Israel Outreach Trips

Members and supporters of the Columbus Center are invited to attend our 2-week Study Abroad programs to Israel each season. The trips are hosted by Dr. Glenn J. Kimber, President of the Columbus Center for Constitutional Studies, and Jacob Householder, Director of International Outreach for the Columbus Center.

This experience will provide attendees with valuable exposure to the history, cultures, and political climates of middle eastern nations.

This page is optimized for desktop viewing. Please use the information below to apply and prepare for the trip:

Costs and Fees

Cost to the Columbus Center per 10 students (for full educational experience):

  • $35,000 if collected IN FULL 30 days in advance (BY midnight next_israel_30_days)
  • $38,500 if not collected IN FULL 30 days in advance (AFTER next_israel_30_days)

Alternative educational trips may be designed according to the available budget. Donations are essential to the success of our trips. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.

What is provided?

  • Meals
  • Hotels
  • Travel within Israel (and other countries)

The fund covers our expenses pertaining to hotels, meals and tips, admission to tourist locations, professional scouts for safety, professional archaeologists, military trucks to get people to and from sites, restroom facilities on site at Beit Lehi, etc.

What is not included?

  • Airline fees to and from Tel Aviv
  • Lunches on tour days (see “Agenda” tab)

Donations

To ensure the success of the trip, students should also solicit donations to help subsidize the educational program.

Payments made on behalf of specific students are not actually donations and are not tax-deductible. Donations made on behalf of large groups of students are tax-deductible. Selected participants will be segmented into families or groups of students. Tax-deductible donations made on behalf of a family or group of students will be distributed and will reduce the cost of the trip for each student equally. Payments intended to benefit specific, individual students exclusively are not tax-deductible.

Instruct donors to make checks payable to the Columbus Center for Constitutional Studies and include “Israel Trip” in the memo.

Deadlines

The number of attendees selected to participate, the duration of the trip, the selection of guides, and the specific educational opportunities that will be available for each trip (such as destinations) purely depend on the volume of donations raised 3 months before the date of the trip. A low budget would prevent us from providing the full experience for the students.

For the full educational experience, the Columbus Center’s international outreach team must keep the following deadlines:

  • 50% of total funding 6 months in advance to secure reservations (next_israel_6_months)
  • 100% of total funding 3 months in advance to secure our agenda and educational guides (next_israel_3_months)

In the case that these deadlines are not met, the Columbus Center will announce plans for an alternative educational experience in the Middle East according to the amount of funding raised. Different educational guides may be selected according to the available budget.

Payment Options

Make checks payable to the Columbus Center for Constitutional Studies and mail to 241 S 1200 E Payson, Utah 84651.

Although large donations are requested to be made by check, small donations can be made online here.

Additional Information

Use this page to find answers to common questions. Please direct all questions to Jacob Householder at [email protected]

Organizations Involved

Columbus Center for Constitutional Studies
Beit Lehi Foundation
Hebrew University
Israeli Antiquity Authority
Netanya Academic College
Utah Valley University
Fun-4-Less Tours or G&S Travel Agency

Contacts

Jacob Householder, Director of International Outreach – [email protected] | (480) 599-8572
Dr. Glenn J. Kimber, President – [email protected]

Flights & International Travel

Look for flights that leave late Monday evening on the (next_israel_start_date_before) or early Tuesday morning the (next_israel_start_date) and arrive in Tel Aviv early Wednesday evening (next_israel_start_date_after). Some of our students choose to spend a day or two in Europe before arriving in Israel and leave the U.S. on Sunday. When looking for low prices, consider flying out of various airports. For example, some flights have been significantly cheaper flying from LAX instead of SLC.

Security

At least 3 hours are needed for international flights and layovers to ensure enough time for passing through international security checkpoints inside the airports. Israeli gates usually have an additional security checkpoint which adds to the total time it takes to get to the plane. They can also cause planes to depart late as many passengers get delayed with the additional two layers of airport security for international layovers.

Religious oil vials have caused issues while passing through security in Turkish airports.

Airports

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and the Istanbul Airport (IST) have proven to be especially busy and slow moving through security. The Israeli gate is always in the same place in the Istanbul airport which is generally on the opposite side of the airport from where you arrived.

