First Baptist Church Valdosta Georgia
April 14-April 26, 2012

This trip to Israel included total of 10 participants this year. We visited Israel from the North to the South and went to Petra in Jordan. Here is the itinerary for this trip, together with few photos and comments participants had about this trip:

Day 1, Saturday, April 14, 2012
Depart from the US to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Day 2, Sunday, April 15, 2012
Arrival to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Transfer to our hotel in Tiberias. Overnight by the Lake.
Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias

Day 3, Monday, April 16, 2012
Today we start our tour in Israel. Leaving Tiberias, we will visit Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus and spend some time in the Nazareth Village where we will learn how people used to live in the time of Jesus in a Jewish village. We will also visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the old Synagogue where Jesus himself was teaching. Driving pass Mary’s Well, we will then continue to village of Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed his first miracle turning water into wine at the Jewish wedding. Rest of the day we will spend in the Golan Heights. We will make a short stop at the factory shop of Naot on our way up to the Golan. We will then visit Caesarea Phillipi and look at the Israeli-Syrian border and learn about the different wars of Israel. We will end the day facing the Sea of Galilee where we can enjoy communion together watching the beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee.
Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias

Day 4, Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Today we will walk the path of Jesus in the land of Galilee.  We will visit the sites where his ministry began; where he preached, performed miracles and gathered the multitude to follow him: Mount Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Capernaum, the headquarters of his ministry where we will visit the old Synagogue and Peter’s House, Tabgha, where the multiplication of the loaves and fish took place (Matthew 14:19-21). We will then visit the museum in Nof Ginosar where the “Jesus Boat” is displayed. This 1st century boat was discovered sunk in the mud in the Lake. We will take a Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee and spend time in a prayer service on the same waters Jesus walked (Mark 6:48-50). Our day will end with a baptism service at the Jordan River (Luke 3:21-22). 
Overnight: Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias

Day 5, Wednesday, April 18, 2012
We will start our drive to Jerusalem via the coastal area of Israel. Our first visit will be to  the top of Mt. Carmel, where the great prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal and proved to the people that the God of Israel is the true God (1 Kings 18:17-40). On to Megiddo, the city of King Solomon and King Ahab, where 20 different layers of civilization were excavated also known as the valley where the kings of the earth will gather for the battle commonly referred to as the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16). Caesarea, the port city built by King Herod the great 2000 years ago and the place where Simon Peter shared the gospel with Cornelius, the Roman centurion who became the first Gentile convert (Acts 10: 44-48), will be our next site. We then continue to Jerusalem. Depending on arrival, we might stop for a panoramic view of Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus and a traditional entrance for the Holy city.
Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 6, Thursday, April 19, 2012 (Memorial day for the Holocaust)
Full day tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. Starting with a panoramic view from Mt. of Olives, we will then continue to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus “often met with his disciples” (John 18:2) and where he spent his last hours in solitude before being captured by the Romans (Luke 22:47-53). Up to Mt. Zion to visit the Upper Room, Cenaculum, the place of the Last Supper (Luke 22:14-22) and the place where the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon believers who were gathered there on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Here is also King David’s Tomb.  Walk from there through the Zion Gate to visit the Jewish Quarters and the Roman Cardo, the main street in the Byzantine period of Jerusalem. On to the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews, to pray to God’s presence and put a note in the wall. We will tour the Western Wall Tunnels, walking under the Western Wall plaza to the base of this remarkable wall and along it, all the way up north. Continue to walk the Via Dolorosa, the fourteen stations of the cross, starting at the Pool of Bethesda and to the Church of the Holy Sepulchure.
Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 7, Friday, April 20, 2012
Full day tour of the New City of Jerusalem. We will start the day visiting the City of David Excavations, where we will learn about Jerusalem of 3000 years ago. We will then pass the Knesset, Israeli Parliament with the famous Menorah, view the Supreme Court and drive to Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial. Continue to Machane Yehuda Market to get a sense of Jerusalem and the many faces of the people in it while we watch them getting ready for Shabbat. Towards the evening, we will go to the Western Wall to watch the Jewish people as they come to pray at the most sacred place for Jews.
Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 8, Saturday, April 21, 2012
We start our day with a visit to Bethlehem. We will then continue to the Israel Museum, the place where the Dead Sea scrolls are on display and the model of 2nd temple Jerusalem. Our day will end with the Garden Tomb, Golgotha or Calvary. Here, Jesus was crucified, died on the cross, was buried and raised from the dead (Matthew 27:33-61) and here we will have a service.
Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 9, Sunday, April 22, 2012
Today we start our journey South. We will stop at the Ellah Valley to talk about the famous fight between David and Goliath. We will then continue driving to the famous Ramon Crater and learn about how it was created. We will then have a Jeep Tour into the Crater to view its unique and beautiful views. Rest of the day we will drive down to Eilat, the most Southern city in Israel for overnight.
Overnight: Isrotel Agamim Hotel in Eilat

