April 5th, Monday:
Meet up at BHM airport and leave BHM (or your home port city) Monday at appointed time TBD and fly through a European city and finally arrive in Tel Aviv.
April 6th, Tuesday:
Arrive in Tel Aviv in afternoon or evening. Gather luggage, exchange some money and meet your guide. Board your air conditioned coach to transfer to the Dead Sea/Desert region. If early enough in the daylight, stop at Valley of Elah (David and Goliath field) and/or Ne'ot Kedumim (plant a tree in Israel with your own hands!) while on route. Take a relaxing evening float in the Dead Sea after check in if you want.
April 7th, Wednesday:
Late leisurely morning and breakfast. (If you missed the Dead Sea float the night before, take a morning dip.) Morning jeep tour in the Negev Desert, 10-12:30. Drive to Ein Gedi for an afternoon hike and bring your suit for a dip in the natural pools. Later-afternoon free time for shopping for Dead Sea products or another Dead Sea soak, or book yourself into the spa for a massage (cost on your own). [Options for today: Kafar Hanokdim camel tour in the desert (3-4 hrs round trip) OR leave earlier in the day and tour Masada & hike Ein Gedi then take an afternoon Jeep tour.] Close the day with a bountiful dinner buffet at the hotel. Evening Team Meeting (Abraham & the stars promise) on the Dead Sea shore.
April 8th, Thursday:
Breakfast at 7:30, check out of resort hotel and climb aboard the bus to transfer to the Galilee. Stopping along the way at Qumron, the site the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We will pass by Jericho, then stop at Bet She'an, an ancient Roman Bath city, to climb among the ruins where Saul's and Jonathan's bodies were hung on the walls. Continue north to the Ein Gev Kibbutz for a tour of a working kibbutz and stop for dinner on the property with your first view of the Sea of Galilee. Check into our hotel and have some exploring time on your own.
April 9th, Friday:
Breakfast at 7, load up bus by 8 for a big driving day. Drive even further north in Golan heights to the border with Syria at Mount Hermon and Mount Bental. (If war appears dangerous we will reschedule this time, plenty of options: Tel Dan, Gamla etc.). Time of intercession on the border, and coffee or lunch depending on time. View volcanoes, Caesarea Phillipi, perhaps explore/climb in "Nimrod's castle." Waterfall stair-hike at Banias. Shabbat dinner at hotel. Early evening for team meeting on the shore of Galilee.
April 10th, Saturday (Shabbat):
Breakfast at 7:30. Christian sites day. Mount of Beatitudes, Jesus Boat museum and boat ride on the Galilee, St Peter's Primacy spot, Capurnaum, Magdela for tour and contemplation, Jordan River Baptism by 3:30 pm. Dinner at hotel. Option if staying at Kerei Deshe: clean up and drive back into Tiberias for late dinner (8ish) and wander the boardwalk.
April 11th, Sunday:
Early morning breakfast and load up for a drive past Nazareth or Cana to Armageddon (the Meggido National Park). Continue to the Carmelite Monastery at site of Elijah's Mount Carmel showdown with the prophets of Ba'al. Stop for a falafal lunch at a little mom-n-pop place in town. Continue west toward Port of Caesarea. Sunset at the Roman Aqueducts on the Mediterranean Sea. Dinner en route home to Galilee hotel.
April 12th, Monday:
Breakfast and check out of Galilee hotel to transfer to Jerusalem. Stop at Aroma for coffee and a pastry or lunch to go and take it to Gan Ha Slosha for a morning tour break at the 3 Pools a local swimming hole with turquoise waters and green lawns. After we clean up from our swimming time, we will be heading toward Jerusalem. We will stop at the Valley of the Shadow of Death/Mount of Temptation for steep hike (or hire a donkey on your own if you're feeling adventurous!) and a chance to interact with some local Bedouin vendors. Then we will drive into the Holy City. Our first stop is the Mount of Olives and its iconic overview of the Old City. Then we walk down the path past the Tombs of the Prophets to the Garden of Gethsemane and spend some time in the Church of All Nations before meeting back up with our driver who will take up to our Jerusalem hotel our home for the duration of the trip.
