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Holy Land & Turkey: Walking in the Footsteps of the Prophets


To find out more information, including an updated schedule and fee information, contact the program coordinator: Ms. Kathleen Hansen


Please contact:
Ms. Kathleen Hansen
Assistant Director for Overseas Studies & Exchanges
Phone: 585-389-2673
Office: G-119

Your Guides

Leading the trip from the U.S. will be three Nazareth College senior faculty members:

Dr. Muhammad Shafiq 
Professor of Religious Studies and Executive Director
Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue

Dr. Susan Nowak, S.S.J.
Professor of Religious Studies and Chair
Department of Religious Studies

Dr. George Eisen
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Center for International Education

Educational Partners in the Holy Land:

Joining the group upon arrival will be experts from several of the Middle East’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.

Holy Land & Turkey: Walking in the Footsteps of the Prophets

General Program Description

(Re) Discovering our Spiritual Roots in the Holy Land
Join a select group of students, professionals, and historians, and religious leaders for a trip to lands held sacred by the three Abrahamic faiths.  On this extraordinary journey, you will visit many of the most sacred sites to Judaism, Christianity and Islam: wander the storied streets of Jerusalem, visit Bethlehem, gaze across the sea of Galilee, behold the majestic beauty of Hagia Sophia, wonder at the grace of Sufi practices, and delight in the architectural grandeur along the shore of the Bosphorus Strait. In the Hold Land, Palestine, and Turkey, you will benefit from the wisdom of the trip leaders from Nazareth College who are experts in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity as well as the experience and insights of scholars from educational institutions in both regions.

Program Highlights:

This course is a trilogue that focuses on the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) with an emphasis on the interrelationship of geography, history, political science, culture, sacred text, religious ritual, and ethics as formative dimensions of religious identity and spiritual practice. These components, individually and collectively, are also constitutive facets of interfaith study, dialogue, and relationships. The course will investigate both similarities and differences among and between the Abrahamic religions.  Students will meet with diverse communities within the Israeli, Palestinian, and Turkish societies for lectures, dialogue, ritual observation, and cultural events.  The preparatory readings and onsite dialogue will be designed to foster conversations focused on each community’s distinctive understanding of their Abrahamaic spiritual heritage as expressed through religious beliefs, ethical values, aesthetic expressions, and intellectual principles.

Program Details

Course Information

Walking in the Footsteps of the Prophets: Discovering Your Spiritual Roots in the Holy Land (RES 362G-PII) is a Perspectives II and Global course. This course will focus on the similarities and differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with emphasis on the interrelationship of geography, history, political science, culture, sacred text, religious ritual, and ethics as formative dimensions of religious identity and spiritual practice. Students may register for the full three-credit course or may elect to audit the course. All students are expected to participate in the work of the course and are subject to the attendance policy for the course. Auditors do not take the final examination. No credit is earned and no grade is given by auditing. Students may audit undergraduate courses on a space available basis, subject to the audit fee when applicable. The last date to change from credit to audit is published in the academic calendar. Non-matriculated students who wish to audit a course must obtain the approval of the Department Chairperson of the course on an Audit Approval Form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office; blank forms are available in the Registrar’s Office. Auditors must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

The course will be divided into two parts. The first half to be taught on the Nazareth campus. The focus will be: the Middle East as the cradle of religious civilization, the history and development of Abrahamic religions, and the commonalities and differences within the political history and current conflicts of the Middle East. In order to prepare students properly for the study tour, research topics will include: the function of religion within culturally pluralistic societies; the principles and objectives of interfaith dialogue; the goals and objectives of conflict resolution; and the role of religious and national extremism in the Middle East.

The second half of the course will be spent in the Holy Land. Students will visit sites of religious significance to the dominant and minority religious communities; interact with individuals and groups representative of the region’s diverse religious and cultural groups, network with individuals and groups committed to conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence, engage in academic dialogue with scholars from the three Abrahamic religions, and meet with their peers for lively debate surrounding the concerns and aspirations of their generation. The students will then travel to Turkey to continue their study of the Abrahamic religions as found in the city of Istanbul. In terms of Judaism, the students will be introduced to Jewish culture and practice within the diasporic context of the dominant Muslim culture of Turkey. Attention will be given to the rescue efforts by Turks of Jews during the Shoah, the legacy of affinity between Turkey and the State of Israel, and the contemporary tensions which have arisen between the two states due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In terms of Christianity, the students will be introduced to the architectural, literary, and cultural legacy of early Christianity, probe the impact of the Crusades and the Ottoman Empire on Christian self-understanding and practice, and experience first hand Eastern/Byzantine/Orthodox forms of Christianity. In terms of Islam, students will analyze the aspects of Muslim culture and civilization that are either in contrast or continuity with those experienced in the Holy Land, dialogue with individuals and groups about pertinent contemporary issues, such as, tensions surrounding issues of secularity and religiosity in modern Turkey, treatment of minority peoples such as the Kurds, the involvement of Turkey in conflict resolution in the Middle East. The student learning outcomes in these regards will be enhanced by interaction with young Turks who have attended Nazareth College.


Tentative Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

Day 2-5: Drive north to the Galilee region. Sites visited include the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, the Golan Heights, Haifa, Accommodations at Galilee College’s Study Center at Kibbutz Mizra.

Days 6-7: Central and South Israel, including Caesarea, Qumran, the Dead Sea and Masada.

Days 8-11: Central Israel and Palestine, including Jerusalem (visit to Yad Vashem), Bethlehem and Hebron.

Days 12-15: Istanbul, including the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Museum, the Grand Bazaar and various other sites.

At each stop, lectures by tour leaders and guest speakers will enhance your knowledge o the history and contemporary significance of the region. From exploring the literature of the Bible and Qur’an to a review of the current political climate in the Middle East, you will leave with a profound and nuanced understanding of the cultural, geographic, and spiritual legacy of these fascinating lands.

Costs and Financial Aid

The program cost, which covers accommodations (double occupancy), baggage handling fees, meals, ground transportation, and all educational lectures, will be approximately $3,000 plus airfare.

The $3000 program cost does not include tuition or auditing costs. The audit fee is typically one-third of the tuition charge for the course plus applicable fees.

Travel insurance is required. Travel within Israel, Palestine, and Turkey will be by private motor coach.

*Please note: All rates are subject to change.

Application Deadlines

The next program is planned for December 2014.

Application deadline TBA.

Travel Documents

A valid passport is required for the trip.

Living Accommodations

Students will stay in double occupancy accommodations throughout the duration trip.

About The Holy Land & Turkey

For more information, please see the following websites:



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