Day 10, Monday, April 23, 2012
Full day trip to Petra, Jordan and back to Eilat
Overnight: Isrotel Agamim Hotel in Eilat

Day 11, Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Today, we will leave Eilat and drive down to the Dead Sea area. We will stop at the Desert Tabernacle in Timna park to learn about the way this Tabernacle was built. We will then continue to the Dead Sea and have the rest of the day to relax at the Dead Sea, experience ‘floating’ on the water and use the facilities at the hotel. Tonight is the evening of Memorial Day for falling soldiers, so most public places are closed.
Overnight: Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel, Dead Sea

Day 12, Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (Memorial Day for Falling Soldiers)
Today we will visit the eastern slopes of the Judean Hills and the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea. We start in  Massada, the royal fortress built by King Herod and used by the Jewish Zealots as the last stronghold during the great revolt against Rome between 66-73 AD. We view the Ein Gedi waterfalls where King David escaped from his enemies and continue to Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Yachad (Essene) Sect 2200 years ago and where they were discovered in 1947. We then drive to Tel Aviv for overnight. Tonight is the end of the Memorial Day for Falling Soldiers and the beginning of the Independence celebrations for Israel. We will have time to join people as they celebrate the Independence in the streets of Tel Aviv.
Overnight: Renaissance Hotel Tel Aviv

Day 13, Thursday, April 26, 2012 (Independence Day)
Today, our last day in the land, we will leave the hotel later in the morning and visit Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv was founded 100 years ago. We will drive through the Rabin Square where Yitzhaq Rabin was assassinated , see the Bauhaus neighborhoods of early Tel Aviv and visit Jaffa, the old port city and the artists galleries. Our day will end with an early dinner in Tel Aviv before we head to the airport for our flight back home

Rayna and Mattea trip, December 2010

Day 1
Arrival to Tel Aviv, Pickup and transfer to Jerusalem, Old City Jerusalem
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 2
Jerusalem: Foot step of Jesus, Garden Tomb, Church of Agony and other Christian sites, night show in David Citadel
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 3
Drive to Dead Sea, Qumeran, Ein Gedi, Enjoy floating on the Dead Sea
Overnight: Oasis Dead Sea Hotel, Dead Sea

Day 4
Massada, Drive to Mitzpe Ramon via the desert and the Big Crater, Sde Boker to Ben Gurion Tomb
Overnights: Ramon Inn Hotel, Mitzpe Ramon

Day 5
Ramon Crater, Alpaca and Lama pharm in Mitzpe Ramon, Ein Avdat, Chan HaShayarot activities
Overnight: Chan HaShayarot

Day 6
Drive to Eilat, Yotvata, Timna Park
Overnight: Caesar Premier Hotel, Eilat

Day 7
Diving with Dolphins at the Dolphin Reef, Camel ride
Overnight: Caesar Premier Hotel, Eilat

Day 8
Drive to Tel Aviv
Overnight: Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel & Towers, Tel Aviv

Day 9
Drive through the cost, Caesarea, Zichron Yaacov, Haifa
Overnight: Colony Hotel, Haifa

Day 10
Akko, Rosh HaNikra, drive to Ramot
Overnight: Sagi Lodging, Moshav Ramot

Day 11
Golan Heights: Wineries in Katzrin, Chocolate ‘De Karina’ and workshop, Tel Dan reserve and night Jeep Ride at Golan to look for animals
Overnight: Sagi Lodging, Moshav Ramot

Day 12
Safed, Hula Valley and the restored Hula lake
Overnight: Sagi Lodging, Moshav Ramot

Day 13
Drive to Jerusalem, Machane Yehuda market, Time elevator
Overnights: Eldan Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 14
Sites in Jerusalem: Zoo, Science Park, Botanical Gardens
Overnights: Eldan Hotel, Jerusalem

