The Bible in Jordan     

and the Negev 



Thursday, November 5th to Friday, November 13th, 2020



Tour Led by

Dudu Cohen, Ph.D.

Archeologist and

Licensed Guide





"One cannot understand the bible without firsthand knowledge of the geography of Israel".


That sentence is true for Transjordan too. In Numbers 20 the Israelites get to Transjordan. From that point to the end of the Pentateuch all the events take place in Transjordan and all the lows that are given there. As two and a half of the Israeli tribes had settled there and as the local kingdoms were next-door neighbors to the Israelites,  Transjordan is interwoven in the Israelite history and you cannot understand the one without the other. On top of it, it seems that some of the stories in Genesis are deeply rooted in Transjordan.


We will explore Jordan with bible in hand using the geography and biblical criticism to understand the text. Doing it we neither will forget nor ignore Jordan and its wonders, past and present.





Thursday, November 5th – Day One – Depart for Israel


The group flight will depart from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Ben-Gurion International Airport. Departure scheduled for 9:00 pm.


Jerusalem Panorama

Friday, November 6th - Day Two- Arrival/Jerusalem


After arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, we will take our motor coach to Jerusalem.  We will go to the hotel to check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure before the group gathers for Erev Shabbat Dinner.  
We are at leisure the entire afternoon.
We will enjoy Erev Shabbat Dinner hosted by Moshe Margolin, the Director of Jewish Explorations.
Meals: Lunch and Erev Shabbat Dinner
Overnight: Leonardo Plaza or similar in Jerusalem
Israel Museum - Dome of the Book


Saturday, November 7th - Day Three - Shabbat in Jerusalem


After breakfast,  you will have free time to attend synagogue: The Great Synagogue (Orthodox), The Center for Conservative Judaism, and Hebrew Union College (Reform). Breakfast is served later in morning.
After an optional lunch at hotel, we will walk (or you can take a cab) to the Israel Museum. We will have a docent-led tour at the Museum.
The evening is at leisure to sample the city's culinary delights.
Meals: Breakfast Overnight: 
Overnight: Leonardo Plaza or similar in Jerusalem


Roman City of Jarash - Gerasa in Jordan

Sunday, November 8th - Day Four - Border Crossing/Jarash/Aman


We will meet Dr. Dudu Cohen, our scholar/guide, at breakfast. After an early breakfast we will travel to the Jordan River for our first Learning Session on CROSSING THE JORDAN: TEXT AND GEOGRAPHY. We will continue to the Border Crossing, enter Jordan, be joined by our Jordanian guide,  and visit Jarash. Jarash, the best reconstructed Roman revictual city, dates back to Alexander the Great (333 BCE). In 64 BCE, General Pompey conquered the region and the area became part of the Syrian Province.  The city is one of the ten commercial outposts known as the Decapolis (Deca=10).  For two hundred years, trade with the Nabateans thrived. We will walk the streets of the city, visit its temples, monuments and the remains of the Talmudic synagogue.
After lunch as a group, will  travel to Aman with a stop at the Ford of Jabbok. Jabbok (Heb. יַבֹּק), is a tributary of the Jordan from the east, the first river south of the Yarmuk. The Jabbok has three sources: Wadi Amman,  Wadi Suwayliḥ, and Wadi al-Dhulayl. The area is mentioned several times in the Bible: Genesis 32:23, Numbers 21:24, Joshua 12:2, Deuteronomy 3:16 and Judges 11:13, 22. There at the bank of the Jabbok we will have our second Learning Session on JACOB AND ESAU AT THE FORD OF JABBOK: TEXT AND GEOGRAPHY.
We will arrive in Aman in the late afternoon. There will be time to get settled-in and relax.
You are at leisure to enjoy Aman's culinary delights on your own. Our guide can give you suggestions.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Overnight:  Le Grand Aman or similar in Aman
Mosaic Floor at Madaba



