Exploring the Land, Crossroads of Our Faith
December 13, January 10, February 14, March 14
11:30 am – 12:45 pm
DECEMBER 13: JERUSALEM – A CENTER OF THREE GREAT MONOTHEISTIC RELIGIONS
Jerusalem, a microcosm of Israel, will give us a window into the Land of Israel and its three monotheistic religions. Beginning with an overlook on the city, we will explore the Jewish connection from the foundation stone at the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and Jewish Quarter. The Second Temple Period saw Jerusalem develop from a small town into a large Jewish city. Planned by King Herod, and extending the city limits, the area eventually became a center for Christianity as the site of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. We will walk along the Via Dolorosa and Stations of the Cross as we visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We will continue to understand the Islamic connection to Jerusalem, with the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and its changing relationship over time. Finally, we will end our tour at Mt. Zion, the site of the Room of the Last Supper and the Tomb of King David, as well as housing a mosque, again reminding us of the microcosm of Jerusalem as central to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
JANUARY 10: MEDITERRANEAN COASTLINE – KINGS & PORTS
Caesarea, an “artificial” city and port built by Herod the Great, 2,000 years ago, and has well-preserved Roman ruins (theater, amphitheater, hippodrome, etc.). Within Christianity, the city is known as the site of the meeting between Peter and Cornelius, the Roman Centurian, as Peter became the first non-Jewish person to convert to Christianity. In Jewish tradition, the Great Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire broke out here and the Romans executed the Rabbinic leadership of a second revolt in the city’s amphitheater. Continuing along the coastline, we will visit Haifa and Mt. Carmel, considered to be the area where Elijah the Prophet lived. Finally, we will head into Akko, which until today is a mixed city for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim residents. As one of the key port cities for the conquering Christian Crusaders nearly 1,000 years ago, this city remains a beautiful, walled ancient city filled with history, stories, and, most importantly, good hummus.
FEBRUARY 14: THE PEAKS OF GALILEE
The Galilee is home to an incredible amount of history. In many ways, it is the cradle of Jewish AND Christian traditions. From Mt. Tabor, where Deborah, Biblical Judge and Prophet, sat and ruled the land, we will head to the ancient Roman city of Sepphoris (Tzippori), which became the de facto capital for the Jewish people after the destruction of the Temple. Nearby, Nazareth is the “hometown” for Jesus, and we will visit the Church of the Annunciation before visiting Cana, the church where the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine took place. At the edge of the Sea of Galilee sits the Mt. of Beatitudes, site of the Sermon of the Mount, as well as the Churches of the Primacy of Peter and the Miracle of the Fishes and the Loaves. We may even have time to visit Magdala, the ancient city where Mary Madgalene lived and see its ancient synagogue.
MARCH 14: JAFFA TEL AVIV – THE ETERNAL PORT
Explore Jaffa, the ancient port that has welcomed travelers for five millennia. As the gateway to the land of Israel, the ancient alleys are filled with stories from its past. From its early beginnings through Jewish, Christian, and Muslim iterations, the city continues to challenge its residents. We will walk through the beautiful alleyways to see the House of Simon the Tanner and the picturesque port of Jaffa. Just a few meters away, we will visit the modern city of Tel Aviv and its first neighborhood, Neve Tzedek, established just over 100 years ago. Strolling along the famous Rothschild Boulevard, we will follow the story of the first Hebrew city before ending our tour at Israel’s Independence Hall. In this place, Israel declared its independence and was formally established as a State on May 14, 1948.