hosted by Rev. Janet Winslow, Bon Air Presbyterian | from $4,265 per person
This 12-day journey to the Holy Land will bring you close encounters with the land of ancient Judaism and Christianity. Watch the scriptures come to life as you walk through the wilderness and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. Experience modern religious traditions as we worship with local Christians on the celebration of Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas and bring in Shabbat with local Jews. Learn about the modern history of this land and meet people and organizations engaged in the work of peacemaking. Build deep and lasting relationships with others from your congregation through group reflections and shared worship. At Progressive Pilgrimage, every journey is carefully crafted to meet the interests and ability of the group. This itinerary offers a glance at what you can expect in your 12-day tour. Schedule may be adjusted for efficiency and guide availability.
December 29 - January 9 Daily Itinerary
Your group will fly round-trip from Washington, Dulles to Tel Aviv on Austrian Airlines, departing Dulles at 6:05pm PM. All travelers should arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours prior to departure.
Those wishing to originate from an airport other than Washington, Dulles should indicate that on the registration form. In those cases, any fare increase will be invoiced to the traveler.
Group members will arrive at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv at 2:55pm. A private coach will transport the group from Tel Aviv to our hotel near the Old City of Jerusalem. After a brief orientation and opening worship, enjoy a traditional Middle Eastern dinner and overnight accommodations at the Grand Court Hotel. We will remain in Jerusalem for three nights.
This morning we will visit the Israel Museum with its magnificent collection of classical and modern art, judaica, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The museum’s scale model of Jerusalem in the first century provides excellent grounding for the rest of out time in the city and brings to life Jesus’ ministry there. Next we will visit the Yad Vashem Holocuast Memorial and Museum. After lunch, we will descend the Mount of Olives as Jesus did on Palm Sunday, concluding with a service of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
New Year’s Eve in Israel is a more low-key affair than in the United States because most Israeli Jews celebrate the new year on Rosh Hashana. Still, our group will celebrate together and ring in the new year after dinner at our Jerusalem hotel.
Led by an expert local Jewish guide, we will visit the ruins of the ancient Temple built first by Solomon, rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah, expanded by Herod the Great, and destroyed by Rome in 70 CE. In some areas, you are encountering the Temple exactly as Jesus would have. Today the Temple complex is revered as the third holiest site in Islam as the place where Mohammed began his night journey to heaven. The Dome of the Rock is one of the oldest examples of Muslim architecture. After our time on the Temple Mount, we will visit the Western Wall where Jews still gather to pray. After lunch we will tour the Jewish Quarter of the Old City before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight accommodations.
Today we remember the events of Holy Week as we walk the Via Dolorosa and pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. After lunch, we will visit the area known as Mt. Zion to visit churches associate with Jesus’ betrayal by Peter (St. Peter in Gallicantu), the Last Supper and Pentecost (Cenacle). Time permitting we will visit the Garden Tomb, a site with less historical accuracy but that preserves the character of a first century cemetery, offering pilgrims an opportunity to imagine the resurrection story in its original setting. In the evening we will transfer to Nof Ginosar, a kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight accommodations for three nights.
We begin the day with a trip to Nazareth, Jesus’ home town. Enjoy and “off the beaten path” tour of this Arab-Israeli city that showcases both the ancient history, including the Basilica of the Annunciation, commemorating the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, and the modern market with its artisans and vendors. After lunch in Nazareth, we will return to the shores of Galilee to visit with residents of Kibbutz Ginosar, learn about their way of life, and celebrate Shabbat. Dinner and overnight accommodations at Nof Ginosar.
Today we explore Jesus’ adult ministry in Galilee led by a Palestinian Christian guide. Highlights include the Mount of Beatitudes, the churches at Tabgha, the ruins of Capernaum (home of Simon Peter), a lunch of “St. Peter’s Fish,” a museum with a 2,000 year-old boat, and a sunset boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Enjoy a final dinner and overnight accommodations on the shores of the sea.
Traveling down the Jordan River Valley, we will visit the site of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan where pilgrims wishing to do so can renew their own baptismal vows. Our group will travel to the ancient Jewish fortress of Masada, built by Herod the Great. After touring Masada, experience the ruins of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. End the day with a relaxing bob in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea. Continue on to Bethlehem for dinner and overnight accommodations at Manger Square Hotel, just around the corner from the Church of Nativity.
Today is Epiphany in Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, but it is Christmas Eve in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Although you have already celebrated Christmas at home, you can celebrate a second time with our Orthodox brothers and sisters! Due to the holiday, it is important to remain flexible today and tomorrow. The itinerary may be updated as we travel in response to holiday schedules and crowds.
In the morning of January 6, we will visit the Noor Women’s Empowerment Group to understand the perspective and lifestyle of Palestinians removed from their homes in the 1948 and 1967 wars. The women of Noor WEG are working together to care for their disabled children. After touring the camp, we will enjoy a hands-on cooking demonstration with the women resulting a delicious Palestinian lunch. In the afternoon, we will visit Church of the Nativity or Shepherd’s Field where angels appeared in the sky to announce Jesus’ birth. As appropriate we will join the Christmas Eve services accompanied by a Palestinian Christian guide who will help us understand the traditions and liturgy as they unfold before us.
We will remain in Bethlehem today as the celebration of Christmas continues in the Orthodox Church. If we did not visit the Church of Nativity or Shepherd’s Field yesterday, we will do so today. Again we will participate in religious services as appropriate. We will also visit the Holy Family Olive Wood Workshop where you will meet the artisans who make creches and other handicrafts from olive wood. Dinner and overnight at Manger Square Hotel.
Plans for today are still being coordinated with your group leader.
Your group will depart from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on an 8:00am flight with Lufthansa. After a brief layover in Frankfurt, Germany, you continue to Washington, Dulles, arriving at 3:50pm.
The total cost for the twelve-day pilgrimage is $4,265 per person, double occupancy. Group size is limited to 20 participants. Deadline to register is June 14, 2019. (Registrations after this date will be accepted based on available space and may be subject to increased airfare.)
|Round Trip Airfare from Washington, Dulles||Hotel Lodging||Ground Transportation|
|Expert Local Guides||All meals||Entrance Fees|
|Pre-trip Educational Resources||Ordained Spiritual Guide||Gratuity for Drivers and Guides|
Single occupancy is available upon request for a surcharge of $520.
A $500/person deposit is due at time of registration, payable online via PayPal or credit card. Full payment is due by October 29, 2019. Participants will be invoiced for the balance due which may be paid by check, ACH, or credit card. Credit card payments of the remaining balance will incur a 3% fee.
Travel to Israel requires a passport that is valid for six months after your departure from Israel. If you do not have a current passport or if your passport expires before July 9, 2020 you should apply for or renew your passport.
Terms and Conditions
Please read the complete Terms and Conditions online. ENROLLMENT IN AND PAYMENT FOR THE TOUR CONSTITUTES YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONDITIONS AND STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY.