As the observances of Passover (April 14-22) and Easter (April 20) coincide this year, April is a wonderful time to visit the holy sites in Israel. Your Travel Leaders travel agents in St. Louis can get you there.
To see the same landscapes that Jesus and his disciples once walked, visitors to Israel can follow the Gospel Trail, more than 35 miles of signposted paths and roads. The trail follows the route Jesus is believed to have traveled when he left his childhood home in Nazareth and went to the fishing village of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.
On Good Friday, thousands of Christian pilgrims join a procession along the route that Jesus walked through Jerusalem to his crucifixion. The historic route, marked by the Stations of the Cross, begins near the former Antonia Fortress, proceeds along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Grief) and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, venerated as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Today, the custodians of the church include branches of the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.
Passover, or Pesach, is a pilgrimage holiday in the Jewish tradition that celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, which usually falls in April. In Israel, the first and last days of Passover are holy rest days: all productive work is forbidden, so many Israeli businesses close on these days.
During Passover, Jewish pilgrims gather in the old city of Jerusalem at the Western Wall, a remnant of an ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple, to pray and receive a blessing.
An important part of Passover is sharing a ceremonial Seder meal, which is filled with rituals and special foods. For example, eating matzo, a flat bread made from unrisen dough, recalls the unleavened bread the Israelites ate as they rushed to leave Egypt. Many hotels in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities offer Seder dinners, and some residents even welcome visitors into their homes. Your travel professional can help you explore all the options.
April is spring in Israel, and is an excellent time to explore the country’s appealing landscapes and cities. To find out more about sites to visit in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel, give your St. Louis travel agents at Travel Leaders in Chesterfield Missouri a call at 636.778.1081.