The Salt Lake airport (SLC) is a Delta hub which means you get all kinds of direct flights to many places.

If you are purchasing flights individually to get a good deal on tickets, be very careful about making sure your arrival airport is the same as the departure airport unless you plan to travel in between.

Amsterdam (AMS) is an excellent airport with great, streamlined security. We’ve never had any problems there.

Airlines

Delta – They can be more expensive but this has been the most popular option for many of our students. They are often competitive with Southwest on domestic flight prices.
United – Students have had problems with major delays, but the flight experience was generally comfortable. Partners with Swiss and Lufthansa. Must pay extra for bags and assigned seats. “Bring lots of nickels and dimes.”
American Airlines – Service has been fine
El Al – They serve hot meals and is a high class airline.
Atlas Global – The planes didn’t use AC while on the ground. They served hot meals. They often ask if you would like to check on carry-on items for free. Allowed checking a combined total of 80 lbs as part of the ticket.
Norwegian – Very comfortable flights but nothing is complimentary, even water. Check-on bags cost extra and carry-on items are supposed to add up to 10kg (22lbs) total. However, they generally don’t weight the bags at the counter or gate.
Swiss
– Excellent service. You always get a meal or a decent snack on the flight, and a piece of chocolate at the end. Kids get coloring books and crayons. Cheaper fares but checked bags cost extra. All flights go through Zurich.
Lufthansa – Similar to Swiss who they are ticketing partners with.

Plane Tickets

We have seen flights as low as approximately $740 for round trip tickets from LAX to Tel Aviv. Most round trip tickets range from $1,000-$1,300. Quality airlines often charge as much as $1,800 for round trip economy tickets. Many students sign up for a sky miles deal such as Delta Sky Miles and purchase their tickets using a Delta credit card. Some deals will award flyers with as many as 70,000 miles for purchasing plane tickets using airline credit cards.

One trick to going overseas cheaply is to try to find routes through less popular gateways.

When flying with miles, be prepared to have a lot of layovers and connections. Direct flights are more expensive.

Useful websites & apps:

It is highly recommended that students purchase refundable or transferrable plane tickets. See “Disclaimer / Trip Cancellation Policy” section below.

Purchasing Food & Souvenirs in Israel

There will be plenty of opportunities to buy food and souvenirs in Israel. Paying in shekels is recommended to avoid fees and to obtain the best deals.

For those who with to use debit or credit cards, make sure to set up travel plans with your bank to use your card(s) internationally without getting your accounts locked. Provide them with relevant travel dates and location information so they don’t suspect your purchases as fraudulent. It is recommended that you bring a credit card in case of emergencies.

Cell Phone Service

The best deal is purchasing Israeli SIM cards and paying for Israeli data. The best SIM cards provide you with both Israeli and USA phone numbers so you can call home and local in Israel without outrageous international cellular and data fees. These generally cost about $30 for 30GB/month. We recommend Sim2Israel. To use an Israeli SIM, the phone has to be unlocked. Most Verizon LTE phones are unlocked.

Most cellular plans have some kinds of a pay-as-you-go international plan or a $10-a-day unlimited cell & data international plan. The pay-as-you-go plans charge a very high fee for texts, minutes, and data, but may be cheaper if cell usage is monitored extremely carefully.

Verizon and AT&T do not have great roaming rates. T-mobile and Sprint have the best roaming rates (free texting, 128K-speed data, and $0.25 per minute calling) in most of Europe and Israel (and Turkey). Google’s Project Fi (a T-mobile Sprint reseller) includes full international roaming in those countries for free.

International Travel Health Insurance

This is optional and attendees are encouraged to use their own judgement in whether to sign up for international travel health care coverage.

Climate and Packing List

*See “Packing List” in the menu.

Preparing to Teach

Study and practice teaching the Healing of America Seminars and the 28 principles in The 5,000 Year Leap. It is highly recommended that each student takes the Middle East in History and Prophecy course in the Columbus Center Student Portal and study from Middle East and European History Volume 1 and Volume 2 prior to the trip.

