In the footsteps of women in the Land of the bible
In spite of verse 31 in the book of Proverbs, in which King Solomon praises: “Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies”, most of the events both in the Old and New Testaments revolve around men, kings, prophets, disciples and warriors. Women have always been somewhere in the background.
Our program “Women of Valor” takes you on a journey in the footsteps of the biblical women to see who they were, where they lived and what their influence was amongst the people around them. Beyond this, our program looks at the women living today in the land of the Bible: Christian, Jewish and Moslem, secular and religious, well known and almost anonymous, to learn about their role in modern Israel
This program aims to:
- Encourage female bonding and sisterhood and the creation of a Christian women's network
- Enhance one's spirituality by learning and praying in the footsteps of Jesus and the biblical heroines
- Inspire women to return home and engage with their communities about mission including important issues impacting today's women around the world (eg female trafficking, rise of Sharia Law)
- Motivate participants to return to Israel with their own groups of women within the next 18 months
- Experience the blessing of Israel and the “not–to-be missed” biblical sites
Day 1 – Monday
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. Genesis 26:3
• Arrival to Ben Gurion airport
• Meeting and assistance by our representative just after passport control
• After luggage collection you are escorted to your guide and driver waiting outside the arrival hall
• Transfer to your hotel in Tel Aviv
• Evening walking tour along the Mediterranean seafront in Jaffa
• Welcome dinner and introduction to the program by Anne Ayalon and Meridel Rawlings
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Day 2 – Tuesday, - The Role and Challenges Facing Women
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. Luke 4:16
• Check-out of the hotel after breakfast
• Meet with Yiska Harani, world renowned expert on Christianity in the Holy Land – for an overview of Biblical heroines and inspiring connections to the land
• Learn about Hannah Senesh, who lived in Kibbutz Sdot Yam (near Caesarea). She was a paratrooper trained to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. She was captured and killed by the Nazi’s and is a national heroine in Israel
• Continue to where Herod built Caesarea, the grandest city other than Jerusalem over the course of 12 years and renamed this city “Caesarea” in honor of the emperor. It was here that a stone inscription was found mentioning Pontius Pilate, the only archeological remains ever found with the name
• Experience 1 st Century Galilean life at Nazareth Village, with a scholar from the University of the Holy Land or visit Nazareth, nestled in a hollow plateau 350 m above sea level. According to the New Testament this town was the home of Joseph and Mary and the site of the Annunciation. Take time for prayer and mediations.
• Dinner and overnight: Maagan Kibbutz hotel, Sea of Galilee
• After dinner briefing by Col (Res) Sarit Zehavi, expert on radical Islam on: “The position of women in Islamic society”
• Overnight : Maagan Kibbutz hotel, Sea of Galilee
Day 3 – Wednesday,– Sisterhood and Prayer in the Galilee
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan Isiah 9:1
• Visit the Biblical sites around the Sea of Galilee:
Mt of Beatitudes - it was at this site that Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God (Matt 5:1-9)
Tabgha the traditional site of the calling of the disciples. A Byzantine mosaic is preserved under a modern church today that was once part of a church which commemorated Jesus’ feeding the multitudes. Here we will walk down to the shore line and enjoy some time for prayer and mediation.
• Capernaum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading center. Peter, Andrew, James and John also lived at Capernaum. The remains of a basalt synagogue believed to be the synagogue where Jesus taught was discovered at this site
• Festive praise and worship led by local leaders from Kehilat Poriya as you sail on a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee in a wooden “Jesus boat”
• Continue to Magdala, a small town going back millennia, is most famous for its best-known citizen – Mary Magdalene. Findings at the town include an ancient 1st-century synagogue where it seems Jews and the earliest Judeo-Christians worshipped together, side by side. Dr. Faydra Shapiro Director of the Galilee Center for studies in Jewish-Christian Relations will conduct a bible reading at this site
• Last stop today will be at the Yardenit situated at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea on its way to the Dead Sea. This is one of the most important sites for Pilgrims - here there will be an opportunity of being baptized by Rose Horton, longtime resident in the area who enjoys encouraging women to understand the significance of resting, refreshing and restoring themselves so they can be a better influence to those around them.
• Dinner and overnight: Maagan Kibbutz hotel, Sea of Galilee
Day 4 –– Our Biblical heroines –if they can do it we can too
The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. Genesis1:12
• Check-out after breakfast
• Participate in the symbolic and ecological act of planting a tree in the Holy Land. Fun fact: Israel is the only nation in the world that ended the 20th century with more trees than at the beginning of the century.
• Ascend to Mt. Tabor. The book of Judges describes a contest for control of the Jezreel Valley, during the times of the prophetess Deborah, when she summoned a general and ordered him to march on Mt. Tabor with an Israelite army .This is also the site where Christian tradition places the transfiguration of Jesus
• Visit Ein Dor , mentioned Samuel 1:28 , where a famed necromancer held a séance for King Saul even though he had outlawed astrologers and sorcerers
• Participate in a cooking workshop and lunch and enjoy fellowship with Christian Arab women in Eilabun, a Galilean village that Jesus likely walked through on his way from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee.
