ITINERARY

RISE AND WALK THE LAND:
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS

MONDAY, JANUARY 4
DEPARTURE DAY FROM THE USA
Flights information coming soon. 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 5
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL. 
Upon leaving Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) near Tel Aviv, we have a bus journey to our overnight location in Ashkelon, the site of the ancient Philistine city and legendary birthplace of Herod the Great. Overnight: Ashkelon.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6
ON THE COASTAL PLAIN

Today we travel to sites on the Philistine and Sharon Coastal Plains of the Mediterranean Sea that were important both in the days of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Gezer was a prominent Philistine city that continued into the days of the New Testament. It has monumental remains from the days of the Canaanites to the Romans. Moving to the Plain of Sharon we stop at Caesarea, a port city built by Herod and the seat of power for the Roman governors. Here the Apostle Paul was held in house arrest in the seaside residence of Felix and Festus, which had earlier been the Mediterranean villa of Herod the Great. We conclude our day at Dor, a port city already known from the days of King Solomon. Overnight: Nahsholim.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 7
THE LAND OF ZEBULON AND NAPHTALI

We trace the geographical regions of Lower Galilee, in the area of Jesus’ early life. Beginning at Nazareth, boyhood home of Jesus we visit the Church of Annunciation, traditional site of Mary’s home. Other first century remains from this village await our exploration. 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. At Jotapata (Yodfat), the home of the Jewish historian Josephus, we receive our first glimpse of the rebellion by citizens of Galilee against Roman rule. From Mount Arbel we receive a majestic overview of settlement around the Sea of Galilee, the center of the ministry of Jesus. Overnight: Ein Gev.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 8
THE WAY OF THE SEA

Today we travel to the northern borders of the Land of Israel. At Hazor we find evidence of Joshua’s burning “the chief cities of the Canaanites” and later the location of Solomon’s efforts to fortify this northern gateway to the Galilee. Kadesh in the Upper Galilee lay near Isaiah’s Way of the Sea from Dan to Tyre. Tel Dan is one of the most impressive archaeological sites on the border of the Land of Israel. Archaeological remains from the time of Abraham and King Jeroboam are scattered within this verdant 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 conclude our day at the fascinating, new and seldom-visited excavations of Omrit, where we find an impressive Herodian temple. Overnight: Ein Gev.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 9
LAND BEYOND THE JORDAN
A full day traveling through the upper regions of the Golan on the western edge of the volcanic Hauran plateau. At Umm el-Kanatir we find a reconstructed Byzantine synagogue. Nearby is Hippos (Susita), one of the Decapolis cities and candidate for Jesus’ “city on a hill.” We hike to the impressive remains at Gamla where the people of this first-century city fought the Romans to their death. Today the ancient city boasts one of the few first-century synagogues. Descending from the Golan Heights to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, we consider the current debate regarding the location of first-century Bethsaida with visits to et-Tell and el-Araj, the latter being the site of Nyack College’s current archaeological efforts. Overnight: Ein Gev. 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 10
SEA OF GALILEE

Our destination today is the cities that played an important role in the life and ministry of Jesus. At Chorazin and Capernaum we see important vestiges of these cities from the Roman period. The traditional Mount of Beatitudes serves as the environment to discuss Jesus’ most famous discourse. At the Yigael Alon Museum in Kibbutz Ginnosar we are able to see a First-Century Boat rescued from the silted bottom of the lake.  On the Plain of Gennesaret was settled the important lake harbor city of Magdala, where recent excavations have unearthed one of the most impressive first-century synagogues yet found. At Tiberias, built by Herod Antipas, important evidence from the New Testament period is still visible. Our day concludes with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Ein Gev.

MONDAY, JANUARY 11
FORTRESSES IN THE WILDERNESS

Leaving behind the Sea of Galilee we travel south into the Jordan Valley. At Jericho, made famous by Joshua’s conquest, we see the impressive palatial homes of the Hasmoneans and Herod the GreatKhirbet Qumran is positioned on a plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, and it was founded as the center of the community who gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls. At Ein Gedi we hike into a Nature Reserve that depicts the wilderness landscape and the importance of water within this harsh region. The Hyrcanium is one of seven desert fortresses built in the 2nd century BC by the Hasmonean rulers. Herod later rebuilt and refortifiied this and other earlier fortresses. Overnight: Jerusalem.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 12
JERUSALEM: CITY OF THE GREAT KING

Today we explore the archaeological vestiges of Jerusalem from the days of Jesus. We begin at the Herodian Villas (Wohl Museum) where aristocratic priests lived and oversaw activities in the temple. At the Western Wall and excavations along the Southern Wall we witness the glory of first-century Jerusalem. After lunch we ascend to the Haram esh-Sharif, site of Solomon and Herod’s temples. Finally, we visit the impressive archaeological excavations at the City of David where we can see the Stronghold of Zion, Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Pool of Siloam.  Overnight: Jerusalem.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13
JESUS IN JERUSALEM

In the morning we travel to Bethlehem, where we visit the Church of Nativity and nearby Herodium, desert palace fortress built by Herod the Great. We then travel to Jerusalem, where we follow in the footsteps of Jesus visiting places important during the last week of Jesus. On the Mount of Olives we are given an overlook of the city and its surroundings. We descend to Dominus Flevit, a church that remembers Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. The place of the Garden of Gethsemane today is remembered by the Church of All Nations. Through the medieval Lion’s Gate we arrive at Saint Anne’s Church, location of the Pools of Bethesda. Tracing the Via Dolorosa we arrive to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, place of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Overnight: Jerusalem.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14
JERUSALEM FREE DAY

You are free to enjoy the day in Jerusalem. The evening meal is provided at the hotel. Departure time from the hotel to the airport is pending. See the Flights link.

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15
ARRIVE USA
See the Flights link. 

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Testimonials

  • "The Israel trip was my first outside of the U.S. (not counting Mexico and Canada ). It is hard to imagine a higher quality experience than the one you and Steve put together for us. I feel deeply grateful for the effort you and Steve put into the whole program. Talk about an easy trip ... I didn't have to do anything logistically. This fact made it very relaxing and allowed me to reflect and be inquisitive which is how I learn best. Steve's knowledge, discussions, and speculations made the experience rich for all of us on the trip. An element of the program that I particularly enjoyed was the flexibility of schedule. Several diversions were well worth the time. The accommodations were incredible – especially in light of the trip cost."
    T.F, Israel Trip