My Tour of the Holy Land Dec 2019

Visit the Holy Land - It Will Change Your Life!

This is my tour of the Holy Land.  My first time here and what an experience has been!  I'll do my best to write about our journey each day and describe it all.  It can be an emotional experience when you realize you are walking the very places where Jesus and the disciples walked 2000 years ago.  I hope my summary will do justice to the experience.  This is really a trip you have to experience for yourself in order to take in the magnitude of where  you are and what you are seeing.

I left Memphis for New York City on December 9.  From there, flew non stop from JFK to Tel Aviv aboard the Israeli National Airlines.  That was an experience in itself.  So many questions were asked of me  just to check in, it felt good to have that level of security.  

Upon arrival in Tel Aviv I met our tour company, Educational Travel Services.  ETS is the #1 North American tour operator to Israel, in business since 1974.  They have an amazing team, modern coaches, excellent and knowledgeable guides and drivers plus support staff on the ground in each hotel we stay in.

ETS offers so many great Faith Travel land and cruise tours and I will be using them to put together some 2020 trips for my Faith Travel Group.  They truly know what they are doing, as they are so experienced in Israel having been bringing pilgrims here for 45 years.

Upon arrival we were transferred to the city of Tiberius where we would spend 2 nights and start our Holy Land Journey. 

This was my large group of fellow Travel Agents invited to see the Holy Land
My certificate for visiting Israel

 

 

This is a short video made by our Tour Guide, Tssippi Segal.  She was just excellent.  Her knowledge of the Bible and Israel's history was just amazing.

I apologize for the wind noise in the video.  It has been captioned by my fellow travel agent, Kea Brown of Eagle High Travel.

Our hotel was the Caesare Premier Hotel and Spa.  A very nice, comfortable accommodation right on the banks of the Sea of Galilee.  We ate breakfast and dinner here each of our 2 days and I found the food offerings quite abundant and delicious.

12/10/19  We spent the first of 2 nights in Tiberius, an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Established around 20 CE, it was named in honour of the second emperor of the Roman Empire, Tiberius.  

The Valley of the Wind (or Valley of the Doves) is a non-biblical place, which only means it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible. It is located to the west of the Sea of Galilee and is formed by Mount Arbel to the south and Mount Nitai to the north. The valley runs east to west and leads to the Mediterranean Sea. Air from the Mediterranean can cross the Sea of Galilee here and, combined with other geographical features of the area, result in storms that arise quickly on the Sea of Galilee. The town and excavations of Magdela are located where the valley opens into the Sea of Galilee.

Over the centuries, well-meaning Christians (and people of other faiths) have built churches, chapels, and shrines on nearly every location where a significant event took place. This means there are very few places that resemble the appearance from 2,000 years ago. This can present an emotional or psychological challenge to many of the people who visit these sites. You must use your imagination to think of, and see, the place where Jesus walked.

The mountains on both sides have not changed since Jesus walked here. When Jesus walked between the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth, He may have stopped to rest on one of the many boulders next to the stream that has flowed through this valley for thousands of years. Today, a person can still walk through this valley and see no roads and no traffic. No churches or chapels. There is only the valley. A quiet and peaceful valley where Jesus walked.

The Mount of the Beatitudes

is the location believed to be the place where the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was preached. It is on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. The exact location cannot be determined, but its proximity to Capernaum (about a mile away) and other features make this the likely location. There is a church built on the mount in remembrance of the Sermon on the Mount. This church has a distinctive architecture and is visible from the Sea of Galilee, which makes it a good landmark.

Tabgha

on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee, is best known for Christ’s miraculous multiplication of loaves and fish to feed a multitude.

The modern Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha stands on the site of a 4th-century church, displaying Byzantine mosaic decorations that are among the most elegantly executed in the Holy Land.

ST. PETER’S PRIMACY

The church of St. Peter’s Primacy was built by Franciscans in 1933 to remember the place where Jesus bestowed church leadership on Peter in Matthew 16:18: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”  The church is built over a flat rock that Byzantine pilgrims believed was the Mensa Christi where Jesus ate fish with his disciples after the resurrection.

Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is a magnificent geographical marvel surrounded by pretty rural agricultural settlements. Famous because of its prominence among New Testament writings (as is the whole of the Galilee as the place Jesus lived), the Sea of Galilee is one of the earliest settled areas in the Land of Israel.  We visited and took a boat ride in a "Jesus Boat" and had a devotional service while on board. 

Capernaum

The city was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. 

The town is cited in all four gospels  where it was reported to have been the hometown of the tax collector Matthew, and located not far from Bethsaida, the hometown of the apostles Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. Some readers take Mark 2:1 as evidence that Jesus may have owned a home in the town, but it is more likely that he stayed in the house of one of his followers here. He certainly spent time teaching and healing there. One Sabbath, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum and healed a man who was possessed by an unclean spirit .  Afterward, Jesus healed Simon Peter's mother-in-law of a fever . According to , this is also the place where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion who had asked for his help. Capernaum is also the location of the healing of the paralytic lowered by friends through the roof to reach Jesus, as reported in .

The Jordan River

According to Christian tradition, the baptism of Jesus (Matthew, 3: 13-17) took place in Qasr el Yahud, north of the Dead Sea and east of Jericho. For centuries, Qasr el Yahud was the most important baptism site for pilgrims, and monasteries and guest houses were established near it. After the Six-Day War Qasr el Yahud fell under Israeli control. Due to military activity and excavations, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism established Yardenit in 1981 as an alternative pilgrimage site.[2] Yardenit became the first regulated baptism site on the Israeli side of the river. 

Many in our tour group were either baptized or re-baptized in this holy place.

Jericho

Today, we visited Jericho, a Palestinian city in the West Bank.  We visited the archaeological site of Herod's palace and had went shopping in a local bazaar before having lunch in a local cafe.  The Christian Gospels state that Jesus of Nazareth passed through Jericho where he healed blind beggars (Matthew 20:29), and inspired a local chief tax-collector named Zacchaeus to repent of his dishonest practices (Luke 19:1–10). The road between Jerusalem and Jericho is the setting for the Parable of the Good Samaritan.[48]

Qumran

is an archaeological site in the West Bank managed by Israel's Qumran National Park.  

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947–1956, extensive excavations have taken place in Qumran. Nearly 900 scrolls were discovered. Most were written on parchment and some on papyrusCisternsJewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower.

Many scholars believe the location was home to a Hebrew sect, probably the Essenes. But, according to Lawrence Schiffman, the rules of the community, its heavy stress on priesthood and the Zadokite legacy, and other details indicate a Sadducean-oriented sect either distinct from or one of the various Essene groupings.  Others propose non-sectarian interpretations, some of these starting with the notion that it was a Hasmonean fort that was later transformed into a villa for a wealthy family, or a production center, perhaps a pottery factory or something similar.

The Inn of the Good Samaritan

Though the Inn of the Good Samaritan existed only in a parable, a real-life site was proposed in the early Christian centuries to edify the faith of pilgrims. 

The location, beside the road going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, fitted Jesus’ parable about the man who “fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:25-37).  In the 6th century a Byzantine monastery with pilgrim accommodation was erected on the site of what was probably some sort of travellers’ hostel well before the time of Jesus. Later the Crusaders established a fortress on a nearby hill to protect pilgrims against robbers.  The remains of the monastery, about 18 kilometres from Jerusalem, became an Ottoman caravanserai and then served as a police post during the 20th century.

In 2009, Israel build a Mosaic Museum on the site.

The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives, one of three hills on a long ridge to the east of Jerusalem, is the location of many biblical events. Rising to more than 800 metres, it offers an unrivalled vista of the Old City and its environs.  The hill, also called Mount Olivet, takes its name from the fact that it was once covered with olive trees.

In the Old Testament, King David fled over the Mount of Olives to escape when his son Absalom rebelled.  After King Solomon turned away from God, he built pagan temples there for the gods of his foreign wives.  Ezekiel had a vision of “the glory of the Lord” ascending from the city and stopping on the Mount of Olives.  Zechariah prophesied that in the final victory of the forces of good over the forces of evil, the Lord of hosts would “stand on the Mount of Olives” and the mount would be “split in two from east to west”.

Jesus often traveled over the Mount of Olives on the 40-minute walk from the Temple to Bethany. He also went there to pray or to rest.  He went down the mount on his triumphal entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, on the way weeping over the city’s future destruction.  In a major address to his disciples on the mount, he foretold his Second Coming.  He prayed there with his disciples the night before he was arrested (Matthew 26:30-56). And he ascended into heaven from there.

