For a day trip from Jerusalem, travel into the Judean desert, especially if you are traveling with kids, and visit Genesis Land (Eretz Brishet) for a brief glimpse at life in biblical times. This Jerusalem travel day trip will actually take half a day but can be extended into a full day trip by taking in a few of the surrounding nature spots.
Children of all ages will enjoy travelling back to biblical times as well as experiencing the stark desert landscape of the Judean desert south of Jerusalem. This Jerusalem travel idea will be most enjoyable for kids that have learnt of Abraham from the Old Testament, as at Genesis Land Abraham will be your host!
That’s right, after a short drive of about 20 minutes south of Jerusalem into the Judean desert you will reach Genesis Land where you will meet Abraham's first hand man – Ezra. Ezra is dressed in biblical style cloths and he talks to the guests about travelling back to biblical times with him to visit his master, Abraham. "Ezra" then talks a little about Abraham's origins, how he arrived in this land (did you know that Abraham came from Iraq) and his life in the desert in biblical times. Then "Ezra" invites the guests to dress up in biblical costumes, and join him by riding back in time to visit Abraham in his tent.
The group – of about 15 – takes a short camel ride (no experience necessary, but on completion you do get a camel driving license).
Through out this experience you are surrounded by the awe inspiring expanse of desert mountains and wilderness. The location of this Jerusalem travel spot is on top of a hill so that you feel like you are looking down on to the biblical landscape of endless empty land. To say nothing of the heat I couldn't help imagining walking through this terrain in the sweltering desert heat, in sandals, as one of the Israelites in biblical times.
Once you arrive at Abraham's tent, a rather large and well made tent, you are greeted at the entrance by Abraham himself. Abraham speaks English, and he washes the hands of all of his guests as he gets to know them and welcomes them into his cool tent. As he chats with the guests he educates them about the ways of life in biblical times. Once seated Abraham shares with his guests a few tidbits about his daily life and throws in a few jokes about modern amenities.
Abraham adding dry leaves to the fire.
The guests are refreshed with some cold water and dried fruits, and are then invited to help make the pita bread which Sarah – Abraham's wife – has forgotten to make!
The group is lead outside and together Abraham helps the guests make pita bread on a taboun ( an up turned "wok" with a fire under it). These delicious breads can then be eaten with some olive oil and hyssops, while sipping sweet Turkish coffee or herb tea.
The activities come to an end as you take your final camel trip back up the hill into the twenty first century.
The view will leave you breathless, and the heat may as well, so wear hats, sunscreen and take along plenty of water. The activity described above costs $20 a person (under 4 goes free) and should be booked in advance by phone or e-mail. The main draw back to this Jerusalem day trip is getting there, as a taxi from Jerusalem, one way costs 120 shekels, if you have a car then be sure to use GPS and you should find it quite easily near Kfar Adomim, otherwise ask Genesis Land if there are any tours leaving Jerusalem that could include you.
Try to get out of the city of Jerusalem at least for a half a day to experience the desert of the south. One of the highlights of this trip is the incredible natural surroundings. When you are at Genesis Land ask the staff to direct you to the natural springs that are hidden nearby in the desert. The natural springs are incredibly green and cool, just as you would imagine a desert oasis to be. Take your costumes along and you can safely take a dip or paddle in this fresh cool water. Arabs and Jews alike gather at these watering holes to get some relief from the incredible heat. Take a picnic lunch and make a day of it!
A Wadi in the Jedean desert close to Kfar Adomim and Genesis Land.
How to make the most of your visit to biblical times
A day trip from Jerusalem to Genesis Land is a little short although there are other options which include scroll writing, ceramic pot making, art work and activities with goats. There are also meals (Genesis Land is kosher, both for meat and milk) which can be ordered and then eaten in Abraham's tent at the end of the activity. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other events can also be held at Geneses Land. So to make this Jerusalem travel experience complete be sure to visit the natural springs, eat a meal either at Genesis Land or a packed lunch and include as many other activities at genesis Land as your pocket allows.
Genesis Land: http://www.genesisland.co.il/
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