November 7-16, 2012
With host Pastor Keith Blank and tour leader Nelson Kraybill
Do you want to deepen your understanding of the Bible and experience where it was lived out? Join TourMagination's classic Israel/Palestine tour with Pastor Keith Blank of Mountville Mennonite Church in Mountville, PA. Familiar Bible passages will come to life and your understanding of biblical history will be deepened by visits to both Old and New Testament sites. Your faith will be enriched as you get an intimate feel for the hills, towns, and seashore that Jesus knew so well. One special highlight of this tour is a visit to Nazareth Village, a recreated first-century village that offers a "living presentation of the life, times and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth" to people from all over the world. Nelson Kraybill, Bible teacher and President Emeritus of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, who has led groups to Israel/Palestine, will be the tour leader.
Click here to read past blogs about tours to the Holy Lands.
Street view of Nazareth,
We will have an afternoon departure from Newark, New Jersey, arriving in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning. We will travel to Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, where we will stay for two nights.
After a good night’s rest and a delicious Israeli breakfast, we will be eager to experience our first day in the Holy Land. We will start our morning by visiting Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed his first miracle – will our water turn into wine? Then we will visit Nazareth Village and experience for ourselves what life would have been like when Jesus walked the streets of Nazareth.
Observe 1st-c. Jewish life at Nazareth Village
We will enjoy a Parable Walk, hearing Jesus’ parables in a setting that might have inspired the images he used. This Christian interpretative center makes the Bible come to life. We will share a first-century lunch at Nazareth Village. In the afternoon, we will take a walking tour of Nazareth, visiting sites such as Mary’s Well and the Basilica of the Annunciation.
This morning, we will visit Caesarea, where Peter met and baptized Cornelius and his family, and will climb Mount Carmel, where Elijah met the prophets of Baal. Traveling to Haifa, we will see the unique Baha’i Gardens, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and will again remember the story of Elijah as we visit the Stella Maris Church. We will stay at a kibbutz by the Sea of Galilee for two nights.
See the ancient ruins at Capernum
Sunday morning we will worship on the Mount of Beatitudes as well as visit the Church of the Loaves and Fishes and the town of Capernaum. At noon, we will enjoy a special St. Peter’s Fish Lunch, followed by a ride on a replica first-century boat on the Sea of Galilee while we hear the stories of Jesus, his disciples and their experiences on this sea. Later in the afternoon we will have a meaningful visit to the Jordan River to see the spot where it is thought that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
This morning, we will travel to Jericho, the lowest city on earth, and remember the city whose walls crumbled at the blast of a trumpet. We will see the Mount of Temptation. After lunch at a Palestinian restaurant, we will travel to Bethlehem, where we will enjoy a tour of the Church of the Nativity and listen to the rustic flutes at Shepherd’s Field. There will be an opportunity to shop for olivewood products at a Christian Store in Bethlehem. Then it’s on to Jerusalem. On the way, we will relive the story of the Good Samaritan.
There is so much to see and do in Jerusalem. Today will be a full day of visiting sites, including the Mount of Olives, the Upper Room (Cenacle), the Pool of Siloam, St. Peter in Gallicantu, and much more. In the afternoon, we will enjoy a conversation with the MCC workers in Jerusalem to learn about their work in Israel.
Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered
Today we travel into the desert, and our first stop is the fortress of Masada, where the last rebels held out against Rome. Then it’s on to the caves of Qumran to learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls and their discovery there. We will travel to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, where we will have an opportunity to swim (or float!) in the Dead Sea.
We will walk the Via Dolorosa this morning and observe the Stations of the Cross. We will visit the Israeli Museum and get an overview of ancient Jerusalem from the vast model there. Together, we will have a special communion service at the Garden Tomb, which will undoubtedly be a significant memory of your time in Israel. The day will conclude with a delicious farewell dinner together.
It’s time to return home. Our flight to Newark departs Tel Aviv mid-morning. As pilgrims and friends, we will have sung and prayed together as the Bible came to life for us in our tour together through Israel/Palestine.
View of Jerusalem, the Holy City
For further information regarding the complete tour fare, please