The Itinerary as usual with traveling, especially across cultures, no stop is guaranteed, but we sure will do our best. Our first portion we will be joining a tour already in progress for their add-on to visit Jordan's Petra and Wadi Rum.
March 25th Saturday Meet up at BHM airport or your home airport (time TBA) FLY FLY FLY.
March 26th Sunday: You may need to grab a Saturday flight in order to be in Jerusalem in time. Arrive in Tel Aviv by 5:30 PM. Gather luggage, take PSR Covid test, exchange some money and get dinner on the go at the airport, then go outside to grab a sharut to Jerusalem, and the Lady Stern Hotel. For one night.
March 27st Monday: Receive Covid clearance and join the group for breakfast at the hotel. Late check out, and bus over to the Allenby Crossing to Jordan. We will be handed off to a new bus, driver, and guide for our Jordanian Journey. We will drive about 3 hours south toward our hotel (The Old Village Resort) near Petra. We'll stop along the way at Madaba and Mt Nebo. Dinner will be at our hotel.
March 28th Tuesday: Early wake up in Petra to go view the remarkable Rose City of Ancient Petra. We'll wander through to see it all and have a horseback ride at one point during the day. In the afternoon we will head over to Wadi Rum, known as the "Valley of the Moon" because of the terrain, where we'll enjoy a 2-hour Jeep tour in this wild and raw atmosphere. Then drive back for a 2nd night at The Old Village Resort.
March 29th Wednesday: In the morning we will enjoy a late check out of our hotel and drive from Petra back up to the Allenby Bridge crossing and then we will cross over and be met by a new driver and bus to take us back to Israel to a hotel between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for some free time to process or go shopping at a nearby shopping center or wandering around the city, sit in a café and people watch. We will have dinner at our hotel. Repack/organize and get ready for an early morning.
March 30th Thursday: A hotel shuttle bus will return us to the airport with the other group headed home, but we will get our rental car and start our drive north. start our day exploring at the Atlit Detention Center. The drive up into the Carmel mountains and stop at site of Elijah's Mount Carmel challenge to the prophets of Ba'al where we overlook the Valley of Armageddon. We will check into to our Haifa apartment overnight and enjoy a night walk to dinner and back.
March 31st Friday: We start the day by packing up and checking out before we drive to Rosh HaNikra for exploring inside the white-cliff grottos near the Lebanon border. Then we head east to Kfar Blum to raft down the Jordan River. (If the weather has felt too chilly, we have other options here). If there's time as we drive south toward the Sea of Galilee, we'll make a stop at the Mount Arbel Overlook for a short hike. Then continue around the lake to Tiberias and check into our Sea of Galilee luxury apartment overlooking the Sea of Galilee for the next 3 nights. Because of Shabbat starting, we may check in and then go grocery shopping (dinner and B'fast/lunch for tomorrow) before heading back up to do the Arbel hike.
April 1st Saturday: Breakfast on own at 7:30. Christian sites day. We will visit the Jesus Boat Museum and take a boat ride on the Galilee and the timing will set up the rest of our day. We will visit St Peter's Primacy, Mount of Beatitutes, Capernaum. We will drive up to picnic at Gamla National Park where we might get a view of the eagles flying the updrafts from the sea and mountains convergence. On the way home, we will visit Magdela & the Boat Chapel for tour and contemplation time, and head back to our apartment. We will take a little rest before we head down to the Tiberias restaurant area for dinner after sundown and things open back up.
April 2nd Sunday: Mid morning departure for our play day at Bet She'an and Gan Haslosha. RESTART WRITING ITINERARY HERE
pack up and departure for a long driving day covering most of the length of Israel. We stop at the Valley of Elah (David & Goliath Field), literally pull off the road to go check out the stream! Then continue south into the desert toward Beer Sheva (for another grocery run/lunch). We'll take another short car break at the Mitzpe Ramon Crater in the middle of the Negev Desert, then continue through the stark and beautiful Negev Wilderness to the resort town of Eilat at the Red Sea and check into our apartment for 3 nights.
March 26th Saturday: Sleep in and enjoy a late morning of Shabbat devotions with the Lord. Head to the Coral Beach Reserve for a half day of snorkeling the Red Sea. Dinner will be at a restaurant out on the Promenade after everything reopens after Shabbat.
March 27th Sunday: Today will will drive a little ways north to see some sites that were closed when we drove by on Friday afternoon: Timna National Park, Hai Bar Yotvatah Nature Reserve, and head to enjoy a "Business lunch" at Yotvatah Dairy Kibbutz. (This is where the milk of the "Land of milk and honey" comes from!) Then back in Eilat we will find a restaurant for dinner. Maybe take a walk on one of the beaches or take a dip in the Red Sea again.
