12 days from $2,150 + airfare
This tour is for those groups that not only want to appreciate the past but also want to understand the people who make up the Holy Land today and meet men and women who are building peace in a region so often known for its conflicts. You will experience the religious and spiritual highlights of any Holy Land pilgrimage with added opportunities for building relationships with local residents.
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 and we begin learning right away. En route to our overnight accommodations in Jerusalem, we will stop for a visit at The Open House in Ramle. This peace education center was founded in a home that belonged to an Arab family before it was taken by force in 1948. Today is serves both Jews and Arabs. We will continue on to Jerusalem for an orientation, dinner, and overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Three:We begin the trip with a look at modern Jerusalem, led by Rabbis for Human Rights, including a tour of a Catholic preschool located on the border between Israel and the West Bank and a visit to a Bedouin encampment and school. In the afternoon we will visit the holy sites in Bethlehem including the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field, pausing to pray along the way. We will also visit either the Deheisha refugee camp or the International Center of Bethlehem, home to Diyar Academy for children and youth and Dar al-Kalima college. Dinner and overnight at Tantur.
Day Four: We begin today with an early morning visit to the Temple Mount and then continue to the ruins of the Second Temple Period led by an expert Jewish guide. You will learn from him as you sit upon the Southern Steps and touch the ancient stones hewn under the supervision of Herod the Great in the first century. Following lunch in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City we will pray at the Western Wall of the Temple and have some free time to explore the markets of Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight at Tantur.
Day Five: Today we travel into the Judean wilderness to visit the ancient fortress of Masada and understand its role in shaping modern Israeli national identity. After a picnic lunch, we will take a dip in the Dead Sea. We return to Tantur in the afternoon. In the evening we will attend a Shabbat service at a local synagogue. Dinner and overnight at Tantur.
Day Six: Tent of Nations is an educational and environmental farm located on the road between Jerusalem and Hebron focused on sustainability, peacemaking, and conflict resolution. We will visit the farm where we can participate in planting or harvest, depending on the season. After lunch, we will travel to Hebron to visit the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs. You will have an opportunity to walk through the marketplace, tour a glass-blowing studio, and/or visit the last remaining kafiyah factory in the West Bank. Dinner and overnight at Tantur.
Day Seven: Today we travel to the predominantly-Christian village of Zebabdeh in the West Bank where we will worship and have lunch with a local faith community. In the afternoon, we continue on to the Mar Elias Educational Institute. If his schedule permits, we will meet with Abuna Chacour and hear about his hopes for the future of Israel and Palestine. We continue by motorcoach to the city of Tiberias. Dinner and overnight at Tiberias hotel.
Day Eight: Today we will explore Jesus’ adult ministry, 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 Nine: We depart from Tiberias, stopping at the Jordan River baptismal site near the city of Jericho. We will worship together here and the group may opt for a service to reaffirm their baptismal vows. In the early afternoon, we will hike in the Wadi Qelt and visit St. George’s Monastery, dramatically built into the side of the cliff. The Judean Wilderness provides a stark contrast to the lush greenery of the Galilean countryside and gives rich illustration to the significance of wilderness in the Bible. Dinner and overnight at Tantur.
Day Ten: Today we return to Jerusalem and begin to consider the last days of Jesus’ ministry. We begin this day with a walk down the Mount of Olives, traditional route of the Triumphal Entry. In the afternoon we will share together in worship and the Lord’s Supper at the site of the Upper Room where Jesus celebrated his last supper with his disciples and washed their feet. We will close the evening with a festive dinner at a nearby Bedouin restaurant. Overnight at Tantur Ecumenical Institute.
Day Eleven: We conclude our time in Jerusalem by embarking upon the Via Dolorosa, marking the fourteen stations 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. The afternoon includes free time for exploring the Old City. Dinner and overnight at Tantur.
Day Twelve: Travel by motorcoach from Tantur to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv. Return flight to your city of origin.