Sar-El Tours & Conferences - 'For the Lord your God brings you into a good land.' (Deut 8:7)
June 2012
Sar-El News Scroll


In This Issue

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Shalom from sunny and warm Jerusalem! 

As summer is well upon us, we wanted to send you our most recent News Scroll from the Sar-El news desk  We trust you'll find the time to read it through and will enjoy the featured articles. 

As always, If you have any questions or would like more information on topics featured here, please don't hesitate to contact our office.

Kind Regards,
Samuel Smadja

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What's New In Israel
Celebrating 64 Years:

This year marks the 64th anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state. The main torch-lighting ceremony held at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, was led by Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who stated, "I know that the state is not something which should be taken for granted." Twelve torches were lit at the ceremony, marking the twelve tribes of Israel. The evening festivities included firework displays, open-air concerts and Jewish folk dancing well into the night. The next day Israeli Air Force and Navy put on air and water shows in major cities throughout the country. Many museums were free of entrance in honor of the holiday, and national parks and beaches were also flooded with hundreds of thousands of Israelis enjoying all that this little - yet plentiful - piece of land has to offer.


Travel to Israel:

The numbers are in; based on figures released by the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, close to 354,000 foreign visitors arrived to Israel during the month of April alone! From January - April 2012, the country has welcomed close to 933,000 tourists; an increase of 4% over comparable figures for 2011. Out of this number, close to a quarter of a million tourists were from North and South America which is a 6% increase in figures from 2011. Countries in the Far East saw the largest increases overall, with more than 62,000 visitors arriving which is a 27% increase for the same period from last year.
Site News & New Sites

Jerusalem Institute of Justice: 

We're excited to offer our tour participants the opportunity to hear from a representative of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.  The Jerusalem Institute of Justice is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening Israel's democracy by safeguarding civil rights, protecting religious freedom, and promoting social justice. The JIJ provides legal and public legal advocacy to those suffering from injustice, initiates humanitarian projects for needy communities as well as developing and distributing educational materials for policy makers and the public.


During your visit we invite you to take a deeper look into the State of Israel by gaining a greater understanding of the complex challenges facing this nation. A meeting with a JIJ representative will give your group a one hour overview of the nation followed by questions and answers and an opportunity for you to get actively involved in the miraculous restoration and preservation of Israel.  The JIJ can also facilitate meetings for your group with Knesset members and other representatives of the Israeli Government.


We highly recommend a JIJ lecture for your next group. This is a unique way to tie in the ancient history of the Land together with the modern state of Israel. Please be in touch with your local travel agent to request such a meeting as part of your tour.


 Shabbat of a Lifetime:  

 It's Friday afternoon.  Jerusalem is winding down after a long and hectic   week.  Store shutters close, streets empty out and the smells of home-cooked foood fills the air.  It's at this time that Shabbat of a Lifetime

(SOAL) participants leave their hotels and make their way to the Old City.  The SOAL program offers an opportunity for incoming tourists of all backgrounds to experience an authentic Shabbat evening at the Western Wall and home of a Jewish host family living in the heart of Jerusalem.


Meeting at Jaffa Gate, tourists gets to know their host who will be with them for the rest of the evening. Navigating through narrow alleyways, the participants arrive at what is known as the "Kotel haKatan"- a hidden part of the Western Wall, which replicates what the Western Wall looked and felt like in centuries past.  In this intimate corner, the group receives an introduction to the Western Wall and the connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem.  From there we carry on to the awesome site of the Western Wall on a Friday night.  Here, participants take in an explanation of the diverse population found at the Western Wall: from IDF soldiers to conservative religious Jews, to the groups of young, secular Americans. 


Hungry yet?  The traditional Friday night meal is still to come!  Leaving the Old City, the guests arrive at their host home where they meet the family and see where they live.  Learning the tunes to traditional songs, everyone joins in while observing the family as they go step by step though the Shabbat meal.  After all that walking and observing and learning, their appetite is surely to have been enticed. The meal will certainly prove to be worth the wait, as participants enjoy traditional cuisine from nine different worldly communities of the Jewish Diaspora!


Living Stones Experience:

We also offer our tour groups the opportunity to spend time with a Messianic Jewish family in the Galilee region of the country.  This is a unique opportunity to fellowship and worship in the home of Jewish believers in Israel.  On a typical tour, you'll spend a lot of time seeing the ancient stones, but this is an opportunity for you to come and meet the Living Stones!


When you're in the Galilee, Richard and Carolyn Hyde welcome you into their home for:

  • A home-cooked Middle Eastern dinner and home fellowship 
  • Israeli folk dancing
  • A time of worship on their upper balcony with a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee
  • And an opportunity to hear firsthand the amazing things that God is doing here in Israel

The Hyde's can accommodate both small and large groups alike for an evening meal.  They are located in Poriya, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, just 10 minutes from Tiberius.  Please be in touch with your travel agent if you'd like to include this unique experience on your next tour.  

