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November 7, 2011November 7, 2011  3 comments  Uncategorized

It wasn't your everyday sight at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism: dozens of motorcyclists in black leather vests, tattoos and army-green bandanas gathered at the plaza in a culmination of their journey across the country, broke bread together and honored the Israeli army with a prayer and a moment of silence.

 

 

israel, tourism, holy land, harley-davidson

(Photo credit: Ministry of Tourism/Yossi Zamir)

 

The gathering on Sunday was the culmination of a motorbike tour of Israel organized by Mission:M25, a group of Evangelical Christians and military veterans whose mission is to honor the armed forces, fallen soldiers and those missing in action. This is the first time the organization has taken one of these honoring rides, called Run for the Wall, outside of the U.S.

 

israel, tourism, holy land, harley-davidson

 

(Photo credit: Ministry of Tourism/Yossi Zamir)

 

“We came to be a blessing,” Gary Burd, director of Mission:M25, told Travelujah. “Our whole emphasis was to honor the IDF and all of the armed forces in Israel. As Christians we can come here and freely walk where our Lord walked. We know it takes the sacrifice of men and women to keep a country free.”


The group had 71 American participants including 31 bikers who shipped their motorcycles to Israel. The tour began at the port in Ashdod, where the bikes were shipped to, and continued up the coast to Tel Aviv, Mount Carmel and Megiddo and then inland to Nazareth. Most of the bikes were fitted with American and Israeli flags.

 

israel, tourism, holy land, harley-davidson

(Photo: Travelujah)


On Sunday afternoon, the American bikers were joined by more than 100 Israelis on motorbikes and the entire entourage rode, with a police escort, from the military memorial at Latrun to the Western Wall. It was an impressive if not shocking sight as dozens of Harley-Davidsons motored through the cobble stone streets of the ancient city and parked outside the Temple Mount.


“The Bible says that there will be a time when the nations will worship together at Zion,” said one of the bikers, Paul, leading the bread-breaking ceremony. “That is happening at this moment.”


Along their journey, the bikers gave to soldiers that they met army-green bandanas with Psalm 91 printed in Hebrew and English.


Mission:M25 also brought $620,000 worth of medical supplies to be distributed by an Israeli NGO.


The ministry sponsors a ride every year from California to Washington DC called Run to the Wall to honor the United States military. The ride ends at the war memorials in the nation's capital. This event was an extension of sorts of that trip. As to why the ministry chose Israel as its first foray outside of the U.S., Burd said, “We believe its God's favored nation. It's his chosen people.”

 

israel, tourism, holy land, harley-davidson

(Photo: Travelujah)

 

But aside from the logistics of the trip and their mission to bless Israel, the sights were awe-inspiring to the bikers as well.


“As we were riding down the Megiddo Valley, I thought of all the history and the future prophecies regarding this land – and there I am riding through on a motorcycle,” Burd said. “I teared up riding into the Old City. This is where King David and all the greats – the prophets and kings – walked.”


The group came to Israel with Coral Tours as part of the efforts by the Israel Government Tourism Office in North America to encourage tourism to Israel particularly from the Evangelical Christian community. Haim Gutin, Israel's tourism commissioner for North and South America, said they didn't know the tour would end up being as meaningful as it was. “To stay here to pray for Israel, to honor the military – its something amazing.”

 

Before praying individually at the Wall, the bikers – both Americans and Israelis – prayed together for the safety of Israel, the Jewish people and Israeli soldiers.

 

israel, tourism, holy land, harley-davidson

 

Hal Bryan of the American contingent and Haim Gutin, Israel Ministry of Tourism (Photo: Travelujah)


The youngest member of the trip was Kyler, 11, from Phoenix. He rode with his father, Ron Arieli, who runs a motorcyclist training center in Arizona. Kyler enjoyed seeing the country from a windowless view on a bike and take in the ancient sites. Ron lived in Israel for 30 years, and as a Jew, it was important for him to allow his sons to connect to the land and culture.


“Here he's living it, he's seeing it, he's breathing it,” he said. “He is immersed in thousands of years of history.”

israel, tourism, holy land, harley-davidson

Kyler with one of the Israeli bikers at the Western Wall plaza. (Photo: Travelujah)

Bobby Goodman, an American in Israel for the first time, came to ride his motorcycle here, but it broke down within the first 40 miles of the tour. Goodman said the malfunction turned out to be a blessing in disguise.


“ I don't need to ride – I'm here for Israel, not the ride,” he told Travelujah. “Its not about the ride, its the journey.”


Since he's been in the Holy Land, Goodman, a hardened biker, said he's felt the presence of Jesus as he has made his plgrimage in the Holy Land.

 

“When I'm where he was, yea, I've done nothing but feel,” he said.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


 


June 16, 2010June 16, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized
After an onslaught of bad press and public opinion in recent weeks, Israel finally got some welcome news as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development chose to hold its annual meeting in Jerusalem instead of Paris.

Israeli tourism officials believe that choosing to host the conference in Jerusalem is a boon to the country’s tourism industry and its economic potential.

“The committee’s decision to hold its annual meeting in Jerusalem and give it a festive and prestigious touch, together with the invitation to tourism ministers from the member countries, is an important vote of confidence with additional significance for promoting tourism and improving Israel’s image around the world,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.

The 86th OECD Tourism Committee conference will include tourism ministers and representatives from member states, as well as from other countries and will take place in October. After the conference, participants will tour the country and visit various tourism sites.

