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Israel 2011

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1: Masada, Qumran, and Jerusalem - March 3

2: Along the Mediterranean Sea | Tel-Aviv | Our 1st Walking Adventure was to the Port of Jaffa which is one of the oldest known maritime harbors in the world.

3: Our guide Russ Isom is an ordained minister who provided the appropriate scripture readings as we journeyed through the Holy Land. It was from the port of Joppa (now called Jaffa) that the Prophet Jonah left for Tarshish and was swallowed by a whale where he remained for 3 days and 3 nights. (Jonah 1:1-17)

5: Caeserea | This morning's walk in a drenching downpour started at an ancient Roman aqueduct and went along the Mediterranean Sea to the archaeological site of ancient Caesarea which was built by Herod the Great in the 1st century BC to honor the Roman emperor Augusta Caesar.

6: This stop at a warm, dry Druze house in a village on Mount Carmel for lunch was most welcome as well as educational. The Druze are an interesting Arabic sect that split from Islam 1000 years ago and live as loyal Israeli citizens while clinging to their ancient religious and cultural ways. | Statute and Monastery commemorating the battle between the prophet Elijah and the 450 prophets of Ba'al. (I Kings 18:17-40)

7: NAZARETH VILLAGE | This open air museum in Nazareth is a recreation of what Nazareth was like during Jesus' youth with authentic building techniques, tools, food and farming practices. Living history actors dressed in period clothing demonstrate woodworking and weaving crafts using the tools from that period.

8: BASILICA OF THE ANNUNCIATION in Nazareth is believed to stand on the site of the Virgin Mary's house, where the Angel Gabriel was said to have appeared to her and announced that she was pregnant with the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-38)

9: Hiking the Jesus Trail | The Jesus Trail is a 65-kilometer hiking trail in the Galilee region of Israel which connects important sites from the life of Jesus as well as other historical and religious sites. We hiked the trail from Zippori National Park to Cana. | The trail to Cana passes by this mosque said to house the tomb of Jonah who was born in this town of Mash'had. (2 Kings 14:25) | MARKERS SHOW | HOW THE JESUS TRAIL WAS MARKED | This Franciscan Wedding Church in Cana of Galilee is the traditional site of the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. (John 2:1-11)

10: TZIPORI NATIONAL PARK includes excavations of buildings from different time periods and has been described as the "ornament of the Galilee" due to stunning mosaics dating from the 2nd to 6th century BC. Tzipori also known as Sepphoris was also the home town of Mary, mother of Jesus and since it was under construction during the lifetime of Jesus, it may have been a source of employment for Joseph and Jesus.

12: The MOUNT OF BEATITUDES is the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus spoke the beatitudes known as the blessings (Matthew 5-7) | An olive mill and an olive press dating from Roman time in Capernaum. | Ruins of the old Roman town

13: The ruins of a church mark what is believed to have been St. Peter's home where Jesus stayed | Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen living in the village. Matthew the tax collector also dwelt here. | "And leaving Nazareth Jcsus came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast" (Matthew 4:13). | Statue of Peter with the "keys to the kingdom" at Capernaum | Ruins of the synagogue where Jesus was confronted by a demonic while teaching here (Mark 1:21-27)

14: Sea of Galilee | THE JESUS BOAT In 1986 two fishermen from Kibbutz Ginosar discovered the remains of an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century (during the time of Jesus) on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee. The remnants were carefully retracted and preserved in the Yigal Allon Center in Kibbutz Ginosar | Sunset cruise on the Sea of Galilee aboard a replica of a 1st century AD fishing boat

15: Tel Dan Nature Reserve & Golan Heights | The modern day site of Tel Dan rests on the ruins of what is thought to have been the biblical city of Dan which was named for the tribe of Dan, and described in the Book of Judges as the largest of the 12 tribes of Israel. It is the first time a reference to the House of David has been found outside the Bible itself. | From Tel Dan our guide, Rn points out Lebanon to the north of the Israel border | In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Mount Bental located in the Golan Heights was the site of the largest tank battles in history. Today, in remembrance of this bloody battle, the valley below the mountain is called the Valley of Tears.

16: Jordan Headwaters Walk

17: Gamla Nature Reserve | Gamla was the capital of the Golan Heights in the 1st century. In the year 66, along with other Jewish cities in the region, it launched a rebellion against Roman rule. After a siege the city was conquered and the inhabitants were either killed or committed suicide. Then in the 4th and 5th centuries a Christian village was located here and in the 6th century a church and monastery were built. The village was abandoned in the mid 7th century but inhabited again during the 13th and 14th centuries. After a time gap a Syrian village was established here during the 20th century then abandoned in 1967 after the Six Day War.

