Contained in this communication is information basic to your program to Israel. Please review this material carefully.
This program to Israel centers upon the land and lives of Old Testament and New Testament personalities. A blending of Old Testament and New Testament themes serves as guidelines. Emphasis is placed upon the roles of Prophets, Priests, Kings and the ministry of Jesus within the landscape, culture and context of Old Testament and New Testament narratives. Numerous discussions will take place during travel times while on the bus and at various sites. The program is to focus on five instructional themes. (1) To introduce you to the landscape of Ancient Israel and the geographical features that influenced much of its biblical history. (2) To visit key geographical regions and sites associated with Old and New Testament history and familiar biblical personalities. (3) To visit key regions and sites associated with Jesus’ ministry and the Apostles’ ministry within Israel. (4) To expose you to relevant geographical, historical, cultural, religious, literary, and rabbinic elements in an effort to synthesize and appreciate the context of biblical messages and discourses from both the Old Testament and New Testament. (5) To enhance your understanding of biblical events in order to assist you in your personal study growth and your personal faith growth.
A notebook has been prepared for you as a study and learning aid. The notebook contains maps, charts, diagrams, and notes that will assist you in your appreciation of the various biblical events we will discuss. The notebook will be distributed about two weeks prior to your scheduled departure date.
Physical Demands: We have done our very best to maximize this trip into a most unique and rewarding program for you. Its uniqueness, and the land itself, do require some physical exertion at times. Light-weight hiking shoes or good tennis shoes with deep treads are best. The land is not smooth under foot and many trails are covered in gravel. If you are not walking uphill, you will be walking downhill or side hill. Your shoes should be suited for open terrain walking and light hiking.
Devotional Times: Personal and group devotions are welcome throughout the program. Please note that Emmaus staff will not assume a formal role as the Chaplain for the trip. There will be times when Emmaus staff will provide and conduct a devotional session, but such devotional times are not formally scheduled. Should formal evening times or formal devotional activities at a particular site be desired, it is up to the individuals within the group and the group leader(s) to organize, conduct, and schedule any formal devotional activities or times of reflection. Please consult with Emmaus staff when planning such activities.
Sheep versus Goats: It goes without saying that for this type of program to be successful and to maximize our limited time in the Holy Land, we all must move as a group. A ten minute delay here, a ten minute delay there, and another delay of one kind or another can actually require us to eliminate a site planned for visitation. Our schedule is full and requires all of us to be punctual at departure times, and to follow your “shepherd” with diligence and closeness. Do not be a goat and wander off. The clock is always ticking against us and the last thing we desire is to spend valuable learning time looking for individuals that may have strayed too far from the flock when the rest of the flock is ready to go.
Itinerary and Daily Scheduling: The daily schedule is pre-established but remains flexible. See the Calendar or the Itinerary for details. When circumstances permit, additional sites will be added to the schedule. When necessary the daily itinerary will be adjusted to take advantage of changing circumstances. Sites may be visited in an order other than that previously published. Be prepared for flexibility regarding our daily activities.
PROGRAM COST AND FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Program Cost: Contact your group leader.
Financial Note: Emmaus programs are designed to eliminate the numerous incidental financial responsibilities one often encounters on packaged tours. Tour agencies and their clients often publish a low base price giving the appearance that you have discovered a bargain. On such programs you are held financially responsible for any number of fees not accounted for in the published program cost. These “hidden” or “unannounced” fees can add up to as much as $150-$300 by the end of your trip. In an effort to minimize your individual responsibilities for undeclared fees, Emmaus has calculated such fees and included them into your overall program cost. Except for the daily lunch meal and items related to optional personal choices, your Emmaus program cost covers all such incidental fees and tips. We do this in order for you to have a realistic cost of the Emmaus program and to eliminate the hassle so often associated with “hidden” fees. For clarification please review the Covered and Not Covered features listed below.
Money: In addition to your regular tourist-type purchases and your daily lunch expenses ($10 per day), it is recommended you bring a “slush fund” of about $15-$25 per day for incidental spending (snacks, water, soda, maps, taxis, tourist guide books, etc.). US Dollars, Credit Cards, and Travelers Check are fine. You may convert these funds into local currency at the airport (time permitting), at our hotels or at nearby banks. ATM machines exist but are rare, at times they are difficult to locate, are not readily available during the program and distribute only Israeli currency. Do not depend on ATM machines for your financial needs.
Items Covered in Your Overall Program Cost: (a) Roundtrip airfare from New Bern and all scheduled program related activities in Israel, group transfers and admissions. (b) Accommodations. (c) Private touring bus. (d) Any local guide as needed. (e) Emmaus instructor. (f) All tips. (g) Two meals a day. (h) Program Notebook.
Not Covered in Your Program Cost: (a) Daily lunch meals and specialty beverages or bottle water at meals. (b) Personal health or accident insurance – Required. (c) Personal travel insurance – Recommended. (d) Any incidental personal expenses for snacks, shopping, etc. (e) Any overnight lodging, ground transportation, flights and meals not included in the program itinerary as outlined by Emmaus.
