October 04, 2010

I am accompanying my mother in the Holy Land October 4 to 17.

Monday, October 4
Arrive in Tel Aviv, and take bus to hotel in Ginosar (Biblical Gennesaret) on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Tuesday, October 5
Mount of Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount, ten minutes away from Ginosar, overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum (in whose hills Jesus prayed. House of Peter. Bethsaida, the ancestral home of Peter and his brother Andrew

Wednesday, October 6
Upper Galilee. Northern border of Israel. Dan River, one of the headwaters of the River Jordan. Dan, ancient site with the remains of King Jeroboam’s tenth century B.C. altar for the golden calf, when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah split. Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” View Mount Hermon, one candidate for the site of the Transfiguration.

Thursday, October 7
Sailing on the Sea of Galilee which Jesus calmed and upon which he walked.

Friday, October 8
Nazareth, visiting the Church of the Annunciation. The “the brow of the hill” where a mob threatened to throw Jesus down the cliff (Luke 4:14-30). Look out towards Mount Tabor (more traditional site for the Transfiguration) and also the Jezreel Valley where Deborah and her general, Barak, defeated the Canaanites. Megiddo, seeing a layer cake of archeology— the evidence of civilization on top of civilization (MeGiDDO is also “arMaGeDDOn”). Caesarea, the deep-water port built by Herod the Great. Caesarea was the home of the Roman garrison and of Pontius Pilate. Drive to hotel in Jerusalem.

Saturday, October 9
Mount of Olives. Walk the Palm Sunday route of Jesus. Halfway down the hill we reach the Garden of Gethsemane. Enter the Old City through the Damascus Gate and follow the Way of the Cross to Golgotha (Calvary) at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Burial and Resurrection)

Sunday, October 10
Western Wall or the “Wailing Wall” (remnant of temple complex built by King Herod) in Jerusalem. Town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, where we visit the Church of the Nativity. Herodion, a fortress built by Herod the Great on the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Monday, October 11
Ein Gedi, a lush oasis which served as David’s hideout when he was on the run from King Saul. Masada, the fortress built by Herod, where the Jews made their last stand against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Drive to hotel on shore of the Dead Sea.

Tuesday October 12
Swim in the Dead Sea (whose high salt content makes you float more buoyantly than in ocean water. Visit the possible site of Sodom and Gomorrah. Visit the Negev wilderness as guest of nomadic Bedouins.

Wednesday, October 13
We visit Qumran, a retreat center of the Essenes who were copying the Dead Sea Scrolls—also possible area of desert residence of John the Baptist. Drive back to Jerusalem, check into hotel. Visit the southern wall excavations of the Old City.

Thursday, October 14
Drive to Beit Zaman Hotel (built into the stone buildings of an old village) in Wadi Musa in the Kingdom of Jordan.

Friday, October 15
Spend the day at the archaeological site of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This spectacular city, carved out of solid rock, was the target of a dreadful prophecy in the book of Obadiah, and it served as the capital of the ancient Nabatean kingdom. In biblical times, Petra was part of the Edomite Kingdom, founded by Jacob’s brother, Esau. We enter Petra through a magnificent gorge, with towering red-rock cliffs on either side. In Petra: the “Treasury” building, made famous as the “temple” in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

Saturday, October 16
Mount Nebo, where Moses died, with a view of the Promised Land as Moses saw it. Drive to Amman, Jordan, to check into hotel.

Sunday, October 17
Fly home. “California, here I come.”