October 19th, Wednesday: (flying)
Arrive at your home port city airport and fly, fly, fly.
October 20th, Thursday: (arrival, Tel Aviv)
Arrive in Tel Aviv in afternoon or evening, specific time TBD about 9-12 months before Fly Day. Gather luggage, exchange some money, and meet up with Kim near the Aroma Coffee Shop in main airport lobby. We will rent a car or van (number-dependent) and drive a little ways north and stay in a family-owned boutique hotel in a little beach town, Netanya. We can stretch our legs on a little walk and watch the sun set into the Mediterranean Sea if the timing is early enough. Dinner will either be some salads or sandwiches we grab from the airport if everybody is starving, or we can find a little spot to stop in or get take-away.
October 21st, Friday: (Israel's Coastal West to the Galilee)
Start with a delicious breakfast and rich Israeli coffee at our hotel and pack up by 8:15 to head to explore the massive Ancient Port of Caesarea. Then head over to Atlit Detention Camp for a 1-hr guided tour. We will find a lunch spot and a grocery store for buying weekend snacks. We'll drive through Nazareth or Cana, stopping somewhere TBD. Make our way over the mountains with a stop at the Mount Arbel overlook of the Sea of Galilee and continue on to our Hostel. Shabbat Dinner at Hostel, Karei Deshe (video I shot a couple years ago). (Kim to order a boxed lunch for Saturday).
October 22nd, Saturday (Shabbat): Jesus Sites in Galilee
Breakfast at 7:30. Order of site stops will depend on what time our boat ride experience is: Mount of Beatitudes, Jesus Boat museum and boat ride on the Galilee, St Peter's Primacy spot, Capernaum, Gamla National Park, Magdela for exploration and contemplation, (optional) Jordan River Baptism by 4:00 pm. Drive back around the lake to hostel. Clean up back at Karei Deshi and have a rest, time on your own at the lake, then drive back into Tiberias for late dinner (8ish) maybe at Decks Restaurant on a deck over the water and then wander the boardwalk in Tiberias.
October 23rd, Sunday: (Golan Heights)
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, "Nimrod's Castle" etc.). Time of intercession on the border, and coffee or lunch depending on time. View volcanoes, Caesarea Philippi, and enjoy a waterfall stair-hike at Banias with a lunch/snack stop to try some local Druze cuisine. Coming home, we will drive on the east side of the Galilee to the Ein Gev Kibbutz for a fish dinner at their restaurant, and back to Karei Deshe to decompress and sleep.
October 24th, Monday: (Central Israel, Megiddo + wine tasting)
Today will be another early day. After breakfast we will drive west to Armageddon (the Tel Meggido National Park). Continue to the Carmelite Monastery at site of Elijah's Mount Carmel showdown with the prophets of Ba'al. A falafel lunch will be offered at a local mom and pop place in Carmel. Then we will find the Kishor winery located on an inclusive living situation Kibbutz. We will have an early dinner at Big Ben restaurant in Tiberias, then drive back to Karei Deshe for our last free evening on the property.
October 25th, Tuesday (Galilee to the Desert)
Check out of our hostel after breakfast, and transfer south to the Judean Wilderness. Stopping along the way 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. Then grab coffee and spend some time wading or wandering at the beautiful Gan HaSlosha (three gardens/pools). When we are back in the van, we will pass by Jericho on our way to Qumron (link is video), the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Continue south to the Dead Sea resort where we will check in and either take a refreshing and therapeutic soak or go directly to a scrumptious dinner at the resort.
October 26th, Wednesday (Desert Fun Day)
Late leisurely morning and breakfast. (If you missed the Dead Sea float the night before, take a morning dip.) Drive to Masada (video) for a morning of ancient exploration. Mid-day (noon to 3-ish) is free time for lunch, shopping for Dead Sea products, wander around the resort areas, enjoy the pools, or take another Dead Sea soak, perhaps book yourself into the spa for a massage (cost on your own). At 3:30 we will drive into the Negev Desert to Kafar Hanokdim for a 1 hr camel tour in the desert (3-4 hrs round trip). On the way back we will stop at an road-side overlook of the region (route to Arad), and then close the day with a bountiful dinner buffet at the hotel. Evening is free time on your own. Have a glass of red or white in the bar or take a late night dip in the Dead Sea.
October 27th, Thursday (Up to Jerusalem)
We check out of our luxury hotel after a bountiful breakfast and pack the car for Ein Gedi to enjoy a morning hike at the place where David hid from King Saul. Bring your swimsuit for a dip in the natural pools if you want. We continue on toward Jerusalem, and stop at an overlook of St George's Monastery a.k.a The Valley of the Shadow of Death in the Psalms. You have 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 (or stop if time) the Tombs of the Prophets to the Garden of Gethsemane and spend some contemplative time in the Church of All Nations. Then we will pile back into the car and find our Air BnB or VRBO apartment home for the rest of our time together. I hope to be able to do a drive-by of Bethlehem while we still have the van. After we unload, we will venture out and find a local restaurant for dinner.