Airfare Note: Your program does include roundtrip airfare from New Bern. See Flights for additional information.
Airfare Taxes and Tariffs: Your airline reservations were prearranged months in advance of your departure date. Often taxes or tariffs associated with your ticket are adjusted by the airlines at the time your airline ticket is issued. In the event an increase of cost is applied by the airline, you are financially responsible for the increase in your airfare. It cannot be determined in advance if a different tax or tariff is to be applied. If an increase is applied by the airlines, you will be informed and a payment will be requested.
Airline Baggage Restrictions: Because of storage limitations on the bus, certain luggage restrictions must be upheld. Please comply with the following guidelines. (a) You are allowed ONE primary suitcase per person. (b) Your suitcase cannot exceed 62 inches (length + width + height). (c) Your suitcase cannot exceed 50 lbs. (d) In addition, you may bring ONE soft "on-the-bus" day-bag (such as a small soft back-pack or a small shoulder-bag, etc.), a purse and a laptop computer. Note: Pack smart. Do not exceed the size or weight limits given above.
Single Room Supplement Fee $850: Emmaus programs are priced on double-room occupancies. If you desire a single room an added fee is applied. Emmaus will make a single room request on your behalf. A single room is not guaranteed by Emmaus since it is up to the various hotels to comply with the request. Historically, such a request is faithfully honored by the hotels used by Emmaus programs. Nevertheless, be prepared to have a roommate if a single room is not available.
As indicated in the above notice, medical insurance is required and travel insurance is recommended. Emmaus does not issue such insurance policies and any need to secure such a policy is your personal responsibility.
REQUIRED Medical Insurance: If you currently have personal medical coverage through your work or other institution, it is likely you are covered for overseas travel. Please check your policy. If you do not have a medical plan that covers you overseas, you must secure such coverage in order to participate on the program.
OPTIONAL Travel Insurance: If you desire to protect your travel investment against an unforeseen cancellation or a needed emergency return flight home, it is recommended you purchase a travel insurance policy.
If you need either of the above insurances, contact a local travel agency or see the following web links for assistance.
Atlas http://www.internationalstudentinsurance.com 1-800-826-4919
Access America http://accessamerica.com 1-866-807-3982
Insure My Trip http://insuremytrip.com 1-800-487-4722
Travel Guard http://travelguard.com 1-800-826-4919
Travelex http://travelex-insurance.com 1-800-504-7883
CLIMATE AND CLOTHING
The daytime weather in Jerusalem during May is mild (77 F). In the Galilee region to the north, in the Jordan Valley, and in the area of the Dead Sea you can expect warmer temperatures. There is only a 5% chance of rain at some point during the program. It is best to “layer” your clothing rather than bring an excessive number of individual specialty items. No “dress-up” clothes are needed. Casual wear is customary and more practical. Shorts are OK. No short-shorts please. Because we will be visiting “holy sites” there will be times when you (men and women) must dress more modestly (shoulders and knees covered). “Slip-over” or “wrap-around” clothing is best for such occasions. We will notify you in advance when your “modesty kit” of clothing is needed.
• Bath towels and small bar soap are provided at all hotels; some also provide shampoo and hair dryer.
• Electrical supply is 220 volts. Bring a converter and European style plug adapter if needed. Some small appliances
convert from 110 volts to 220 volts automatically. Check your electrical appliances in advance of departure.
• Wear comfortable walking shoes with “deep treads” as your primary footwear. Trekking tennis shoes or light-weight
hiking shoes do well. Avoid heels (!), dress shoes(!), or street shoes(!). If there are no “deep treads” on your shoes,
it is best to leave them at home.
WHAT TO BRING
Medical and First Aid Items: Medical problems usually revolve around three common illnesses: (1) Dehydration: Israel has a very high solar intensity and as a result you will need to drink water more frequently to avoid dehydration. (2) Diarrhea: This is most often caused as a result of your body adapting to new foods and new water. The food and water in Israel is sanitary, safe and comparable to USA standards. Nevertheless, most participants on the program will undergo mild, moderate or more severe episodes of diarrhea. Be prepared with a 5-7 day supply of anti-diarrhea tablets. (3) Constipation: This is most often caused as a result of time zone adaptation and your body adapting to new foods and water. Most on the program will undergo mild, moderate or more severe episodes of constipation. Be prepared with a 5-7 day supply of stool softeners and/or laxative tablets. NOTE: All of the participants on the program will experience one or more of the above conditions. It is unavoidable. It is a fact of international travel that we all must face. If you are prepared in advance and have the proper medical aids, you can manage these discomforts successfully. If you neglect any one of the above, you can expect to spend a few days of medical Rest-and-Recovery in your hotel room. Not only will you be uncomfortable but also you will miss some valuable sites and instruction while not traveling with the group. Should circumstances warrant, you will receive professional medical attention to bring you to a more speedy recovery. (4) First Aid: Also bring with you traditional first aid supplies such as band-aids, antibiotics, sun-block, aspirin, and a full supply of your prescription medicine. Experience has shown that it is not recommended you stop any medication just prior to the trip, but wait until the trip is concluded before you stop any medication. Treat all of the above symptoms early and immediately – do not hesitate. Please inform Emmaus during the program if you are experiencing any of the above illnesses. We want you to remain healthy for travel.
