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Oct 22, 2012

The Israel Study and Travel group just returned to CTU this week.   For our students, it was a time of study and exploration of biblical and historical sites in Greece, Turkey, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan.

Seven years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a CTU trip to Israel and Jordan.  There is nothing quite like being in the land, walking the paths, hearing the sounds, smelling the scents of flowers and spices, feeling the intense heat of the sun, or relaxing in the cool of the evening.  One night we were doing just that, relaxing at the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  Typical of new-found friends, we were laughing and joking when one of us remarked, “I wonder if this was what it was like for Jesus and his friends?”  Immediately, the group fell silent, and the silence continued for 30 minutes or so.  The reverie was broken by the coo of a dove.  Then one of us wondered what it would take for peace to prevail on this planet instead of the chaos we often face.  We began to reflect on deeper questions.  The trip was life-changing for me as it was for many others. 

We didn’t have to be history buffs as the professors on the trip laid out the history of the places we visited. They read Bible passages and other writings as we journeyed through the land.  It was remarkable how similar the land looked as compared to the Biblical descriptions.   We were given special tours of archaeological digs and plenty of time for prayer and reflection. 

Having had a taste of the land that is home to many religions, where people passionately live their beliefs, I must admit, I long to return.   

At CTU, we have a unique opportunity in the January Term.  The course, Abraham’s Children, is being offered as a graduate, theological traveling seminar which is designed to introduce some of the basic elements of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith traditions through the lens and dynamic of interreligious relations and understanding.  It is open to participants from any faith or philosophical background.  The course will feature visits to some of the holiest sites of the three traditions and provides an experiential setting which highlights the relevance of history and theology to important contemporary global realities; participants are afforded the opportunity to build interreligious relationships with faculty and colleagues of all three faiths.  The course is being co-taught by Prof. Rabbi David Sandmel, Prof. Scott C. Alexander, Prof. Inamul Haq, and Prof. John Pawlikowski, O.S.M. 

You may have questions about this trip or other travel opportunities at CTU, or you may want to begin to dream about what it would be like to go on such a trip.  If you want to learn a bit more about this opportunity and check out the itinerary, please go to  You can also contact me for more information on any of our travel programs.


Kathy Van Duser, Director of Recruitment | | 773.371.5450