18: Beit She'an National Park

19: Beit She'an is a fascinating mishmash of the remains of 18 cities from different time periods built on top of each other. It includes the best-preserved Roman theater in the country. It is also where the Philistines displayed the bodies of King Saul and his three sons after the Philistines' victory at nearby Mount Gilboa (I Samuel 31).

20: Around 1000 BC Engedi served as one of the main places of refuge for David as he fled from King Saul (I Samuel 23:29). In a cave near here, David cut off the corner of Saul's robe (I Samuel 24). | Ein Gedi David's Waterfall Walk | This steep, dusty trail through a canyon passed a series of pools and waterfalls with views of ibex and and rock hyraxes along the way.

21: Tink, Maggie and I practicing for our debut as Cancan dancers on our next trip to Paree | Our unused hotel pool | Dead Sea | Thelma | Don & Anna | Shirley

23: Masada is an ancient fortification at the top of an isolated rock plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great build palaces for himself here between 37 and 31 BCE. It later became a Jewish stronghold but was overtaken by Roman Empire troops at the end of the First Jewish-Roman War in 73 CE resulting in the mass suicide of the 960 Jewish rebels and their families who were holed up here.

24: Described as the most important discovery in the history of the Jewish people, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered inside earthenware jars in a high cliff side cave here at Qumran in 1947, by a Bedouin shepherd boy searching for a stray goat.

25: HEROD'S MOUNTAIN FORTRESS This huge compound built during the days of Herod the Great served as a palace, fortress and monument. In April 2007, remains of the mausoleum that served as the tomb of Herod and some of his relatives were found on the northeast slope of the mountain.

26: Enjoying fresh from the oven Pita bread compliments of a family run bakery

28: Chandler and wall of the ancient nave with fragments of mosaics. | The Church of the Nativity is the oldest continuously operating church. It was commissioned in 326 AD by Emperor Constantine and his mother St. Helena and placed directly above the cave that Christian apologist Justin Martyr venerated as Christ's birthplace around 160 AD. | The Altar of the Nativity beneath which is the star marking the spot where tradition says that the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus.

30: Jerusalem | Our first glimpse of Jerusalem was wonderful. Eli, our driver, took us to the Mount of Olives where we gazed across the Kidron Valley to the walls of old Jerusalem. After Russ read the appropriate scriptures Rn, our Israeli guide prepared and served us a Jewish blessing with bread and wine. | Western Wall Tunnel Tour | Ramparts Walk | Davidson Center

31: Jewish Quarter and Western Wall of Jerusalem

32: Kidron Valley | Mosque of the Ascension | Church of Pater Noster | Church of Dominus Flevit | Church of All Nations | Church of Mary Magdalene

33: Lion's Gate | VIA DOLOROSA or "Way of Sorrow", winds along the narrow streets of Jerusalem's Old City. This is the route that Jesus is believed to have followed when bearing His cross from Pilate's Judgment Hall to Calvary Hill, the site of the crucifixion. Along the route are the "Fourteen Stations of the Cross" | Chapels of the Condemnation and Flagellation where Jesus takes up the cross | Polish chapel is site where Jesus fell for the first time | Cross marks where Jesus consoles women of Jerusalem | Jesus falls for the 3rd time as he approaches Calgary

34: The TEMPLE MOUNT has been used as a religious site for thousands of years by at least 4 religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Roman religion. | The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the holiest site in the Old City of Jerusalem. The site is venerated as the Hill of Calvary where Jesus was crucified.

35: YAD VASHEM located on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem is Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Established in 1953 it is entrusted with documenting the history of the Holocaust and the memory and story of each of the 6 million victims. | The ISRAEL MUSEUM was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. The urn-shaped building on the left, the Shrine of the Book, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and artifacts discovered at the Masada. On the right is an 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it was in 66 AD, the end of the Second Temple era.

36: S H A L O M

37: Walking Adventures International Staff Debbie Zimel, Russ Isom, Dan & Amanda Friesen | Steve & Sharon Giles California | Jack & Kathy Wells Virginia | Les & Lucy Yother Kansas | Ray & Anna McAnally Canada | Martin & Bettie Boews Washington | Maggie Mauer Florida | Darlene Thomasec (OR) Thelma Yasuhara (WA) | Gwen Kraemer (WI) Shirley Lindberg (WA) | Dolores Schneider Oregon | Alan Czarapata Maryland | Bob Peterson Virginia | Patricia Lawlor New York | Garaldine Reid & Jenny Cookson Canada | Tink McTaggart (OH) Judy Sholes (MD) | Shirley Boyd ((VA) Dolores Schneider (WA) | Our driver Eli Israel guide Ran

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