Jews have always sought to be buried on the slopes of the mount. The area serves as one of Jerusalem’s main cemeteries, with an estimated 150,000 graves.  Among them is a complex of catacombs called the Tombs of the Prophets. It is said to contain the graves of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, who lived in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, but the style of tombs belongs to a later time.

The Mount of Olives is the location of several major sites for pilgrims. They include:

• Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony): A sombre church at Gethsemane, built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before he was crucified.

• Church of St Mary Magdalene: A Russian Orthodox church whose seven gilded onion domes, each topped by a tall cross, make it one of Jerusalem’s most picturesque sights.

• Church of Dominus Flevit: A church in the shape of a teardrop, commemorating the Gospel incident in which Jesus wept over the future fate of Jerusalem.

• Church of Pater Noster: Recalling Christ’s teaching of the Lord’s Prayer, this church features translations of the prayer in 140 languages, inscribed on colourful ceramic plaques.

• Dome of the Ascension: A small shrine, now a mosque marking the place where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven.

• The garden and grotto of Gethsemane: The ancient olive grove identified as the place where Jesus went to pray the night before he was crucified, and the cave where his disciples are believed to have slept.

• Tomb of Mary: A dimly-lit, below-ground church where a Christian tradition says the Mother of Jesus was buried.

The Garden Tomb

is a rock-cut tomb in Jerusalem, which was unearthed in 1867 and is considered by some Christians to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus. The tomb has been dated by Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay to the 8th–7th centuries BCE.  The re-use of old tombs was not an uncommon practice in ancient times, but this would contradict the biblical text that speaks of a new, not reused, tomb made for himself by Joseph of Arimathea.  Also, the trough in front of the tomb and the nearby cistern, described by proponents of the Garden Tomb as part of the tomb's sealing system and as the surrounding garden's source of water, respectively, have both been archaeologically dated to the Crusader period (12th-13th century).  The organisation maintaining the Garden Tomb refrains from claiming that this is the authentic tomb of Jesus, while pointing out the similarities with the site described in the Bible, and the fact that the Garden Tomb better preserves its ancient outlook than the more traditional, but architecturally altered and time-damaged tomb from the mostly crowded Church of the Holy Sepulchre; for all of these reasons, they suggest that the Garden Tomb is more evocative of the events described in the Gospels.

The Garden Tomb is adjacent to a rocky escarpment which since the mid-nineteenth century has been proposed by some scholars to be Golgotha. It has since been known as Skull Hill or Gordon's Golgotha. In contradistinction to this modern identification, the traditional site where the death and resurrection of Christ are believed to have occurred has been the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at least since the fourth century.

Since 1894, the Garden Tomb and its surrounding gardens have been maintained as a place of Protestant worship and reflection by a Christian non-denominational charitable trust based in the United Kingdom named The Garden Tomb (Jerusalem) Association.  As such, the Garden Tomb stands as a popular site of pilgrimage for many Christians, especially Evangelical Anglicans and other Protestants.

Our Tour Company reserved a devotional area within the Garden for us to have Communion.  We were led by 2 pastors who were on our trip, Phillip Goodson of Chicago and Richard Parks of Maryland.

 

 

Our Jerusalem Hotel - The Olive Tree Hotel

Our hotel for the rest of our stay in Israel is a 4 star hotel that ETS uses as a base for their Israel Tours.  The hotel was very nice, comfortable and provided a great home while we were in Jerusalem.

The Via Dolorosa

Today we ventured into the old city through the Jaffa Gate and walked the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) visiting the 14 Stations of the Cross as they identify with the suffering of Jesus on his way to crucifixion. Every Friday afternoon hundreds of Christians join in a procession through the Old City of Jerusalem,

It is unlikely that Jesus followed this route on his way to Calvary. Today’s Via Dolorosa originated in pious tradition rather than in certain fact, but it is hallowed by the footsteps of the faithful over centuries.

 

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

As we walked the Via Dolorosa, we stopped at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Upon entering, we ascended a staircase to the floor of Calgary,  built above the built above the rock on which Jesus was crucified.  I was privileged to be able to reach down under the altar through a hole in floor and touch the rock of Calgary.  The church also holds  Jesus's empty tomb, where he is said to have been buried and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula.

