Tabor and Bethel students plan January trip to Middle East

A group of students from Tabor and Bethel colleges will travel to Israel and Palestine Jan. 2 to 24.

Douglas Miller, professor of biblical and religious studies at Tabor, and Patricia Shelly, professor of Bible and religion at Bethel, will sponsor the group. Shelly lived in Israel for some time and is a licensed tour guide.

This is the first year the trip has been offered through Tabor.

Students will come to understand the religions of the Middle East, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and biblical texts in their historical and geographical context. They will also share times of worship, silence and reflection on the day’s events.

The group will explore major landmarks such as Petra in Jordan, with Nabatean and Roman ruins, Masada, the last Jewish stronghold at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Holocaust museum, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mount of Beatitudes and the Jordan River baptismal site where Jesus was baptized.

“Students (will) have a chance to learn some basics about the land,” Miller said. “You don’t know a place until you get there and see it.”

Other activities will include conversing with locals to better understand daily life, visiting synagogues, mosques and temples, visiting the Dead Sea and taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

“I’m hoping that the value that the students find in the trip will generate some ongoing interest,” he said. “It offers the opportunity from a number of dimensions to be a great educational experience.”

Tabor students who plan to travel include: Meghann Eblen, Leavenworth; Ben Friesen, Guthrie, Okla.; Emily Hasty, Ashland; Leah Rose, Halstead; and Brandon Voth, Lynden, Wash.

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