“Israel’s joining the OECD is of great importance in terms of building a positive image for the country,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “The positive image gained will have an effect on the tourist’s choice to visit Israel and it will attract foreign investors to the country, including, among others, investors in tourism.”

June 20, 2010June 20, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized
It has been a record year so far in the number of Catholic visitors to Israel, a pay off to the 10-million shekel investment by the Ministry of Tourism in promoting tourism to the Holy Land from Catholic nations.

But one organization is looking to widen the scope of the Catholic tourism surge to include more about Israel and not just the Holy Land.

“What I’ve noticed from a lot of Catholic tour groups is a kind of ‘Great Disconnect’ between the Israel in the Bible and Israel today,” said Ariel Ben Ami, director of Catholics for Israel. “They don’t even use the word ‘Israel,’ but only ‘Holy Land.’ Many come here to see an open air museum, to see where Jesus walked, to see the holy sites. But they have no experience whatsoever with Israelis or any appreciation for the modern miracle of the re-birth of Israel and return of the Jewish people home after two thousand years of exile to the land that God promised them in the Bible.”

By comparison, Evangelical tours include more of a focus on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith and what God is doing among the Jewish people today from the founding of the State of Israel to the current political situation, Ben Ami said.

Catholics for Israel is an internet-based organization with a threefold mandate: to love Israel, to love the Messiah and to love the Church. Ben Ami, a Catholic Canadian who has lived in Israel for 12 years now, said his mission is to be a bridge between Catholics, Evangelicals and Jews. One of his goals is to bring out the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith.

“Evangelicals are ahead of Catholics in understanding that God still has a plan today for Israel,” Ben Ami told Travelujah, the only Christian social networking site about travel to the Holy Land. “A moderate biblical Zionism is in agreement with the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church has laid some foundations, speaking against anti-Semitism, affirming that the covenant with the Jewish people has not been revoked. But often it has not trickled down to the masses.”

To incorporate more of a focus on modern Israel, Ben Ami recommends that Catholics make sure to visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial to better understand modern Jewish history and places like the Temple Institute to become more familiar with biblical Judaism, which was Jesus’ religion. He said Catholics should get to know modern Israelis by attending a synagogue or Messianic congregation and by incorporating a Shabbat meal with a Jewish family or organization.

“The Lord is forming a family and he wants to unite us,” Ben Ami said, which is why his mandate includes promoting respect and unity among Jews and Christians, both Catholic and Evangelical. “There has been a gap in the (Catholic) Church and its teaching on Israel. So many Catholics miss it on Israel. They tend to be swept away by spirit of the world and take news at face value which are often anti-Israel, forgetting that God has a special purpose for this people and land.”

The website, www.israelcatholic.com, is in five languages (English, French, German, Hebrew and Italian) and includes articles about the organization’s beliefs.

Ben Ami notes that most Catholics in Israel are Arabs, indigenous to the land. He said that while the organization wants to bless them as well, Catholic tour groups are usually led by Arab tour guides and are already privy to the Palestinian side. He wants to expose them to the Jewish-Israeli side as well.

“Our focus is mostly biblical and theological. We try not to get into political side unless we see a problem and then we say something,” he said. “With all the craziness going on here, the anti-Israel bias can be troubling and irrational, and sometimes we feel that we need to be a balancing voice. All Catholics should recognize that the root of their faith is Israel – and this includes the Israel of today just as much as the Israel of the Bible.”

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

August 9, 2010August 9, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Its not just the temperatures that are sizzling in Israel. Tourism is again at an all-time high with record-breaking numbers in July.


The Ministry of Tourism announced today that 280,000 tourists visited Israel in July 2010, setting an all-time record for the month of July and amassing an increase of 11 percent over July a year ago. In the first seven months of 2010, 1.9 million tourists visited Israel, an increase of 34 percent over the same period last year and 10 percent more than 2008, the previous record-setting year for tourism in Israel.

 

“The consistent growth in incoming tourism over recent months, alongside the increasing satisfaction tourists feel towards the service they receive in Israel, should not be taken for granted,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. 


He said that the massive upturn in tourism is due to Israel’s investment in marketing, public relations and infrastructure development. 


“The Israeli public already understands tourism’s contribution to the Israeli economy and creating new jobs, as well as Israel’s image around the world,” Misezhnikov said.


Christian tourists to the Holy Land comprised the largest group of visitors in July. Christians accounted for 58 percent of tourists compared to 34 percent Jewish tourists. More than half of the visitors were in Israel for a return visit and stayed for an average of 10 days. 

 

Tourists, according to a study published today that surveyed 25,000 tourists in 2009, feel like they are getting their money’s worth from their trip to Israel. The poll showed an overall improvement and high marks for sites and services from archaeology and restaurants to cleanliness and security, to name a few.

  

During July Jerusalem was the most visited city (74 percent of the tourists) followed by Tel Aviv (55 percent), the Dead Sea (45 percent), Tiberias (36 percent , Nazareth (29 percent) and Eilat (17 percent).


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for 
Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

 


July 12, 2010July 12, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Tourism to Israel has reached an all-time high with 1.6 million tourists visiting the Holy Land during the first half of 2010, a 39 percent jump over the same period last year and 10 percent higher than in 2008, the previous record year.
 
A record was also set for the month of June as 259,000 tourists--an increase of 24 percent over 2009 and 8 percent over June 2008--visited the country.
 
Last year, Christians comprised slightly more than half of the tourists to Israel, according to tourism ministry numbers. From the Holy Sepulchre to the Garden Tomb and north to the Galilee, Christians, whether Evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox, are flooding the holy sites again this year.

