ITINERARY

All breakfast and dinner meals are included.
All lunches are a personal expense.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12
DEPARTURE DAY FROM TORONTO
See the Recommended Flights / Arriving Israel link for additional information.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
See the Recommended Flights / Arriving Israel link for additional information.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14
"LAND OF PROMISE"

Our trip begins with an examination of Old Testament sites in the southern desert region known as the Negev. In this demanding landscape God tested the faith of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here also, Moses attempted an ill-fated and ill-advised premature "conquest" of the Promised Land. David lived in this region during his "friendship" with Philistine kings. The second half of the day we travel into the geographical regions known as the Shephelah. Located between the Coastal Plain and the Judean Hill Country, these foothills served as an important "buffer-zone" between the Judeans in the hills and the Philistines on the coast. Within the Shephelah we will visit the general locale of David's battle with Goliath in the Elah Valley and conclude the day at Gezer. 

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15
"KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT"

Today we address the social, religious and political tensions which lie behind the relationship between the Jewish people and the foreigners in the land. At Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea, we give thought to the conversion of Cornelius. We leave Caesarea and continue our journey northward to the region of Mount Carmel. It was here that the prophet Elijah confronted and defeated the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Sepphoris was the capital of Galilee when Jesus, Joseph and Mary lived nearby. Here we gain insights into Jesus’ family life and the challenge that faced the Jewish people in the Roman period in Lower Galilee. At Nazareth we examine the annunciation narratives and Jesus being rejected in his hometown synagogue. 

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16
"LAND BEYOND THE JORDAN?"

Today we examine several themes. We begin in the north at Tel Dan. This site is one of the most impressive archaeological sites on the northern border of ancient Israel. Archaeological remains from the time of Abraham and King Jeroboam are scattered within this nature reserve at the headwaters of the Jordan River.  At Caesarea Philippi (Banias) we consider Jesus’ pivotal question, “Who do you say that I am?” We end our day at Gamla, a site noted for its 1st century synagogue and capture by the Roman army in 67 AD during the First Jewish Revolt.

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17
"THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE"

A full morning study includes sites and themes central to the ministry of Jesus. At Bethsaida, Chorazin and the Mount of Beatitudes we consider the second stage of Jesus’ ministry with attention given to his teachings within their contemporary context. In the afternoon we take time at Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, to consider his teachings and miracles in this lakeside town. We continue to Kibbutz Ginnosar where an ancient Sea of Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) is preserved. We conclude our day with a relaxing boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee. 

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18
"SETTING OUR FACES TOWARD JERUSALEM"

Today we travel to Jerusalem via the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Wilderness of Judea. We begin with a scenic drive through the hills and valleys of Lower Galilee. Views of Mount Tabor, Nazareth and Nain capture our attention as we make our way to the Harod Valley. In this valley we visit Ein Harod, the locale of Gideon's encampment against the Midianites. A short drive brings us to Beth Alpha, the locale of an ancient Jewish synagogue with interesting mosaics expressing biblical motifs. Next is the biblical city of Beth Shan, a Philistine stronghold during the days of Saul and David. There we examine the recent excavations of its Roman-Byzantine remains when it was known as Scythopolis, one of the Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. At Jericho, made famous by Joshua’s conquest, we see the impressive palatial homes of the Hasmoneans and Herod the GreatWe approach Jerusalem from the east via the Wilderness of Judea. 

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19
JERUSALEM: "JERUSALEM'S PAST AND PRESENT"

Today begins with a visit to the Temple Mount, a site of historical significance and political dispute. Upon leaving the Temple Mount we will venture through the various Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem as an orientation to local sites of historical interest and local free time activities. A visit to an OT model of Jerusalem will help us to establish the physical settings of this ancient city. The remainder of the day is free time for you to enjoy the character of Jerusalem’s Old City.  

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20
JERUSALEM: “CITY OF THE GREAT KING”

Our focus today is the physical setting of Jerusalem from the time of King David to Jesus. We enter the Old City to examine the historical rule of Herod the Great (ending in 4BC), his successors and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. Key archaeological sites to be visited in the Jewish Quarter include: (1) the Wohl Museum, Herodian Villas and the southern wall excavations. After lunch we will visit the City of David of OT times. Here we will have an opportunity to see remnants of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians (586 BC) and venture through Hezekiah's Tunnel. We conclude the day at the Pool of Siloam (John 9). 

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21
JERUSALEM: “CITY OF THE GREAT KING”

Particular attention is given to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion. In connection with these themes we begin our touring on the crest of the Mount of Olives with an overlook to the Golden Gate. We descend the mount to the church of Dominus Flavit and to the Garden of Gethsemane. On the Via Dolorosa we stop at St. Anne's church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, the possible site of Jesus' death and resurrection. In the afternoon we journey to Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity. 

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22
"CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS”

Today we follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived in the Judean wilderness. At Masada we consider the fate of the Zealot movement which ended at Masada in 73 AD. Fortified and embellished by Herod the Great, the site abounds with points of interest. We will spend several hours atop this rocky promontory. A cable car provides access to the top. Points of interest include the Western Palace, the Roman Ramp, the Synagogue, the three-tiered Northern Palace and the Storerooms. At the oasis of Ein Gedi we walk in to observe a “river in the desert” in the region where David hid from Saul. We will continue our hike to a Chalcolithic Temple (3500 BC). Khirbet Qumran provides the setting for our consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. We end the day with an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea. 

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23
JERUSALEM FREE DAY
Today is a free day for you to explore Jerusalem and rest. 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24
RETURN DAY TO TORONTO
A morning bus transfer to the airport is provided in coordination with the recommended flight. See the Recommended Flights / Arriving Israel link for additional information.

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Testimonials

  • "This was a wonderful pilgrimage. You were so right in saying "you have read the Bible in black and white. Now you will have it in technicolor". That is exactly what has happened. It is a gift that will be with me forever for my personal spiritual growth as well as my intellectual (and emotional) growth. Thank you for all your time and effort."
    N.B., Israel Trip