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Israel and Jordan

See the Sites, Go Behind the Scenes.

 Experience the Middle East at a level that Most Tours Miss.

Israel: March 2 -13, 2018

Jordan: March 12 – 15, 2018


Prof. James Tabor and Biblical teacher Ross Nichols are teaming up again for an exclusive tour of the Holy Land and adding Jordan where they will visit the fabled ancient Nabataean city of Petra. Even if you have traveled to Israel before, consider how we have carefully chosen other sites and have included new experiences and information related to each—including actual “hands on” experience at the Mt Zion excavation in Jerusalem for a day and, of course, Petra. To use the biblical expression—we will take you, quite literally, from “Dan to Beersheba” (Judges 20:1; I Samuel 3:20; II Samuel 3:10 & I Kings 5:5) and into ancient Israel when the twelve tribes were waiting on the east side of the Jordan River with Moses.

Anyone interested in biblical history and literature will find this tour refreshing and educational from beginning to end. We have no expectations regarding belief systems, politics, or faith orientations. All that is required to go on this tour is a strong orientation toward learning more about the Bible and its history, and the archaeological basis underpinning the rationale used by many archaeologists for using the biblical narrative as one means of informing the research on the ancient people and events of the Levant.

The tour will transform the way you read and understand the Bible. Throughout the tour, we will share the stories that are narrated even BEFORE Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. We will drive down the King’s Highway, in Jordan, where Moses and the Israelites trudged up to Mt. Nebo. These Biblical texts, in the very places where the events actually took place will open your full Bible to you in a much greater capacity. We are limiting the number of registrants to one busload, our usual policy, because we want each person to have time to interact directly with us, as we walk together where Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, Kings, and Jesus with his disciples walked.

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Volunteer Experience (Optional)

Everyone who registers for this trip is invited to extend his or her tour experience and become a “Volunteer” at Tamar after the tour. This low cost experience is available for up to a maximum of 90 days. Long term volunteers pay only $20 a day for board and room and short term volunteers, who stay less than 30 days, pay $30 a day. Volunteers are needed in various areas such as, horticulture, cooking, housekeeping, mechanical, carpentry, and beautifying the Park.

Volunteering is a unique and special way to bless the Israeli people and the Land, while being able to experience 5,000 years of history. Presenting this history, and how it relates to our Creator, is the reason Blossoming Rose continues to develop Biblical Tamar Park. We are very thankful for all our volunteers and donations that help make this all possible.


Tour Guides & Hosts


Our tours are led by knowledgeable tour guides and hosts and it’s just one of the many benefits that makes our Israel Tours exceptional. Each tour is a unique experience and all of our tours include a visit to Biblical Tamar Park and have the option to extend your stay as a volunteer.



Dr. James D Tabor

Dr. James Tabor is professor of Christian origins and ancient Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University North Carolina at Charlotte. Since 1990 Tabor has made 60 trips to Israel pursuing research, doing archaeology, and leading students and other adult groups who want a unique Holy Land Experience. His Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago in Christian Origins and Ancient Judaism. Tabor has combined his work on ancient texts with extensive field work in archaeology in Israel and Jordan, including work at Qumran, Sepphoris, Masada, and Wadi el-Yabis in Jordan, the Suba “John the Baptist” cave, the “Tomb of the Shroud,” and the Talpiot “Jesus” tombs. Among his publications are Things Unutterable (1985); A Noble Death (1992); Why Waco: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (1995); Restoring Abrahamic Faith (2008); and the New York Times bestselling The Jesus Dynasty: A New Historical Investigation of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (2006). His two latest books  are The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find that Reveals the Birth of Christianity (Simon & Schuster) and Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity (Simon & Schuster).  You can visit his blog at: https://jamestabor.com



Ross Nichols

Ross K. Nichols is the Vice-President, an ordained minister, and lecturer for United Israel World Union. He directs the United Israel Center South in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Each Sabbath, people from all over the world join in for his on-line teachings over the United Israel YouTube channel, inspiring people to live a more authentically biblical lifestyle. Nichols is a teacher of biblical Hebrew, is knowledgeable about the historical Jesus and late 2nd Temple Judaism, and has spent many years interpreting earliest Christianity from an original and thoroughly Hebraic perspective.