Elisa Moed, chief executive officer of Travelujah (www.travelujah.com), the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land, credits the surge to Christian tourism. Moed estimates that as many as two-thirds of tourists to Israel are Christian.

Israel’s tourism minister credited the ministry’s marketing efforts for the record tourism in the face of challenging public relations.

“The increase in incoming tourism during the first half of this year should not be taken for granted,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “It is the result of massive investment in marketing activities around the world with significant budgets, especially against the background of the public diplomacy challenges that Israel is facing.”

Misezhnikov made a pitch for more government investment for the industry, which would lead to job creation and additional revenue, he said.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


July 13, 2010July 13, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv received the Travel and Leisure stamp of approval, rating respectively as the first and third top cities in all of Africa and the Middle East. Of course, this accolade is no secret to the 1.6 million tourists who visited the Holy Land during the first half of 2010, a record so far.

The prestigious travel magazine listed the rankings of cities for all parts of the world. The ranking was compiled by the magazine’s readers placing Jerusalem as the best city in the category and Tel Aviv in third place. South Africa’s Cape Town came between the two Israeli cities.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed the announcement of Jerusalem as the World’s Best City in Africa and the Middle East. The mayor is aiming to expand tourism to 10 million visitors annually.

The rankings for the top 10 cities for Africa and the Middle East are listed at Travel and Leisure’s website:
Jerusalem 87.55       
Cape Town 87.27       
Tel Aviv 83.38       
Marrakesh, Morocco    83.04       
Cairo 78.29       
Petra, Jordan 77.56       
Dubai 73.71       
Alexandria, Egypt 73.33       
Nairobi, Kenya 72.82       
Amman, Jordan    71.34

The Israeli cities did not make it into the international top 10.

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


August 2, 2010August 2, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

The Israel Museum has gotten a facelift and has reopened with double the exhibition space, longer hours and a new feel from the entrance on in.

A re-opening ceremony was held last week with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in attendance. Beginning this week, hours were extended till 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and all the way till 1 a.m. on Thursday.

“Forty-five years after the Israel Museum first opened its magnificent campus, we have completed a renewal project that allows us to serve our public as never before,” said James S. Snyder, director of the Israel Museum. “The most ambitious undertaking in our history, this project has yielded a truly transformational change across our site. We look forward to welcoming our visitors to the museum’s stunning new public spaces and galleries, planned to provide a richer and more enjoyable experience of our unparalleled collections and of our powerful Jerusalem hilltop setting.”  

The redesign took three years and cost $100 million, much of which went to renovate the Museum’s three collection wings – for archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life – and the reinstallation of its encyclopedic collections.

The renewed galleries highlight new acquisitions and long-held masterpieces across its collections. The renewed campus also features two new monumental commissions.

Netanyahu called the museum an “exceptional combination of the values of our heritage and world culture, which is essentially the bridge connecting the past with the future.”

Barkat said the redesign of the museum was in keeping with the vision of the city as it return to the center of Israeli culture and “another stage in the realization of [former mayor] Teddy Kollek’s vision.”

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


October 26, 2010October 26, 2010  1 comments  Uncategorized

Israeli hotels will add some 3,500 new rooms in the next few months to meet the demands of record level tourism to the Holy Land.


The nation’s existing 44,000 rooms are insufficient to meet the current demand, according to Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, who spoke at the OECD tourism conference held in Jerusalem.

 

Israel’s Tourism Ministry is allocating grants to dozens of hotel projects in order to build more rooms to match the expected 30 percent increase in tourists this year -- half a million more than in 2009. If the ministry’s goal of 5 million tourists in 2015 is met, an additional 18,000 hotel rooms, especially in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Sea of Galilee area, would be needed.
 
“Steps must immediately be taken in order to prevent irreversible damage to incoming tourism – firstly transferring the authority for marketing land for tourism to the Tourism Ministry, differentiation in grants to entrepreneurs, renewing the track for attractions and updating the map of the national priority areas for tourism,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.

 

Misezhnikov has warned that the shortage in hotel rooms will negatively impact tourism and Israel’s image as a modern, attractive and quality tourist destination.

 

Fischer also called for regional cooperation with Egypt and Jordan in tourism, to strengthen the industry by integrating sites in all three countries so that tourists would visit three countries in one trip, spending a few days in each.


While an insufficient number of hotels in Israel may negatively impact Israel’s ability to effectively handle the existing demand, it is a sign that the industry is booming and highlights Israel’s evolving status as an attractive tourism location and certainly may heighten investor interest in Israel and the region.

 

“More and more tourists are discovering the gems in Israel and that is obvious by the demand for hotel rooms in the country,” said Elisa Moed, CEO of Travelujah. “The fact that tourism has set record levels this year shows that Israel is considered a safe and worthy destination by millions around the world.”


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.

 


November 10, 2010November 10, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Israel is on the cusp of exceeding its previous record of 3 million tourists in one year, the Ministry of Tourism has announced.

The record, set in 2008, will be broken next week, according to the Tourism Ministry. Between January and October of this year, 2.87 tourists visited the country, more than the total number for last year at 2.7 million. The previous record was 3 million in 2008. The 404,000 tourists who visited in Israel in October set a record for that month.

“The October data, together with data since the beginning of this year and even beyond, reflects the revolution that the Tourism Ministry, the tourism industry, Israel’s tourism product and Israel’s image as a tourism destination is going through in Israel and around the world,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “In order that Israel’s tourism potential is realized, tourism must be given its rightful place in the order of national priorities, as a leading social and economic force.”