• Drive south through the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem and view the city in all its splendor from Mt Scopus
• Dinner at hotel
• Late night tour: visit the “Challah” bakeries in the Machney Yehuda market and the Mea Shearim Ultra Orthodox neighborhoods
• Overnight Jerusalem
Day 5 –– Spirituality and Affirmation of Faith
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Psalms 122:6
• This morning you will enjoy a visit to the Mt. of Olives where we will pray with Meridel Rawlings. Ascend the Mt of Olives that rises to 818 meters above sea-level, named for olive groves that once covered its slopes. The Mt of Olives is associated with both Jewish and Christian traditions, filled with churches commemorating events in Jesus’ life
• Walk along the Via Dolorosa the road where Jesus walked on the day of His Crucifixion from the judgment seat of Pilate to Mt Calvary, following the 14 Stations of the Cross, ending at the Holy Sepulcher. The church contains the Chapel of Golgotha , and is in itself a fascinating example of the various streams of Christianity co-existing side by side.
• Connie Wilson will lead us in an uplifting communion service at the Garden Tomb Gordon’s Calvary) providing a peaceful setting and an equal opportunity to contemplate the events surrounding the death of Jesus, his burial and resurrection
• Visit Rachel’s Tomb where Jacob buried her en route back to Ephrath after giving birth to her son Benjamin
• Visit Shepherds’ Fields where an angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:8-20). Ruth had remained loyal to her mother-in-law Naomi after the death of her first husband and they both returned to Bethlehem. It was in these fields where Ruth gleaned the barley for her future husband Boaz
Dinner and overnight: Jerusalem
• Share a traditional Shabbat dinner at the home of a local Jewish family in Jerusalem
• Overnight Jerusalem
Day 6 –- Harnessing Strength to Move Forward
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him Luke 10:38
• Breakfast in the hotel
• Drive via the Judean Desert, home of the Bedouin (nomads of the Desert)
• Descend to little village of Bethany that is mentioned many times in the bible. Jesus used to lodge with his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume in the house of Simon the Leper who also resided in this village. It was here in the cemetery just below this village where Lazarus was raised from the dead. We will take time for prayer at this important site.
• Drive by Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and ascend by cable car to the mountaintop fortress of Masada, a rugged natural fortress of majestic beauty, built by King Herod in the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Explore the ancient palace with its water cisterns, ritual baths (mikvah) and ruins of the synagogue. This site has been claimed as a UNESCO World Heritage
• Experience a float in the therapeutic mineral water of the Dead Sea – 400 meters below sea level
• Return to your hotel for dinner
• Evening bible study session with Sharon Sanders, Founder of Christian Friends of Israel.
• Overnight: Jerusalem
Day 7 –– Finding God’s spirit in Jerusalem
As the mountains [are] round about Jerusalem, so the LORD [is] round about his people from henceforth even forever. Psalms 125:2
• Breakfast in the hotel followed by morning worship at the King of Kings Ministry
• Tour the City of David, which began more than 3,000 years ago when King David left Hebron for a small hilltop city known as Jerusalem. The massive destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians can be seen in the layers of the charred remains and thick layer of rubble from the collapsed buildings. According to the Hebrew Bible “Bathsheba” becomes David’s wife after he sees her bathing at a pool and has her husband Uriah killed
• Visit the Western Wall, the holiest site for the Jewish people and tour through the Jewish Quarter.
• Visit the Israel Museum where you will see the model of Jerusalem during the second Temple Period as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
• Continue to Yad Vashem (which is open late on Thursdays)- Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, as well as recognizing and honoring a number of non-Jewish people that helped save Jews during this bleak period. These heroes are referred to as The Righteous among the Nations. After the museum meet with Dr Susanna Kokhiman, Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem about ‘Faith after the Holocaust’ . Susanna will lead a prayer session.
• Dinner and overnight: Jerusalem
Day 8 –- Women Making a Difference
Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. Acts 9:36
• Check-out after breakfast
• Meet with the a leading Israeli MK and a central female figure in Israeli society about Women in Leadership.
• Drive south to Lakiya , a Bedouin settlement in the Negev Desert,where several organizations carry out various activities aimed at supporting and expanding the entrepreneurship within this Bedouin community for the women. They participate in sewing courses at the Amal College in Beer Sheva and have since founded “Sidreh Lakiya – Negev Weaving” and “the Lakiya Desert Embroidery Enterprise”. Meet with the Bedouin women for a workshop followed by lunch
• Visit Shomria, a religious kibbutz in the Negev where you will meet with female IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers
• Return to the city center to Jaffa and enter The Women’s Courtyard ,a unique multicultural organization that provides support for girls and young women in risk situations throughout Israel – this organization promotes social justice, equal opportunities and the right of every women to achieve self-fulfillment.
• Take a short tour through Jaffa (Joppa) - one of the most ancient port cities in the world. Today it is an artists’ colony with quaint galleries displaying local and foreign artists’ paintings and sculptures.
• Farewell Dinner in Jaffa with Anne Ayalon and Meridel Rawlings.
• Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Note: All speakers are tentative and based on availability.