April 13th, Tuesday:
Breakfast at 8, bus over to the Western Wall plaza. Tour the Temple Institute at 9. Enjoy some quiet contemplation and prayer at the Western Wall, tour the Rabbinical Tunnels, and walk back via Saint Anne's Church and the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda and then walk the Via Dolorosa. Late lunch in Arab Quarter. Walk through and view the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Afternoon free time and shopping as the city is shutting down for Shabbat. Shabbat dinner at the hotel. In the evening option: Couple of hours at IHOP's Succat Hallel for corporate worship and private intercession.
April 14th Wednesday:
Optional Serve/Outreach Morning at Netivyah (Messianic Synagogue). Bag up quality fruits and vegetables for the poor in Jerusalem. Hear about Netivyah's ministry over tea and cookies (8-11 AM). Ride over to Jaffa Gate for a unique vantage point of the Old City: the Rampart's Walk (on top of the Old City walls of Jerusalem) toward Western Wall, tour the City of David, Hezekiah's Tunnel, Caiaphas' House. Options based on time: Zion Gate, Upper Room, David's Tomb.
April 15th, Thursday:
After breakfast bus over to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for 3 hrs including your early lunch at the coffee shop on site (9-noon). Drive to the Garden Tomb with time for journaling & contemplation. Bus over to Ammunition Hill 6-Day War Memorial and Museum. Hotel dinner. Optional walk back to Old City for evening exploration.
April 16th, Friday:
Start our final day with a morning on your own, late breakfast and checkout from hotel. Bus over to the Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls and a replica of the Old City of Jerusalem in miniature (11-2 pm). Shuk shopping for lunch and snacks for travel among the crowds shopping for Shabbat. Walk to Jaffa Gate and join the crowds of worshippers headed to pray at the Western Wall. Bus pick up to head out of town at 6:30 or 7. Traditional Farewell Feast at Abu Gosh. Leave for the airport around 9-9:30 PM for an hour drive and airport drop off. Airport security lines begin at midnight for our flight home.
April 17th, Saturday:
Travel all day and arrive home Saturday evening for the South East U.S.
Download your PDF application to print below. Mail with down payment to:
Ruth Israel Initiative
9 B Chatham Court
Pelham, AL 35124
Land-only portion $3399
price is per person, based on double occupancy.
Single supplement $850.
Flight priced & billed separately, but generally plan on ~$1500 from Atlanta. You may use frequent flier miles or points and meet us in Tel Aviv if you prefer.
$500 down due with application
$1000 due March 1, 2020
$1000 due July 1, 2020
Balance due Feb 1, 2021 (~60 days prior to travel).
Stuff you should know before you go
We will be spending almost two glorious weeks in the Land of Israel. There is lots of walk involved in this kind of learning tour. We suggest that you start training your body as you train your heart for this trip so you will be able to fully participate in it with your teammates. Trips include accommodation, breakfasts and dinners, and entrance to sites. However, lunches, tips, insurance, and souvenirs are on your own. This trip is personalized and limited to 25 people. (Prices and itinerary are based on at least 15 people committing). Our small "boutique" size allows great access. There is an aspect of spiritual development, prayer activations, spiritual formation exercises, and "Friendship with Jesus" strengthening and deepening that accompany each Ruth Israel Initiative Journey of Understanding Trip at nearly every location stop in the Land, and the Lord usually shakes some things up in our hearts in a beautiful way. If you are not accustomed to journaling or "listening prayer" Seth Barnes book Listening Prayer is another book you'll want to pick up to prepare your heart and skills for listening for God's voice as you interact together in the Holy Land. It is great to hone listening skills in a daily devotional.
In addition, the volume of information available to you while you are in Israel won't sink in unless you have a proper grid of understanding already formed with which to process all that we will experience, so the book Israel Basics is a prerequisite for preparation. And Teplinsky's book Why Still Care About Israel? will really fill out your foundation so that you can get the most out of your time in Israel. See the Resources Page for even further study.
We will offer several team meetings scattered throughout our time together to build friendship as we share what God is doing in our hearts, but you will also have some evenings free to rest or explore on your own. One of our team meetings will take place on the shores of the Sea of Galilee as we listen to the lapping water at night.
Ready to go? Apply via Google forms, download an application from the top of this page, or request an application via email. We also invite your questions!