Tour Facilitator

Israel and Jordan


Tabor and Nichols

Day 1: USA to Israel

We will depart on Friday, March 2, flying overnight and arriving in Israel on Saturday, March 3. (We must be at the airport three hours prior to international flight departures.) Flights should be arranged to arrive in Tel Aviv before 4:30 pm. Our charter bus will leave the airport at 5:00 pm. If your flight arrives after this time, you will need to take a private taxi or Nesher van to Jerusalem to our Jerusalem hotel.



Day 2: Jerusalem, Dinner, Old City Walk, and Western Wall

 Leaving the Tel Aviv airport we will drive from the Mediterraian coastal plain to the mountains of Jerusalem—2600 feet above Sea Level. Time permitting, we will drive to the top of the Mount of Olives for a breathtaking view of the Temple Mount at sunset. We will check into our Jerusalem hotel and settle into our rooms. After a delicious dinner, we will take a nice leisurely stroll into the Old City of Jerusalem through the Jaffa gate and then walk to the Western Wall or Kotel, just as the city comes to life as the Sabbath ends.



Day 3Temple Mount, Western Wall Tunnels, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel/Pool of Siloam, and Dr. Tabor lecture after dinner

We will begin our day with a tour of the Temple Mount. Here we will discuss the modern reality of the site presently administered by Jordan as well as the past and future Temples. We will then tour the Western Wall Tunnels. The exposed portion of the Western Wall is approximately 200 feet long; the tunnel provides access to an additional 1,591 ft. of ancient wall. Almost 150 ft. into the tunnel we will see a sealed off entrance to a small synagogue known as “The Cave.” This is believed to be the closest point one can get to the Ancient Holy of Holies. After our tour of the Western Wall Tunnels we will make our way to the Jewish Quarter and descend 20 feet below the present city level to visit Herodian Jerualem in the Wohl Museum.  We will then tour the City of David where those who wish can wade through the flowing waters of Hezekiah’s tunnel. We will then return to the hotel for dinner with a lecture by Dr. Tabor in our conference room regarding the history of Mt Zion that we will visit the following day.



Day 4: Mount of Olives, Dominus Flevit, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of all Nations, Kidron Valley, Tabor’s Mt. Zion Dig, Zion Gate, Upper Room, Pilate’s judgment seat, Mamilla Mall and Jaffa Gate

We will begin our day with a bus ride to the Mount of Olives. From this vantage point we’ll look towards the west and view the Temple Mount. We will walk down the Mount of Olives visiting several places of interest along the way including Dominus Flevit, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Church of All Nations. Our walk will take us down into the Kidron Valley and then up to Mount Zion where we will spend time at the Mt Zion excavation actually “getting our hands dirty” with the holy soil of Jerusalem of 2000 years ago.  Dr. Tabor will then guide us through the traditional sites of the Upper Room and King David’s Tomb, and then on a special viewing of the Mount Zion archeology dig site. At the end of the day we will visit the newly discovered authentic site of Pontius Pilate’s Judgement Seat with the Gabbatha Pavement and the Praetorium where Jesus spent the final hours of his life before being crucified.



Day 5: Samuel’s Tomb, Caesarea Maritima, Nazareth Village, Megiddo, Mount Carmel, Sea of Galilee and Tiberias

Today we head north to the Galilee. On the way out of Jerusalem we will stop at the traditional site of Samuel’s Tomb and then we will travel to Caesarea Maritima, the city built by Herod the great (25 – 13 BCE). Named to flatter Caesar, this site is situated on the Mediterranean Coast between Tel Aviv and Haifa. We will discuss Paul’s imprisonment here before moving on to Rome to make his ‘appeal to Caesar.’ From here we will drive past Megiddo of Armageddon fame to Mount Carmel where, according to the Bible (I Kings 18), Elijah challenged 450 prophets of Baal. From atop our restaurant we will be able to view the Jezreel Valley. After lunch we will begin our journey towards Tiberias stopping at Nazareth Village, described as a “carefully researched re-creation of Jesus hometown,” providing us with a glimpse of life in the time of Jesus. We will continue towards Tiberias, founded sometime around 20 CE by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, who made it the capital of his realm in Galilee. We will check into our rooms in the Leonardo Hotel in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where we will stay for the Galilean portion of our tour. There will be time for shopping and plenty of opportunity to take in the beauty of the Galilee.



