Pictures from the Holy Land

Jesus and the Kingdom of God

Led by:

The Rev. Canon Marianne Borg

Dr. Marcus Borg

Dr. John Dominic Crossan

May 9 - 22, 2008

Trip map

DAY 1, Friday, May 9, 2008 - Depart USA for Israel. D

DAY 2: Saturday, May 10, 2008 - We will arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport where we will meet our guide and driver and be transferred to the town of Netanya where our hotel is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.  Perhaps there will be time for a quick stroll on the shore before our dinner and overnight. BLD

DAY 3: Sunday, May 11, 2008 - We have come to see for ourselves (John 1:45-46).  Our first full-day in Israel begins with a group orientation and introduction gathering in our hotel.  By mid-morning, we will leave our hotel and head north toward Caesarea Maritima, once capital of the Roman province, where we visit the remains of the Roman city, harbor and aqueduct built by Herod the Great in the first century BCE, and the later Crusader ruins.  Then we begin our drive to the Sea of Galilee, pausing for vistas of Mt. Carmel (associated with the prophet Elijah) and the Jezreel Valley, also known as the plain of Megiddo.  Legend portrays this area as the stage for the final battle of history:  Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).  We continue to our hotel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where we will have dinner and overnight. BD BD

DAY 4: Monday, May 12, 2008 - The upper Galilee:  Golan Heights; Caesarea Philippi; Mt. Hermon; Bethsaida:  We travel to Caesarea Philipi, once the largest city in northern Israel.  It is here, according to Mark 8.27-30, that Jesus was first called ‘the Messiah’ by Peter.  Near the foot of Mt. Hermon, we will walk along the Jordan River to the Springs of Banias.  We will visit Bethsaida, known as the birthplace of three of the Apostles – Peter, Andrew and Philip.  Jesus himself visited Bethsaida and performed several miracles here (Mark 8:22-26; Luke 9:10).  Et-Tel, the mound identified as ancient Bethsaida, is located on a basaltic spur north of the Sea of Galilee, near the inflow of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee.  The tel covers some 20 acres and rises 30 meters above a fertile valley.  Geological and geomorphological studies show that in the past this valley was part of the Sea of Galilee.  A series of earthquakes caused silt to accumulate, thus creating the valley and causing the north shore of the Sea of Galilee to recede.  The result of this process, which continued until the Hellenistic period, was that Bethsaida, which had originally been built on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, came to be situated some 1.5 km north of the shore.  Dinner and overnight in our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. BD

DAY 5: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - “He is going ahead of us to Galilee” (Mt. 28):  The Sea; Capernaum; Tabgha; Korazin; Mount of Beatitudes.  We will visit Magdala, birthplace of Mary Magdalene, follower of Jesus, witness to his crucifixion and first to witness his resurrection.  We continue to Capernaum where we shall walk in the ancient synagogue and see St. Peter’s house.  We will visit Tabgha where we will see the mosaics of the Loaves and Fishes.  From Tabgha we will take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee back to Tiberias.  Afterwards, we will journey to the Mount of Beatitudes to rehear the Sermon on the Mount and then we will hike down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee as Jesus and his disciples would have done.  We will return to our kibbutz and visit the museum that holds the 1st century boat discovered in the mud around the sea.  Dinner and overnight in our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. BD

DAY 6: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - We will visit Korazin which was settled about the beginning of the 1st century BC.  The village was built on a large hill and excavations have found remnants of a thriving Jewish village from the 3rd and 4th centuries but no remains from the original 1st century village.  Jesus cursed the town along with Bethsaida and Capernaum for not responding to his miracles with their belief (Luke 10:13; Matthew 11:20-24).  We continue to Gamla, dating back to the Early Bronze Age where archaeologists have uncovered a synagogue built during Herod’s lifetime and the only one discovered in Israel that is located within city limits while the Temple existed in Jerusalem.  Dinner and overnight in our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. BD

