Hanukkah Tour December 19, 2024 – January 2, 2025
$3500 per person
Guided by Rhonda and Farrell Pickering
Depart from home and travel towards the ancient Holy Land of the Bible.
We finally arrive in the Holy Land, Tel Aviv, Israel. We join our group and guides as we travel towards our overnight accommodations in Herzaliya, Israel.
We will drive inland to visit the Muhraka Carmelite Monastery in the beautiful Mt. Carmel. While exploring the monastery we will review the powerful moment where Elijah called down fire from Heaven. This opportunity will allow oneself to embrace the profound spirituality that has been cherished in this holy place for generations.
This small town in northern Israel, is of course known for being the site of Jesus’ first miracle. It was here that he attended a wedding and aided his mother, Mary, in saving the reputation of her friend. He performed his first miracle, famously, turning water into wine.
According to tradition, this is the site believed to be where an angry mob attempted to throw Jesus off a cliff. This cliffside is located just outside of Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown. The mountain itself also provides panoramic views of the Jezreel Valley
To end the day, take a swim in the Galilee sea. We overnight in Galilee.
Boat ride on the sea of Galilee in the morning before we begin touring other sites.
The Caesarea Ampitheatre in Israel was designed for various forms of entertainment, including gladiatorial contests, chariot races, and theatrical performances. With its impressive architectural features, including seating for thousands of spectators, a central arena, and elaborate underground chambers, the ampitheatre showcases the opulence and sophistication of Roman engineering and culture during its time.
The Crusader Wall is a a testament to the enduring traditions of Christ and the Christian faith. It stands as a physical remnant of the Crusaders’ efforts to protect and defend the holy sites. Today, it serves as a powerful symbol of the Christian heritage in Israel, drawing visitors from all over.
The Mount of Beatitudes in Israel is a revered site deeply rooted in the traditions of Christ. This historic mountain, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, holds profound religious significance. It is traditionally believed to be the location where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
We will eat a schwarma lunch in Magdala before heading to Tabgha. In Tabgha we will see the Church of Multiplication (loaves and fishes) or feeding of the 5,000. Next will be Peter’s Primacy.
Peter’s Primacy, a significant Christian tradition in Israel, revolves around the belief that this is where Peter was told by Jesus to “feed my sheep.” Traditionally, Capernaum is regarded as the place where Jesus affirmed Peter’s role as the leader of his disciples. This tradition stems from the New Testament and is closely tied to the biblical city of Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
We will visit the city of Capernaum following the site of Peter’s Primacy. Capernaum is well known as the city where Jesus preformed the majority of his miracles. At least the miracles that have been recorded by his disciples.
Finish the day with an optional swim in the Galilee Sea before dinner.
Overnight in Galilee
We will tour the Savior’s hometown to begin our morning, after which, continuing on to other holy sites.
Joshua’s Altar (Tel Balata)’s connection to Shechem is relevant to the Passover narrative, as it was here that Joshua gathered the Israelites to reaffirm their covenant with God.
One of the notable events associated with Gilgal is the crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. After their crossing, they set up a camp at Gilgal and performed the circumcision of the new generation as a sign of their commitment to the covenant with God. Gilgal served as a base for the Israelites as they launched their campaigns to conquer the land of Canaan.
We are overnighting near the Dead Sea. Consequently, an evening float in the Dead Sea is available for those who wish to go.
We visit the river Jordan where we believe Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist thousands of years ago. This sacred site shows us the Savior’s determination to be our Great Example, regardless of his need to be baptized or not.
We will formally begin the day at Masada, an ancient fortress built by Herod. This fortress overlooks the Dead Sea on a high plateau. It is famously associated with the Jewish Revolt against Roman rule in the 1st century CE. Although it predates the traditions of Christ, the site represents the resilience and determination of the Jewish people in the face of adversity.
The exact location of Sodom and Gomorrah remains uncertain, with much debate among scholars and archaeologists. We visit the most traditional site of where the great city once stood before God rained fire and brimstone upon it.
From the road we will stop to see the caves at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of Jewish texts dating back to the Second Temple period. These scrolls contained biblical texts and other ancient records that have helped to shed light on Christianity as a whole.
After our stop at the caves, we will continue on to the Jordan border where we will cross. Our first stop in Jordan will be the massive fortress Machaerus. This hilltop stronghold is famously associated with the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist at the request of Herod Antipas.
Overnight near the Dead Sea.
Here we explore the archaeological remains of a palace dating back to the First Temple Period. This site provides insights into ancient settlement patterns and activities. It sheds light on the historical and cultural aspects of the region during that. Ramat Rachel is known for its agricultural activities, including vineyards and olive groves.
According to the biblical narrative, this location is associated with the birth of Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel. Traditionally, this rock is identified as the spot where Rachel, Benjamin’s mother, died during childbirth.
We begin with a walk down Star Street to the Church of the Nativity. This is the sacred site revered for being the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ. After exploring the site, we will move past the Chapel of Milk Grotto.
The Chapel of the Milk Grotto, located in Bethlehem, Israel, is a cherished Christian site steeped in traditions. This sacred chapel is believed to be the spot where the Holy Family sought refuge during the Flight to Egypt. According to tradition, while Mary was nursing the infant Jesus, a drop of her milk fell onto the grotto’s stone, turning it white.
