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In first century, Caesarea Philippi was a place you would not want to go hopefully. In the cave mouth was a large statue of Pan a half-goat, half-human creature , known as the god of desolate places and also the god of fright. So really dark, evil stuff happened here. The tradition of baptism — full immersion, not sprinkling — was born in this spot at this moment, and was adopted by Christians as a symbolic way to profess allegiance to Christ. Folks from all around the world come to Israel to get dunked and profess their faith publicly. My brother and I have already been baptized, but how do you not get baptized in the same place as Jesus!?

Long story short, King Saul wanted to kill David because God had anointed him as the rightful king. David fled to the caves, right here! Talk about an epic game of hide-and-seek.

There are all kinds of tours you can take, check those out here. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? This is where it happened! Robbers would hide along the road and wait for travelers to pass by so they could steal from them and kill them. Not a place you would want to be back in the day. Today, it is beautiful, with miles of mountainous terrain. Just make sure you wear sneakers. And it really did mean UP to Jerusalem.

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It has references dating all the way back to Genesis, 5, years before Abraham. It is also the lowest city on the planet, more than feet below sea level. If you remember from Sunday school, this is where the walls came tumbling down at the sound of trumpets. When Jericho was excavated, it showed that the walls were not only extremely tall, but the inner walls of the city were 12 feet thick and the outer walls were 6 feet. The Temple Mount is where the Jewish nation gathered every year to celebrate festivals like Passover.

Today, the Temple Mount is dominated by the Muslim monument — the Golden Dome of the Rock — built over the sacred rock Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son on. It is also possibly the location of the Ark of the Covenant. The Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall , is part of the remaining structure of the Temple Mount from the time of the sacred temple.

The Sea of Galilee

Today, the wall marks the boundary between Jews and Muslims throughout the Middle East. Men and married women are expected to cover their heads upon approaching the wall, and to dress conservatively. Remember to dress modestly when visiting the Temple Mount.

Some of the girls in our group were given long skirts to wear OVER their jeans. Do not mess around here! The garden tomb is located right outside the walls of Jerusalem near the city gate. This picturesque town sits on the Mediterranean Sea and is considered a suburb of Tel Aviv with restaurants, festivals and shopping. This is where Paul was imprisoned for 2 years and where King Herod had his palace. They now have delicious pasta.


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Megiddo was once ruled by King Solomon in the 10th century BC. This place has seen more battles than any other location in the world. And it is supposed to see at least one final battle. The end of the world. I really hope this guide not only serves as a travel resource, but helps you understand a little more about the Bible. This trip really has changed the way I read it, and I hope you are able to make your way to the Holy Land, too.

There are lots of ways to explore the biblical sites in Israel.

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I went with my church, Angie traveled on her own, and you can also take tours. Do they really mean it literally? The Jordan flows into the Dead Sea.


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The Jordan is an image of human mortality, and the Dead Sea is an image of hell. Out of all the rivers in the world, Christ had the Sacrament of Baptism take place in the Jordan, as if freeing our human race from its flow into death. This interpretation by St. John Chrysostom of the words of the Psalm was a real discovery for me when I heard them once.

But that the water in the Jordan would actually start flowing backwards! And although the brain refuses to accept this extraordinary event, something within me was already living and trembling in expectation of this miracle. Along the road to the Jordan our bus stopped at the last shop where those who had not done so earlier could still purchase white gowns for a reasonable price.

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After all the fuss of shopping we walked upwards along a road and stopped near some sort of wall. I happened to be standing near the tour guide at the very moment when she announced that we were now near the first tomb of Lazarus the Four-days-dead. After eight days of our trip I still could not get used to the continually lightening-fast transformation from the ordinary to the great in this amazing Holy Land! Finally, with all the anxiousness over the unknown behind us, we were now standing near the historical site of the Baptism of Christ, by the walls of the Monastery of St.

John the Baptist! A brief wait for the arrival of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, and the Cross procession solemnly moved to the accompaniment of the kettle-drum and horns toward the Jordan, where the rite of the Great Blessing of the Waters began. At the end of the service he flew up, turning two circles over our heads, and then returned again to his place.

The Israeli military guarding the entrance to the Jordan, automatic rifles on the ready, allowed the priests to approach the water and then closed ranks in front of the pilgrims.

I was seized with anxiety: now how will I see the most important thing! Recalling that enormous TV screens had been installed to the left and right of the covered platform where the services had taken place, I pushed forward to one of them. Everything that was happening below could be seen on these screens like in the palm of your hand! Now the priests throw before themselves wreaths of green leaves tied with ribbons.

And now they pull them back out from the left side. Obviously they are floating away with the stream.

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Yes, but the Jordan flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, that is, from left to right, if you look at it from our shore… That means that the stream should take the wreaths to the right and the priests should be pulling them out of the right side… But they throw the wreaths in front of themselves again and again pull them from the left side… I watched, enchanted, this action, which is repeated many times—apparently for those of little faith, like me.

I looked around in confusion and my eyes met with those of Presbytera. She was almost laughing as she looked at my shocked expression, and gestures to me that we need to hurry. I gathered the just-sanctified Baptismal water into a bottle I had brought from St. I poured some holy water into a plastic cup, took a big gulp, and froze with surprise: the water is bitter-salty to the taste! Each entry is titled with an applicable saying from Jewish scripture that relates to the theme of the episode.

Juda—back in Israel after realizing Tanja absconded with his poker millions, leaving him and Asher in massive debt to the French mafia—meets the rebbe Mike Burstyn of a group that may or may not be Breslov Hassidim. This rabbi and his student Menachem Moris Cohen are after Juda too, but for totally different reasons. To that end, the rabbi shechts kosher animals so Juda has non-human blood to drink. At one point, Menachem infiltrates police headquarters by pretending to replace their mezuzah scrolls. The show has a lot to say about the importance of Juda doing teshuva repentance for his past behavior.

Can Juda truly let go of his dangerous gambling addiction? Can he fight his overwhelming urge to drink delicious, forbidden and definitely not-kosher human blood? Will he even get to fully become his best vampiric self before those darn French mafia guys try to kill him? Never miss a great event again! By signing up, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Never miss the best stories and events! Get JewishBoston This Week.

Share Tweet Pin Email Print. Miriam Anzovin. Miriam Anzovin is an editorial content specialist for JewishBoston. She was raised by a pack of benevolent wolves in the wilds of the Pioneer Valley, and received her degree in Judaic studies from UMass Amherst.

Welcome to your new Israeli TV obsession.

Miriam loves spending time with her rescue dog, Sansa Stark-Lannister-Bolton. The Millennial Akedah. The Millennial Parsha: Balak.