10 days from $2,500 + airfare
This tour offers a compelling introduction to the faith, history, culture, and people of the Holy Land. Pilgrims will visit some of the most important Christian and Jewish holy sites, walking and praying in the footsteps of Jesus and King David. We will pause to understand the complex politics of the land today and visit with modern-day saints who are engaged in peacemaking. This tour includes overnight accommodations in three to four star hotels, all meals, expert local guides, airport transfers, entry fees, tips, and gratuities. Five star accommodations can be arranged; price available upon request.
Day One: We depart from the United States on an afternoon flight. Overnight onboard.
Day Two: Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, our motorcoach will meet us for transport to Jerusalem. After lunch, we will increase our understanding of modern Jerusalem with Rabbis for Human Rights including a tour of a Catholic preschool located on the border of Israel and the West Bank and a visit to a Bedouin encampment and school. Dinner and overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Three: Today we 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. Led by an expert local Jewish guide, we will sit on the Southern Steps of the Temple, pray at the Western Wall, and walk atop the Temple Mount, now home to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Dinner and overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Four: We blend old and new today as we visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field, reflecting on the mystery of Jesus’ birth. Following lunch we will visit an artisan cooperative and have the opportunity to purchase handmade gifts of olive wood, mother of pearl, and more. In the afternoon we visit the International Center of Bethlehem, home to Diyar Academy for children and youth and Dar al-Kalima college. Pending his availability, we will meet with Lutheran pastor Rev. Mitri Raheb. Dinner and overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Five: Today we travel by motorcoach to the shores of the Dead Sea where pilgrims can relax amid the mineral-rich waters. Due to the high salinity, you’ll bob like a cork! You will have a chance to shower before lunch at the Ein Gedi oasis. In the afternoon, we will visit the Jordan River where we can share together in a service of worship to remember our baptismal vows. From there we continue to Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias hotel.
Day Six: We will explore Jesus adult ministry today, beginning at the Mount of Beatitudes, taking a short walk through the Galilean countryside, and ending on the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. After a lunch of St. Peter’s Fish, we will visit the ruins of ancient Capernaum, home of Simon Peter and site of a modern Franciscan church. We then visit a well-preserved 2,000-year-old fishing boat before setting sail on the Sea of Galilee in a modern vessel. Tonight you will have dinner on your own (included) in the city of Tiberias. Overnight in Tiberias Hotel.
Day Seven: There are several options for today’s itinerary. Groups interested in connecting with the “living stones” of the Holy Land can schedule a visit with Archbishop Elias Chacour and his Mar Elias Educational Institute in Ibillin, near Nazareth. Those interested in archaeology may tour an active dig or Zippori National Park. Some groups choose to visit Caesarea Maritima on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Other options include visiting a replica first century village, meeting Palestinian Christians in their villages, or scheduling a lecture on a topic of interest. In the evening we return by motorcoach to Tantur Ecumenical Institute for dinner and overnight.
Day Eight: We return to Jerusalem today to reflect on a more contemporary period of Israel’s history. Groups have the choice of visiting either the Israel Museum (home of the Dead Sea Scrolls) or the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in the morning. We will eat lunch in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and then share a service of worship and communion at the site of the Upper Room where Jesus ate his last supper with his disciples. The late afternoon will offer free time for shopping the the Jerusalem marketplace. We conclude the day with a festive dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Nine: We will continue reflecting on Jesus’ last days before his death and resurrection with a morning walk down the Mount of Olives, the traditional route of the Triumphal Entry parade. Take in spectacular views of Jerusalem as you walk through a Jewish cemetery and sites regarded as holy by Christians and Muslims alike. We will share lunch in the Ecce Homo monastery before walking the Via Dolorosa together, stopping for prayer and meditation at each station of the cross. While the Via Dolorosa is a Catholic tradition, Protestant pilgrims find it meaningful. Our day in Jerusalem will conclude at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Jesus crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Dinner and overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Ten: Morning departure by motorcoach from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Return flight to your city of origin.