Thanks to doors now opening in Israel’s tourism policies as we all navigate a pandemic, the travel course CD 1613 (The Holy Land: Its People, Places, and Prayers) is going forward as planned (January 30-February 11, 2022). Fewer than 10 available spots currently remain, and deadlines are approaching for holding airline reservations. So we are moving very quickly. If you want to sign up, you need to do so by October 26. You can do so on this sign-up form.
Tour operators are in the process of confirming the desired itinerary, securing hotel and international flight reservations, and pricing out all of the details. The base cost of the trip per currently enrolled student will be approximately $2,000. (Why so inexpensive? Because students’ participation is subsidized through the seminary’s partnership with the Stand and See Fellowship.) That amount includes international air travel, double-occupancy hotel room in Israel, all ground transportation in Israel, costs and tips for professional tour guides and drivers, entrance fees to sites we’ll visit, and most meals–pretty much everything that is part of the trip once we leave the United States except for a few meals and your souvenirs. On top of that base cost, students will also need to pay for domestic airfare between their home airport and a NYC-area airport (either EWR or JFK, not certain yet), one night of lodging in a hotel we will choose near either the JFK or the EWR airport, a few meals, however many PCR or serological COVID-19 tests will be required, and whatever tuition you might owe to the seminary for earning credit as part of the CD 1613 course.
It remains uncertain what Israel will require of travelers coming into the country for tourism in early 2022, but we’ve been told that it will certainly involve providing proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. (That will probably include a booster shot received within six months before traveling to Israel.) Also likely is having to pass a PCR test soon before flying to Tel Aviv, having to pass a PCR test upon arrival in the Tel Aviv airport, and submitting to a serological test in Tel Aviv (to confirm antibodies) before being approved to travel freely beyond the airport. It will take a little while to get more precise information, especially about things like boosters and forms of official proof of vaccination, but now you have a sense of what could be possible.
There will also be protocols set by the U.S. government before flying back to the United States after the tour, perhaps having to pass a PCR test before being allowed to board a flight from Tel Aviv to the United States.
Also, please note: The travel course, especially with its focus on ancient sites and urban settings that involve dirt paths, uneven stones, potentially crowded venues, and several less-than-accessible places, will involve busy daily schedules that will regularly require extended and brisk walking on a variety of surfaces.
If you are interested in singing up, a deposit will be due next week, and the balance of your payment will be due before the end of November. Also, an up-to-date passport is required. (To enter Israel, a traveler’s passport must not be set to expire within six months of the expected stay in Israel. That means if a passport is due to expire before August 11, 2022, it would need to be renewed in an expedited/rush process immediately.)
Students who have questions should contact Professor Skinner at email@example.com.