The Israeli economy benefits tremendously from the tourism industry. The Tourism Ministry estimates that tourism’s contribution to the Israeli economy from January to August was $2.3 billion.

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy  Land.

Tags: israel holy land tourism 

November 29, 2010November 29, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Travel to Israel is about to get even more popular. Just after the record-setting 3 millionth tourist crossed passport control into Israel, 170 leading tour operators from around the globe are gearing up to attend the first international tourism trade conference in Jerusalem.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry is sponsoring "Where Else: Israel Tourism Convention 2010" in order to give the world’s largest tour operators a glimpse into tourism in the Holy Land. Of the 170 tour operators scheduled to attend, 136 have not yet pitched Israel as a tourism product.
 
The four-day conference is another step in Israel’s quest to attract a record 5 million tourists in the year 2015.

“A visit to Israel and the Holy Land has become a sought-after product over the last year for many varied target groups from different countries and this demand has turned 2010 into a record year for incoming tourism, with an estimated income of 16 billion shekels from incoming tourism alone (including income from Israeli airlines),” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.  “The international tourism industry’s vote of confidence in the Israeli tourism product is significant and proves, once again, tourism’s positive influence on Israel’s image around the world.”

Tour operators will have the opportunity to experience a tour firsthand. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are on the agenda for all participants. Operators will then choose to take a tour of either primary sites in northern Israel including Tiberias and Haifa or southern sites such as the Dead Sea and Eilat. The tours were arranged by the Tourism Ministry, tourism associations, local authorities and hotels association.

The countries represented include the US, Canada, Brazil, Russia, India, France, Holland, Germany and Italy.

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy Land.


May 30, 2011May 30, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

Catholics around the world honor Mary, mother of Jesus, during the month of May which culminates in the Feast of the Visitation on May 31.

In Israel, observances for the Feast center at a church on the outskirts of Jerusalem dedicated to the visitation  - when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. The Church of the Visitation is in Ein Karem, the village where Elizabeth and Zechariah, parents of John the Baptist, lived.

(Photo: Travelujah)

church of the visitation, ein karemWhile daily masses are devoted to Mary, the Visitation day features a special mass to honor the meeting of the two cousins, Mary and Elizabeth, who were both expecting. The Feast is based on Luke 1.
 
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!’” Lu
ke 1:39-45
 
Father Athanasius Macora told Travelujah that between the picturesque, forested town of Ein Karem and the beautiful Church of the Visitation the mass there is one of his personal favorites.

“It is a joyous liturgy,” he said. “The visitation is quite a significant part of the Gospel.”

church of the visitation, ein karemThe Church of the Visitation was bought by the Franciscans in 1679. The present church was restored in 1955 on top of ancient church remains. The Crusaders recognized the site as the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth.

The mass begins at 9 a.m. and is immediately followed by a procession from the church, outside to the crypt below the church. In afternoon at 4:30 p.m. there is a mass procession in the Old City from St. Saviour’s Monastery near New Gate to the Frere’s school to the Latin Patriarchate and then back to St. Saviour’s. Many local Catholics participate.

(photo courtesy of AllAboutJerusalem.com)


The passage in Luke concludes with Mary’s Song, the Magnificat, written is inscribed in 41 languages on one wall of the church: “And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.’ Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.” Luke 1:46-56

Visiting Ein Karem

With the Feast of the Visitation on Tuesday, the spotlight is on the village of Ein Karem, but the small town is worth visiting at any time of year.

Known as the childhood home of John the Baptist, Ein Karem is home to two churches, three monasteries and two Christian guesthouses. And with a trove of restaurants, cafes and gelato bars, Ein Karem is a retreat from bustling Jerusalem. Just a few miles from the city center, the village is in a valley surrounded by the Jerusalem Forest.



ein karem, church of john the baptistReligious Sites
(Photos: Travelujah)


Church of Saint John the Baptist
Church of the Visitation
Moscovia Monastery
The Greek Orthodox convent of Saint John
Notre Dame de Sion Monastery
Mary's Spring

(Photo: Travelujah)

 

ein karem, church of john the baptist

(Photo: Travelujah)

 

ein karem, chocolatePlaces to Eat
Sweet N’ Karem is a chocolatier and gelateria with specialty chocolates like coffee and cardamon; marzipan, chili and spice. The store also offers chocolate-making workshops (in Hebrew).
Gelato, coffee and wines are also served.
 

 

 

 

Christian Places to Stay

Rosary Sisters Guest House
The Rosary Convent in Ein Karem was built for the first Rosary nuns in 1885. In 1917, the superior  transformed the house into an orphanage and then in 1999, the convent was renovated and expanded to include a guest h
ouse.


ein karem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo: Travelujah)

 

Notre Dame de Sion Guest House

In 1856, Father Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne began building the Ecce Homo convent in the Old City, on the Via Dolorosa and then, in order for the nuns and students to enjoy the fresh air of the Judean hills, he built the convent in Ein Karem which took in orphan girls. After 1967, the house gradually became a guest house, and it has remained that until the present.
christian guest house

christian guest house

(Photos: Travelujah)

(For Christian guesthouse reservations and tour information contact info@travelujah.com)


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


September 21, 2011September 21, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

 

While the international stage is awash with demonstrations and wrangling over the vote in the United Nations this week for Palestinian statehood, tourism in Israel and the Palestinian territories seems to be continuing unabated despite the acrimony surrounding the political situation.


