Nyack College
2 Washington Street
New York, NY 10004




Dear Special Friends of Nyack College, 

I invite you to join me for a most unique travel opportunity to the Holy Land. We will visit where Jesus ministered to individuals and multitudes, and where prophets, priests and kings once strolled. Our journey will be rich, but not hurried. The land will be our classroom as we visit important biblical sites and out-of-the-way venues. History, geography, archaeology, language and culture will enlighten our understanding of biblical events and biblical personalities. Each day is filled with unique opportunities and every effort has been made to assure that this journey is both inspiring and memorable. Throughout this trip, as we are individually refreshed, challenged and strengthened by God's presence in our lives, our prayer is that we may realize the charge of the Apostle Peter, "You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5).

It is a very special pleasure to have R. Steven Notley, Ph.D. as our guide and special lecturer for this exceptional endeavor. Dr. Notley is the Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins and Director of Graduate Programs in Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins at Nyack College. Dr. Notley and his family lived in Israel for sixteen years, and he is uniquely qualified to help us engage the biblical narratives within the context of their original Old Testament and New Testament setting.

Of special interest during our travels will be the antiquity site of el-Araj, located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, and currently an active archaeological excavation under the leadership of Dr. Mordechai Avaim and Dr. Steven Notley. You will view the site and hear from the archaeologists why they consider this site to be a valid candidate for the fishing village of Bethsaida mentioned in the Gospel accounts and home to several of Jesus' disciples (Peter, Andrew, Philip).

For our benefit, Dr. Notley has enlisted some of Israel's most renowned archaeologists to share their expertise with us. See the Contributing Archaeologists link for a brief remark about these scholars.  

It is my hope and prayer that you will join me and other friends of Nyack College on this special travel and ministry opportunity we are calling the Friends of Bethsaida. You are welcome to remain in direct contact with me as you consider this trip to the Holy Land.

With Warm Regards,
Michael G. Scales

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  • "Rarely a day passes when I don't think of something we did while on that wonderful trip. During the past year I have received many invitations from churches, Bible study groups, men’s breakfast groups as well as secular organizations to share of my experiences in Israel. God is sure using our time together in Israel as means of sharing his word in ways I would otherwise have never had the opportunity to do. Interest in Israel here in my community is so high at present. I use a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate my message. Many of the photos I use come from the collection you so kindly gave us after our departure - again, thank you. One of your opening remarks I remember was that while we would be introduced to much while in Israel during the two weeks of the tour, we would probably spend a lifetime unpacking the experience in our Christian walk. I think of that often and I want to let you know that your words are proving to be so true. I look forward to one day accompanying you (Wink) and Steve on another tour, perhaps back to Israel or even to Greece and Turkey. I am praying for your ministry and thank God for your work, may He continually richly bless you."
    M.T., Israel Trip