DC or NYC airport for departure.
Arrive in Tel Aviv and meet Iyad Khweis, our guide for the week.
Iyad Khewis is an Israelis certified guide. He was an exchange student in Western NC during high school and college. He is legally a Jerusalemite and seeks to be “non-partisan” in his leadership of trips.
Caesarea – Mt. Carmel – Nazareth
Journey to the ancient port city of Jaffa for a leisurely stroll through the winding alleys of the historic area. Visit the Roman Aqueduct and Theatre at Caesarea, a center for the early Christians where Cornelius became the first Gentile convert to the new covenant (Acts 10) by St. Peter; and Paul was imprisoned before he was taken to Rome for trial (Acts 23).
We will continue to Mt. Carmel to visit the place where Elijah fought the false prophets. Our journey will continue to Nazareth, Jesus’ boyhood home (Matthew 2:23), and we will visit the Church of the Annunciation before we head to our hotel in Tiberius.
Sea of Galilee – Capernaum – Tiberius
Cross the Sea of Galilee aboard a replica boat in waters where Jesus would have sailed. Travel to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). We will visit Tabgha, which is the traditional location for the calling of the disciples and the feeding of the 5000. Visit the Church of Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. (Luke 9:10-17). We will visit Capernaum, where Jesus began preaching. Visit the synagogue that stands on the site where Jesus taught and reflect on his teaching and preaching of the gospels (Matthew 4:13, 23).
Tiberius – Bethlehem – Jerusalem
After we check out from our hotel in Tiberius, we will travel to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus (Luke 2). The group will attend worship at Christmas Lutheran church with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb. Lunch will follow worship with Mitri as our host. Born and living in Bethlehem, Palestine, the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb is a powerful advocate for peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is the President of Daral-Kalima University College in Bethlehem (www.daralkalima.edu.ps) and President of Bright Stars of Bethlehem, NFP, the U.S. organization that supports the vision of creating programs based on arts, culture and identity. He serves as the Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem as well as the President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. The most widely published Palestinian theologian to date, Dr. Raheb is the author of several books translated into more than ten languages. His most recent book, “Faith in the Face of Empire” was launched in the U.S. in early 2014. On a regional Middle Eastern level Dr. Raheb, as the President of Diyar Consortium (www.diyar.ps), has led several civil society research initiatives on Religion and State and the contribution of Palestinian Christians to society. The work of Dr. Raheb has received wide media attention from major international media outlets and networks including CBS, HBO, CNN, ABC, BBC, ARD, ZDF, DW, BR, ORF, Premiere, Raiuno, Stern, The Economist, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Newsweek. An internationally acclaimed multi-lingual author, Dr. Raheb is a widely sought keynote speaker around the world. His writings and work have received several international awards, including the German Media Award that is usually given to heads of state (including President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela); the Aachen Peace Prize; the International Mohammad Nafi Tschelebi Peace Award; the Wittenberg Award; and more. He is married to Najwa and has two adult daughters.
Following lunch, we will enter the Church of the Nativity, the oldest continuously functioning church in the world. View the cave where Jesus was born. Stop at Shepherds’ Field where the angels appeared on that first Christmas night, spreading good tidings of great joy for all the people. Later, arrive in one of the holiest cities in the world, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem – Mount Zion – Jerusalem
Our time in Jerusalem begins with a visit to the Mount of Olives where we will encounter a panoramic view for our introduction to the Old City. Walk the Palm Sunday Trail to the Church of the Paternoster, built on the traditional site where Christ taught the Lord’s Prayer. We will continue to the Church of All Nations, built over the rock on which Jesus prayed the night before He was crucified, and ending with time alone in the Garden of Gethsemane where we will gather for communion.
That afternoon we will travel to Hebron with a visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Shuhada Street. On the way back to Jerusalem we will stop at the Christian farm “Tent of Nations” to learn of their work and explore further mission connections.
The Way of the Cross – Western Wall – Garden Tomb
Our day begins at the first station of the Way of the Cross, where Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion; passing by the Ecce Homo Arch, the site where Pontius Pilate presented Jesus to the crowds, continue walking to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where tradition says is the place where Jesus was crucified. Next, visit the Western Wall of the Temple before stopping at the Garden Tomb, the possible site of the garden of Joseph of Arimathea and site of the resurrection of Jesus. In the afternoon, we will join a Sheik from Al Aqsa Mosque to learn more about Islam and the Muslim narrative in the Holy Lands.
Shiloh Valley – Nablus – Jacob’s Well
The group will travel to Shiloh Valley to visit ancient Shiloh where the Ark of the Covenant rested for years. We will meet with the people of the Israeli Settlement of Shiloh and then travel to Nablus (ancient Shechem) where we will meet with Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, an NGO that works with children of Balata Refugee Camp. While there, we will dine with the children and staff and hear more about the children, their families’ existence in the refugee camps and how it impacts their lives. Following our time at the school we will visit Jacob’s Well. Jacob’s Well is a deep well hewn of solid rock that has been associated in religious tradition with Jacob for roughly two millennia. It is situated a short distance from the archaeological site of Tell Balata, which is thought to be the site of biblical Shechem. The well currently lies within the complex of an Eastern Orthodox monastery of the same name, in the city of Nablus in the West Bank.
Military Court – Masada – Dead Sea
Thursday morning we have a briefing from Salwa Duiabis & Gerard Horton, founders of Military Court Watch, a British-based NGO. The afternoon will be spent traveling to Jericho, Masada, Qumran, and the Dead Sea
Terestrial Jerusalem and Yad Vashem
The morning will be spent with Danny Seidemann, founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem (see more below), learning the intricacies and present realities of modern day Jerusalem. The afternoon will be spent at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial, before heading to airport for the flight home.