Planning continues for the travel course that I (Prof. Skinner) am organizing for learning in and from the Holy Land during Winter Term 2024. This course is CD 1613 in the Luther Seminary catalog (The Holy Land: Its People, Places, and Prayers). I now have more information to pass along here.
I’ll be the instructor of record for the course, which earns academic credit as an elective. There will be some pre-work prior to the trip for students, as well as a post-trip project to complete. I’ll have a co-leader on the trip itself, a friend and collaborator on previous trips like this one: Rabbi Joshua Stanton. He is rabbi of East End Temple, a Reform congregation in Manhattan, and a Senior Fellow at CLAL–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, where he focuses on questions of religious pluralism and Jewish life. He is an author and a fervent advocate for religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue.
The travel dates will be January 28 through February 8, 2024. Note that this is a slight change from what was previously announced. But these dates are now locked in.
The estimated cost of the trip for Luther Seminary students is $3500 per person. That amount will cover nearly everything for the duration of the trip, except for your souvenirs and refreshments. Here is how that cost breaks down:
$2500 will be due to the trip organizers, which includes round-trip coach airfare between Tel Aviv and Newark NJ (where our group will gather the evening before flying to Tel Aviv), all ground transportation in our group’s dedicated rented coach, all hotel lodging (eight nights) in Jerusalem and Tiberias (Galilee) in a double-occupancy room, the wisdom and charm of local tour guides, entry fees to all sites we will visit, all gratuities for hotels and tour guides, and nearly all of your breakfasts and dinners while in Israel. Note that the $2500 price is reduced from the actual cost of $4500 because of a $2000 fellowship available to current students.
Participants will also need to purchase (1) travel insurance as instructed, (2) a round-trip ticket between your originating airport and the Newark airport according to the group’s schedule, (3) one night lodging in a yet-to-be-chosen hotel near the Newark airport, and (4) a daily lunch while in the Holy Land. The estimated cost of these things is $1000 per person. That estimate depends largely on the whims of the markets for your domestic airline ticket and your travel-insurance costs.
There will be a limited number of spots on the trip for nonstudents who wish to join us (with priority going to family members of students who are participating). Nonstudents do not qualify for the $2000 fellowship that students receive, so their total cost per person is estimated to be $5500.
In early May I will host an online (Zoom) information session for anyone who is interested in learning more details about the trip and the course. I will announce information about that session here when we are closer to May.
The day-to-day itinerary for the trip is not yet available. The registration process will not begin for a few more months. I’ll provide more information here as it comes available.
Get excited! Make plans! January 28 is only 292 days away!