Thursday, 04 October 2007 17:00

Christian Programs

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Let Siraj plan your visit to the Holy Land! In addition to offering guided tours of all key Christian sites--Church of the Nativity, Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the room of the Last Supper, the Sea of Galilee, Mount of the Beatitudes, the Jordan River, and more--the Christian program also includes shared worship with local churches, accommodation and meals with local families, and insightful meetings with grassroots organizations and church leaders.

Day One: Arrival and transfer to Bethlehem

Day Two: Bethlehem and Hebron

On Day Two we will familiarize you with Bethlehem and its surroundings, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. We will travel to Beit Sahour—the town of the shepherds—where the heavenly hosts first announced the birth of Jesus, and to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square, the place where Christ was born. Afterwards, we will explore the Judean wilderness, its stunning landscapes and the great Herodian palace. Then to Hebron, where we will explore the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron’s famous Old City, with its ancient arches and busy bazaars, winding alleys and glass factories, conversing with locals on the way. Before returning to Bethlehem we will stop to see the aqueducts at Solomon’s Pools. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem hotel.

Day Three: Jerusalem

On Day Three we will visit majestic Jerusalem, hub to all three major monotheistic religions, a highly disputed territory between Israelis and Palestinians. We will start by ascending the Mount of Olives for a panoramic view of Jerusalem’s Old City, and visit the Chapel of the Ascension, Pater Noster Church, Dominus Flevit, The Garden of Gethsemane, and the Church of the Agony. We will wend our way through the streets of the Old City, packed with fragrant spices and overflowing tables, to the Wailing Wall and Dome of the Rock—“the masterpiece of Islamic art.” After that we will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—the sacred site of Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. We will return to Beit Sahour for dinner with local families. Overnight in Bethlehem hotel.

Day Four: West and Jerusalem

On Day Four we will visit the Israeli Museum, Mount Zion, the room of the Last Supper, and the Dormition Abby, and finish our day in the Old City. At night we will meet with Jeff Helper, the general director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem hotel.

Day Five: Jericho

On Day Five we will venture to the longest inhabited city in the world and the lowest spot on earth: Jericho and the Dead Sea. We will visit St. George Monastery, and walk from the monastery to Jericho. We will climb the Mount of Temptation, the place where Jesus was tempted by Satan, and enjoy sweeping views of Jericho and the Dead Sea. After lunch, we will splash and float in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.

Day Six: Ramallah

On Day Six we will explore the northern region of the Holy Land, beginning with Birzeit University, where we will meet with members of the student union and representatives from The Right of Education Campaign, the campus human rights office. In Taybeh we will go to the Folklore Museum and sample beer from the first Palestinian brewery. We will drive to Nazareth for dinner and spend the night in a hotel.

Day Seven: Nazareth

In Nazareth’s Old City, we will learn about everyday life in the Gospel-era by visiting the home of Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus, the Church of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well, and finally the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus performed many miracles. After a leisurely boat ride we will arrive at Capernaum, Jesus’ home base in Galilee, and sojourn to the Jordan River and the mountain where Jesus listed the Beatitudes. Dinner and overnight in Nazareth hotel. 

Day Eight: Banias and Golan Highs

We will begin Day Eight by driving to Banias—source of the Jordan River—and visit Nimrod Castle, 2600 feet above sea level. After lunch with local Druze families, we will walk the Crying Valley. Dinner and overnight in Nazareth hotel.

Day Nine: Acco, Haifa and Jaffa

On our last day together we will explore three coastal cities, beginning with a walking tour of the Akko’s Old City and its beautiful mosque, followed by a hike to the top of Mount Carmel for an aerial view of Haifa. And finally, we will drive down the shimmering coast to the magnificent port of Jaffa. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.

Day Ten: Departure

Optional:

  • Desert Monasteries
  • Christian Villages
  • Worship with Palestinian Christians
  • Meetings with the Eastern Churches
  • Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre
  • Refugee Camps & Israeli Settlements
  • Meeting with university students
  • School Theatre Performance
  • Dabkeh Folklore evening
  • Palestinian Cuisine and Delicacies
  • Free days
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