One tour guide told Travelujah that none of his groups or any that he knows of have cancelled trips to Israel and cities in the Palestinian Authority such as Bethlehem.


“In fact, people are surprised, after leaving the PA, how secure it is,” the tour gruide, who asked not to be named, told Travelujah, the only Christian socail network about travel to the Holy Land. “I don't even see a hesitation among tourists to go there. They may hesitate visiting Israel in general, but once they are here they are not afraid.”


According to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, 3.6 million visitors came to Israel during the year 5771 on the Hebrew calendar—a 17 percent increase over the previous year—even while unrest in the Middle East caused an overall drop in travel to the region.


“Israel is a tourism challenge for every Israeli tourist and, of course, for foreign tourists,” said Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov. "The upcoming holiday season is a wonderful time of year to travel, and I call upon everyone to get out, see the sites, learn about Israel’s heritage and history while taking care of the natural surroundings.”


More than 300,000 visitors are expected to visit Israel during the fall holiday season and many of these are Christians. These numbers prove true on the ground as tour groups forge ahead with their Holy Land travels.


For example, the God TV tour with Kim Clement, which will feature live broadcasts on the satellite Christian network, began on Tuesday with approximately 600 people, none of whom cancelled their trip in light of the turmoil surrounding the UN vote.


And later in October, for the Feast of Tabernacles, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) expects some 6,000 Christian tourists to attend the weeklong event. David Parsons, spokesman for the ICEJ, which hosts the largest Christian event of the year in Israel, said registration hasn't waned this year.


“Our feast pilgrims know this is the time to come to show solidarity with Israel,” Parsons told Travelujah. “People ask us what is the mood (in the country),” he said, but “pilgrims are still signing up.”


The ICEJ will even offer bus tours that travel along the pre-1967 and of flash points in Jerusalem.


Parsons said tourism will likely rise during the fall, which is peak season. “I think it would really have to get out of hand to get cancellations,” he said.


One Christian tourist from Texas made his third pilgrimage to the Holy Land despite the negative news reports. On his way to the Western Wall, Larry told Travelujah that he feels safe and unhindered traveling around the country.


Both Israeli and Palestinian security forces have beefed up their defenses in anticipation of potential problems, but as of Wednesday—when large rallies were expected to take place in New York outside the UN—no major violence had been reported in the Holy Land.

 

Christians here are paying close attention to the events in New York. Archbishop Michel Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, was among many priests in the region to back the Palestinian bid. During his Sunday Mass in the Palestinian city of Nablus he called for a UN vote for a Palestinian state.


A joint statement was also issued by various Palestinian Christian clergy–including Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans—to “support the diplomatic efforts made to achieve international recognition of the state of Palestine ... on the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as our capital.”

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land.


Tags: tourism holy land 

September 27, 2011September 27, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed 600 Christians, currently on a tour of Israel with God TV and Kim Clement, to the city on Sunday night during a concert that was broadcast live on the Christian satellite network.


“The more people come and walk the streets of the city of Jerusalem the more they understand the huge potential of our city,” Barkat said. “Come to Jerusalem at least once in your life because then you see it with your own eyes—I don't have to explain it to you, it looks very different.”


Barkat was interviewed by Rory and Wendy Alec, the founders of God TV.

israel, tourism, holy land

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo Travelujah)

 

“There's room for all people from all faiths—Jews and non-Jews alike,” Barkat continued. “The most important thing (I could say to viewers) is, come and visit us. Enjoy your stay. Go back home as an ambassador of peace. Tell people how beautiful, wonderful, spiritual and cultural the city of Jerusalem is.”


The concert began with four shofar blowers sounding the rams horn from the ramparts of the David Citadel next to Jaffa Gate. The strains of the concert reverberated throughout the Old City well into the night as Kim Clement led a prophetic worship set themed “Israel is forever.”


The audience was comprised of Christians from 21 nations. During the tour, the group worshiped on boats on the Sea of Galilee, prayed on Mount Carmel and at various sites in Jerusalem. The trip culminated in the concert at the David Citadel.


Many of the visitors were overwhelmed by their spiritual pilgrimage in the Holy Land.


“Coming to Israel has been just a gift from God—a kiss from our father in heaven,” one woman said.

israel, tourism, holy land

(Photo: Travelujah)

“It is the most amazing place, to actually experience and be among the places where Jesus and his disciples walked this earth,” a man noted. “It is just an amazing experience. The most amazing life experience we could ever have.”


Barkat thanked the pilgrims for visiting the country despite the rancorous political climate.


“It is hard to find people more committed to Israel than you folks and the people watching your channel,” he said. “It's hard to find people more committed and so I'd like to say thank you to you. We want to hug you like you hug us.”


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

Tags: tourism holy land 

September 28, 2011September 28, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

This evening ushers in the first of several consecutive Jewish—or biblical—holidays, celebrated in Israel in the autumn in highly festive fashion, beginning with Rosh HaShanah and ending with the Feast of Tabernacles.


During this time, residents of the Jewish country partake in the observations of these holy days, but what about Christians? Many evangelical Christians who live in the Holy Land, and even some who don't, make it a point to come to Israel, and specifically to Jerusalem, to celebrate these feast days as the Lord commanded in the Bible.

 

“We recognize that the feasts are not really the Jewish feasts—in the Bible they are called the feasts of the Lord,” Jim Schutz, a Christian who lives in Israel, told Travelujah. “They have a special significance for both Jew and Gentile.”


