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When people are thinking about planning their Holy Land tour, particularly first timers, 99% of the time they will ask for a tour with all the highlights. But what are these highlights?
Jerusalem, Old City, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee?
Try Hava, an Ethiopian immigrant who lives in her very Ethiopian style home in Beit Shean. Anyone who has ever spent time in her home situated near one of the most ancient cities in Israel will tell you - she's the highlight!
Not to take out away from the Western Wall, Temple Mount, Via Dolorosa, and all the incredible amazing sites - Masada, Jewish Quarter, Western Wall - all on the list - but meeting real Israelis and hearing their stories is what creates a truly authentic, personal and powerful experience which for many is the biggest highlight of all.
Hava preparing to host in her garden; Photo courtesy: Travelujah
Hava runs an Ethiopian cultural heritage center in her Beit Shean home where she tells her personal story about the lifestyle, culture, and foods of Ethiopia. Sitting around her colorful courtyard area, sipping her specialty coffee and tasting the unique, freshly mad
Conrad Schick, a 19th century German missionary, scholar and architect, was described by Dr. Shimon Gibson as a kind of "oracle" in Jerusalem during his time. Anyone desiring to truly understand the city's history, and possibly its future, simply had to visit and learn from Schick. With the return of some of Schick's most prominent work to the Christ Church compound in Jerusalem's Old City, pilgrims once again have the opportunity to do so.
Photo courtesy: Ryan Jones, Travelujah; Conrad Schick's model of the Temple Mount, on display at the Christ Church Heritage Center inside Jerusalem's Old City.
The stark beauty of the place is noticeable from the moment you get out of the car or bus. The Wadi Qelt area of the Judean desert forms an oasis of sheer beauty and certainly seems to have been a fitting place for Joachim and Anne to have stood and prayed to God for the Virgin Mary.
But for Manahem and Iguem, two pilgrims from Russia, the beauty of the area is a secondary concern. They made the trip to St. George's Monastery, in a remote part of the West Bank, not because of the scenery but because "we revere the saints," they explain to Travelujah. For them, it's all about visiting the holy places, places where biblical characters walked and lived, where they prayed and where their prayers were answered.
Asked to comment further on what they felt was so special about this place, why this place in particular when other churches or monasteries might be easier to visit, the priest and nun from central Russia simply smiled and said "it's a holy place, of course we want to come."
Their devotion and that of the thousands of other visitors to this remote sanctuary, named for S
It is not often that one stands at the bottom of a mountain and finds himself at a look-out point, yet this is precisely the experience of standing at the bottom of Mt. Carmel in Haifa, seat of the Baha'i Gardens and Baha'i World Center.
writer: Chaya Ben Shimon
When positioned at the foot of the mountain, the observer is treated to a vision of unparalleled beauty - a pristine garden with nineteen terraces sweeping majestically up to the mountain's summit.
The foliage that extends the length of the mountain seamlessly strikes a divine chord with greenery that appears to ascend into the heavens, aptly revealing the meaning of the mountain's name: Carmel, the Vineyard of the Lord. The view from the top of the mountain is no less enchanting. Soft winds compliment a panorama of sea, city, and flower blossoms, ornamented by the stately golden dome of the Baha'i Gardens' shrine to its founder, the Báb.
The Baha'i faith is the world's newest religion. In the mid 19th century in Shiraz, Iran, a merchant by the name of Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad Shirází, or the as he was more commonly known, announced the coming
In Sakhnin - a village in the Lower Galilee you've probably never heard of - grand steps are being taken to tackle one of the environmental movement's most perplexing problems: wastewater treatment.
Sakhnin is located approximately 45 minutes from Tiberias. It rests on the site of the ancient town of Sikhnin, a Jewish village which prospered during Roman rule. Today, the Arab community of Sakhnin is mostly Muslim, though there is a sizable Christian community as well. In fact, visitors can join the locals and worship at the Greek Orthodox church of St. George.
Sakhnin is also known for its premier soccer club, Bnei Sakhnin, one of the first Arab teams to play in the top t
It is traditional to eat sweet foods during the Jewish high holiday season. Certain items are very prevalent throughout the country and show up on almost everyone's feast table at some point - such as apples, honey, chocolate, honey cake, figs and other specialty items. As part of our celebration of the holiday season combined with the fact that all the schools are out for vacation for almost two weeks, we opted to take a couple days to travel to the north and enjoy the celebrations that were going on. While many venues were offering special festivities during the weekly succot holidays - all of these venues are opened year round, for the most part and are highly recommended for visitation by individuals, groups and families alike. If you are a foodie - even better - you'll love learning about the many products that are organically grown in this region. Below are a couple interesting places that we visited last week.
Bustan HaGolan - Located just off of Highway 98, this wonderful outdoor attraction lies on the easternmost border of the Golan Heights, overlooking Syria. The fields offer abundant peach and apples - we picked huge granny smiths and star kings as well as massive white peaches which were likely the last of this season. Within this large farm grapes are being grown on the fertile fields. Numerous activities await families with small children that can enjoy spending an entire day at the property. For an entrance price of approximately
So you've been to Jerusalem before, seen the major sites and have done the "tourist thing" already, perhaps more than once. Now it is time to go a little farther off the beaten path in the Israeli capital and find some nooks on the road less travelled.
Travelujah has some suggestions for several nontraditional sites you can see if you only have two days in Jerusalem, or you can stretch these sites into a three-day visit. The locations are laid out in geographical order, but can be rearranged, skipped or revisited. Please note that opening hours and admission fees are subject to change.
Starting your tour on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem, you can first find yourself at The Prayer House, a relatively new house of prayer run by the Baptist church. The 120-year-old building was once the Swedish consulate but was sold to Christians in 1968. The building has been used for many purposes over the last three decades, but now is dedicated to prayer and quiet reflection. The locatio