I'm excited to announce
my upcoming Pilgrimage!
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A Study Tour
to the Holy Land
15-Day Trip ~ January 6 - 20, 2017
Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and more
Ah’lan wa Sah’lan! In Arabic, this phrase means “Welcome!” and is often used as an invitation. We’d like to offer you that invitation now: to join us on a journey to Israel and Palestine in January, 2017.
We’ll spend time first in Galilee and then in Haifa, Jerusalem and the West Bank (Bethlehem and surrounding towns). We’ll explore ancient sites from the Old and New Testaments, the settings for the events of the Bible. We’ll also meet the people who live, work, and worship in these places today. We will break bread together and gather for worship and devotions. The trip will offer us new insight about the land and its people: the past, present, and future of the place in which Jesus lived and did his ministry. Our hope is that all participants will find a deeper connection to the roots of Christianity, and gain greater insight and understanding of the current situation in the Holy Land.
You will be led by tour guides native to the Holy Land, and by three hosts chosen by PLTS for their insights, knowledge of the area and connections to local organizations.
Holy Land Pilgrimage ~ Itinerary
Friday, January 6, 2017 – San Francisco Departure: Today we begin our journey to Tel Aviv. Meals and beverages will be served as appropriate during the overnight flight.
Saturday, Jan. 7 – Arrive Tel Aviv: Upon arrival this afternoon in Tel Aviv we will meet our tour guide, who will direct us to our motorcoach for the transfer to our hotel in Nazareth. Upon arrival at the hotel we will have dinner, unpack and relax. (D)
Sunday, Jan. 8 – Nazareth: We begin this morning in Nazareth by visiting the Basilica of the Annunciation and other places significant in the life of Jesus’ family. We will also visit Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle, and Mt. Tabor, the site of the Transfiguration. Later, we will meet with an organization working with Christian and Muslim Israelis - a majority in towns such as Nazareth, but a religious minority within Israel. In the evening, we’ll return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Monday, Jan. 9 - Tiberias and Sea of Galilee: Today we will explore the area around the Sea of Galilee, where much of Jesus’ ministry occurred. Highlights include Capernaum (where Jesus began his public life), Tabgha (the feeding of the 5,000), Mt. of Beatitudes, the Golan Heights, and Caesarea Philippi. We will gather for a Communion service at Tabgha, and end the day with a beautiful sunset cruise on the Sea of Galilee before returning to our hotel. (B, D)
Tuesday, Jan. 10 - Lower Galilee: Today’s journey takes us first to the Jordan River where we have the opportunity to participate in a renewal of baptism. Next, we’ll drive through Magdala (home of Mary Magdalene) and visit the village of Eilaboun, a typical small Christian/Muslim village in Galilee where we will have lunch, meet local residents, and visit a Melkite church. Next we will travel through the beautiful Lower Galilee and arrive at our hotel in Haifa. (B, L, D)
Wednesday, Jan. 11 - Haifa: Today we explore Haifa, a city of 5 different ethnicities and religions living in harmony. A day filled with beauty and learning begins with a visit to Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah battled against the prophets of Baal. We will learn about the Baha’i faith during a stop at the beautiful Baha’i Temple and gardens, and we’ll enjoy an authentic lunch and spend time at a local market. In the afternoon we’ll have the opportunity for in-depth discussion at a nearby Jewish-Arab co-existence center. Later, we’ll drive through the vista point of Stella Maris before returning to our hotel for dinner and an evening at leisure. (B, L, D)
Thursday, Jan. 12- Traveling to Jerusalem: During today’s journey to Jerusalem we will stop at Neve Shalom - Wahat al- Salaam (Oasis of Peace), an intentional community jointly established by Jewish and Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. We’ll have lunch and conversation with peacemakers who live their dream. We’ll also make a stop at the Roman ruins of Caesarea-by-the-sea before arriving at our Jerusalem hotel late this afternoon. (B, L, D)
Friday, Jan. 13 – Jerusalem: This morning we will travel back in time as we visit the archeological excavations of the biblical city of King David and explore the ancient city of Jerusalem. If time permits, we will visit the “Machane Yehuda” marketplace to experience the atmosphere of preparation for Shabbat. After dinner we will take a late night stroll to the Western Wall, where you’ll have a chance to write your personal prayers to God and put them in the Western Wall. (B, D)
Saturday, Jan. 14 – Jerusalem: We begin our day by visiting the grounds of the third most holy place in the Muslim tradition, Al-Aqsa Mosque, where according to the Quran, the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Later we will visit the Mount of Olives and tour Augusta Victoria Hospital with Rev. Mark Brown of the Lutheran World Federation after which we will have a catered lunch at the LWF Vocational Training Center and tour that facility. Later we will walk part of the Palm Sunday Road to visit the Garden of Gethsemane, and in the late afternoon we’ll walk through the Armenian, Arab and Jewish quarters of Jerusalem’s old city. (B, D)
Sunday, Jan. 15 - Jerusalem: For those who wish to participate this morning will begin with a very early breakfast and an early morning walk along the Via Dolorosa. At 9AM we will gather for worship at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer followed by a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Later we will visit Yad Vashem Holocaust history museum. From Yad Vashem, we will return to our hotel for a free evening. (B, D)
Monday, Jan. 16- Bethlehem: Today we explore “the little town of Bethlehem.” We begin the day visiting sites commemorating the birth of Jesus – the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. We will also visit the DIYAR International Center, where we will enjoy lunch and a special talk led by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb. This afternoon we will meet with local dignitaries and organizations to gain a deeper understanding of the current political and cultural situation in Palastine. This evening we will enjoy dinner with our guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Robert Smith, Academic Director for University of Notre Dame at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, before returning to our Bethlehem hotel. (B, L, D)
Tuesday, Jan. 17 - Jericho: Today begins with a visit to ancient Jericho, where we have the opportunity to travel by cable car to the Mount of Temptation and enjoy the panoramic view before enjoying lunch in the Old City of Jericho. This afternoon we will motor to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth, where we’ll have the unique opportunity to float in the Sea. Next we will see Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, before returning to Bethlehem for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
Wednesday, Jan. 18 – Bethlehem: Today we plan to visit the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Beit Jala. Returning to Bethlehem, we will meet with local Israeli and Palestinian organizations before enjoying dinner in Bethlehem. This evening we will have the unique opportunity to celebrate Christmas with our Armenian brothers and sisters as we witness their Christmas Eve procession to Manger Square. We will return to our Bethlehem hotel for overnight. (B, D)
Thursday Jan. 19. 2017 – Bethlehem / Tel Aviv: This morning we will meet with Dr. Charlie Haddad, Director of Education, to discuss Lutheran education in the Holy Land and visit a Lutheran school. If schedules allow, we will also meet Bishop Munib Younan of the ELCJHL and President of the Lutheran World Federation. Later we will travel to Ramallah for a tour of the city and a visit to the Palestinian Authority governmental site and Arafat’s tomb. This evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant featuring a local dancing group before transferring to Tel Aviv Airport to board our overnight flight home. (B, D)
Friday Jan. 20, Tel Aviv / San Francisco: We arrive in San Francisco this morning. Welcome home!
Key: B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner