<   Back

Agudas Achim Congregation

Dec 20, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020

Israel: An Historical and Archaeological Journey
Led by Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz
Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Robert Cargill
Sunday, December 20, 2020
  • Departure from the United States.
Overnight: In flight
Day 1
Monday, December 21, 2020
  • Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport, with assistance by a Makor Educational Journeys representative.
  • Proceed to Jerusalem.
  • Guided walk through the Tower of David Museum with 360° overlook from the Phasael Tower Observation Point.


  • Overlook on to Jerusalem from the Haas Promenade.
  • Check in to the hotel.
  • Opening dinner and program introduction at a special location.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 2
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Jerusalem (commonly translated as “City of Peace”) has never really known peace, as different religions & religious sects and nations have all claimed the centrality of Jerusalem.  Today’s explorations will reveal both the story of the past 3000+ years through archaeological evidence and historic and contemporary struggles over the city.


  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • (Overlook from Haas Promenade if not done the day before)
  • The story of the City of David began over 3,000 years ago when King David established small hilltop city known as Jerusalem, founding it as the unified capital of the tribes of Israel. With expert scholars, the day’s exploration will focus on:
    • The Stepped Stone Structure, located in Area G, which is built over a series of terraces and is subject to archaeological speculation as to its dating and purpose
    • Givati Parking Lot marks the largest active archaeological excavation in Jerusalem and is continuously uncovering different layers of the city’s life throughout its colorful history
  • Lunch on own or packed lunch.
  • Jerusalem Archaeological Park – Davidson Center, adjacent to the Western Wall, contains archaeological finds and displays from the First & Second Temple periods, a Byzantine complex and monumental buildings from the early Islamic and Crusader periods.
  • Western Wall (Kotel) is a 2,000 + year old limestone wall that is a relatively small segment of a far longer ancient retaining wall, known also in its entirety as the “Western Wall.” The wall was originally erected as part of the expansion of the Second Temple begun by Herod.
  • The excavated Western Wall Tunnel is the “underground” extension of the retaining wall built to support the massive compound where the Temple stood.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Meet with MK (or Benjamin Begin): Israel’s Challenges as a Sovereign Jewish Majority.
  • Dinner and evening on own.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 3
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Digging through the past is a purposeful, meticulous process. In addition to viewing selected exhibits in the archaeology departments at the Israel Museum, visit some of its restoration and construction labs and go on site to active digs in the Jerusalem Foothills


  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • The Israel Museum is Israel’s foremost cultural institution and one of the world’s leading universal museums with holdings that include the world’s most comprehensive collections of Judaica and the archaeology of the ancient Land of Israel, as well as significant and extensive holdings in the Fine Arts. Today the focus will be on:
    • The Land of Israel Archaeology Gallery
    • The Shrine of the Book was built as a repository for the first seven scrolls discovered at Qumran in 1947. Today it serves to preserve and display the Dead Sea Scrolls and other important ancient manuscripts. Meet with curator Adolfo Roitman.
    • In a VIP visit to the Israel Museum, meet with Head of the Artifacts Treatment, Conservation and Laboratories Department, for a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have been digitized in conjunction with Google, using Israeli technology.
  • Travel to Tel Motza, an ancient Israelite temple located in the outskirts of Jerusalem, which was discovered in 2012.
  • Lunch and wine tasting at Elah Valley Winery.
  • Tel Beit Shemesh was a large Canaanite city whose name means “House of the Sun,” indicating that the city’s patron god was a solar deity. The tel has been identified with biblical Beth-Shemesh and was one of the Levitical cities.
  • Tel Azeka dates back to the Canaanite period and has been identified as one of the places the Amorite kings were defeated by Joshua. It was one of the last two towns to fall to the Babylonians, but later inhabited by Jewish returnees to Judea from Babylonia.
  • Return to Jerusalem.
  • Dinner and evening on own.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 4
Thursday, December 24, 2020

A gate is a city or castle entrance, often with defensive structures (such as towers) (Merriam-Webster)

A journey through the gates in the walls that surround Jerusalem’s Old City to discover ancient and modern interwoven stories.          