October 29th, Friday: (Erev Shabbat) Jerusalem Underground Day
We will enter the Old City of Jerusalem via Jaffa Gate and climb up for a walk on the Ramparts with a bird's eye view. Coming down, we may enjoy some quiet contemplation and prayer at the Western Wall before delving into the Rabbinical Tunnels. The we trek back across the Old City and out to the City of David, and change into water shoes and appropriate clothes for a sloshy walk through Hezekiah's tunnel. Then we will catch a taxi or two over to the shuk, busy with locals buying food for Shabbat. We will join them and find some lunch while we are there.
Afternoon is free time and shopping as the city is shutting down for Shabbat. Kim will return the van and rejoin the group back at the apartment. We will make our Shabbat dinner together at the apartment. In the evening option: Couple of hours at IHOP's Succat Hallel for corporate worship and private intercession. Or quiet time to review your trip so far. Or we can invite a friend over to enjoy Shabbat dinner/dessert with us in our apartment (which we will cook together.
October 30th, Saturday (Shabbat): (Jesus sites in Jerusalem)
We'll have a late morning with breakfast on our own from the grocery store and be ready to walk into town by 10. We will take the North & East side of our Ramparts' walk over to the Damascus Gate, or all the way to Lion's Gate if it is open. Coming down, walk back to Saint Anne's Church and the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda and then walk the Via Dolorosa to find a late lunch in Arab Quarter. Then we head over to the Garden Tomb for a tour about 2:30, and contemplation time. After that, we will sit down for High Tea--or a Middle Eastern version of it--at the beautiful American Colony Hotel or the King David Hotel. (This meal is paid in place of dinner tonight, but we can still go out after Shabbat is over if you're feeling peckish again.)
October 31st, Sunday: (Finale Day in Jerusalem)
After breakfast, we have options: 1. 8 AM take the Light Rail over to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for 3 hrs. 2. free time for shopping or cafe coffeeing at Ben Yahuda street. We can meet up for a noon lunch on Ben Yehuda. We have time here to take time off, or dash over and see 1-4 sites if we have not been able to get there yet: Zion Gate, the Upper Room, David's Tomb, and Caiaphas's House and the cistern where Jesus was held. This evening we can mosey over to King of Kings Jerusalem Assembly for a 5 PM (get there by 4:30) church service, then walk to First Station in the New City or the German Colony for Finale Dinner together. Then back to finish our time together. If you opt to go home tonight or sometime in the early hours, you'll want to shower off the day and pack up.
November 1st, Monday: (+1 day)
The tour and food portion is officially over as of last night, but we are keeping the apartment for some free time on your own over the next few days. I can help you with pricing out these options while we are in the city. Most places you tell taxi driver where you want to go, or walk.
Ammunition Hill 6-Day War Memorial and Museum.
Zion Gate, the Upper Room, David's Tomb, & Caiaphas's House
Western Wall for Prayer & the Temple Institute (see 3rd Temple implements)
The Cardo--modern shopping at the city-level of Jesus' day in Old City.
Wander the Old City Shuk and see the Alabama Store (Roll Tide!)
More intercession time at the International House of Prayer
Taxi over to Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls and a replica of the Old City of Jerusalem in miniature
You can buy extra groceries for breakfasts or venture out to a café. You can revisit a restaurant you loved, or try new places. We can go out together if you want, we'll just go dutch.
November 2nd, Tuesday: (+2 day) Jerusalem on your own
see above ideas
November 3rd, Wednesday (+3 day) Jerusalem on your own
Check out of the apartment will be around noon, but if you have a late evening flight, you can store your luggage and enjoy the full day in the city. Call for a sharut ride share pick up or arrange a taxi to the airport to meet you at the apartment. Plan to leave at least 4-5 hours before your flight for an hour's drive and airport drop off. Security and check in at Ben Gurion.
November 4th, Thursday: Traveling and arriving home
Travel all day and arrive home Thursday evening for the South East U.S.
Costs & Inclusions
Land-only portion $4987 per person if our team has 2 people. (Land-only trip drops to $3987 with a team of 4 or more.) Single occ. add $950.
We recommend you arrange your own flight to Tel Aviv (TLV). Recommended arrival time TBA at 6-8 months out.
Mail payments to:
Ruth Israel Initiative
9 B Chatham Court
Pelham, AL 35124
$1000 down due with application
$1000 due Sept 1, 2021
$1000 due March 1, 2022
Balance due Sept 1, 2022 (~45 days prior to travel).
This trip includes accommo-dation at a range of hotels, hostels, and an Air BnB-apartment experience in Israel, 11 breakfasts (including groceries for 3 Jerusalem make your own) and 8 dinners, 1 light sandwich/ salad dinner, 1 shared-cooking Shabbat dinner, 1 tea time, 1 boxed lunch, entrance fees to the sites we will visit, group transportation via car, SUV or van (except in Jerusalem where we walk), two books (1 for studying ahead and a Spiritual Journal for on-site use), and fun experiences with the Lord on location.
Not included, but recommended: Flight, tips, snacks, lunches, water, trip insurance (medical and travel interruption) or souvenirs.
Stuff you should know before you go
We will be spending 13 nights (with 10.5 days of touring) in the Land of Israel. There is lots of walking involved in this kind of learning and experiencing 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. This trip is personalized and limited to 2-6 people. Our micro-team size allows great access and perhaps some spontaneity as we go. 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 Diane Wither's book Unbroken Cord is a pre-requisite read and 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.
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!