Sar-El News

Additions to Management Team:

We are happy to announce that Mr. Ariel Rotstein has joined the Sar-El team as Deputy General Manager - Director of Operations. With his expansive experience, we trust that he will be a great addition to our office. Ariel has been involved in the world of tourism for more than 30 years. He served in the management of the Hyatt Jerusalem, Hyatt Dead Sea, and Hyatt Istanbul. In addition, Ariel was the General Manager of the Laguna and Isrotel Sport Hotel in Eilat. His most recent position was as the Director General of the Jerusalem Hotel Association. We look forward to having Ariel with us in the position of Director of Operations and a part of Sar-El Tours. You will have the opportunity to meet Ariel and welcome him when you are here on your next tour!


G.E. Gift Shop
The Galilee Experience:

It is with much excitement we officially announce that Sar-El Tours has become the proud owners and managers of The Galilee Experience. As a ministry that started over 20 years ago by Messianic believers in the Galilee area, we are honored to carry on the tradition of such an establishment.


On your next visit we invite you to the facilities and believe that you will be pleased to find many new services. In addition to the film which provides our guests with an introduction to the Galilee, we will be offering coffee, internet and a lounge where people can come in the evenings. We can also use the Auditorium for your large group events, concerts and evening meetings. In addition we are expanding the gift shop to include local works by Messianic artisans and musicians, which could be interesting to many of your tour group participants.

G.E. Auditorium

Entrance to the facilities will be free to all Sar-El groups. We want our agents and tour participants to feel a part of the Galilee Experience. We ask you all to join with us and help make it an integral part of each tour to the Galilee region. We look forward to seeing you there soon!


From Holocaust to Revival:

Marching in Auschwitz 

 In April of this year, we at Sar-El launched our first tour which participated with thousands of others in the annual "March of the Living" events in Poland and IsraelMost of them young people from around the world and Israel; most were Jewish and very few were Christians.


Tracing the footsteps of those taken during the infamous Death March from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the "March of the Living" began in Poland on Israel's Holocaust Memorial day with a commemorative ceremony in the Birkenau concentration camp.  Amongst Sar-El's participants in this year's march were Christian from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Paraguay.


The goal of the March of the Living is to learn the lessons of the Holocaust, as well as to honor the memory of those who perished by vowing that such an atrocity will never happen again; not only to the Jewish people but to any other people or nation in the world.   The subject of Sar-El's tour is "From Holocaust to Revival" (M'Shoa L'eTkoma משואה לתקומה), from Auschwitz to Jerusalem.  The march and the tour serve to clarify for participants the inseparable connection between the Holocaust and the revival of the nation of Israel as a sovereign state.


In Poland wearing Sar-El hats

In Israel our tour participants met with the country's pioneers and survivors who have contributed to the building of  the modern nation.  These were very inspiring moments as we witnessed the fact that in spite of all the challenges faced by the Jewish people in the 20th century, "the people of Israel Live- Am Israel Chai!"  In Poland and Israel alike, our tour participants were overwhelmed by the amount of positive responses conveyed by Israelis and Holocaust survivors who thanked them for taking part in the march as Christians.  We have  heard testimony upon testimony from tour members who claim how important and meaningful their participation  in the march and tour was for them.


Respect for human dignity is the responsibility of each individual today. The Christians who participated with us in the March and tour were challenged to take responsibility to stand up against the disease of denial of the Holocaust and any other atrocity being committed against mankind today.  We invite you to stand up as a Christian and join us next year, April 7th - 17th, 2013 in our second annual tour to Poland and Israel.  We can guarantee that this will be a life-changing and challenging experience.  Please feel free to contact us for further details. 


Spiritual Insights

Looking Back at 48 Years in Israel

 By: David Bivin  of Jerusalem Perspective

It was on July 4, 1963 - fifteen years after Israel's Declaration of Independence - that I landed at Israeli's international airport, located near Lod (Lydda). As the plane made its approach to the runway, I was busy looking out the plane's window for milk cows and bee hives-I wanted to be sure that I was landing in the right country! And by the way, before we touched down, I did spot them. There they were: black-and-white Holstein cows, and clusters of white, wooden bee hives.

Certainly, when I arrived in Israel, there could not have been anyone further from Israel and Jewish culture than I was, a Gentile hailing from a very small Oklahoma town with no Jewish population. During my years in Israel, I spent six years doing post-graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and ten years directing Hebrew language schools for Christian university students and new immigrants. I also did seventeen years of Israeli army reserve service (in total time, about three full years). Could anything be more exciting for a Christian of non-Jewish extraction than serving in the Army of Israel?


The experience of living in Jerusalem-driving past the Himnon Valley, standing on the Mount of Olives, or walking down the Emmaus Road-has never become commonplace. I still have to pinch myself each day. I say to myself, "Is this really happening to me, or am I dreaming that I am here in Jerusalem and the land of the Bible." I have never gotten over the thrill!


A Word from Samuel

Shalom and greetings!  


I don't know how it happened so quickly, but somehow we find ourselves already halfway through the year!  The year 2012 has seen several changes at Sar-El Tours, one being the addition of Ariel Rotstein as Deputy General Manager - Director of Operations.  Another large and recent change has been the purchase of the Galilee Experience.  I am very excited about this acquisition and have many ideas about how to improve the facilities and use the space to accommodate our groups. With the purchase of the facilities we also encourage all of you to visit the online store here. This is a great way to support local Israeli believers in the land and to keep your connection with Israel strong, even from the comfort of your own home.



Many Blessings,
Samuel Smadja
Sar-El Tours & Conferences

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