Reap wheat with sickles as our ancestors did? Grind the grain into flour and bake pita-bread over an open fire? Pick olives from the trees and crush them into oil in an ancient press? Try your hand at shepherding a flock of sheep and goats? These are just a few seasonal activities available at Neot Kedumim-The Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel.
A 625-acre nature reserve located in central Israel,10 minutes from Ben-Gurion Airport, Neot Kedumim offers far more than beautiful vistas. The special mission here is to explore the words of the Bible in their original setting. The messages of the prophets, the parables of Jesus-all these spoke in words that were clear to the ancient Israelite farmers who spend their days plowing and sowing and harvesting. Neot Kedumim offers visitors the chance to retrieve the original power and meaning of these words by doing what these ancient farmers did.
For example: Hyssop, in the oregano family, was and is a popular spice in Israel. Here you can pick the fragrant leaves, crush them in mortars and pestles, dip some pita-bread in olive oil and our hyssop spice, and fill small bags to take home.
Enjoying the taste and fragrance is only part of the experience. Equally important is looking at the significance of hyssop in the Bible. Hyssop appears at the Crucifixion: “A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth” (John 19:29). A modest, humble plant that attracts little attention, hyssop can grow anywhere, demands little soil or water, offers healing properties, and was used in purification ceremonies in the Bible (such as the ceremony for the cured leper in Leviticus 14). While munching on pita-and-hyssop sandwiches, you learn about this special plant, representing purity, modesty, and humility, and its appearance at the Crucifixion and elsewhere in the Bible.
For leadership groups, Neot Kedumim offers a special sheep herding program. Sounds easy right? Wrong. Teach your group how to become confident and patient leaders on a sheep herding workshop.
A special Women’s or Bat mitzvah tour that is unique to this site is their “Women of the Bible” tour and learn about many facets of life during biblical times. Tree planting is also possible on site.
The Neot Kedumim guides will show you the hyssop and dozens of other Biblical plants, to helping you taste them and inhale their fragrance, and to walking together through the landscapes that were familiar to Jesus. Bring your walking shoes, hats, and drinking water-and your children! An inspiring multi-generational experience awaits you.
Note: Special hours are available for groups.
Biblical-style meals are available for groups.
Comfortable, wheelchair-accessible trails.
Guided group tours are available in English, Dutch, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.
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