Christians can relate to the Feast of Tabernacles through its prophetic New Testament meaning, including the return of the Lord, Schutz said. The metaphor of living in tabernacles symbolizes believers being strangers in this world, living in temporary tabernacles awaiting another kingdom. Also, the days of repentance and Yom Kippur are symbolic to the Christian of the sacrifice of Yeshua, Schutz outlined.


“The feasts should intensify the whole message, the whole meaning of what our lives are like in Yeshua,” he said.


Schutz, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem liaison to local congregations and international speaker, offered another aspect of celebrating the biblical feasts: to encourage Christians identify with the Jewish people and to better grasp the mystery of Israel as explained in Romans 11.


“The whole point of Romans 11 is for the non-Jewish believer to understand God's heart for the Jewish people,” Schutz explained. “It is so that Gentiles can understand this mystery from the heart of God's perspective.”


Observing the feasts, though not a requirement, helps a Christian gain that perspective, he said. Schutz and his family will celebrate Rosh HaShanah on Wednesday evening with Jewish friends.


This year thousands of Christians from the nations will join Jews from around the world in “coming up to Jerusalem” during these appointed festivals. Michael Onifer, a leader of the Eagles' Wings' Israel tour, is one of them.


“Something that has been lost (among Christians) is the sacredness of space, the holiness of actual geography,” Onifer told Travelujah. “God was very specific about places and certainly about Jerusalem. He had a purpose for choosing the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel. The feasts can be celebrated here in a different way than any other place in the world and were originally intended to be celebrated in Israel.”


Onifer said he makes it a point to be in Israel to observe these holy days. Some 35 Christians joined the Eagles' Wings tour, purposely scheduled to coincide with the fall feasts.


“There is the very prophetic promise of the nations in coming to worship in Jerusalem and we feel it is in our hands to begin doing that now in anticipation of what the scripture promises,” Onifer said.


Onifer maintains that the feasts are more than a religious activity given to the Jewish people, but an “invitation” for believers to understand God's heart, times and the places he has chosen.


“This is an invitation to deepen our knowledge of God and to understand how to cooperate with him and his purposes,” Onifer said.


Rosh HaShanah is known in the Bible as the Feast of Trumpets and was mandated in Leviticus 23:23-25. The following 10 days leading to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, are known as the days of awe and are a time of repentance. A single Sabbath, known as the Sabbath of Repentance, occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (this year on Oct. 1) and is marked by a special reading from Hosea 14:2-10, urging the nation to: “Return, Israel, unto the Lord your God.” Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Oct. 7. This is considered the holiest day of the year on the Jewish calendar and is a full fast—no food or water.


And finally, the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, mandated in Leviticus 23:34-35 and 23:39-43, begins at sunset on Oct. 12 and concludes at nightfall on Oct.19. During Sukkot, Jews build tents or tabernacles in which they eat their meals and sometimes even sleep.

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.



 


November 9, 2011November 9, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

 

Savoring a successful dinner event in Italy with four chefs – two Israeli and two Palestinian – from Notre Dame, Kevork Alemian, then director of the hotel school associated with the Catholic guesthouse in Jerusalem, stumbled upon an idea.


“I saw how the chefs united in this kitchen,” Alemian recalled. “Later, sitting on the balcony of the hotel room, overlooking the Mediterranean, an idea popped into my head.”


Alemian thought, if there are organizations uniting doctors, artists and other professionals across borders, then why not chefs? He had just watched two Jewish Israeli chefs and two Christian Palestinian chefs – not chosen for their religious or ethnic backgrounds – cook for an event sponsored by an Italian organization.


He met with the chefs and threw the idea out here – why not promote peace through an organization that bring chefs to cook together from the three religions in the Holy Land?

israel, tourism, holy land, chefs for peace

Thus, in 2001, with just four chefs, Chefs for Peace was born. Now the organization has 25 chefs from Muslim, Jewish and Christian backgrounds, who cook together for special events, creating recipes and menus that showcase the special blend of food found only in the Holy Land.


The goal, Alemian said, is “to show to the world we can unite at one table and eat together. The bottom line is everyone has to eat.”


The chefs hail from prestigious restaurants and hotels in Israel and the Palestinian territories including Eucalyptus, Mahane Yehuda, the YMCA, Notre Dame and the David Citadel Hotel to name a few.


“Food is an amazing story. Food combines all the languages together into one language – its like love, a first language that everyone speaks,” said Amit Cohen of Luiza Catering in Abu Gosh. “To cook together will make us friends and makes us partners.”


Since its inception, the organization has been called upon to to host events in Jerusalem, around the country and for several overseas initiatives. Its most recent foray was at a Red Cross event in Norway this fall.


Planning an event is a hectic and involved task. First, the chefs who will go to the event, at least one from each religion, are chosen based on their individual schedules and availability. Then those chefs meet to create a menu oriented around Middle Eastern cuisine. Afterwards, they must contact the local sponsors to see if their ingredient list is available and what they need to bring from Jerusalem, like spices and herbs impossible to get elsewhere.


“Each chef has his own way of thinking, but when we unite in the kitchen we forget our differences and unite as one body,” Alemian said.

israel, tourism, holy land, chefs for peace

A sample menu, like the one created for the Norway event, would make one's mouth water. The Norway event included the “three-faith soup” made of red lentils, eggplant and artichoke; sayadiye (Arabic for fisherman), a white fish dish with couscous and vegetables; a rack of lamb stuffed with figs and zaatar (hyssop) served over moujadara, a famous Middle Eastern dish consisting of lentils, rice and onions; and, for dessert, kenafe (fried cheese topped with and shredded pastry, katayef, a dough pancake stuffed with walnuts and sugar or cheese and cardamon ice cream.


And so the chefs hope to promote peace one meal at a time.


“We spend all day long cooking together in the kitchen without any talking about politics,” said Johnny Goric from the Legacy Hotel in East Jerusalem. “So if we can do that for 12, 13, 14 hours a day, I'm sure we could even do more.”


Alemian said, “When we unite we forget about religion. Here are three chefs from three faiths working in the kitchen, in harmony, using the most dangerous dangerous weapon – a knife – but we don't stab each other. When we are cooking together, we use our imaginations, we create and we forget our political views.”


Members of the organization are carefully vetted for their culinary abilities and commitment to peace. At the moment, the membership is comprised of 10 Jews, 10 Christians and three Muslims.


“We are members from all the religions, all of us cooking, and we want to show people can live together, cook together, have dinners together, enjoy their life together without politics, without wars,” said Anat Lev Ari of Luiza Catering in Abu Gosh. “Politics never brings this to the world, just the real people do. So this is my way to do a little bit.”


The organization donates its earnings to charities that support the needy of all three religions represented. One of Chefs for Peace's big events coming up is an annual food festival in Norway next summer.


“When people gather together at one table they gather to break bread and to share with each other the good food and wine,” Goric said. “Over dinner, many peace agreements have happened. Over dinner, most of our disputes have vanished.”


To read more about Chefs for Peace, visit their website or look for them on Facebook.


By Nicole Jansezian


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


October 16, 2011October 16, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

 

 

As Jews in Israel take their meals in sukkahs, temporary structures that have been erected all around the country during the Feast of Tabernacles this week, many Christians continue their own celebration of the biblical holiday with the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.


After a rousing message at Ein Gedi, a resort on the Dead Sea, Friday night and a restful Sabbath on Saturday, the Feast meetings returned to Jerusalem on Saturday evening and continue this week with events in additions to meetings.


Werner Oder, the son of a ranking and convicted Nazi official in Austria, who is now an Israel supporter spoke at the Feast recounting the testimony of his conversion from anti-Semitism to faith in God and love for the Jews and support for Israel.

 

The Feast this year includes a tour to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and a trip to Haifa to visit the home for Holocaust survivors that the ICEJ supports.


On Monday, the ICEJ is sponsoring bus tours designed to acquaint Feast pilgrims with various locations and situations around the country. One of the tours, which will be led by ICEJ spokesman David Parsons, is the flash points of Jerusalem including neighborhoods such as Ramat Shlmo, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan to Gilo and Har Homa.


We are trying to make them familiar with the issues surrounding some of these flash points they hear about in the media all the time,” Parsons said. “When (world leaders says that) new homes in Gilo constitute a settlement, that is ridiculous.”

sukkot, feast, christians

 

Another tour will travel along the lines of the 1967 borders, frequently mentioned by Palestinians as their desired lines for a state. The travelers will visit a community from where you can look right into Tel Aviv, thereby showing the strategic location of Jewish communities in the West Bank to Israel's defense should there be rocket attacks from there as there are from Gaza.


A third tour will take pilgrims to the Gaza border area, specifically the city of Sderot, which has takent he brunt of rocket attacks in the last decade. Feast participants will have the opportunity to deliver more bomb shelters donated by the ICEJ.


On Tuesday, a minimum of 2,500 Feast pilgrims will join in the Jerusalem march with colorful flags and outfits representing their countries. The ICEJ always comprises the largest delegation in the march.


While most of the Feast pilgrims are from Brazil, more worshippers from Asian nations have come to the Feast this year including a delegation of 150 from China, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand. The Christian pilgrims hail from more than 80 countries.


The theme of the Feast this year is “Israel – A light to the nations.” Parsons explained that this phrase, mentioned twice in Isaiah, has a specific application to the person of the Messiah and a broader application to Israel's spiritual character not just its leadership in scientific and economic fields.


“Israel may be a high-tech country, but the context of the promise was about its redemptive purposes and not just technological advances,” he said.

sukkot, feast, christians

 

Parsons said that the global constituency of Israel-supporting Christians is starting to show and many are having an influence on their nations' voting patterns. The theme is a timely one as Israel grapples with anti-Semitism and anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations.


“This year’s gathering is again underlining our message that Israel is not isolated, but has millions of Christian advocates and admirers worldwide… and we all look forward to celebrating the joyous festival of Sukkot with our Jewish friends,” ICEJ Executive Director Juergen Buehler said at the opening of the ICEJ celebrations on Thursday night.

 

Photos courtesy of the ICEJ


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.


November 15, 2011November 15, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

 

With short video clips in several languages about the country and holy sites here, Israel's Tourism Ministry has built a Youtube channel designed to appeal to Christians and challenge them to visit the Holy Land.


The Religious Affairs Desk of the Tourism Ministry directed the project, designed to arouse interest in Israel tourism among Christians around the world. In the last few months thousands of hits were already registered on the channel before it was even officially launched.


The channel includes short videos and testimonials in languages including English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian and Polish among others. The videos feature short testimonials from pastors, religious leaders and tourists speaking about the spiritual experience of their visit to the Holy Land as well as information on religious sites and events.

 

The Tourism Ministry spent around $50,000 building the channel as part of its $15 million market effort aimed at the Christian world. Other outreach efforts include seminars and meetings with tour operators, pastors and religious leaders plus targeted advertising in the Christian media.


The channel, the Spirit of the Holy Land, is aimed at all Christians, including evangelicals. The ministry’s Catholic channel, Holyland Pilgrimage, has already registered more than 760,000 views.

