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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  • "I went on this Israel trip with great expectations and my expectations were far exceeded. I learned to cry, laugh and love with Christians from different places. I did not have any real idea of what to expect so I didn’t have preconceived thoughts. I was impressed by the teaching after each tour. I really liked the fellowship among the group members. I really liked and enjoyed the visits to the Biblical sites. What a blessing! This was the best trip of my life – on so many levels! I’m homesick for Jerusalem and can’t wait to go back!!"
    Anonymous, Israel Trip