Day 15
Archeological Dig in Beit Guvrin, National stalactites cave, Mini Israel, drive to the airport

Paretzky Family Trip August 16-August 27, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010: Arrival to Israel
Arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, Transfer to family for some time on your own
Overnight: On your own with family

Tuesday, August 17, 2010: With Family
Spend time with family on your own
Overnight: On your own with family

Wednesday, August 18, 2010: Tel Aviv: Palmach, Independence Hall, Ayalom, Jaffa
Palmach Museum, Independence Museum, Tel Aviv, Ayalon Museum
Overnight: Dan Hotel, Tel Aviv

Thursday, August 19, 2010: Caesarea, Haifa, Rosh HaNikara, Sea of Galilee
Caesarea, Haifa, Rosh HaNikra, Sea of Galilee and Tiberias
Overnight: Rimonim Galei Kinereth Hotel, Tiberias

Friday, August 20, 2010: Safed, Hula Valley, Jordan River
Safed, Bycles around the Hula Valley, Ein Tina hike
Overnight: Rimonim Galei Kinereth Hotel, Tiberias

Saturday, August 21, 2010: Tel Dan, Banias, Golan Heights
Tel Dan Nature Reserve, Banias Hike, Golan Heights
Overnight: Rimonim Galei Kinereth Hotel, Tiberias

Sunday, August 22, 2010: Archeological dig, Mt. Scopus, Old City Jerusalem
Drive to Jerusalem, Archeological dig in Beit Guvrin, Mt. Scopus, Old City Jerusalem including Jewish Quarter, Arab and Christian Quarters, Western Wall
Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem

Monday, August 23, 2010: City of David, Israel Museum, Tad Vashem
City of David and water tunnel, Model of Jerusalem from second temple period, Israel Museum, Yad Vashem
Overnight: David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem

Tuesday, August 24, 2010: Ein Gedi, Massada, Dead Sea, Mitzpe Ramon
Ein Gedi, Masada, Dead Sea, Mitzpe Ramon
Overnight: Ramon Inn Hotel, Mitzpe Ramon

Wednesday, August 25, 2010: Jeep Tour in Ramon Crater, Eilat
Sunrise Jeep Tour in the Ramon Crater, Drive to Eilat, Underwater Observatory in Eilat
Overnight: Herods Hotel, Eilat

Thursday, August 26, 2010: Petra Jordan
Day trip to Petra Jordan
Overnight: Herods Hotel, Eilat

Friday, August 27, 2010: Leisure day in Eilat, Departure
Day at leisure in Eilat, Flight to Sed Dov, Pick up, time in Jaffa with family, Transfer to Ben Gurion for your departure
Departure back to the US

Weinfield Family Trip July 25-August 4, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010: Arrival to Israel, Haifa
Arrival to Ben Gurion Airport. Meeting and assistance. Transfer to your hotel in Haifa.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Haifa

Monday, July 26, 2010: Akko, Rosh ha’nikra, Haifa, Bahai Gardens, Technion
Akko (Acre), Rosh Ha’nikra, Bahai Gardens and Mount Carmel, German Colony, Technion
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Haifa

Tuesday, July 27, 2010: Zippori, Safed, Hula Valley
Tzippori, Safed, Firing Range Ayelet Ha’Shahar, Hulla Valley nature reserve or Agamon HaHulla
Overnight: Nof Ginosar Kibbutz Hotel, Sea of Galilee

Wednesday, July 28, 2010: Banias or el Dan, Golan Heights, Wineries, Rafting, Jeep
Tel Dan or Banias, Golan Heights, border with Syria, Golan Wineries, Rafting down the Jordan River and Jeep Tour in the Golan
Overnight: Nof Ginosar Kibbutz Hotel, Sea of Galilee

Thursday, July 29, 2010: Sea of Galilee, Beith Shean, Megido, Caesarea
Around the Sea of Galilee, Beith Shean, Beith Alpha, Megido, Caesarea
Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Friday, July 30, 2010: Independence Hall, Diaspora Museum, Palmach Museum
Independence Hall, Diaspora Museum, Palmach Museum, Nachalat Binyamin, Carmel Market
Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Saturday, July 31, 2010: Zichron Yaacov, Jaffa, Tel Aviv
Zichron Yaacov for Bar Mitzvah, Jaffa, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv Harbor
Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