Packing and Laundry: Historically, most people over-pack for international travel. A good rule of thumb is to pack your bags and then eliminate at least 25%-33% of your items. This will reduce the amount of your contents and provide needed space for purchases made during your travel. There is limited space available on the bus for luggage. Please keep your luggage size and contents to a minimum. Luggage is limited to one primary travel bag and one small soft day-bag. In Jerusalem our overnight locale can send out your clothes for cleaning and have them returned to you the next day. Expect an average of $3-$4 per major item and $1-$2 for minor items. Please be aware that you are at times required to manage and transport your own luggage. It is recommended you pack for 6-8 days of travel and take advantage of laundry opportunities.
Suggested Clothing List: There is no single list of clothing articles that can meet the needs of everyone. However, the list below can offer you some assistance on what would be appropriate to bring. This list assumes you will send out your laundry at least once during the program or you will hand wash items as may be needed.
1-2 pair of long casual pants or jeans
1-2 pair of shorts (no short-shorts)
1 light jacket, sweater or sweatshirt
7-8 days of shirts/blouses
7-8 days of socks
7-8 days of undergarments
1 pair comfortable trekking shoes
1 pair water-shoes, sandals or flip-flops
Swim suit (one-piece swimsuit please; cultural sensitivity)
Facial washcloths as needed
1 travel clock with alarm
Personal toiletry and medical items
Sun hat providing ample shade
Electrical plug adapter(s) as needed
• Your passport must be valid for a full six months after the return date of the program. If your passport expires before this projected date (December 2, 2012) you will need to apply for a new passport. No exceptions.
• If you do not have a USA, CANADA, UK or EU passport you must notify Emmaus (Dr. Wink Thompson) since special circumstances may apply to your entry into Israel. These nations (and certain others) do not need an advance Entry Visa. If an Israel Entry Visa Stamp is required prior to your arrival in Israel, the stamp and administrative arrangements are your responsibility. For clarification of Israel Entry Visa Stamp requirements, please visit the following web sites:
• If you have any entry or exit stamps in your passport reflecting previous travels to an Arab or Muslim nation, you must notify Emmaus (Dr. Wink Thompson).
• Do you need a Passport? If so, take steps now to secure your Passport. This is most important. Dozens of administrative documents are dependent upon having your Passport information. See the following U.S. State Department web site for passport information: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html. Seven to ten days after you have applied for your passport you may view the delivery status of your passport at the following U.S. State Department web site: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/status/status_2567.html. The U.S. Postal Service also has passport applications. Visit http://www.usps.com/. Perform a search for "Passport" and follow the links. Your local Post Office also has Passport information available.
• Application: Consult with your group leader. See the Application link.
• Deposit Fee: Consult with your group leader. A $300 deposit fee is required (per person). This fee is applied to your overall program cost.
• Important Dates and Payment Schedule: See the Payment Schedule for more information.
A separate document lists all hotels and important phone numbers (see Hotels).
USEFUL BOOKS FOR ISRAEL
David Flusser, Jesus, 3rd edition, Jerusalem: Magnes Press
Carl G. Rasmussen, NIV Atlas of the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Jerome Murphy O’Connor, The Holy Land, 4th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press
USEFUL ISRAEL WEB SITES
(Some sites may have revised link addresses.)
The program itinerary is subject to change. In the event of an unforeseen change in the schedule, we promise you every effort will be taken to provide you with the same goals and objectives as outlined in the published itinerary. The published program price is subject to change should circumstances warrant. This would include (but not be limited to) changes in airfares, airport taxes, visa fees, airline fuel surcharges, rate changes by agents and their suppliers and changes in international exchange rates. For additional information, see Terms and Conditions.
Emmaus does not share your personal information with anyone not directly associated with the administrative needs to facilitate our domestic and international travels. For additional information, see Privacy Statement.
Please note that the primary correspondence between Emmaus and those interested in attending a program will be conducted by the use of email. If you do not have email, or experience email compatibility problems, alternative arrangements can be made via mail, phone, or fax. If you have a GROUP LEADER for your program, contact your group leader, he or she may be able to answer your questions directly. All other correspondence is to be directed to Dr. Wink Thompson. This web site serves as the primary and authoritative source of program information. Please review the Emmaus web site periodically and especially the Notes for occasional revisions or updates to your program material and responsibilities (financial or otherwise).