The Sea of Galilee is approximately 53 km in circumference

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Dr. George Wood
Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA

“I encourage you to come to the Land of Israel”. —Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA and the Chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.
This video was filmed last week during a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, near the Wailing Wall.

"I encourage you to come to the Land of Israel". —Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA and the Chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. This video was filmed last week during a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, near the Wailing Wall.#tours #travel #tourism #holyland #landofisrael

Posted by Israel Tours on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Visiting Israel in the winter? Things to do!
Visiting Israel in the winter? Things to do!

Traveling to Israel in the winter definitely has its perks! Besides avoiding crowds and oppressive heat, visiting Israel in the winter offers some unique experiences that you will not find during the rest of the year. To name a few:

 

Bird watching: Thousands of cranes, herons, pelicans and ducks will be making their annual migration through their favorite spots throughout Israel. Quite a sight to see!

Bird watching during the winter in Israel

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A typical Galilean vegetarian brunch
Spark Your Appetite in Israel!

If you don’t immediately think of exquisite cuisine when you think of Israel, you have probably never been there. Listen up, Foodies! It’s time to add this to your culinary destinations wish list. The prestigious “Saveur” magazine has recently named Tel Aviv one of the “Outstanding Culinary Destinations” in the small international cities category. The city is certainly in good company, being named alongside Florence, Italy and Lyon, France. With over 4,500 restaurants, it is clear that Tel Aviv takes food seriously. And Tel Aviv isn’t Israel’s only city receiving praise from Saveur. Jerusalem made it on their list of recommendations for its Mahne Yehuda market and El Al Airlines was hailed as the best in-flight wine selection. All of Israel Tours’s tours will give you ample opportunity to enjoy the delicious local cuisine. But fair warning… you might get hooked! So if you join one of our tours, don’t be surprised if you return home to find yourself searching on Yelp for Israeli restaurants in your area.

 

The Mahane Yehuda Market located in Jerusalem is very popular with locals and tourists, the market’s offers more than 250 vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, cheeses and more…

Spices store in Mahane Yehuda Market Jerusalem

 

If you want to explore what Israeli people do after a long day of work, we suggest you go for a glass of wine or just hang out at a bar or cafe in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood.

Dinner with friends Israel

 

If you’re in the Galilee area, you’ll find handmade cheese boutiques along the way. The stories behind each cheese maker family are colorful and the cheese is very good!

Galilee cheese maker

Santa Claus in Jerusalem
Christmas in the Holy Land

What better place to celebrate Christmas than in the actual birthplace of Christ? While you may not find the eggnog, snowmen, and elves that have taken over most of the rest of the world, you certainly will find a much more soul quenching Christmas in Israel. Here you will experience a deeper reverence that is a refreshing change of pace for those who are accustomed to a Santa saturated Christmas.

Of course the ultimate stop on a Christmas trip to the Holy Land is Bethlehem. Here you will have an opportunity to visit the Church of the Nativity, representing the spot where Jesus was born. When you enter the Grotto of the Nativity and gaze upon the 14 point silver star nestled in the marble floor, don’t be surprised if you are overcome with emotion at the realization that this is acknowledged as the exact place of Jesus’ birth. You will also want to visit Manger’s Square, where you can join the carolers as they sing classic songs of Christ’s birth. The lyrics of these songs will become more meaningful and poignant than ever before as you stand in the place that inspired them. Not far from Bethlehem lies Shepherd’s Field, where the angel announced the Messiah’s birth to the shepherd’s who were keeping watch over their flocks at night. Here you can look up to the sky and imagine what these men must have seen and felt upon receiving such a message.

There is also a lot to see beyond Bethlehem. For those who are seeking a taste of the Christmas traditions that they are used to back home, a stop in Jesus’ boyhood home of Nazareth is a must. Here you can find lights, decorated trees, a Christmas parade, and even an appearance from Santa. There is also an annual Christmas Market full of arts and crafts, food, local produce, and entertainment. Jerusalem’s Old City holds a Christmas mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Christmas lights can be found in the Christian Quarter.

You can’t expect Israel to deliver an over-the-top Christmas celebration with all the trimmings and hoopla that you are probably used to. What you can expect, however, is a heart warming, spiritually enriching experience that you will never forget.

For over 10 years Israel Tours has been guiding travelers through the Holy Lands while offering unparalleled customer service, incredible tour guides, and outstanding 5 Star accommodations. The signature Roots of Your Faith Tour is the ideal way to discover Israel. This 10 day tour is conveniently offered twice a month, with a tour running right through Christmas! At only $1,695 for a land package including 5 Star hotels, daily breakfasts and dinners, entrance fees, and fully guided tours, there is simply no better deal on the market.

 

Christina Peters, Israel Tours
September, 2014

Israeli kids celebrating Hanukkah
An Israeli Celebration of Hanukkah

In the US, Hanukkah ranks as one of the most popular of the Jewish holidays, but did you know that it’s a big leap from the way it’s traditionally celebrated in Israel? In fact, Hanukkah is viewed as a minor holiday!

Here comes your history lesson for the day… In 168 B.C.E., a Syrian tyrant took over Jerusalem and desecrated the temple with the altars and idols of the Greek gods. Jews who did not worship the Greek gods were put to death. In response, a family of priests known as the Maccabees led a resistance movement that eventually pushed the Syrians out of Jerusalem. The people decided to purify and rededicate the Temple after its defilement. When they went to relight the Eternal Light, they found only one small jar of oil, which would only last one day. It took a messenger 8 days to collect the rest of the necessary oil, and yet the light miraculously burned for the entire 8 day period. Hanukkah is celebrated in remembrance of this miracle.