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Morning service at the Egalitarian Kotel or Robinson’s Arch, with a special reading from the Torah scroll donated by the Ottumwa community.
  • Enter Jaffa Gate, whose name refers both to the historical Ottoman gate and the wide gap in the city wall adjacent to it. Travelers, including pilgrims, arriving from the Jaffa port would culminate their journeys at the Jaffa Gate.
  • Continue to the Jewish Quarter.  Among other sites to be visited are:
    • The Cardo (meaning “axis”) was the main street in ancient Roman cities, running from north to south and lined with a row of columns on each side. The Cardo of Jerusalem begins at the Damascus Gate in the north and crosses the city southwards until the area of the Zion Gate.
    • Golden Menorah. At the bottom of the staircase leading from the Porat Yosef Yeshiva to the Western Wall is a Golden Menorah constructed by the Temple Institute, and is based on extensive research carried out by the Academic and Biblical researchers.
    • Continue through the suq to the Lion’s Gate, which was built as part of the wall of the Old City during the 16th century by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. On both sides of the gate there are lion embossments.
    • Anne’s Church, an excellent example of Romanesque architecture, was erected over the site of a grotto, believed by the Crusaders to be the childhood home of Mary, mother of Jesus.
    • The Ecce Homo Arch, a 2nd century CE structure, was mistakenly thought to be the place under which the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, announced Ecce Homo (“This is the man”) when he presented Jesus to the crowd before sentencing him to death.
    • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre according to traditions dating back to at least the 4th century, contains the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified  (called Calvary or Golgotha) and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he is said to have been buried and resurrected.
    • Lunch on own along the Via Dolorosa for Tastes of Jerusalem.
    • Walk to the Damascus Gate, which connects to a highway leading to Nablus, (Shechem) an important biblical city and from there, in times past, to the modern-day Damascus.
  • Exit to the William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, the oldest American research center for ancient Near Eastern studies in the Middle East, for a tour and meeting with a staff member.
  • Rest of the afternoon at leisure (Optional: visit to Yad Vashem)
  • Dinner and evening on own.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 5
Friday/Erev Shabbat, December 25, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Bible Lands Museum is an archaeological museum that explores the culture of the peoples mentioned in the Bible, among them the ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Arameans, Hittites, Elamites, Phoenicians and Persians.
  • Visit Machane Yehudah open-air market as residents prepare for Shabbat, with lunch on own.
  • Afternoon on own.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat with a Jerusalem Reform congregation.
  • Shabbat dinner with Israeli archaeologists.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 6
Saturday/Shabbat Day, December 26, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Optional Shabbat morning services.
  • Lunch on own.
  • Proceed to the top of the of Olives, named for the olive groves that once grew on its slopes, and which contains the oldest extant Jewish cemetery. It is also the site of several key events in the life of Jesus.
  • Atop the of Olives, using sacred and modern texts, visit the traditional resting place of three venerated heroines: the Jewish prophetess, Hulda; the Christian nun, Pelegia; and the Muslim poet of love and the first female Islamic saint, Rabiya al- Adiwayya– all memorialized in the same place.
  • Walk down the Mt. of Olives past several churches.
  • The Garden of Gethsemane was a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives where, according to the four Gospels, Jesus underwent the agony in the garden and was arrested the night before his crucifixion.
  • Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, is a Roman Catholic church located next to the Garden of Gethsemane and enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest.
  • Remainder of afternoon at leisure.
  • Havdallah.
  • Dinner and evening on own.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 7
Sunday, December 27, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Depart for the Dead Sea Basin.
  • Ascend Masada, an ancient fortress built around 30 BCE that was first fortified by the Hasmoneans but is best known as Herod the Great’s desert fortress and the 73 CE “siege of Masada,” which gained mythological proportions in Zionist thought.
  • Qumran dates from the late 2nd BCE and was probably home to members of the Jewish sectarians. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden…and discovered.
  • Lunch on own at the Qumran cafeteria.
  • (Time-permitting) Visit the Ein Gedi Synagogue, which served the local Jewish population during the 3rd-6th centuries CE, with its beautiful mosaic floor that dates to the late Roman and Byzantine eras.
  • Travel north by way of the Great Rift Valley.
  • Overlook from Mount Arbel, which rises sharply and prominently over the Sea of Galilee and provides views across the Sea of Galilee and beyond to the Golan Heights and to Israel’s tallest peak at Mount Hermon. Carved into the side of the Arbel cliff is a fortress where Galilean Zealots held out against the Romans in their first attempt to revolt against the mightiest empire of the ancient world.
  • Check in to the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Ein Gev Kibbutz Guesthouse, North
Day 8
Monday, December 28, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart hotel.
  • Explore Tel Hatzor, first excavated by the famous archaeologist Yigal Yadin (who also dug Masada) and the most expansive archaeological site in northern Israel. In the Middle Bronze Age and the Israelite periods, it was the largest fortified city in the country and one of the most important in the “Fertile Crescent,” maintaining commercial ties with Babylon and Syria, and importing large quantities of tin for the bronze industry.