Disclaimer / Trip Cancellation Policy

Due to the turbulent nature of social and political conditions in the Middle East, Dr. Kimber’s health, and a number of other unforeseeable events, the trip is subject to being postponed until the following spring or fall. Payments made by those applying as guests* will be refunded in the case of the trip being cancelled. However, according to U.S. tax code, donations cannot be refunded and the funds will be reserved for future trips.

*Guests are participants whose payments are not tax-deductible. Students are brought using tax-deductible donations made to the Columbus Center. Contact us for further clarification.

Anticipating Trip Cancellations / Adjustments

The Columbus Center can take 10 students for every $35,000 in donations raised 90 days (3 months) prior to the trip. Because hotels, buses, and other essential accommodations must be reserved at least 3 months in advance (sometimes as much as 12 months in advance), it becomes impossible to take large groups of students to the Middle East without the receiving sufficient donations by the 90-day mark. As a policy, the Columbus Center will announce to applicants the specific size and type of trip to be offered 3 months before the date of the trip. An official list of selected participants will be announced at this time. The Columbus Center team will do their best to keep everyone who has expressed interest or paid for the trip in any amount informed as the date approaches. It is highly recommended that students purchase refundable or transferrable plane tickets.

Application

To apply for the trip, please complete the form below.

Applications to not guarantee admission onto the trips. The Columbus Center reserves the right to select the students best qualified and prepared to participate in our international outreach and foreign studies programs. Students will be selected by the deadlines described on our “Misc. Info” tab.

Agenda

The following is a general agenda for a typical educational trip to the Middle East. Trips that have not been fully funded may experience significant adjustments to the agenda. View the “Costs” and “Misc. Info” tabs for more information about our contingency plans.

DateTentative Agenda
Tuesday (April 14th)Leave for Tel Aviv, Israel
Wednesday (April 15th)(Evening) Arrive at Tel Aviv and meet with the group.
Stay at a hotel in Tel Aviv.
Thursday (April 16th)Breakfast at the hotel Take trucks to Beit Lehi (1.5 hour drive)
Spend the day at the Beit Lehi excavation site
Travel to the kibbutz for the evening
Friday (April 17th)Beit Lehi Excavation
Saturday (April 18th)Church services at the BYU Jerusalem Center
Tour Jerusalem area (Temple Mount, Garden Tomb, Golgotha, House of Caiaphus, Orson Hyde Memorial, etc.)
Sunday-Wednesday (April 19th-22nd)Tour Jerusalem and central Israel (Bethlehem, Hezekiah's Tunnel, Masada, Qumran, Tel Arad, etc.)
Purchase snacks while touring for lunch (breakfasts and dinners provided at the hotel)
Thursday-Friday (April 23rd-24th)Excavation at Beit Lehi
Saturday (April 25th)Early breakfast
Drive to Galilee for church services
Saturday-Sunday (April 25th-26th)Religious services
Tour Galilee (Golan Heights, Mount of Beatitudes, Cappernaum, Caesarea Phillippi, etc.)
Take a boat onto the Sea of Galilee
Monday-Tuesday (April 27th-28th)Check out of hotel, tour Nazareth, Haifa, Jaffa,
Conference/tour at Netanya College
Fly out of Tel Aviv late Monday evening or early Tuesday morning

NOTE: This is a tentative schedule designed to help attendees prepare with regard to packing. Events are subject to change due to fluctuations in the weather and other very dynamic conditions.

Click below to learn more about Beit Lehi:

Submit Travel Information

  • You MUST use separate emails for each attendee. If multiple family members are attending, they need to be registered under SEPARATE emails from the parents and one another. Contact Jacob Householder with questions at (480) 599-8572.
  • Departure
  • Which Airline(s) will you be using for this trip?
  • When will you leave on your first flight?
    :
  • When will you land in Tel Aviv?
    :
  • Return
  • Will you be leaving Israel Monday night or Tuesday?
  • :
  • Personal Info
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Packing List

ESSENTIAL

  • Current passport
  • Type H electrical plug adapters
    • Purchase adapters that are also “power converters,” otherwise an additional power conversion device is needed.
  • Money for souvenirs and lunches on tour days
    • Withdrawing cash is highly recommended. Many locations do not process cards, and banks charge international fees for those that do. Israeli stores accept US dollars but vendors sometimes round up so they don’t need to provide change in USD. Paying in shekels generally gets you the better deal. Bring cash and plan to switch to shekels at the airport. Make sure to inform your banks of your international travel plans so your cards do not become locked. Some bathrooms charge 2-3 shekels, so keep change handy.