DAY 7: Thursday, May 15, 2008 - We depart for Nazareth to see the Basilica of the Annunciation where, tradition holds, the grotto beneath the church was the home of Mary and the site of the Annunciation.  Archaeological evidence proves that this is the site of the original village of Nazareth.  We will visit Mary’s Well and Nazareth Village, a reconstruction of typical village life in the time of Jesus before we depart Nazareth and visit the ruins at Sepphoris, destroyed by the Romans in 4 BCE and rebuilt during Jesus’ youth.  We will see the center of the city, villas and beautiful mosaics, sections of an ancient water supply, and sections of an ancient water system.  Then we return to our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8: Friday, May 16, 2008 - The Jordan River Valley to Jericho and “Up to Jerusalem”:  Bet Shean, Jericho, Jerusalem.  Our day begins on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  After breakfast we make our way down the Jordan Valley to visit Bet Shean, the best preserved Roman/Byzantine city in this country.  Here, the biblical Scythopolis, we visit the Roman theater and the other excavations that have been uncovered here.  We continue to Jericho, the oldest city in the world. From this city’s walls we have a spectacular view of the “Mt of Temptation”.  After driving “up to Jerusalem”, we will visit the 2nd Temple Model to orient ourselves to Biblical Jerusalem before we continue to our hotel.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 9: Saturday, May 17, 2008 - The Passion:  Palm Sunday Walk; Dominus Flevit; Church of the Agony; Garden of Gethsemane; Cave of the Olive Press; Kidron Valley to the House of Caiaphas.  We will walk along the Palm Sunday Path and visit the garden that is a part of Gethsemane.  From here we shall move on to walk the Via Dolorosa, winding through the busy markets of the Old City.  We shall end our walk at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, scene of the Crucifixion and site of the Tomb.  After dinner at our hotel in Jerusalem, those who wish may visit the Scottish Hospice where a consortium of Arab women sell their handmade wares.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 10: Sunday, May 18, 2008 - The Judean Wilderness:  We drive along the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, to Masada, the isolated mountain-top fortress about 1400 feet above the banks of the Sea.  Masada was first fortified as early as the 1st or 2nd century BC and then enlarged by Herod the Great.  We will take a cable car to the top – but for those who wish, there will be the opportunity to either climb Masada to the top or to hike down the mountain.  We will visit Qumran where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

Day 11: Monday, May 19, 2008 - Through St. Stephen’s Gate to the Holy City, we walk to St. Anne’s Church standing on a property facing the Temple Mount.  Once inside we find ourselves singing (the acoustics are glorious).  Nearby, we visit excavations which speak to us of Jesus’ healing at the “pool with the five porticos.”  We walk together to the Temple Mount Dig, to the Dome of the Rock, to the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter.  We will visit the ancient excavated cisterns that were found under the Old City and explore the excavations of the Temple Mount Dig.  Near Jaffa Gate, we will explore the Citadel, known as the “Tower of David”, dating from the 2nd century BC and part of the palace of Herod the Great. Pontius Pilate almost certainly stayed here during his visits to Jerusalem, and it is here where, according to the gospels, Jesus was tried and condemned.  We will visit the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem where we will learn the history of the Citadel including the many civilizations that have occupied it.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

Day 12: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - We depart for Bethlehem for a visit to the Church of the Nativity under which is a cave venerated in the writings of St. Justin Martyr (around 160AD) as the birthplace of Jesus.  We will visit St. Catherine’s Church to see the grottoes of the Holy Innocents which contains the tombs of St. Joseph and St. Jerome.  We will visit Shepherd’s Field and then have lunch at a wonderful Arab restaurant called Two Mustaches before returning to Jerusalem for a visit to the House of Caiaphas, site of the imprisonment of Jesus prior to his crucifixion.  We will meet with some local Palestinians in the Old City.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BLD

Day 13: Friday, May 21, 2008 - New Jerusalem and Ein Kerem:  We will drive past the Knesset (modern Israel’s Parliament) and then visit the Israeli Museum where we will see the Shrine of the Book which contains the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other important artifacts.  There will be free time this afternoon for exploring other sites in Jerusalem on your own.  We will enjoy a gala farewell dinner together tonight.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

Day 14: Saturday, May 22, 2008 - We will depart from Ben Gurion Airport for our nonstop flight back to New York’s JFK Airport. BL

Price: $4,799.00.  Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes and fuel surcharges.  Roundtrip air from New York's JFK Airport.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement:  $899.00

Final payment due February 9, 2008

Cancellation Penalties
◊ August 15, 2007 – January 18, 2008: $200 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ January 19 – April 8, 2008: $300 plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ After April 8, 2008: NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, S Snack

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.