Bruce Frank, Carl Herrmann and Josh Turney – Presiding Fellows
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Participants spent their final day in Israel with a flexible itinerary that enabled the Class to either participate on a guided tour of the Old City of Jerusalem and The Holy Sites or discover the wonders and attractions of the Old City by doing optional excursions on their own.
The guided tour of the Old City was conducted by Apo Benlian, a local licensed Tour Guide, with extensive knowledge of the Biblical History and Geography of The Holy Land. The morning tour started with a discourse on the historical origins of Jerusalem, from a highly elevated location not far from the top of the Mount of Olives (the site of Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven, 40 days after his Resurrection). The view was absolutely breath-taking and made easily visible the Ruins of the former Jewish Temple, the Muslim Golden Dome, the original Gated Entrance and Walls surrounding the original Old City, as well as an ancient Jewish Cemetery.
Also visible were the Garden of Gethsemane (site of Jesus’ Agony on the night of his Betrayal), the elevation on the Mount of Olives where Jesus would have wept over Jerusalem and prophesied the Destruction of Temple and subsequent diaspora of the Jewish People.
Our group then had the opportunity to walk the original route of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, with stops at both the Dominus Flevit Church, as well as tour the original Garden and present Church in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Heavy rains would end our tour early, but so valuable and informative was this tour while it lasted. Friday afternoon enabled more private touring of the Old City on a small group and individual basis.
Friday evening would gather our entire class for our “Last Supper” at the magnificent Notre Dame Wine and Cheese Restaurant overlooking the Old City. This would be the last dinner enjoyed by our class together for our International Study Seminar.
Friday evening finally culminated with time for individual thoughts and reflections by each of our class members at the Olive Tree Hotel. This time for class sharing was particularly emotional as it really tied together not only our experiences from this International Study Seminar but also our entire class experience during these past 19 months of IALP seminars and travel together.
The evening concluded with keynote addresses to our Class from IALF CEO Lee Strom, Program Director Todd Lowery, and IALF Board Member Gary Baise and spouse Ann Baise.
Most of our Class then retired for a very brief night’s rest, and subsequent marathon day of travel home on Saturday.