Clothing & Accessories

  • Walking shoes
  • A hat (baseball cap style or boonie/sun hat)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunday dress clothes for church
  • Enough clothing for the 2 weeks
    • Collared shirts are preferred. Our groups strive to maintain a reputation of professionalism and modesty among the Middle-Eastern communities.
    • If you want to travel light, you can pay to have laundry done by the hotels or you can wash clothes in the tubs. Plan to wear the same clothes for each day of the excavation.

Excavation Gear

  • Modest clothing
    • Mens’ shirts must have sleeves
    • Female chaperones will do a “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” modesty check with the girls each morning before excavating
  • Work gloves
  • At least 1 head lamp per family
  • Sturdy boots

Study Materials

  • Scriptures and journal
  • Pens/pencils and highlighters

Dead Sea

  • Two plastic bags for soiled or wet clothing
  • Several large Ziplock bags (for collecting salt balls from the Dead Sea and other needs)
  • Swim gear
    • Modest swim suits (1 piece suits for women)
    • Beach towel for the Dead Sea
      • There are towels available for rent
    • Water shoes for walking in the Dead Sea (the sea floor is solid crystalline salt)

Miscellaneous

  • Power bank
  • Israeli SIM card for cheaper international data
  • Rain protection
    • Rain jacket or poncho
    • Umbrella (optional)
  • Children’s clothing, games, and school supplies to donate to needy Bedouin families
    • We suggest bringing a large check-on suitcase filled with items to donate. After donating the items you will have plenty of space for souvenirs and you won’t have to pack so tight for the trip home. This will also save you a lot of time packing at the end of the trip.
  • A bag for touring and carrying daily supplies (large enough to carry an 8.5″x11″ spiral notebook). Fanny packs are also extremely convenient.

Climate and Dress

In spring and autumn, daytime temperatures in Israel range around 60-70F (15-25C) in higher elevations but can still be hot around the Dead Sea. Jerusalem will be in the 40-50F (5-10C) in the evening. There will be some rain – nothing torrential. 1 medium coat or windbreakers are recommended.

Please remember that modest clothing must be worn by ALL. You will be bending over, working on your hands and knees, using shovels, rakes, brooms, buckets, etc. Please dress accordingly.

Beit Lehi

Among the many activities and sights attendees will experience with be Beit Lehi (House of Lehi). Beit Lehi, or Beit Loya, is an active archaeological site southwest of Jerusalem, about an hour and a quarter’s drive by car. It is situated within a geographical region known as the Judean Shephelah, or Lowland, sandwiched between the Judean Hills in the east and the coastal plain in the west. Throughout antiquity, a major road that led to and from the coastal port city of Gaza passed by the site.

Discovery Channel Episodes

https://go.discovery.com/tv-shows/expedition-unknown/full-episodes/mysteries-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls
https://go.discovery.com/tv-shows/expedition-unknown/full-episodes/after-the-hunt-return-to-the-dead-sea
https://go.discovery.com/tv-shows/expedition-unknown/full-episodes/treasure-of-the-copper-scroll
https://go.discovery.com/tv-shows/expedition-unknown/full-episodes/after-the-hunt-more-secrets-of-the-copper-scroll

 

 

“Beit” in Hebrew means “house or dwelling of,” while “lehi” means “jawbone.” The name “Lehi” seems to have originated in biblical times, apparently referring to the traditional resting place of Samson after he slew one thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. “But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En Hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day” (Judges 15:19). Thus, Beit Lehi means “dwelling place of Lehi.”

Students will spend several days participating in the excavations at Beit Lehi as they seek to understand the history of the region. More information pertaining to the schedule is available below under the heading Agenda.

Click below to view more picture and video footage of the Beit Lehi discoveries. Many of the findings have been photographed with 360-degree virtual reality technology.

For more information on the Beit Lehi excavation, click here

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