March 28th Monday: We will have an early departure to drive north toward the Dead Sea. (~3.5 hr). We will go by Aroma Coffee for lunch or a snack before heading up to Masada for a 2-3 hour time of exploration and connecting with God over Ezekiel 37: "Can these dry bones live?" We check into our spa resort for one night in time for some afternoon free time for shopping for Dead Sea products or a Dead Sea soak or the resort pool. There will be a bountiful dinner buffet for us at the hotel.
March 29th Tuesday: Enjoy a delightful breakfast buffet and check out, hike Ein Gedi (where David hid from Saul) where you can get into water pools and falls; swim suits & towel a plus. Then drive a little further to Qumron (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered). Then we turn toward Jerusalem, stopping by Jericho/Valley Shadow of Death en route. If the timing is right we should be able to visit Gethsemane on our way into town, then drive to the top of the Mount Olives for a view of Jerusalem at sunset. We will check into our Jerusalem VRBO apartment for the remaining 4 nights, and head out to dinner in Jerusalem!
March 30th Wednesday: An early breakfast at home before we walk to Jaffa Gate--get coffee at Aroma!--and climb up to do the Rampart's Walk (on top of the Old City walls of Jerusalem) toward the Western Wall and get an orientation of the city from above. We will take some time at the Wall for prayer and contemplation, then have an early lunch in Cardo area. Then we head under ground to walk through the Rabbinical Tunnels, and split off to go see Saint Anne's Church (with amazing acoustics) at the site of the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda. We'll take the slow route through the Old City Shuk for some shopping on a leisurely walk back to Jaffa Gate. Dinner at Foccacia near Ben Yahudah Street or some place else that looks interesting.
March 31 Thursday: Today we will be all over Jerusalem visiting David's Citadel, the Upper Room (replica), Caiaphas's House and the cistern where Jesus was held overnight before His crucifixion. Then to lighten the mood we go over to the City of David and Hezekiah's tunnel to slosh through 1 kilometer of the Gihon spring underground (don't forget your flashlight, water shoes and shorts for this stop). The later afternoon will leave us free time for Ben Yehuda shopping before we head over to the (new city) Shuk to do some shopping for our Shabbat dinner on Friday. We will find a restaurant for tonight's dinner en route.
April 1st Friday: This morning we are planning a free morning off to lounge around, or try the Israel Museum (at your own expense) or Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on your own. (A little time is also on reserve here in case we need to get a COVID test before we fly home) Our first "official outing" today will be a walk to the Garden Tomb for a 2:30 PM appointment for a tour, have communion together, and see the empty tomb. Then we walk a few blocks over to the American Colony Hotel to enjoy a High Tea experience. Walk back to our apartment and cook Shabbat dinner at home together. If anyone is feeling adventurous we can head back to the Western Wall for Erev Shabbat.
April 2nd Sunday: Our final day is a leisurely Shabbat in Jerusalem since most everything is closed. We can wander through some local parks, drive by the U.S. Embassy or Bethlehem. We'll check out of our apartment by 6 PM to head to Abu Gosh for a finale dinner on our way to the airport. Kim will return the car and the security-check airport lines begin 3 hours before the flight home. Planning on a 10:30 to midnight flight home and fly most of the day Sunday.
April 3rd Sunday: Arrive home & begin RECOVERY!
$3690.00 for the land tour portion. This group is for second timers (or more) by invitation only.
Flight priced & billed separately, but generally plan on ~$1300-1500 from BHM. You may use frequent flier miles or points and meet us in Tel Aviv if you prefer.
New travelers with Ruth Israel Initiative should download a PDF application to print below. Mail with down payment to:
Ruth Israel Initiative
9 B Chatham Court
Pelham, AL 35124
Stuff you should know before you go
First, check out the B-4 YOU GO tab above.
We will be spending two glorious weeks in the Land of Israel. Our Jerusalem days are walking tours, so there is no transportation provided except our feet. This helps us connect with the people and land. You may hire a taxi on your own, back to the VRBO apartment if needed, but 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 (Highly recommended to have a Covid-protection clause), and souvenirs are on your own. We will have at least one meet-the-team meeting over zoom to get acquainted for we go.
This trip is personalized and limited to 6 people. Our small "boutique" size allows great access to some old favorite places and new adventures. The spiritual development, prayer activations, spiritual formation exercises, and "Friendship with Jesus" strengthening and deepening that accompany each Ruth Israel Initiative Journey at nearly every location stop in the Land, will continue. Maybe not as heavy in Jordan though.