In Israel, the holidays mentioned in the Hebrew Bible are viewed as most significant and given special attention. Hanukkah, however, does not actually appear in the Hebrew Bible. Instead, it is found in the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees. So while this is certainly historically important, in Israel, it does not receive the same level of attention that it does here in the US. Israelis celebrate on a much smaller scale. Chocolate coins and dreidels are given to children, candles are lit, and children makes crafts or go to parties. Also, fried foods such as doughnuts are eaten to represent the oil in the miracle.

So how did we go from the simple, modest observance of Israel to the grand festivities of the US? Old Saint Nick can take the credit for that one. With Christmas being celebrated so close to Hanukkah, some of the traditions have merged to an extent. Unlike Israeli children, American children receive gifts over the course of the 8 day celebration. This is believed to have been picked up from the Christian tradition of receiving gifts from Santa Clause. It is not surprising that neighbors share customs with each other. In fact, many of the most popular Christmas traditions are borrowed from other cultures as well. Aside from some of the holiday practices, there is one major element that is shared by both Hanukkah and Christmas. Both were born and bred in Israel!

 

Christina Peters, Israel Tours
September, 2014

Jaffa Night Tour
Jaffa Night Tour

Standing in stark contrast to the modern, bustling city of Tel Aviv, is the quaint 3,000 year old port city of Jaffa. Referred to in the Bible as Joppa, this is where Jonah fled to avoid travelling to Nineveh and where God used Peter to raise Tabitha (Dorcus) from the dead.

After a long plane ride and a belly full from dinner, you may be tempted to call it a night and hit the hay early. But for those who can muster up a bit of vigor, the opportunity to join a short walking tour of Old City Jaffa should certainly be taken. Though only 15 minutes away from Tel Aviv, Old Jaffa seems to be worlds away. This charming sea town allows you to easily envision what life was like in the days of the Bible, as it appears to be a place almost completely untouched by time. Your guide will lead you on a leisurely stroll through the town where you will stop to observe the beautiful St. Peter’s Church. If you are lucky you may even catch an evening wedding taking place. Though they will be closed, you will be able to window shop in the picturesque stores that line the cobblestone streets. You will also catch spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea as well as of Tel Aviv.

 

Christina Peters, Israel Tours
September, 2014

Night Spectacular - Jerusalem
Jerusalem Light Show – Night Spectacular

Multiple times a week the sacred walls below the Tower of David are illuminated with 4,000 years of history told wordlessly through light and sound. Antiquity meets modern technology in a surprisingly harmonious union as moving images are projected onto the ancient walls. Watch the transformation of Jerusalem as it passes through the ages of David, the Romans, Muhammad, the Crusaders, Suleiman the Magnificent and more. An impressive amount of history is covered in only 45 minutes. Considering that the entire account is conveyed through nonverbal narration, this is certainly a remarkable feat!

For under $20 US, this is definitely an attraction that should not be missed; better than a fireworks show (and also more educational). The show is captivating to children as well as adults, so bring the whole family. But bundle everyone up and bring a hot beverage! The show is viewed in the open air so there is a good chance that it will be chilly.

Share a review or photo from your trip on our Facebook page during the duration of the tour. Let your guide know about it and receive a free ticket to the Night Spectacular show! Click here for more details.

 

Christina Peters, Israel Tours
September, 2014

Why do we blow the shofar so many times on Rosh Hashanah
Shana Tovah! Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Shana tovah u’metukah!!! Or for those of us who do not speak a lick of Hebrew, “a good and sweet New Year”!!

Sweet is definitely a fitting word for this holiday. With all of the traditional New Year treats of apples and honey, honey cakes, pomegranates, and raisin challah, this has to be an Israeli dentist’s least favorite High Holy Day. But whether in Israel, the U.S., or any other place in the world, Jewish people will be ushering in the Jewish calendar’s year of 5775 by celebrating in a very similar manner. Traditionally a synagogue service would be attended, which would be full of singing and prayer as well as the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn in fulfillment of the commandment of Leviticus to commemorate the occasion with loud blasts.

In the afternoon, it is customary to take a walk to an open body of water and shake out your pockets into the water to symbolize casting your sins into the water. If you are visiting Israel during Rosh Hashanah, hang out near a body of water and you might be lucky enough to see religious Jews performing this custom of Tashlich. Starting over fresh (and getting to eat some delicious food) is definitely something that we can all appreciate no matter our culture or country. So go ahead and dip your apple slices into some honey tonight and bring a little sweetness into the year 5775.

Christina Peters, Israel Tours
September, 2014

 

Photo by Government Press Office – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This is the Roots of Your Faith tour in September 2014
Ready for a busy season in Israel tourism

Pack your bags! Israel’s tourism industry is back in full swing and this fall is expected to bring in an abundance of eager travelers. Thousands of tourists have been enjoying Israel’s museums, attractions, restaurants, and holy sites in this past month and are returning home safe and sound (and often a bit more tan)! From Galilee to Eilat, the hotels are filling up with autumn reservations as Israel gears up for the Hebrew calendar’s New Year. (more…)

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