Day 6: Caesarea Philippi, Tel Dan, Golan Heights, Lunch in Druze Village, and Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee

We begin our tour of the Galilee with a stop at Caesarea Phillipi, mentioned in the synoptic gospels as the place where Jesus ask his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” From here we can see the foot of Mount Hermon and discuss the messianic significance of this place (Psalm 133). Next we will visit the site of Tel Dan, where according to II Kings 10:29 and II Chronicles 13:8, Jeroboam led the northern kingdom of Israel away from the true faith. We then travel up into the Golan to Katzrine, the Jewish provincial capital and on to the borders of Syria and Lebanon. We will go to Gennesaret and see a first Century boat found on the shores of Galilee in 1986 and then finish the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where we will watch the sun set. We will spend the night in Tiberias.



Day 7: Arbel Cliffs and synagogue ruins, Magdala, Mount of Beatitudes, and Capernaum

We begin our day with a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee from the Arbel cliffs. Here, we will also see the ruins of an ancient synagogue of Arbel. We then travel to Magdala, the home of Mary Magdelene. We will travel from here to the traditional site of the Mount of the Beatitudes where we will discuss some of Jesus’ most cherished and best known teachings. Finally we will travel to Capernaum where Jesus made his HQ and moved his family. Here we will also tour a third Century synagogue, built upon the visible remains of a first century synagogue. As we travel around the Sea of Galilee you will see sites whose names are associated with the Christian New Testament. We will then spend our last night in Tiberias.



Day 8: Jericho, Jordan River, Qumran, Biblical Tamar Sabbath dinner and a Sabbath dinner followed by relaxing and visiting in the Sukkah

After our tour of the Galilee, we will begin our journey to the south, traveling along the Jordan River. We will take some time to visit the ancient ruins of Jericho where “the walls came tumbling down.” We will visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Dr. Tabor will show us cisterns, a cemetery, ruins of a dining facility and of course the famous caves where nearly 800 ancient scrolls were discovered. We will continue on to the southern Biblical border of Israel, to Tamar (Ez. 47-48) and move into our rooms at Biblical Tamar Park.  The Park Supervisor and volunteer workers will welcome us with an American style Kosher meal in the dining room.  After dinner we will relax and visit together before an open fire in the Sukkah, next to the dining room, sharing why we are visiting Israel and what was special in this unique country. This is a special desert place that allows us to experience the wilderness as Elijah and John the Baptist did.



Day 9: Sabbath Experience at Tamar, Prayer Mountain, and Torah Study

We awaken to a peaceful Sabbath, feeling the stillness of the desert as the sun rises over the Jordanian mountains. Those who want to rise early, will climb “Prayer Mountain” and watch the sun rise. We will have a Shabbat morning service after breakfast, read the parsha and engage in a dialogue session for those who wish to participate.  After lunch we will visit Mt. Hor and some related sites to the Torah readings.  After dinner, Dr. DeWayne Coxon will lead us on a walk into the desert to the gravesite of Simha Pearlmutter, and share stories of this desert rabbi who founded Kibbutz Ir Obot, now renamed Biblical Tamar Park. Everyone will be welcome to sit around the sukkah fire before going to our rooms.



Day 10:Biblical Tamar Tour, Masada, and Dead Sea 

We will begin our day with a tour of Biblical Tamar. Next we will board our bus and go to visit the ancient fortress of Masada, known today as the site where 960 revolutionary Jewish holdouts died rather than surrender to the Romans. Some will choose to run or hike the famed “snake path” up the side of Masada, while others will take the cable car to the top. We will learn that Masada was originally built by the Maccabees and fortified by Herod the Great between 37-31 BCE as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt. From the top of Masada you will be able to look down upon the ruins of Roman encampments. We will visit an ancient “synagogue without walls” atop Masada. We will then stop at a public beach along the Dead Sea where we will be able to shop and float in the waters of the Dead Sea. Those who wish to, when we return to Tamar, can go with Ross and plant their own trees in the desert. We will then have dinner and then some will pack for their return home and the rest of us will continue on to Jordan and Petra.