  • Nature walk through the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, concluding at the archaeological site of Tel Dan, the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel and where parts of the Tel Dan Stele were found.
  • Lunch on own at Dag al HaDan.
  • Although Safed was mentioned in the writings of Josephus, its greatest fame came as the medieval center of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) as interpreted by Jews who restored Jewish spiritual life in the 16th century following the cataclysmic expulsion from Spain. Many Jews came to Safed and, because of its rabbinic leadership there, it was deemed one of Israel’s “Four Holy Cities.”   Enjoy a guided exploration of this walled city’s narrow streets, visit the synagogues of the mystics Joseph Caro and Isaac Luria, and Safed’s quaint artist colony. Leisure time for strolling and shopping.
  • Dinner on own in Safed.
  • Return to Tiberias (another one of Israel’s Four Holy Cities).
Overnight: Ein Gev Kibbutz Guesthouse, North
Day 9
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart hotel.
  • Begin the day at Tabgha, the chapel dedicated to the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish and the site of Peter’s Primacy, where Jesus bestowed church leadership upon Peter.
  • Guided visit through Capernaum, with its ancient synagogue and church. Capernaum was a thriving Jewish community during the days of the Second Temple and it is where Jesus is said to have taught some of his first disciples.
  • Visit Beit HaBek, a site that may be an alternate site to Beith Saida, the fishing village home to three of Jesus’s apostles, mentioned in the Gospels as a site where Jesus performed a miracle.
  • Continue to Khirbet et-Tel which has been excavated as the site of Beith Saida.
  • Packed lunch.
  • Chorazim, along with Beith Saida and Capernaum, was named in the Gospels as “cities” (more likely just villages) in which Jesus preached and was active, but they were subsequently cursed because they rejected his teachings (“they had not changed their ways”).
  • Enjoy the beauty and solitude of the Mount of Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount.
  • On display at the Yigal Allon Museum and Educational Center, “Man in the Galilee” is the remains of an ancient boat discovered on the northwest shore of the Sea of the Galilee that dates to 100 BCE. Learn about the story of its discovery, excavation and preservation.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Ein Gev Kibbutz Guesthouse, North
Day 10
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check-out of the hotel.
  • Guided visit in Tzippori, the most important city in the Galilee in the first four centuries CE, a spiritual center, the city where Judah HaNasi composed the Mishna and home of Talmudic scholars and… the Mona Lisa of the Galilee. Opportunity for Rabbinic text study while sitting on the stones of the home of the Sanhedrin.
  • There is much to discover in Akko, which, in ancient times, occupied an important location, the natural harbor at the edge of Haifa Bay. The city not only engaged in coastal trading but was also an important waypoint on the region’s coastal road.
  • Al Jazaar Mosque, known in Arabic as Jama El-Basha (the Pasha’s Mosque), is Israel’s largest mosque outside of Jerusalem and the largest among the mosques built in Israel during the Turkish period.
  • Templars’ Tunnel is part of the Templar Fortress, the strongest fortress in 12th century Crusader Akko.
  • The Or Torah Tunisian Synagogue known as the “Jariva” is covered in mosaics – both inside and out. Each of its four floors proudly displays spectacular mosaics. The synagogue boasts seven Torah arks and houses hundreds of millions of natural stones from all over Israel.
  • Lunch on own at Uri Buri.
  • Overlook onto Haifa Bay and the Baha’i Complex from the Louis Promenade in Haifa.
  • Beit HaMizgaga, a special visit to the Museum of Marine Archaeology and Glass at Kibbutz Nachsholim.
  • Proceed to Tel Aviv.
  • Check in to the hotel.
  • Dinner and evening on own.
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv
Day 11
Thursday, December 31, 2020
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • East Meets West: Unity in Diversity, meet with scholar Rachel Korazim in her Jaffa home for a literary exploration, the formation of an “Israeli” society comprised of immigrants with vastly different cultural backgrounds, native-born “Sabras” and non-Jewish minorities.
  • Stroll along the Tel Aviv Promenade to Jaffa, followed by a guided walking tour through the Old City of Jaffa, tracing its story from its days as a Biblical port through today.
  • Continue to the newly-gentrified Neve Zedek, one of Tel Aviv’s first neighborhoods, and hear the stories of the founders and famous personalities, such as Shai Agnon, Israel’s first Nobel Laureate, and Shaul Tchernichovsky, one of the Zionist Movement’s greatest authors, and explore the galleries and quaint shops.
  • Lunch on own at Max Brenner.
  • The Tel Aviv Museum of Arts comprehensive collection traces the development of Israeli art from its beginnings and through the 1920’s – when the Modernist style of painting in Israel emerged – to contemporary Israeli art.
  • Farewell dinner at a Tel Aviv restaurant.
  • Depart for Ben Gurion Airport for return flight home OR return to the hotel for those joining the Petra extension.
Overnight: In flight or Dan Panorama (for Petra extension)
Friday, January 1, 2021
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart to airport for flight to Eilat.
  • Arrive in Eilat.
  • Depart for the Yitzchak Rabin Border Crossing into Jordan.
  • Travel to Petra.
  • Walk through the winding trail at the bottom of a natural deep canyon, at the end of which is the famous Treasury Monument. Hear the story of the Nabateans, who established Petra as their capital on the Spice Route.
  • Lunch in Petra
  • Return to Eilat.
  • Check in to the hotel.
  • Shabbat dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Dan Hotel, Eilat
Saturday, January 2, 2021
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Shabbat in Eilat on own. A list of activities will be provided.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Return flight back to Ben Gurion Airport and onwards to international flight home.
Overnight: In flight

