"Come and you will see" - A Summer Family Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

"Come and you will see" - A Summer Family Pilgrimage to the Holy Land


General Information

Visa Requirements / Passport

Americans citizens only need a valid passport to visit Israel. No visa is required. Passport should be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of your return to the USA as indicated on your airline ticket. Non-US Passport holders, are responsible for checking with Israeli consulate to verify visa travel requirements.  Non-US citizens are responsible for acquiring proper visas.

If your passport has a stamp from other Arab countries (other than Jordan and Egypt), Iran, Venezuela or Indonesia, it is advisable to obtain a new passport.  When in doubt please consult with an Israeli Consulate, obtain response in writing and bring with you.

Bethlehem and Jericho are located in the West Bank, outside of Israel, in the Palestinian Territories.  When visiting Bethlehem and Jericho you must have your passport with you.


Please make a photo copy of your passport information page, bring with you and keep it in a separate place from your passport.  It is also a good idea to take a picture of your passport information page with your cell phone and share this photo with a relative or friend.  Keep a copy of your itinerary with you, showing flight numbers and hotel names and phone numbers.


Entering and exiting Israel

Please allow extra time for US departure check-in -  a minimum three hour arrival prior to check-in is required when traveling to Israel.

When you arrive in Tel Aviv you will go through Passport Control / Immigration first. Have your passport, itinerary, and paperwork related to the trip on hand.  Your passport will not be stamped; you will receive an immigration entrance card that you must keep with you at all times. You will use this card to exit the electronic gates of the Passport Control area.  For those on the same flight or group flight, after picking up your luggage,  remain at designated spot with group.  We will exit customs area together as a group.  We might be greeted by an Exiting Agent to assist us, be on the lookout for agents holding signs with our pilgrimage name.  Our tour guide will be waiting for us outside in the greeters hall.

Exiting Israel at Ben Gurion airport is often more difficult.  You will be properly informed what to expect before your departure. Arrivals for departure must be a minimum of three hours prior to departure time.  Depending on date and traffic, airport transfer from Jerusalem can take up to 1.5 hours.  Security checks are carried out routinely for your protection and safety. Expect to be asked thoroughly about the purpose of your trip, where you have been and the usual questions regarding the contents of your luggage. This is standard procedure; there is nothing to worry about. 


Time Change

Israel is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. 


Electrical Appliances

The electric current in Israel is 220 Volts. Israeli sockets are three-pronged but two pronged European adapters work very well.  A type H adaptor is not required. 

Most hotels provide 110 Volts outlets for shavers only. 

Today’s electronic devices adjust automatically from 110-220V, only an adapter is required.  Please read your device’s plug to ensure this is the case.  The rest of 110 electrical appliances will require a converter and/or adaptor which you can purchase prior to your departure. 


Calling Home

Personal non-emergency phone calls are not included.  To direct dial home from Israel, dial 001- , then the area code and then the rest of the number. The international dialing code for Israel is 972 (from outside Israel) To direct-dial Israel from overseas, omit the "0" in the local Israeli area code.

Your personal cell phone may work in Israel. Contact your service provider to activate the “out of country” feature or to purchase an international data plan.  Wi-Fi is available at the hotels.



The Israeli currency is the New Israeli Shekel (ILS). The approximate rate is 3.70 ILS to $1 USD.

Payment in dollars is widely accepted so there is no need to exchange large amounts of money. However, it is helpful to have a handful of 1 shekel coins to operate public restrooms or leave the requisite tips for people who clean them. Foreign currency may be exchanged at the airport or at any bank and in many hotels throughout Israel.  

It is also recommended to bring small denomination bills (around $50 in $1 dollar bills and several $5, $10, and $20 bills) since it is a very convenient way of making small purchases. 

Linked with major American systems, ATMs are prevalent throughout Israel. Holders of Visa or MasterCard credit cards may withdraw funds at the foreign currency counters of affiliated banks or at certain ATMs.

Major credit cards -American Express, Diner's Club, Visa, and MasterCard- are widely accepted throughout Israel at the more established stores and restaurants.  Visa is the most widely accepted in the small to medium shops. The least is Diner’s Club.



The "hot season" in the Holy Land lasts from May 31 to October 5.  This particular summer itinerary has been designed with this factor in mind and will be adjusted accordingly.  Always keep in mind that the sun is bright and intense.  

In Galilee historical expected temperatures will range from 74 to 90-95 degrees, humid, arid and clear while in Jerusalem 74-85, arid, clear with lower humidity and bright, sunny skies.

Although temperatures will be warm to very warm, modest dress is still required at the holy sites: covered knees and arms (to elbow length). 



Most airlines will allow one checked piece of luggage and one carry-on bag without charge. Usually, there is a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs. per checked bag as well as a size restriction. Airlines may have different restrictions so it is always best to check with your airline to get their exact requirements.

Always place items like cameras, electronic devices and prescription medicines in your carry-on bag. Be certain to have your personal information clearly written on luggage tags on both the outside and inside of all your bags and luggage. Please make sure that you have with you what you need to survive should your luggage not arrive at your destination on time. Do not pack anything of value in your checked luggage. No sharp items in your hand carried luggage or on your person.



Packing Guidelines

General packing guidelines

  • Pack comfortable clothing that can easily be layered. 
  • Most holy sites require that all pilgrims dress modestly, no shoulders or knees exposed rule is in effect.  Avoid shorts, sleeveless blouses and low necklines; if you plan on wearing skirts, please make sure that they hit below the knee. Please take this into consideration when packing to avoid being denied entry.
  • Travel light: bring only one suitcase and one carry-on bag. 


What to pack

Besides packing enough changes of clothes for the duration of your pilgrimage, we suggest that you include the following items in your luggage:

  • Two pairs of comfortable, broken-in walking shoes (light hiking shoes, sneakers or good rubber sole walking shoes are the best options; it is best to avoid open-toe sandals)
  • Light sweaters/pullovers/vests for layering
  • Light jacket or raincoat during spring and fall or warm jacket during winter
  • Hat with 2-3" brim preferable to caps and visors that do not cover the neck area.
  • Bathing suit and flip flops or sandals for swimming in the Dead Sea
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Small collapsible umbrella and/or poncho
  • Small Bible
  • Antibacterial hand wipes or gel 
  • Laundry soap in case you need to hand wash personal items
  • Small first aid kit: include a good supply of your prescription medication, as well as aspirin, cough drops, allergy and stomach medicine, Kleenex, band aids, etc.
  • Electrical adaptor
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Headphones 
  • Camera or cellphone with camera
  • Extra layer or light blanket and neck pillow for the flight
  • Copies of your itinerary, passport, credit cards, insurance card (or travel insurance policy), and flight information
  • Small backpack to carry your personal items during the pilgrimage
  • Small snacks for in between meals on the bus
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Optional: hair dryer (as hotels provide the low-powered wall mounted type)



Originally called Notre Dame de France, the complex was built by French Assumptionists between 1884 and 1904 to accommodate French pilgrims. Badly damaged during the War of 1948, it was eventually turned over to the Holy See on March 2, 1972. By special decree of Pope John Paul II on December 13, 1978, it was erected as Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. Considered an “Ecumenical Holy Place,” the Center is canonically assimilated to a Territorial Prelature, of which the Apostolic Delegate is the prelate. Under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See, the Center was entrusted to the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ on November 26, 2004 by a Motu Proprio of Pope John Paul II. The activity of the Institute is religious, cultural and educational in nature.