Nava Gan

Nava Gan

Nava Gan

Middle East » Israel March 17th 2011

Its taken me some time to put together this last entry, partly because I don't want it to be over, and partly because I have had a hard time finding the words to sum up the experience. This trip was truly a dream come true, and everything that I have shared with you is just a fraction of what we truly experienced. For all of us who went, it was more than a physical journey or a simple vacation. It was a journey of the heart and the spirit, and what I have shared is really just the tip of the iceberg. For each of us, the trip has been a deeply personal experience, and I am sure if you asked, we would each give you vastly different answers about how we were affected by the ... read more

Middle East » Israel » South District » Masada March 4th 2011

We woke to another beautiful morning here, but there was a strong wind blowing. The wind was so strong, in fact, that you could feel the spray coming off the Dead Sea even on a third floor balcony. We had a leisurely breakfast, and then had time to enjoy the Dead Sea Spa once more before we had to finish packing and getting ready to leave. We spent most of our last day in Israel touring the area around the Dead Sea. After leaving the hotel, we drove to Masada. We viewed a few of the artifacts that have been discovered there in the entrance hall, and then we watched a short movie about the site and the archeological finds that have been made there. Then it was time to board the cable car for the ... read more
Riding Up the Cable Car
Masada Ruins
Roman Garrison Ruins

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 3rd 2011

It was another bright and beautiful morning here in Yerushalayim. We started our day off with a tour of the City of David. King David's capital was originally founded south of the Temple Mount outside the walls of what today is the Old City. It was only in later generations when more space was needed that Yerushalayim was expanded to the north and west beyond the Temple Mount. Today archeologists are still working to uncover and preserve what remains of David's original capital and the earlier Jebusite city that he conquered and rebuilt. The City of David is an archeological preservation park. We began our tour with a 3-D movie about the site and what it looked like in David's day. We also toured the remains that have already been uncovered. Then we climbed down into ... read more
City of David
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Hezekiah's Tunnel

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 2nd 2011

Today was a very fun day. It started with a beautiful sunrise. The weather has really been wonderful since we got here. After breakfast, we drove to the Tisch Family Zoological Park in the hills of Yerushalayim. Yes, that's right...we came all the way to Israel and visited the zoo. The whole group is really a bunch of nature lovers, and we couldn't pass up an opportunity to visit the zoo. We even infected our guide with our excitement. It was the first time he had ever had a group that wanted to see the zoo, and he enjoyed wandering around the zoo just as much as we did. We started with a train ride all the way to the top of the hill on which the zoo sat, and then we slowly walked back down ... read more
nubian ibex

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 1st 2011

Today was our free day in Yerushalayim to do anything we wanted. So what did we do? We shopped of course! After breakfast, we walked from our hotel through the neighborhoods of the City to Ben Yehuda Street. It is one of the shopping districts of the City, and there were many interesting things to see and to buy. From there, it was only a short walk up Agrippa Street to the Mahane Yehuda Market, and since we hadn't been able to see the whole market on our previous visits, we decided to go back to see more. We also had lunch while we were there. What did we eat? Falafel of course! As I mentioned before, there is a falafel stand on every corner here like there is a Starbucks on every corner in the ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 28th 2011

We began today in remembrance. We arrived at Yad Vashem under skies of cloudless blue, and we walked down the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations. Every tree planted here represents someone who risked their life and the lives of their family to rescue Jews during the Shoah (This is the Hebrew term for what most people call the Holocaust, and it used because the meaning of the word “holocaust”, which is “a burnt offering or sacrifice”, is considered to be an inappropriate way to describe the tragedy suffered by Jews during World War II). There are many names listed here. Some you will be familiar with like Oskar Shindler and Irena Sendler, and others you will have never heard of like Raoul Wallendorf. All of them did something heroic in time when barbarity was ... read more
Entrance to the Children's Memorial
National Menorah

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 27th 2011

We started the day at the Jerusalem Archeological Park. We entered the park through the Davidson Center, where we were able to see some of the artifacts discovered in the area. We were also able to look at on overall model of the City. We watched a movie presentation about what the Temple may have looked like in the time of Y-shua. Then we entered into the park near the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. We were able to see the remains of the street and some of the buildings from the time of the Second Temple period. We were also able to see the corner piece that archeologists believe may once have been where the Levites stood to blow their silver horns based on a fragment of an inscription that was found on these ... read more
The Tunnels
Jewish Quarter

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 26th 2011

We woke to a bright and beautiful morning here in Yerushalayim on Friday. After breakfast, we drove to the Mount of Olives. From our vantage point, we had an amazing view of the City and the Kidron Valley that lies between it and the Mount of Olives. Directly before us was the Temple Mount, and on top sits the Dome of the Rock where once sat the Holy of Holies in the days of the Temple. We recited the Shema as we gazed at the Temple Mount, and many of us experienced mixed emotions. It is a great pleasure to know that we are once again able to worship in the City, but the sweet is mixed with the bitter because the Restoration of the City is not yet complete. We could also clearly see the ... read more
Gate of Mercy
Get Shemin
Zion Gate

Middle East » Israel » West Bank February 24th 2011

It was another beautiful morning in Galilee. We began our day with a drive to Bet She’an. Bet She’an was the capital of the Decapolis. The Decapolis was a confederation of ten Gentile cities around the southern end of the Sea of Galilee. At one time, Bet She’an was a fortified city built on a tel, but by the time of the Roman Occupation of Israel, the population had out grown the original city walls. At the height of its inhabitation, Bet She’an was a beautiful city laid out on the Roman grid pattern with the places of worship and government at the heart of the city and residences built around this center. On the tel was an acropolis, a temple devoted to the worship of the Romans’ pagan gods. There were many other temples and ... read more
Overview of Bet She'an
Judean Desert
Yarden River

Middle East » Israel February 23rd 2011

Today dawned beautiful and bright again. Some of us elected for a early morning walk. We saw the sun rise over the mountains surrounding us, and as we walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, we could see cormorants fishing for their morning meal. Then it was off to breakfast with everyone. After breakfast, we drove to Golan Heights. We got to see the tanks that were left from the Six Days War in 1963 on the way to our first stop. We stopped at the Talmudic village of Qazrin (pronounced Kas-rin). We got to see a restored village from the Talmudic era which would have been the called the Byzantine era outside of Israel. We got to walk through a house and see how the people of the time would have lived as ... read more
Banais Springs

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