Ownership of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is shared between the Greek Orthodox, Catholics (known in the Holy Land as Latins) and Armenian Orthodox.  Three minor Orthodox communities, Coptic, Syriac and Ethiopian, have rights to use certain areas. The Ethiopian monks live in a kind of African village on the roof, called Deir es-Sultan.  The rights of possession and use are spelled out by a decree, called the Status Quo, originally imposed by the Ottoman Turks in 1757. It even gives two Muslim families the sole right to hold the key and open and close the church — a tradition that dates back much further, to 1246. 

This is the pre-eminent shrine for Christians, who consider it the holiest place on earth. And it attracts pilgrims by the thousands, all drawn to pay homage to our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Bethlehem--Nissan Olive Tree Factory

Church of Saint Anne

A French Roman Catholic church, located at the start of the Via Dolorosa, near the Lions' Gate and churches of the Flagellation and Condemnation, in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Church of St Anne is the best-preserved Crusader church in Jerusalem. It marks the traditional site of the home of Jesus’ maternal grandparents, Anne and Joachim, and the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.  Located just north of the Temple Mount, about 50 metres inside St Stephen’s or Lions’ Gate, the church stands in a courtyard with trees, shrubs and flowers. Its tranquility contrasts with the bustling streets and alleys of the Muslim Quarter.

Next to the church is the large excavation area of the Pools of Bethesda, where Christ healed a sick man 

Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu

A Roman Catholic church located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, just outside the Old (walled) City of Jerusalem.  The church takes its name from the Latin word "Gallicantu", meaning cock's-crow. This is in commemoration of Peter's triple rejection of Jesus "... before the cock crows twice." 

A Byzantine shrine dedicated to Peter's repentance was erected on this spot in 457 AD, but was destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah in 1010. The chapel was rebuilt by Crusaders in 1102 and given its present name. After the fall of Jerusalem the church again fell into ruin and was not rebuilt until 1931. Today a golden rooster protrudes prominently from the sanctuary roof in honor of its biblical connection. This spot is also believed to be the location of the High Priest Caiaphas' palace.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the interior is the ceiling, which is dominated by a huge cross-shaped window designed in a variety of colors. The fourteen Stations of the Cross also line the walls and are marked with simple crosses.  Beneath the upper church is a chapel which incorporates stone from ancient grottos inside its walls. Down a hole in the center of the sanctuary one can see caves that may have been part of the Byzantine shrine. These walls are engraved with crosses left by fifth-century Christians. On an even lower level there is a succession of caves from the Second Temple period. Since tradition places the palace of Caiaphas on this site, many believe that Jesus may have been imprisoned in one of these underground crypts after his arrest, however, these caves were normal in many Roman-era homes, and often served as cellars, water cisterns, and baths. On the north side of the church is an ancient staircase that leads down towards the Kidron Valley. This may have been a passage from the upper city to the lower city during the first temple period. Many Christians believe that Jesus followed this path down to Gethsemane the night of his arrest.

The Upper Room - Site of the Last Supper

The Upper Room, also known as the Cenacle, is located in the southern part of the Old City of Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and is perhaps best known as the traditional site of the Last Supper since the fourth century AD. The current structure of the room dates approximately from the fourteenth century, which accounts for the existing Gothic-era columns.

According to tradition, this is where the apostles stayed when they were in Jerusalem. It is where the Last Supper took place. The Cenacle is where Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, which symbolizes the ministry of loving service. It is where the concept of a loving friendship with Jesus was introduced, as set forth in John’s Last Supper discourses, and gave the apostles a glimpse into the beautiful prayer life of Jesus, sometimes known as the “high priestly prayer,” recorded in John 17. It is the place where the disciples gathered in fear after the death of Jesus and prayed, with Mary, for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

By tradition, this is the same room where Jesus appeared, both before and after the resurrection. It was here that the Risen One made visible his wounds to see and touch, and the room where the faith of Thomas emerged. It is where the Risen Lord breathed on them the Holy Spirit “on the evening of that first day of the week”. It is where tongues of fire appeared to them on Pentecost and “they were all filled with the holy Spirit”. That event marks the birthday of the Church in the presence of our Blessed Mother. It is from there that the apostles went forth with boldness sharing the Good News.

Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations

The garden of Gethsemane, near the foot of the Mount of Olives, is named in the New Testament as the place where Jesus went with his disciples to pray the night before he was crucified. The garden, about 1200 square metres in area, was well known to the disciples as it is close to the natural route from the Temple to the summit of the Mount of Olives and the ridge leading to Bethany.

Beside the garden is the Church of All Nations, built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony before he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested.  About 100 metres north of the church is the Grotto of Gethsemane, where Jesus and his disciples often camped at night. In this natural grotto, it is believed, the disciples slept while Jesus prayed. Near the grotto is the Tomb of Mary, where a Christian tradition holds that the Mother of Jesus was buried after she “fell asleep” in death.

We were able to have a short devotional and sang a hymn while here.

Bethlehem - Shepherds Field

According to the Gospel of Luke, an angel visited shepherds in this field to announce the birth of our saviour, Jesus.

The angel’s good news was not given to the noble or pious, but to workers with a low reputation. Jewish literature ranked “shepherd” as among the most despised occupations of the time — but Jesus was to identify himself with this occupation when he called himself “the Good Shepherd”

The site is in the custody of the Franciscans and there is a beautiful chapel there. Prior to the construction of the present chapel in 1953, Franciscan archaeologist Virgilio Canio Corbo excavated the site and found evidence of a large monastic establishment, whose church dates to the 5th century. 

Bethlehem - The Church of the Nativity

Today’s basilica, the oldest complete church in the Christian world, was built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It replaced the original church of Constantine the Great, built over the cave venerated as Christ’s birthplace, and dedicated in AD 339

Entering the church that marks the site of Christ’s birthplace means having to stoop low. The only doorway in the fortress-like front wall is just 1.2 metres high.

The previous entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was lowered around the year 1500 to stop looters from driving their carts in. To Christians, it seems appropriate to bow low before entering the place where God humbled himself to become man.

a 14-point silver star on the marble floor of the Grotto of the Nativity bears the words “Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est” (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary).

A small relic of wood believed to be a fragment of the manger where Jesus was laid after his birth arrived in Bethlehem on Saturday, a gift from Pope Francis to help mark the start of the Christmas season.

The relic was welcomed in the city some 1,400 years after it is said to have left the Holy Land. It was donated to Pope Theodore in the seventh century by St. Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, according to theCustos of the Holy Land for the Catholic Church, the group receiving the relic.

Bethlehem--Nissan Family Olive Wood Factory

we stopped by the Nissan Olive Wood Factory for a tour.  What an amazing place!  The craftsmanship in their work is just unbelievable.  Most of the pieces are hand-carved by true artisans and sell for thousands of dollars in the upstairs store.  The detail carving is just incredible.

The History of the Nissan family is traced back to the early 20th Century, when the family emigrated from Turkey. After so many years of hard work, the family managed to set foot in the Tourism Industry and was able to achieve many successes in this field and was passed on from Great Grand father to son up till now. The Nissan family religion is Assyrian Orthodox, which still uses the ancient language Spoken by our Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST, the same language spoken by the Prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, also the same language used in the Liturgy of Jacob, the brother Of God.

In the early Nineteen 40s, the four brothers, ware able to obtain a license by the Ministry of tourism enabling them to sell some religious souvenirs to tourists who were growing in numbers. The idea of renting a store kept persisting until the early part of the nineteen seventies when their dream came true, and they rented a small shop on Manger Street. Now they have expanded so much by God’s grace and are owners of the Largest Tourism facilities in the area.

After shopping, the Nissan family treated us to a wonderful lunch in their adjacent, 5 star restaurant.  

Bethlehem - Miscellaneous Scenes

Just some miscellaneous images I took in Bethlehem.

Notice the play on words in some of the business names 🙂

In some ways, I though I was in the USA 🙂

Bethlehem - Dinner with the Qumseih Family

A small group of us were fortunate to be able to have dinner with Amal and Issa Qumseih this evening.  Amal and Issa are Palestinian Christians in majority Muslim Bethlehem. We had a wonderful meal and were able to spend several hours getting to know our hosts and hear about their experience as minority Christians in a Muslim City. 

