Religion in Israel
Israel is the ideal destination for those studying Religion. As the centre of three major world faiths, Jerusalem hosts a myriad of significant religious sites which inspire believers.
For those interested in Christianity, there are a number of places to visit which follow the footsteps of Jesus. Visit the Church of All Nations, where Jesus prayed before his arrest and the site of that arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Furthermore you can follow the path Jesus is believed to have taken to his Crucifixion.
Jerusalem is the spiritual and ancestral homeland of the Jews and home to Judaism’s holiest site, the Wailing Wall. With the status of a synagogue, crowds gather at this wall to pray. Learn about the resistance of the ancient Jews to Roman slavery at Masada. This is a story of faith, strength and sacrifice.
Another world religion, Islam, considers Jerusalem sacred. Islamic tradition holds that the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, visited the city. The Dome of the Rock is a sacred shrine constructed over the place where Muhammad ascended into heaven and was also told to pray five times a day – the second pillar of Islam.
As a hub of world faith, there is no other site so significant to so many religions. Jerusalem is a captivating place, bustling and vibrant. With the additional opportunity to visit the Dead Sea, this is a fantastic school trip to inspire your students.
2019 & 2020 dates on request
Arrive in Jerusalem
Fly to Tel Aviv and transfer to Jerusalem. As you drive to the Holy City, enjoy spectacular panoramic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives. Having arrived at your accommodation, perhaps go for a walk through the Garden of Gethsemane if time permits. This tranquil garden is where Jesus is said to have been arrested. You could also visit the neighbouring Church of All Nations. The beautiful church is built over a rock where Jesus prayed before his arrest.
Begin today at the Dome of the Rock, an enduring symbol of the city. This Islamic shrine on Temple Mount is built over a slab of stone sacred to both Muslims and Jews. According to Jewish tradition, it was here that Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son whereas in Islam, this is the place from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Then enter of Old City of Jerusalem and visit the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. This is the holiest site in Judaism as it is the remains of the foundation of the Second Temple. Because of the entry restrictions to the Temple Mount, this is the holiest place Jews can worship. Tour the Southern Wall excavations and walk on the stairs where Jesus taught. Then your class can follow the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus is believe to have followed to his crucifixion.
Carry on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains the two holiest sites in Christianity. The first is the traditional site of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the second is his empty tomb where he was buried and resurrected.
Visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Memorial Center. Israel’s official memorial to the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis is powerful, poignant and a masterpiece of design. It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the dead and honours Jews who fought against Nazi oppressors as well as those who helped Jews in need. Additionally, their research centre studies genocide, particularly the Holocaust, with the aim of preventing the repetition of such events in the future.
Bethlehem, Masada & The Dead Sea
This morning, visit Bethlehem, which features prominently in both the Old and New Testaments. Enter the Basilica of the Nativity, a church built over what is thought to be the birthplace of Jesus, and descend to the Grotto of the Nativity in the lower level of the church.
Then, head to the Dead Sea. With its surface around 430 metres below sea level, this is the lowest point on Earth. From here, take a cable car to the summit of Masada. Highly evocative of life in 1st Century Roman Judea, this isolated desert location is where the last Jewish resistance to Roman rule fell. Learn the amazing story of the 960 Zealots who chose death over slavery to the Romans. At this UNESCO World Heritage site, admire the breathtaking palaces built by King Herod. Perhaps descend by foot as you return to the Dead Sea. Be sure to stop to float in the mineral rich waters before returning to Jerusalem.
This morning, perhaps enjoy some time visiting the local markets. Perhaps stop in at the vibrant Machne Yehuda street market in Jerusalem or travel to Tel Aviv to visit the Carmel Market. Tel Aviv’s Nachalat Binyamin craft fair is a quirky, creative place – perhaps pick up some souvenirs. Transfer to Tel Aviv airport for your return flight to the UK.