Monday, November 9th  - Day Five - 

Araq al-Amir/

Heshbon, Madaba/Mt. Nebo



After breakfast, we will have our third Learning Session on THE TOBIADS: 700 YEARS OF A JEWISH ROYAL FAMILY. We then depart on our motor coach to Araq al-Amir.  Araq el-Amir (Arabic:عراق الأمير - literally, "Caves of The Prince"), is the name shared by a town and nearby caves, within the municipality of Amman. During the Greek Macedonian occupation, Araq al -Amir was known under the Greek name Tyros. Ptolemy Philadelpus built the city, transferring population from Tyre in Phoenicia. The are is known for its many springs and olive tree. The Al-Iraq historical site features Qasr Al-Abd, (literally, "Palace of the Servant"). The area is most famous for its caves with their 'Aramaic-Jewish inscriptions.
After a stop for lunch on your own, we will visit Heshbon, Madaba and Mt. Nebo.  Sihon, king of the Amorites, ruled over Heshbon (Joshua 3:10; 13:17. It was conquered by Moses (Numbers 21:23-26 ) and later became a Levitical city (Joshua 21:39 ) in the tribe of Reuben (Numbers 32:37). After the Exile, the Moabites took control of the area (Isaiah 15:4; Jeremiah 48:2; 48:34 and 48:45). The remnants of the town are located about 20 miles east of the north end of the Dead Sea. In Madaba we will see the famous Mosaic map describing the Byzantine Empire with Jerusalem in its center. Mt. Nebo is where Moses is said to  first see the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-6). It is also where tradition indicates where he is buried.



The evening is at leisure to enjoy Aman's cuisine.
Meal: Breakfast
Overnight:  Le Grand Aman or similar in Aman 



Tuesday, November 10th  - Day Six - 

Machaerus/Aroer/Wadi Musa


After breakfast and our fourth Learning Session on ROUTS OF THE EXODUS IN JORDAN, we will head to Machaerus. This Herodian-era fortress was recently in the news when archaeologists found a large mikveh there which was built by the family of King Herod.
After lunch as a group,  we will continue on to Aroer  (Hebrew: עֲרוֹעֵר, עֲרֹעֵר‎), a biblical town on the north bank of the River Arnon to the east of the Dead Sea. The town was an ancient Moabite settlement. Apparently, it was taken from Moab by the Amorite king Sihon. After the Israelite attack on the Amorites it became under control by  tribe of Reuben. Reference to the city can be found  in Numbers (32:34), Joshua (15:22) and Jeremiah (48:19).
We will then proceed to Dana in the upper part of Wadi Finan (Biblical Punon, Num. 33:42-43) a vilage on the rout of the Exodus that looks as it did two centuries ago. In the evening we will get to Wadi Musa (Moses' town) at the entarance to Petra.
After dinner together, you have the evening at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Overnight:  Petra Palace or similar 




Wednesday, November 11th  - Day Seven - 



After breakfast and our fifth Learning Session on KADES, KADES-BARNEA AND PETRA: WHICH ONE IS WHICH?, we will travel to the fabled city of Petra where we will spend the entire day. The city of Petra is not mentioned in the Bible in this name but you are going to find out that it is the main encampment of the Exodus.

Petra’s main access is via a narrow crevice called the Siq, which winds for about a mile through mountainous terrain. The Siq provided an excellent natural defense for Petra’s inhabitants.

Petra was in the land of the Edomites, who were descendants of Esau. Israel and Edom were constantly at odds, starting with Edom’s refusal to allow Moses and the Israelites passage through their land on their way to Canaan (Numbers 20:18-21). During the kingdom years, King Saul and King David both fought the Edomites (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13-14). During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, Edom invaded Judah and was repelled (2 Chronicles 20). Later, King Amaziah fought against Edom, and he took control of Petra, renaming it “Joktheel” (2 Kings 14:7).

When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC, the Edomites gave aid and comfort to the enemy (Psalm 137:7). For this, they were strongly condemned by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Obadiah (Isaiah 34:5-8; Jeremiah 49:16-18).