 

We began our last day in Israel this morning.  We got an early start and didn't run into as many other tourists during our tours that morning.  We would see some sights today and then get back to our hotel for some rest and dinner and then be taken to the Tel Aviv airport for our overnight flights home.

 

The Teaching Steps

Known to Jews and Christians as the "Teaching Steps" or the "Rabbi Steps", the steps at the southern end of the Temple Mount are believed to be where Jesus would often teach when He was in Jerusalem. These steps led to the Triple Gate (Hulda Gate), which was a primary entrance to the Temple Mount in the time of Christ.

 
On-going excavations in the area show the grandeur of Herod’s reconstruction of the Temple Mount, and is known as the Jerusalem Archaeological Park—Davidson Center. The rabbis of the Mishna and Talmud said of the Temple Mount: “Anyone who has not seen the Temple of Herod has never seen a beautiful building” 

 

 

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park - The Davidson Center

Davidson Center, the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, is located nearby the Western Wall in the Old City. Davidson Center is one of the Jerusalem’s top tourist attractions due to its historical and archeological significance and, of course, its beauty. You will find archaeological finds and displays from the First& Second Temple periods: the ancient city wall, the Temple’s staircase, a preserved ancient street, ritual immersion baths, and stores.

Davidson Center is home to some of the most intriguing and important archaeological finds from the Second Temple period. Researchers have discovered a wide and impressive street nearby the Western Wall. Apparently, this street used to be the area’s main street and was visited frequently by pilgrims, tourists, and sages such as Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai and Rabbi Akiva. Walk the street’s paving stones and immerse yourself in the story of ancient Jerusalem where thousands of Jews walked 2000 years ago, making their way to Temple Mount. Walking the street, you will also notice huge stones. These stones were knocked from the walls of Temple Mount and have been lying there ever since.

Western Wall

The Western Wall, or “Wailing Wall”, is the most religious site in the world for the Jewish people. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, it is the western support wall of the Temple Mount. Thousands of people journey to the wall every year to visit and recite prayers. These prayers are either spoken or written down and placed in the cracks of the wall. The wall is divided into two sections, one area for males and the other for females. It is one of the major highlights in any tour of the Old City.

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

This was the last stop on our tour and the most distressing and disturbing.  As difficult as it was to tour the exhibits, the photos and video, we must all remember this horrible time in our history so it never happens again.

Yad Vashem opened in 2005. Shaped as a prism penetrating the mountain, the museum’s architecture sets the atmosphere for the 9 chilling galleries of interactive historical displays which present the Holocaust in many ways. These include photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos.

The museum leads into the Hall of Names, an eerie space containing over three million names of Holocaust victims that were submitted by their families and relatives. Names can still be submitted by visitors to the memorial and added to the computerized archive, whilst visitors are able to search through the records.

In addition to the Holocaust History Museum, the Yad Vashem campus has a number of other chilling memorials which you can visit. These include the Hall of Remembrance, where the ashes of the dead are buried and an eternal flame burns in commemoration; Yad Layeled, the children’s memorial, which commemorates the one and a half million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust; and The Memorial to the Deportees, a railroad car hanging over the cliff on the road winding down from the mountain commerorating those who were deported.

Visiting the Holy Land was an amazing experience.  It is hard to describe the feeling on visiting places where Jesus and the disciples lived and ministered.  In many places, I could have been walking in the very spots where Jesus walked 2000 years ago.  

It made the bible stories and sermons I've heard all my life truly come alive, to be in these places, see them first hand and just experience the wonder of visiting the places of Jesus.

I highly recommend every Christian visit the Holy Land.  It will give you a new meaning of your faith and yes, it can change your life.  We have met people from all over the world here, on their personal pilgrimage.  People from North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia, all here to explore and renew their personal faith.

If you are interested in a trip to the Holy Land, please contact me.  I'll be happy to talk of my experience and tell you how you can join one of these life changing journeys.

Jim Donnell, Travel Advisor

Cell/Text: (731) 695-1954

I will be planning future trips to the Holy Land in 2020.  If you would like to join our group for one of these life changing experiences, join our Faith Travel Group on Facebook:

 

Travel by Jim / Memorable Vacations, LLC

National Tour Association