Day 1 New York, NY
We depart on our international flight to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport. Dinner and breakfast are served on board.
Day 2 Galilee
We arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, where we are met by our tour escort and transferred to our hotel in the Galilee. Enjoy some free time before dinner. Overnight in the Galilee area. (D)
Day 3 Galilee
Our exploration of the Holy Land begins with visits to Christian sites along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus taught and performed miracles here. We visit the Mt. of Beatitudes, where, according to tradition, Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. The sermon is commemorated in the Church of the Beatitudes, built overlooking the Sea of Galilee. We continue to Tabgha, site of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. A mosaic commemorating this miracle is located near the altar at Tabgha. We also visit Capernaum and the Church of the Primacy of Peter. Later we proceed to the Church of the Transfiguration at Mt. Tabor and the Jordan River, site of Jesus' baptism. We enjoy a cruise on the Sea of Galilee and visit Ginnosar where we see a fisherman's boat that dates to Christ's time. Dinner and overnight in the Galilee area. (B, D)
Day 4 Jerusalem
Today we travel to Nazareth in the Lower Galilee, the place where Jesus grew up and lived most of his life. We visit the Church of the Annunciation, built over the Grotto of the Annunciation, the place where early Christian tradition says that the angel Gabriel spoke to the Blessed Mother. We continue to Joseph's carpentry workshop and then to Cana, site of the wedding feast. On Mount Carmel we stop at the Carmelite Monastery at the Muhraka, site of Elijah's altar, and celebrate Mass at Stella Maris Church. Paintings in the church dome depict Old Testament stories, including one of Elijah being swept up to heaven in a fiery chariot. We continue to Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea to discover the ancient Crusader and Roman town, its aqueduct and theater. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (B, D)
Day 5 Jerusalem
We spend the day in the Old City of Jerusalem, visiting St. Anne's Church, the Pool of Bethesda, the Chapel of the Flagellation and the Ecce Homo Arch. We continue through the Bazaar to the Via Dolorosa, which winds through the streets of Old Jerusalem and commemorates the path that Jesus walked on his way to the crucifixion. We visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, containing the tomb, where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead. Later we head to Bethlehem for an inspiring visit to the Church of the Nativity (subject to availability). While returning to Jerusalem, we view Shepherd's Field and Rachel's Tomb. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. (B, D)
Day 6 Jerusalem
Our destination for today is the Dead Sea region, the lowest point on earth. We drive to Masada, the fortress where Jewish Zealots held off the armies of the Roman Empire before choosing death over surrender. We continue to Ein Gedi, where King David found shelter from the wrath of King Saul. This afternoon we can opt to "float" on the Dead Sea. On our way back to Jerusalem, we view the caves of Qumran where, in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Day 7 Jerusalem
Today we participate in a full-day tour of Jerusalem including the Mt. of Olives, Mt. Scopus, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Basilica of Agony. We continue to the Kidron Valley and to Mt. Zion, site of the Last Supper room, and David's tomb. We visit a model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period as well as the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum. We drive to the village of Ein Kerem, birthplace of St. John the Baptist. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner and head to the airport for our return flight. (B, D)
Day 8 New York, NY
We arrive in a New York area airport early this morning.