After time for lunch on your own, we will make a short visit to Moses Spring, one of two places where Moses is believed to have obtained water by striking a rock.  We will re-enter Israel through the Boarder Crossing at Eilat.
We will have dinner as a group at a local restaurant in Eilat.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Overnight: Dan Panorama Hotel in Eilat or similar




Thursday, November 12th - Day Eight -

Eilat/Avdat/Tel Aviv/Departure



After breakfast and our sixth Learning Session on ABRAHAM, ISAAC, JACOB AND....PETRA, we will board our motor coach and trace the Incense and Exodus Routes through the Negev.
After lunch as a group, we will visit one of the most impressive Nabatean sites in Israel,  the Nabatean city of Avdat. The city of Avdat (Oboda) was founded by the Nabateans in the 2nd century BCE. Avdat was named after King Obodas III after he was buried here. In AD 106 the city became subject to Roman rule along with the rest of the Nabatean empire. The peak of Avdat’s prosperity was during the Byzantine period (4th-7th centuries AD). The city was destroyed by the Persians in AD 614. We will travel to Tel Aviv on our motor coach and arrive in the late afternoon. 
We will enjoy our Farewell Dinner at a restaurant on the Mediterranean. We will then transfer to the airport for our flight back to the USA.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Farewell Dinner



Friday, March 27th - Day Nine - Arrive in the U.S.


Itinerary Subject to Change



Dudu Cohen, Ph.D. earned his degrees from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: B.A. in Geography, M.A. in Archaeology and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies. 


He has been a licensed guide since 1972. He served as a navigator in the paratroop brigade of the IDF. He was a high school teacher for Bible & Jewish History. He later served as a Youth-Aliyah Shaliach in Chicago. As a researcher, Dudu is a permanent contributor for Projects TABS – ( Dudu lists among his discoveries: 'Waheb in Suphah' (Numbers 21:14), the ancient pass of the Arnon Canyon; and the Via Limes Arabicus – the Eastern Roman frontier road in Jordan.



The 5-star hotel, Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem welcomes you in a very central location in the heart of Jerusalem. The hotel is located in the city center, close to the old and new city, the Great Synagogue and a huge variety of shopping facilities and commercial districts. The Old Town with the Western Wall is only a 15-minute walk away.


The hotel offers 269 beautifully decorated rooms and suites with a breathtaking view of Jerusalem’s Old and New City. The exquisite restaurant assures you an exclusive culinary experience with delicious Italian cuisine which is strictly kosher. a seasonal pool as well as luxury spa complex which includes fitness room, Jacuzzi and sauna will guarantee a few relaxed hours.



The Le Grand Amman is located in the center of Amman and is a walk away from the Citadel, Roman Theatre, and many malls and shopping areas. The health club includes sauna and steam rooms, massage and facial treatments and indoor/outdoor pools. Hotel 282 restaurant all-day dinning international cuisine.World-class conference facilities include the Royal Convention Centre, which accommodates 1,200 guests and features the latest audiovisual equipment.



The Petra Palace is an elegant three star deluxe hotel offering accommodation, in a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. As a family run hotel, we take pride in offering traditional Arabic hospitality and are committed, along with our dedicated team, to provide our guests with the utmost personalized service, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay at our hotel.


The Dan Panorama Hotel Eilat has been created with our guests in mind. Ideal for a vacation that blends sun and fun with the city's spectacular natural attractions, the hotel is splendidly located overlooking a calm marina where sailboats anchor. A short stroll takes you to Eilat’s famous North Beach where you can perfect your tan, swim in the clear cool Red Sea, scuba dive, sail or indulge in any other water sport that takes your fancy.




Land Only



Room Supplement


Based on minimum of 10 participants.

$500 deposit required to register.



For Travel-Related Questions:

Contact Ariel Lipszyc

Gil Travel Group

800-223-3855 x 239



For Program Questions:

Contact Moshe Margolin, Director

Jewish Explorations




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