Day 11: Jerusalem and flights home for some, or Jordan, Jerash, and Amman for those going on the extension 

We will depart Biblical Tamar Park and meet our Jordan bus in Jericho and switch our luggage while those who cannot continue on to Jordan will remain on the bus to Jerusalem for some final shopping and to take in, once again, the ambiance of the Holy City. Some may chose to tour the Israel Museum, the largest cultural institution in Israel, among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. At 6:30 pm, those who are going home, will go to the airport for their flights home.

We who will cross the Allanby bridge into Jordan, will travel north to Jerash, the most preserved Roman city in the Middle-East with its columned streets and baths. We will continue on to view the ruins of ancient Amman, perhaps dating to the time of Moses, and then be welcomed into the fabulous Interconiental Hotel where we will have an excellent dinner.



Day 12: Mt. Nebo, Madaba, Karak, and Petra

We will begin our extension trip at 8 am, after enjoying a bountiful Jordanian breakfast. Mt Nebo comes into our sight and we remember that “Moses went up from the plains of Moab (Amman) unto the mountain of Nebo to the top of Pisgah that is over against Jericho.” (Deuteronomy 34:1) We will stand where Moses stood, overlooking the Promised Land.  After that, we’ll continue on to Madaba, an ancient monastery where the fabled map of “Madaba” is laid in the ceramic floor. As we go south, we will pass through Karak and Tafila close to the “King’s Highway,” where Moses led the Children of Israel after they left Tamar. We will look at the ruins of Bozrah where Isaiah said one of the last wars between Israel and its enemies will be fought. (Isaiah 63) We arrive at our hotel in Petra, the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza, just outside the gates of Petra.  Petra is at the same latitude as Tamar and we could see the lights of Tamar if we were on the top of the mountains of Edom where we are staying.



Day 13: Petra, Aqaba, Eilot, and Tamar

We linger in the beautiful dining room of the Crown Plaza and then walk to the entrance to Petra. Some of us will walk down the well-worn dirt path into the fabled city while others of us will ride horses or choose a horse drawn carriage. Our guide explains how millions of years ago the water began to erode the limestone and now the process continues, when it rains, to deepen the gorge we walk through. The ancient houses, palaces, and businesses are all carved out of solid stone and the colors are beyond belief. We can choose to eat lunch in a beautiful restaurant deep into the ruins of Petra or buy some fruit. Our guide takes us back to the bus and we continue south passing through the ancient villages and drive into Aqaba, the sister city to Eilot, one Arab and the other Jewish. We are given time on the beach to feel the waters of the Red Sea, and then we continue north to Tamar and look east to see the lights of Petra. We are back “home” for the night in our rooms where we stayed earlier. We sleep well knowing that we are in for a long day tomorrow when we return home.



Day 14: Jerusalem, Old City, Shopping, and Airport

We awaken to the sound of the little birds chirping outside our windows and we walk to the dining room for our American cup of coffee. Some may decide to hurry up Prayer Mountain for one final look at the desert, Edom, Petra, and Tamar. We board our bus at 9 am this morning and arrive at the Jaffa Gate where we can have some free time or go with Ross to some of his favorite places in the Old City.  Some of us may want to go to the Israel Museum.  Finally, we all meet in the Mamilla Mall at 6 pm to return to the airport and board our airplanes home.



Day 15: Flying Home to the USA or Home country 

We will fly home gaining seven hours in the flight if you live in the USA. We will have many warm memories of this tour.



Tour Dates:

Israel: March 2 – 13, 2018

Jordan: March 12 – 15, 2018

Price:

Israel & Jordan experience: $3,650 (airfare not included)

Israel Only Experience: $2,650 (airfare not included)

Tours Include:
  • Four and Five Star Hotels (except Biblical Tamar Park)
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner (except March 15)
  • National Park Pass
  • All tips (except housekeeping)
  • Entry to all listed sites that we visit
  • Bus transfer to and from Ben Gurion Airport
Not Included:
  • Lunches
  • Flight insurance
  • Airline Ticket
  • Dinner March 15