Greetings! The following is the handcrafted itinerary of the trip to Israel that Mary and I are leading in response to those who have asked us to put together a “not for credit” study tour. I will be giving mini-lectures along the way both on the bus and on the sites, drawing from my studies. I have spent 16 years of my adult life living in, and guiding, academic groups in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey (including living, teaching, and guiding in Jerusalem for 7 years).
This specially planned itinerary is based upon my experience of leading/guiding/ teaching over 100 groups in Israel and is structured to include as many important biblical sites as possible as we study the Bible in the Land of the Bible.
I am Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. I received my PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Dropsie University (now the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania). Currently I am an adjunct professor at the Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem and Bethel University in St. Paul, MN and have served as a consultant for a publisher and several media organizations.
In 2010 Zondervan published a new, updated version of my Zondervan Atlas of the Bible. Lavishly illustrated, the new version has been updated in every way including new maps, pictures, graphics and updated text. In 2013 Zondervan published my Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible. In addition, I maintain the web site www.HolylandPhotos.org that features over 5,000 free, high quality and high-resolution images of Israel, Turkey, Greece, Jordan, and Italy.
Dr. Carl Rasmussen, Ph.D,
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament,
Oct 23, Friday
Depart New York – Fly Tel Aviv
Oct 24, Saturday
Arrive Tel Aviv
Upon arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, a TUTKU representative with a “BAS – TUTKU” sign will meet you. After collecting our luggage, we will meet Tour Guide Mr. Ofer Drori, then drive to the BY14 Hotel in Tel Aviv for dinner and overnight. (D)
Oct 25, Sunday
Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Mt. Tabor – Tiberias
After breakfast, drive to the ruins of Caesarea, a large city port built by Herod the Great to honor Roman Caesar Augustus. His city included a theater, hippodrome, and aqueduct system stretching from the springs of Mt. Carmel to Caesarea. The book of Acts refers to Caesarea as the city Peter visited (Acts 10). Continue to Mt. Carmel where we visit the Carmelite Monastery of Muhraka to survey the site where God caused Elijah to defeat the priests of Ba’al and to take in a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley. On to Megiddo where archaeologists uncovered 20 civilizations built one upon another. At this site, King Solomon built his vast stables and, in 609 BC, good King Josiah died in battle. Drive to Mt. Tabor. Take a taxi to the top of the mountain and visit the Church of the Transfiguration. Enjoy an outstanding view of the Jezreel Valley where the battle of Deborah and the Canaanites took place (Judges 5). Continue on to the Leonardo hotel in Tiberias for dinner & overnight. (B ,D)
Oct 26, Monday
Hazor, Dan, Banias/Caesarea Philippi, Golan Heights
Today travel north to visit Hazor, the largest Old Testament site in Israel (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We will then proceed to Dan, on the northern border of the biblical kingdom of Israel. There we will walk to one of the headwaters of the Jordan River and visit the extensive excavations. A short drive will take us to Banias / Caesarea Philippi, the place where Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ (Matt 16:16). From there drive up to the Golan Heights and view into Syria (if local conditions permit). Time permitting visit Katzrin where there is a well-preserved Synagogue and reconstructed houses. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (B,D)
Oct 27, Tuesday
Sea of Galilee, Jesus’ Ministries
Begin our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, visit the first-century fishing boat that is now in a museum, and continue on to the well-preserved, first century A.D. synagogue at Magdala and the excavations there. We will then visit the Mt. of Beatitudes, continuing to Capernaum, Jesus’ “home” for a good portion of his earthly ministry. We will visit Corazim with its reconstructed synagogue. If time permits, we will visit Bethsaida. Return to Tiberias for dinner & overnight. (B,D)
Oct 28, Wednesday
Sepphoris, Nazareth Overlook, Jericho, Jordan River
Visit Sepphoris —3 miles north of Nazareth— with its beautiful mosaic floors. Continue to visit the Mount of Precipice where we’ll have a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley. We continue on to visit the site of Jezreel, where Naboth had his vineyard that was coveted by the Israelite King Ahab. We then will drive south down the Jordan Valley to visit Old Testament Jericho where the “walls came tumbling down.” End our day at the Jordan River near where the Israelites entered the land of Canaan and where John was Baptizing. Continue to the Ein Bokek area. Overnight at the Leonardo Plaza hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. (B,D)
Oct 29, Thursday
Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran – Jerusalem
We begin our day with a “float” in the Dead Sea at our Spa Hotel. Then we will head north to visit Masada, a natural fortress with majestic ruins overlooking the Dead Sea. Peer into amazing water cisterns as a cable car delivers us up to Herod the Builder’s elaborate aerie. Marvel at the impressive villas built on different levels. Large storehouses fed hundreds. Jewish zealots held the fortress against the unrelenting 10th Roman legion until 72 AD, when after a monumental siege using an attack ramp, they conquered it. In the afternoon, we will drive north to visit Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. We then will continue on to the Olive Tree hotel in Jerusalem for dinner & overnight. (B,D)
Oct 30, Friday
Mt. of Olives, Gethsemane, Old City, Holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb
We begin our day with a spectacular view of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives. As we walk down the mount, we will stop at Dominus Flevit, the church that commemorates Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, and the Garden of Gethsemane—the site of Jesus’ Passion. We will view of the Kidron Valley. Afterwards enter the Old City at the Lion’s Gate. We will visit St. Anne’s Church and Pools of Bethesda continuing on the Via Dolorosa to Umariyah Boys’ School for a view of Temple Mount and then to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. End our day at the Garden Tomb and Gordon’s Calvary. Dinner & overnight. (B,D)
Oct 31, Saturday
Bethlehem, Herodium, Mt Zion, Western Wall
Start our day and drive to Bethlehem where we will visit the Church of the Nativity and have some time for shopping. Drive to the Herodium, the palace/fortress where Herod the Great was eventually buried and then return to Jerusalem to Mt. Zion to visit the room of the last supper and King David tomb. Walk through the Jewish Quarter to view the holiest site for Judaism the Western (wailing) Wall. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Dinner & overnight (B,D)
Nov 1, Sunday
City of David, Wohl Museum, Yad Vashem, Israel Museum
We start our day at the City of David where we’ll visit Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Siloam. Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes to walk through the tunnel. Anyone wanting to stay dry can walk through the dry Canaanite Tunnel. Continue to the Wohl museum. Then drive to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Afterwards, continue on to visit the Israel Museum where we will see the model of Second Temple Jerusalem, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and archaeological highlights of the Israel Museum. Dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Nov 2, Monday
You will be transferred to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport for your flight back home. End of our services.
Carl Rasmussen is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Dropsie University (now the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania). Dr. Rasmussen has spent 16 years of his adult life living in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey, where he taught and led academic study programs. Since his retirement from Bethel University, Dr. Rasmussen has continued to teach and lead adult study tours in Turkey, Greece, and Israel. Each year he spends time in Jerusalem, where he is Adjunct Professor at the Jerusalem University College. [More Bio]
Carl was a “10”—an excellent teacher, providing Biblical references to augment each archaeological site. —Geana M., BAS Israel 2018 tourist
Ofer Drori has many years of guiding experience and has acquired great knowledge in Biblical History, desert tourism, archeological missions and agricultural seminars as well as having great experience in guiding pilgrimage groups, Jewish missions as well as private group guiding. [More Bio]
A great guide! Highly recommended. —Gilli, Israel tourist
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