* This itinerary is subject to change
This trip will be guided by one of Ramah Israel’s experienced tour guides.
The group will depart from a designated meeting place in Jerusalem at 8:30 AM each morning and will return there each evening at around 5:30 PM, except for a longer day on Tuesday which will require an early departure at 7:00 AM and return to Jerusalem at around 7:00 PM.
Lunch every day at the daily lunch break will be at the participants’ own expense. Lunch on the last day will be an authentic Israeli culinary experience, included in the cost of the trip.
We start the day at Ir David – The City of David, seeing the earliest remains of Jerusalem from the Canaanite period onward. Have the archaeologists found the foundations of King David’s palace? We will end the tour by walking through the Second Temple Period drainage tunnel, from the southern end (by the Shiloah Pool) until the exit by Robinson’s Arch at the Western Wall. Next we will enjoy the stunning view from The Mount of Olives, giving us another perspective on the Temple Mount of the Second Temple Period and orientation to ancient and modern sites of Jerusalem. In the afternoon we visit Emek Tzurim at the base of Mount Scopus to participate in an urgent archaeological rescue project to save the evidence of Jerusalem’s past, by sifting rubble removed from the Temple Mount.
We begin our day by traveling to the Judean Desert and visiting Herodion, where we explore one of King Herod’s palace-fortresses and see the location of the recently discovered burial site of Herod himself. Travel to Gush Etzion – The Etzion Bloc. Enjoy lunch (at participants’ expense) at the delicious Gavna dairy restaurant which has a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills. View the band-new multi-media presentation at the Kfar Etzion Visitors Center. Kfar Etzion was a community which was originally established before the War of Independence as the “Southern Guardian” of Jerusalem. Tour some of the newer settlements of Gush Etzion.
Leaving Jerusalem for the day, we drive east and then north around Jericho to head up the Jordan River Valley road. On the way we will point out some Biblical and historical sites, and try to address some of the issues regarding the terrain of the land and the geo-politics of the area. Crossing the Harod and Jezreel valleys we pass through Jewish and Bedouin villages and circle around Mount Tavor (Tabor), where Deborah and Barak ben Avinoam fought against the Philistines. Continuing in the valley we pass through the Circassian village of Kfar Kama, where we will visit the Cricassian Heritage Center. Next we continue through the quaint Jewish town of Yavne’el to a breathtaking panoramic view from Upper Betanya of the southern part of the Kinneret. Descending to the edge of the sea, we pay homage to pioneers of the Second Aliya who worked at the Kinneret Courtyard, most notably the poetess Rachel (1890-1931). After hearing about the life of Rachel we will sing some of her many poems that were put to music and that are still popular today. We end the day with a visit to Gan Hashlosha (Sachne) National Park, enjoying a swim in the spring-fed pools and relaxing in the lush green surroundings before heading back to Jerusalem, arriving in the evening.
Today we will try to gain some insight into some of the religious/ethnic groups that make up the cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem and try to understand some of the complexities of different people referring to it as the “Holy City.” Beginning in the Old City, we will ascend to the Temple Mount compound where we will view the mosques and other landmarks that dominate the site and learn about the evolution of the compound since it’s foundation by Herod. Next we will walk through parts of the Muslim and Christian Quarters, overlapping with parts of the Via Dolorosa, the route marking the suffering of Jesus culminating at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In the afternoon, we will drive to the village of Ein Rafa just outside Jerusalem, to meet with a local Muslim woman in the village mosque to learn about Islam and the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens. We end the day in the neighboring village of Abu Ghosh, famous for being the only village in the area to assist Israel in the War of Independence, where we will visit the Benedictine Monastery, originally built in the 12th century by the Crusaders.
A new/old look at Tel Aviv’s past and present. Visit the ancient city of Jaffa to discover the beginnings of Tel Aviv and modern Hebrew culture and language, walking through the ancient Port and the bustling flea market. We then walk to Neve Tzedek and explore the alleys of this trendy neighborhood which was established before the founding of Tel Aviv. After a lunch break at Dr. Shakshuka, a local culinary hot spot, we will drive to the new Rabin Museum. We will then take a stroll along the beach, enjoying views of the Mediterranean, before concluding our day at the modern Tel Aviv Port with it’s seaside boardwalk lined with trendy cafes and restaurants, for a free evening with the Seminar participants.