Greetings All, capsule
As many of you know, rx that I just got back from a trip to Israel sponsored by Christians United for Israel. Since then, and I have been in email contact with Rachel Epstein from the Frosch Group Travel who managed the tour and has worked closely with CUFI. I know that there are many agencies from which to work with and we could explore that or just go with Frosch. Let me share with you some of the things that Rachel has shared with me.
- Low travel times are February, March, and November months. (Better pricing)
- Cost is generally around the $4000 – 4,000 per person for 7-8 nights. (30 years ago I paid $2500 and stayed in a YMCA)
- Recommends planning 18 months out for people to save and plan.
- Goal of 35 – 42 participants (on a 52 passenger motor coach). She does work with multiple groups/churches/synagogues/etc to help with volume pricing.
- All guides are government licensed. Rachel does have a team of guides who are generous with information and time.
My personal comments:
- It was safe! No fears.
- The accommodations were a “5””.
- The guide (Abraham) was a “5”. I wish I knew my Jewish heritage as well as he knew my Christian heritage. He knows it better that most Christians.
- A nice touch was giving gifts to Israeli soldiers.
- A memorable experience was reading scripture, prayer, and singing at most sites.
- The guest speakers were excellent. We heard personal perspectives from an Israeli Jew, Muslim, and two Christians.
- Rachel L. Epstein | President – Group Travel | FROSCH 909 Third Avenue, 12th Floor | New York, NY 10022 | USA T: 713.590.8102 | F: 212.421.2790 Travel + Leisure, A-List – ISRAEL
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
A Possible Itinerary (one we used; note itineraries are subject to changes, this is just a possibility)
Day 1 ~ Depart the United States flying overnight to Israel.
Day 2 ~ Tel Aviv/Tiberias
Arrive Ben Gurion airport. Begin traveling north along the Israeli coastline to Caesarea, the Roman capital of Israel. View the beautiful restored Roman Theater, and the ruins of the ancient town. Continue to the Mount of Beatitudes the site of the sermon on the mount.
Caesar Hotel (D)
Day 3 ~ Tiberias
Golan Heights, for a Northern Israel strategic tour. See the former Syrian fortifications and understand the strategic importance of this area. Pass Mount Hermon. Then, with gifts in hand, proceed to the border outpost to meet Israeli soldiers who keep Israel safe along her northern border with Lebanon. This is where I met “Israeli Uncle Si” Enjoy a St. Peter’s fish lunch at Kibbutz Ein Gev, before taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, seeing the ruins of the ancient synagogue. Continue to Nof Ginnosar, to see the ancient boat from the time of Jesus. This evening, enjoy a grill dinner at Decks. Caesar Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 4 ~ Tiberias/Jerusalem
Morning departure to Jerusalem. Upon arrival, view the panorama from atop the Mount of Olives, and onto the Garden of Gethsemane. Continue to Mount Zion and the site of the Upper Room of the Last Supper, St. Peter in Gallicantu and Caiphas’ House. Crowne Plaza Hotel (B, D)
Day 5 ~ Jerusalem
Begin the day with a special service at the Garden Tomb. Next, visit Ir David, the City of David and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. Continue with a walk along the Via Dolorosa; the Stations of the Cross, and a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Welcome the Sabbath at the Kotel, Western Wall. Enjoy Shabbat dinner together. Crowne Plaza Hotel (B, D)
Day 6 ~ Jerusalem
Drive into the Judean wilderness, passing the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, to Masada, King Herods’s desert fortress palace and last stronghold of the Jewish zealots against the Roman domination in 73 CE. Enjoy a quick swim in the Dead Sea before returning in Jerusalem. Crowne Plaza Hotel (B, D)
Day 7 ~ Jerusalem/Enroute
orship service at St. Annes Church. Walk the incredible Western Wall Tunnel. Visit the Memorial to the Holocaust at Yad Vashem. Next, stop at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, and the Model of Jerusalem at the time of the Temple. Enjoy a farewell dinner together before transferring to the airport with assistance in departure for the flight to the United States. (B, D)
Day 8 ~ USA Arrival in the United States later today.
Personally, I would like to try for a trip in early November 2016 (for us February and March is our busy Lenten season).
Please let me know if you would be interested. And feel free to share this with others.
I too will be sharing my trip in several different arenas at my church. I have excellent video clips from some of the Israelis we met. I am putting together presentations. Plus, I would do a 8-10 pre-study tour before we go.
Pastor Mark E. Gehrke
Faith Lutheran Church, LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ)
Rev. Dr. Mark E. Gehrke
1611 41 Street
Moline, IL 61265