Sunday, August 1, 2010: Latrun, Mount Scopus, Mount Olives, Old City Jerusalem
Drive to Jerusalem, Latrun Tank Museum, Mount Scopus Panoramic View, Mount Olives, Old City walking tour from Mount Zion to Jewish, Arab and Christian Quarters
Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Monday, August 2, 2010: Ein Gedi, Massada, Dead Sea
Ein Gedi, Massada, Dead Sea
Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Tuesday, August 3, 2010: Israel Museum, Mount Hertzel, Yad Vashem, Tunnels
Knesset, Israel Museum, Mount Hertzel and Hertzel Museum, Yad Vashem, Western Wall Tunnels
Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

Wednesday, August 4, 2010:
Departure back to the US


Israel is the center of three major religions, the cross point of cultures and habits, the place where the ancient history, tradition and archaeology all come together, creating a melting pot of humanity. Predominantly Jewish, the population of Israel can trace their roots to the Eastern and Western Europe, the Americas, North Africa, India and the Mediterranean. Thrown together, the Jews and the Arabs (Moslem and Christian alike), Bedouins and the Druze represent a unique variety of ethnicities and traditions, making Israel an inspiring and exiting destination for the people eager to experience the multicultural nature of the land and the people.

The diversity, and consequently the eating habits, attract individuals, food savvy enough to try something not ordinary, relax in a warm, friendly and easygoing atmosphere of their hosts, and explore the historic sites, going back thousands of years.

Since the declaration of the State Israel in 1948, the ancient dietary law, Kashrut, has been imposed in public supermarkets, bakeries, and majority of the hotels, to emphasize the Jewish identity of the country and to facilitate the observant citizens and guests alike. You will learn about these laws and experience them in your cooking session. This intense diversity, as well as the controversy, attracts the very curious culinary professionals, who wish to understand the experiment and creativity, with the ever-present Mediterranean flavor, thrown for good measure.

Wine is another matter. Growing and enjoying wine has been essential for the Jews since the biblical times. Modern grape planting started only in the late 19th century by the East European Jews and by the baron de Rothschild. The international recognition of the country’s superb wine came much later. Like Australia and South Africa, Israel is taking its place among the best in the winemaking industry. Several wineries have won their prestigious international awards and have become well known and thought after in the world.

There is another, very small and exclusive industry – goat cheese producing-well on the rise, and marked as excellent by some cheese producers in Europe. And of course, the olive oil, widely used in the Mediterranean cooking as such, and among the population of Israel in particular.

Our tour will give you only the taste of what can be found and experienced in Israel. We hope to make your trip an unforgettable one.

A week of an unforgettable and tasty experience awaits you.

Day 1, Sunday

Arrival at Ben Gurion airport. Meeting and assistance through customs by our representative and transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem. After checking in and refreshing up, join us for a cocktail followed by dinner and wine to start out culinary experience and introduce you to the herbs and spaces of Israel.

Overnight: Hotel in Jerusalem

Day 2, Monday

After a full Israeli style breakfast, at your hotel, meet Chef Moshe Basson, famous for his specifically “Jerusalemite” food (kosher). Accompany him to Machaneh Yehudah market, for a brief explanation of the produce displayed there. Under the Chef’s guidance and instructions, cook your own lunch and enjoy it, accompanied by an excellent Israeli wine. After lunch drive to Mt. Olives for a breathtaking panoramic view of the City of Jerusalem. Enter the Old City through the Lion’s Gate, walk along the Via Dolorosa with its 14 Stations of the Cross and arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the holiest shrine in the Christendom. Return to your hotel for a short break and in the evening drive to the home of Hila Solomon, an establishment called Spoon, for the exquisite dinner served in the dining room of the house built over 120 years ago. It is only by private booking and is quite unique. After dinner return to your hotel for overnight.

