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Ethnic Communities

Experience Israel through its many versatile populations and ethnic groups.

The program can be tailor-made to suit all needs, and will include all the classical sites inIsrael. Special attention will be focused on the following sites:

Diaspora Museum: the museum tells the story of the Jewish People from the time of their expulsion from theLand ofIsrael 2,500 years ago to the present. 

Mount Carmel, visit the Mukhraka a Carmelite Monastery that is one of the oldest in the world, which commemorates the confrontation between the prophet Elijah and the false priests of Ba’al. 

The beautiful Bahai Gardens convey some of the underlying aesthetics and spirituality of the Bahai faith, while a visit to the Ahmadiyya community will shed light on their ideas and history. (The Ahmadiyya community lives in a small neighborhood ofHaifa called Kababir on the western slopes of Mount Carmel.)

Travel to Acre, to the Al-Jazzar mosque, one ofIsrael's most beautiful shrines, to encounter the Sunni Muslim community inIsrael. Visit theOldCity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fought over by Crusaders and the Muslims some 900 years ago. Walk through the maze of Crusader halls and enjoy the local bazaar, shops and restaurants owned by Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Continue to the twin towns of Ma’alot (Jewish) – Tarshiha (mixed Moslem and Christian Arab) on the way to the Druze town of Hurfeish, with its museum ofDruze culture.

On to Gish, known in Roman times as Gush Halav, where a Christian Maronite community retains the traditions of a religion with roots inLebanon as early as the fifth century.  

A visit to Rehaniya, populated by Circassian Muslims, whose ancestors migrated here from theCaucasus in the late 18th and 19th centuries,   is an opportunity to learn about their history and perhaps have a taste of their food.

Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar, this unique museum focuses on the human experience in the Galilee in the past, present and future. It is also home to changing exhibits showcasing the finest talents of Galilee artists from a variety of faiths and ethnic backgrounds, and the magnificent display of the Galilee Boat, dating from the time of Jesus. This would also be a good opportunity to learn about one of Israel’s most incredible creations: the kibbutz.  

Visit a number of Christian holy sites, among them Capernaum, Simon Peter’s home town, Tabgha, commemorating the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes and Mt. of the Beatitudes, where the Sermon on the Mount was preached. 

Safed, one of the four holy cities inIsrael and the home of Lurian mysticism (a branch of Jewish mysticism conceived by the 16th century Rabbi Isaac Luria). Stroll along the lanes of theOldCity and to see some of its many synagogues, its unique artist’s colony and historic cemetery. 

Jerusalem, the center for the three great monotheistic faiths; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

Visit the Temple Mount, site of the offering of Isaac, the Jerusalem Temples, and the ninth-century Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. See the Western Wall, sacred to the Jewish People as the last remnant of theSecondTemple.

Jewish Quarter, with the beautifully restored Four Sephardic Synagogues and variety of archaeological remains, and also a bustling center of contemporaryJerusalem life.

Visit the Armenian Quarter, the ArmenianMuseum, and theChurch of St. James.

The Tower of David Museum, dedicated to the history ofJerusalem over the past 4,000 years and showcasing the city’s various ethnic groups and their contributions. 

Christ Church, near Jaffa Gate where an information center highlights the history of the Anglicans inJerusalem. Understand the development of British influence inJerusalem in the 19th century and see some of the scale models of the city at that time. 

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of the crucifixion and tomb of Jesus according to Christian tradition. You will notice the many Christian denominations represented in the church, distinguished by their dress and liturgy –  Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox,  Armenian,  Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syrian Orthodox , each in their own corner of the ancient complex.  

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, walk through the astounding new museum with its new and moving focus on the individual in the Holocaust, the Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance.  

Israel Museum, discover the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book and see the Model of ancient Jerusalem.

Walk through downtown Jerusalemto Mahane Yehuda, the Jewish open-air fruit and vegetable market and stroll through Me’ah She’arim, the inner city’s venerable Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. 

Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, famed as the home of a community of Essenes 2,000 years ago. 

The oasis of Ein Gedi, walk along through the Nahal David stream to a beautiful waterfall.   

Massada, take the cable-car to the top of Herod’s magnificent fortress, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to the Jewish historian Josephus, we have the dramatic record of the last stand of the rebels at Massada against the Romans during the Great Revolt in 73 CE that took place at this very site, which has become an important modern symbol. 

Moshav Nevatim, home to Cochin Jews, from India, who came to Israel after the establishment of the state. Cochin Jews consider themselves one of the most ancient Jewish communities in the world. The Center for Cochin Heritage at Moshav Nevatim tells the story of this unique community.

Joe Alon Bedouin Center, focusing on Bedouin culture and history. The Bedouin tribes scattered throughout the Negev have undergone a rapid process of transition from nomadic to modern life. Many of the characteristics of the Bedouin lifestyle are therefore disappearing, creating the urgent need to document this ancient way of life through the work of this important center.

 

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