*Program is subject to change, pending confirmations.

Price per person, based on double occupancy
Single supplement

* Based on 20 full-paying participants.  Prices do not include flights


6 nights Dan Panorama Hotel, Jerusalem
3 nights Ein Gev Kibbutz Guesthouse, North
1 night Dan Panorama Hotel, Tel Aviv


Land Price Includes:

  • Assistance upon arrival and departure at Ben Gurion Airport for one group flight
  • One group transfer from and one transfer to Ben Gurion Airport
  • Licensed Israeli Government Tour Educator and trained by Makor – 11 days
  • All group Transportation in Israel on a private luxury bus – 11 days
  • Hotel Accommodations per above ** or similar, pending confirmation
  • All Site Admissions and programs as per the itinerary.
  • Meals
    • Breakfast daily
    • 3 lunches
      • Packed lunch (x2)
      • Lunch and Wine Tasting in Elah Valley
    • 5 dinners
      • Welcome dinner
      • Dinner at hotel in north (x2)
      • Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem
      • Farewell dinner
  • Source Materials, Hat, Map
  • Water on bus daily – 3 bottles per person per day
  • Porterage at hotels

Not Included:

  • Tips for Guide, Field Coordinator, and Driver
  • Flights
  • Meals on own and out of pocket expenses
  • Travel and Medical Insurance


Payment and Refund Schedule

Payment Schedule

Upon Registration — Deposit of $500 per participant

September 1, 2020— 50% of Total Payment

November 1, 2020 — Full Payment


Refund Schedule

Cancel Before September 1, 2020 — Full Refund

Cancel between September 1, 2020 and November 1, 2020 — 50% Refund

Cancel between November 1 and December 1, 2020 — 25% Refund

Cancel after December 1, 2020 — No Refund


For more information, please contact Robin at robin@igt.co.il


Travel Insurance:
We urge you to purchase cancellation insurance & supplemental medical coverage (which covers pre-existing conditions). This is a smart way to safeguard against life’s surprises.
We have made arrangements with SMS-Travel Insurance Center (Israel) of Omaha, Nebraska. SMS has over 25 years of experience as worldwide insurance brokers and can help you choose the policy that best meets your needs. Yonah Engel is our contact person.

Please note:

  • most insurance policies require purchase within 21 days of your first payment in order to receive maximum coverage (pre-existing conditions, bankruptcy insurance, etc).
  • even if you do not yet know the final trip cost (e.g. flights), write down the amount you do know – and then at a later date, we can amend the insurance premium.
  • trip dates are for the entire period away from home
  • trip costs are all pre-paid expenses (e.g. airfare + land costs)
Phone number: 1-402-404-5205
Mention promo code: IGT-MAKOR

There are no group flights organized for this tour.

Price per person, based on double occupancy
Single supplement

** Based on a minimum of 10 participants



1 night Dan Panorama, Tel Aviv
1 night Dan Hotel, Eilat & Late Check Out


Land Price Includes:

  • Airport assistance at Ben Gurion Airport upon departure
  • One group transfer from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport
  • Round-trip internal flights
  • Round-trip group transfers to and from Ramon Airport
  • Makor staff person with the group throughout the extension
  • Hotel Accommodations per above  **or similar, pending availability
  • Meals
    • Breakfast daily
    • Shabbat dinner at hotel
  • Full day group tour to Petra, including:
    • Pick up from Eilat Hotel
    • Assistance at the Border Crossing (x2)
    • All Transportation in Jordan on an A/C Van
    • English-speaking Jordanian guide
    • Lunch at a local restaurant in Petra
    • All entrance fees in Petra
  • Water available throughout the day
  • Border Taxes and Visas
  • Porterage at hotels


Not Included:

  • Tips for Guide and Driver
  • Drinks at Petra Restaurant
  • Meals on own and out of pocket expenses
  • Travel and Medical Insurance

Makor will make all necessary VISA arrangements.