Overnight: Hotel in Jerusalem

Day 3, Tuesday

After breakfast, enter the Old City again, this time from the Zion gate and into the Jewish Quarter. Walk through the Cardo, the old Roman road of Jerusalem, leading into the Wailing Wall, the holiest place for the Jewish people. After a visit to the wall, continue to Ben Yehuda Street, the main artery of Jerusalem shops with the souvenirs you can take with you home and nice trendy coffee shops. This area was built by Teddy Kolek, the late legendary Mayor of Jerusalem, as a tiny replica of his native Vienna. Continue to the Zeltzer goat farm in Sataf. There are over 200 goats in the farm, supervised by a few employees, servicing them and the goat cheese production. The outstanding cheese has received many international awards, some in Italy. Our light lunch will be the cheese tasting with the fresh farm bread. On to the Judean Hills to visit Domain du Castel, one of the most picturesque Israeli wineries; several of its wines, considered to be the finest in Israel. On to kibbutz Harel for a visit to Clos de Gat, one of the finest new estate wineries. There, surrounded by vineyards, stands the building where the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister itzhak Rabin, commanded the Harel Brigade in 1948. Return to the hotel for a short break, and leave again to Arcadia, one of the finest restaurants in Jerusalem where the Iraqi-born chef Kedem, who studied in France and the US, will host a very imaginative, contemporary dinner, prepared with local vegetables and herb, grown not farther than 10 – 15km from Jerusalem. After dinner return to your hotel for overnight.

Overnight: Hotel in Jerusalem

Day 4, Wednesday

After breakfast, depart to Tel Aviv to the Carmel market. The Chef and owner of Carmela bistro, one of the most picturesque places in the country situated in the midst of the Carmel market, will take you on a tour of the market and serve brunch. After the market tour and brunch, drive along the shores of the Mediterranean towards the Tishbi Winery, a short distance away from Binyamina. Tishbi is a family of the vineyard growers since 1880, who decided to built their own winery in 1985. Taste the excellent wine and the local cheese there. Do not miss visiting the Alambic Still producing high quality brandy, the only one of its kind in Israel. Continue to Tiberias and arrive to your hotel for overnight. Free evening in Tiberias to experience the street food and enjoy street life by the lake.

Overnight: Hotel in Tiberias

Day 5, Thursday

Start our day in the Galilee with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Continue towards the Golan Heights area. Visit Chateau Golan winery, one of the unique boutique wineries in the area. Continue on to Rosh Pina in the Upper Galilee. Arrive at Muskat restaurant at Mizpe Hayamim, Israel’s famous resort, well known for its locally grown and served organic vegetable, herbs and fruit. A small dairy on the premises is known for the very good cheese. Lunch at Muskat, hosted by chef Haim Tibi. After lunch depart to your Tel Aviv hotel. Dinner at the Deda, an unpretentious little restaurant featuring the the most incredible Georgian food with its Chef Timur.

Overnight: Hotel in Tel Aviv

Day 6, Friday

After breakfast drive along the coast to the old city if Jaffa. This was the most famous port of Israel for thousands of years and the export port for the well known Jaffa Oranges. Continue walking the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel’s Metropolitan, with its samples of the bygone era of the 30s of the last century, the Bauhaus. Proceed to the Chloelys, reputably one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in Israel. Have the cooking class there with Chef Victor Gloger, the Argentine born, who studied and worked in Paris for over 15 years. You will cook your lunch and enjoy it with the excellent wine, followed by exquisite desert. After lunch, drive to visit Caesarea, the ancient Roman Theatre, the Aqueduct and the Hippodrome. Drive back to Tel Aviv and make a short stop at the old port of Tel Aviv, now an area of restaurants, clubs and shopping including an amazing Chocolate factory called Max Brener. Drive back to your hotel for a short break and go out for dinner at Yo’ezer wine Bar, a very romantic place in Tel Aviv. Return to your hotel for overnight.

Overnight: Hotel in Tel Aviv

Day 7, Saturday

After breakfast, drive to Nazareth, in the Northern part of Israel. Visit the Church of the Annunciation and continue to Diana, probably the most authentic Arab restaurant in Israel. Together with the chef and owner Dokhol Safadi you will prepare your lunch and an excellent meal accompanied by local wine and followed knafa, a well known Arab sweet delicacy and coffee. After lunch, near Kfar Tabor, visit the olive oil facility of the Jahshans, believed to be one of the best in Israel. Experience the Druze hospitality and the olive oil tasting will be quite enjoyable.  Return to your hotel in Tel Aviv and leave again for the Farewell dinner. It will be hosted by Chef Jonathan Roshfeld, probably, one of the most talented Israeli chefs, at his newly opened restaurant Herbert Samuel. Overnight at your hotel.

Overnight: Hotel in Tel Aviv

Day 8, Sunday

After breakfast departure to the airport for your flight back home.

The program sequence is subject to change due to days of operation. Please note the cooking session with Victor of Chloelys can be done only on Friday – prerogative of the Chef…