 

“We are looking forward to the future of advertising and marketing and are using tools and the knowledge we have accumulated in order to maximize the vast tourism potential associated with Israel,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. “Incoming Christian tourism, in all its denominations, represents the main target market in which the Tourism Ministry focuses its marketing effort in order to increase incoming tourism. This new website will help transmit messages and the special spiritual significance of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.”





October 18, 2011October 18, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

Christians in Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles joined the nation at the Jerusalem March on Tuesday in welcoming home Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was released after five years in captivity at the hands of his Palestinian kidnappers.


Thousands of Christians representing about 80 nations joined Israelis in rejoicing at his safe return. Shalit was kidnapped on June 5, 2006 by militants who tunnelled into Israel from the Gaza Strip and held him hostage, incommunicado, for years. Several of the marchers on Tuesday waved banners of support for Israel and held welcome home signs for the 25-year-old soldier.

 

“It feels like Christmas, like Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day), like a holiday. It is the best day of our lives,” Norwegian Arvid Binttsen described to Travelujah the feeling of being in Israel on the day of Shalit's release. “Thousands of Christian Zionists have been praying for his release for five years.”

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photo: Nicole Jansezian


Binttsen, along with another man, carried a large Norwegian flag with the message “Welcome home Gilad Shalit” in English, Norwegian and Hebrew.


The Christians, who take part in the parade every year, infuse color and joy to the march with festive costumes from their native countries and large banners expressing support for the Jewish state. Many hand out flags and candy to people along the parade route while shouting exhortations such as “we love Israel” and “hag sameah” (happy holidays).


The Chinese delegation of the parade carried flags from the communist nation and many of the w
omen wore white gowns they said represented the bride of Christ walking on the streets of Zion.

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photos: Nicole Jansezian

Many in the Brazilian contingent wrapped themselves in flags from their country and raced through the streets shouting support for Israel. The Canadian marchers carried large flags and some wore the uniforms of the Canadian Royal Mounties.


“I came to Israel to let the country know we love Israel, we love the people and we want to bless Israel,” Jeff Young, from the Toronto area, told Travelujah. “We want to let Israel know, Canada stands with you.”

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photo: Nicole Jansezian

 

Mabel Lau made her third trip to Israel from Singapore.


“I come to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, to support and rejoice with the Jewish people, and to give them support – spiritual and moral support,” she told Travelujah.


Most of the parade's Christian contingent, described by the announcer as Christians who love Israel, are attending the annual Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.


“It is good for our Feast pilgrims from around the world to be here to express our solidarity on such a momentous day, as they will also see and experience first-hand what Israel is going through as Gilad Shalit returns home,” said ICEJ Executive Director Juergen Buehler. “We share the relief and joy of the Shalit family and all Israel that Gilad has come back alive. We also share the disgust of so many that the price for his return has meant having to set ruthless murderers free. These are the paradoxes which Israel constantly lives with, and our pilgrims will no doubt return to their own nations with a deeper appreciation of Israel’s unique struggles and an even stronger commitment to standing with the Jewish state and people.”


About 6,000 Christians from more than 80 nations are attending the ICEJ Feast celebration, which will concluded Tuesday night with a farewell address by Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

 

icej, feast of tabernacles, jerusalem march

Photos: Nicole Jansezian

 


November 23, 2011November 23, 2011  1 comments  Uncategorized

The National Association of the Diocesan Directors of French Pilgrimages recently held its 64th congress – for the first time in Jerusalem – to discuss Christian pilgrimage, particularly to the Holy Land.


Over the course of four days last week, the 150 delegates convened at Notre Dame Center and discussed the geography and history of the country and how to better organize pilgrimages and prepare pilgrims so when they arrive at their destination, they may have a greater awareness of their experience.


The days each had themes which focused on an area of importance, including the “living stones” of the local church body, Christians who live in the Holy Land.


“This (congress being held in Jerusalem) is an expression of our solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters of the Holy Land,” Father Patrick Gandoul, president of the Association, said in his speech at the opening of the conference.


The purpose of the congress, he said, was to learn how, during pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to draw from “the pages of the Bible, from archaeology and from meeting men and women that today ... make up the living stones of the church. We will encourage the directors of pilgrimages to understand and perceive how the people live and how pilgrims also can walk on this land.”


“We need to present ourselves, not as professionals or performers, but as pastors and guides, in solidarity with the mother church, which supports the Christian presence in this land and in the holy places so that these places, where the history of peace was born, will never become merely an open air museum.”


Each afternoon was devoted to “field experiences” including a solemn entrance at the Holy Sepulcher with the Custos of the Holy Land and a trip to Bethlehem to meet with Christians there.


Founded in 1938, the association considers pilgrimage a pastoral and cultural experience and values its importance. France ranks fourth in the number of pilgrims to the Holy Land. Jerusalem was chosen as the host for this annual event to bring the land of pilgrimage to life.


“We come as pilgrims and we need to understand better this land and, as Christians, our link to the land,” said Father Jacques Nieuviarts. “We come (also) to learn from the church in Jerusalem.”


Gandoul said that pilgrims should also view themselves as carriers of peace when they step foot in other lands to visit the holy sites.


“The pilgrim is a being of peace who walks humbly in the steps of his Father. Like it was written by the prophet Micah eight centuries, the pilgrim seeks the face of God,” he said. “I think that we can really be peace makers. Each person can build up this land living in peace and looking forward to a serene and harmonious future.”

 

By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on connecting Christians to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.



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