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This past week, I got to spend a wonderful week with my dad in Israel. It was a trip both of my parents wanted to make, but I’m glad my dad was still able to come before we move. What was really cool about this trip was that it was Timothy and my first time visiting Ceasarea, and my first time visiting the Sea of Galilee area. It was nice to have some new experience with my dad. Below the itinerary for my dad’s trip along with information about the different sites we saw and of course pictures.

December 6- Dad arrived in Israel and Lunch at the beach

Day one of dad’s trip, we went to the Beach (Hof HaCarmel) for lunch/dinner and walked the promenade. It was a great way to start my dad’s trip.

December 7- Ceasarea and Hof HaCarmel Beach

On day two, Timothy, my dad and I took the train from Haifa (Hof HaCarmel Station) to Benyamina, and from there took a taxi to the Ceasarea National Park. On our way back we enjoyed drinks on the beach and the sun setting.

About Ceasarea: First founded as a small Phoenician port city, the city was called Stratons Towers, an apparent distortion of the name of the Sidonese god Ashtoreth. In 90 BCE, the town was captured by Alexander Jannaeus and annexed into the Hasmonean kingdom.

In 31 BCE, after winning the Battle of Actium, Augustus Caesar gifted the town, along with the entire shoreline of Eretz Israel, to Herod. Herod, for his part, named the town for Augustus. He built the city between 22 – 10 BCE, constructing a major port, numerous recreational facilities, bathhouses and temples. The port was built in Ceasarea because of its location in the center of the country, in close proximity to agricultural lands and convenient access routes. (From National Park Website)

December 8- Laura’s Personal Tour of the Old City- Jerusalem

Day three, Timothy had an early flight to Montreal, and my dad and I took the bus from Haifa to Jerusalem. I was pretty impressed with my ability to communication and navigate the trip, while not getting us lost! Since I have been to the Old City several times (even on an official tour), I felt confident enough showing my dad around the city by myself. We entered through the Jaffa Gate, and visited the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We then went to the Western Wall to pray and to see a good view of the Dome of the Rock. Then we went out the Lions Gate and walked to the base of the Mount of Olives to see the Eastern (Golden) Gate. We walked throughout the old city, enjoying the sites, sounds, and the holy places there.

December 9Tour of Masada and Dead Sea

Day 4 professional tour of Masada and Dead Sea. About tour: As we descend 1,200 meters from Jerusalem through the wilderness of the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, we pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan and stop briefly at the “sea level” marker. In the distance we see Jericho, the oldest city in the world, perhaps due to its luxuriant oasis and its proximity to the Dead Sea, an ancient source of salt and we recall the conquest of Jericho by the Israelite tribes, lead by Joshua, who had just crossed the Jordan River into the Promise Land. (Josh 6) We continue along the shores of the Dead Sea to Masada. As we ascend in the cable car, we look down the Snake path which was used two thousand years ago when King Herod build this fortress like palace. In fact, there were two palaces, as well as a swimming pool and a well-preserved beautiful bath-house. Maintained by a small Roman legion after the death of Herod, it was seized by Jewish zealots at the beginning of the Jewish revolt against the Romans which culminated in the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE. We stand over the ramp, built for the Romans by their Jewish slaves, which facilitated the breaching of the wall after three year siege. The synagogue, which was built by Herod, proved conclusively to those who doubted that there were synagogues even while the Second Temple stood. We see where the first piece of the parchment to be discovered in an Israeli archaeological excavation was found… On our return journey we pass the oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from the wrath of King Saul (1 Sam 24:1) and Qumran where the two thousand year old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Finally we enjoy a therapeutic swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, wehre the water is almost 35% salt and even those who can not swim can float. (From Bein Harim Tours website)

December 10- Tour of Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee

Day 5 professional tour of Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee. About tour: Passing Herzliya and Netanya, we travel north along the scenic coastal plain and then turn eastward through the plain of Armageddon (Rev 16:16), with a view of biblical Megiddo. (11 Ch. 35:20-27) As we make the assent to Nazareth we briefly stop at the Mount of Precipitation (Luke 4:28-30). Our first stop in Nazareth is the beautiful Church of Annunciation built on the site where the angel Gabriel appeared before Mary (Luck 1:26). Adjoining it is the Church of St. Joseph, recalling the carpentry where Jesus and Joseph worked. As we leave Nazareth on the way towards the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, we pass Cana, site of the first wonder performed by Jesus, the turning the water to wine. (John 2:1-12). On the sea front at the Mount Beatitude, we visit both Capernaum, home of Peter, and the Benedictine Church commemoration the miracles of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fish. (Mark 6:30-44). Continuing along the shores of the Sea of Galilee we recall how Jesus calmed the stormy waters and walked on them. (Mark 4:35-41 and 6:45-52). With the Golan Heights in the background, we pass modern Tiberias, built on the ruins of the city built two thousands years ago and named in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius. ON the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, at Yardenit, there may be an opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River. (Mark 1:9-11) On our return journey we will pas Mount Tabor, site of the Transfiguration. (Matt 17:1-9) (From Bein Harim Tours website)

December 11– Acre (Akko/Acco) (Happy Birthday Lyle!)

Day 6, since I have been to Acre several times, I gave my dad a personal tour of Acre, also known as Akko. We took the bus from Haifa to Akko and back. About Acre: It is a city in the northern coastal plain region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. The city occupies an important location, as it sits on the coast of the Mediterranean, linking the waterways and commercial activity with the Levant. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world. Historically, it was a strategic coastal link to the Levant. In crusader times it was known as St. John d’Acre after the Knights Hospitaller of St. John order who had their headquarters there. (From Wikipedia)

December 12– Bahai’ Gardens and German Colony

Day 7, Fridays can be a tricky day to travel since at sun down shabbat starts, so we stayed local and visited the Bahai Gardens which is about a 20 minute bus ride from my apartment. After the garden tour, we went to the German Colony for a drink before taking a bus home and preparing for shabbat. About the Gardens: The Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa comprise a staircase of nineteen terraces extending all the way up the northern slope of Mount Carmel… At its heart stands the golden-domed Shrine of the Bab, which is the resting place of the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith. (From Gan Bahai Website)

December 13– Relaxed on Shabbat and visited the Technion Campus (Timothy’s work)

December 14– Flight back to the US

In October, Timothy’s parents, along with his older brother Jonathon and Jon’s wife Ruolin came to visit us in Israel. We hired a private guide who gave us a tour of Masada, the Dead Sea , Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. Then we explored Haifa and the surrounding areas on our own. Jon and Ruolin took a day trip to Akko (Acre), and another day trip to Ceserea, when Timothy’s dad was under the weather. And Timothy’s Mom stayed for an extra week, so we got to visit Akko (Acre) and Nazareth together.

It was fun showing Timothy’s family our new home. We even got to celebrate a Shabbat dinner together thanks to our friends Daniel and Shirley. We had a really nice time together and took a ton of pictures. Here are just a few.

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