Traditionally, this site is associated with Lazarus, whom the Savior brought back to life from the dead. This site has a church built over the tomb, and is now a site of pilgrimage amongst Christians.
Bethany is famously associated with several events in the life of Jesus Christ. One of the most well-known events is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Bethany is also believed to be the place where Jesus had dinner at the home of Mary and Martha, two of his close friends and followers. This city holds deep significance in association with the traditions in Israel that surround Christ.
Overnight in Jerusalem
Today is the first day of Hanukkah, as such, we start the day off with a traditional offering for the Holiday.
Located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, this Roman Catholic church is dedicated to Saint Anne. Traditionally, St. Anne is the mother of the Virgin Mary. This church is also associated with the Pools of Bethesda.
Here, traditionally the mother of Jesus, Mary, saw the messenger angel, Gabriel. It was here she received her calling as the earthly mother to the Savior of the world.
This is the traditional site of the birth of John the Baptist. Here we experience the spirit of the preparer of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will overnight in Jerusalem.
Nebi Samuel, or the Tomb of Samuel the prophet of the Old Testament. This site is believed to be the burial place of Samuel, and it holds deep religious significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. We will find a prominent mosque at the site, which is an important Islamic religious site, and the ruins of a medieval fortress. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Tel Shiloh, situated in Israel’s West Bank, holds immense historical and religious significance. This ancient archaeological site in Israel is traditionally believed to be the location of the Tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant was housed for centuries. According to tradition, the Ark resided in Shiloh during the period of the Judges. From here we will move on to Bethel, also located on the West Bank.
Bethel, known as Khalom Ya’akov in Hebrew, is traditionally associated with the biblical account of Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven. Bethel’s connection to Jacob’s dream adds depth to the Passover’s spiritual significance. It was here that Jacob reaffirmed the covenant relationship between God and the children of Abraham.
Tonight is the beginning of Shabbat. Anyone interested can walk from the hotel to the Western Wall to experience the welcoming in of the Holy day with the Jewish people. Men will need a head covering. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Today is Shabbat in the Holy Land, so we will attend Sacrament Meeting at the BYU Jerusalem Center.
Here, Orson Hyde dedicated the land of Jerusalem for the return of Jewish people to the city in 1841.
Traditionally, we recognize this area as the site of the Great Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Savior expiated for all man kind in this sacred garden spot.
Traditionally, this is the site of the tomb of the Savior Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. There are gardens here for time to reflect personally while we visit on this Shabbat day.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Here we explore the lesser-visited side of the Temple Mount. Important historical, cultural and religious properties and details can be seen at this spot. Including, the double gate, southern steps, and Mikveh.
Caiaphas held the trial of Jesus after he was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane. Here, Peter had been outside and had his instance of denying Christ three times before the cock crew. This moment is also commemorated as Peter’s Gallicantu
Also known as the Solomon Quarries, this quarry system is held under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City Jerusalem. Many blocks that built both the Old City, as well as the temple, were quarried here. The first part of the cave being originally natural, and then expanded over several centuries.
Overnight in Jerusalem
This is the last standing wall of the Jerusalem Temple. Considered very holy, it is here that many come to pray and “wail” to God. Many start their Shabbat services at this wall on Friday night, and leave written prayers tucked in the cracks and spaces of the ancient wall.
Jesus Christ healed a lame man here on the Sabbath. This miracle was one of many that provoked the Pharisees to anger, though it showed the true power of the Savior Jesus Christ to heal and bless others.
We visit the site of Stephen’s Stoning. During this act of martyrdom, we know that he testified of seeing a vision. Specifically, of the Father, as well as Jesus Christ standing on his right hand side. A powerful witness of the physicality of God, and the relationship that Jesus Christ has with the Father.
Here, on Mount Zion, ancient kings of Israel were buried. We can see the ancient burial practices of the time, as well as learn about the chronology and victories of the land of Israel through them.
Overnight in Jersualem.
Today we explore the newly excavated City of David and the archaeological dig site. This site is associated with King David and serves as a living testament to the enduring traditions of Christ and the roots of Christianity. The site features archaeological excavations that unearth ancient artifacts, structures, and historical evidence, connecting visitors to the biblical narrative.
At the site we will see Hezekiah’s tunnel. This tunnel dates back about 2,700 years and was built to bring water into the city of Jerusalem during the Assyrian invasion. For those who would like to, you can actually walk the tunnel. Head lamps, shorts, and water shoes are recommended for this miniature trek.
Referring to a number of rock-cut pools on the southern slope of the Wadi Hilweh, these pools are located on the outside of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The pools were fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by the Siloam Tunnel.
Traditionally, this tomb is thought to be the final resting place of the biblical and historical King David.
This pathway extends from the Southern Temple Mount all the way to the pools of Siloam.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Spend a free day in Jerusalem with your flight home departing in the late evening/early morning from Tel Aviv, Israel.
Payment Terms: $300 deposit pp required at the time of booking. Final payment is due 90 days before departure.
**this tour is based off of a minimum of 20 passengers and a maximum of 40 passengers
Check out these videos that feature sites of this tour: