Family Seminar

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On this program designed for families with adult children, gain insight into the region’s geopolitics through meetings with local scholars, settlers, soldiers and journalists

Join an archeological dig at the Beit Guvrin caves, and take in the stunning scenery of this tumultuous land, from miraculous oases to biblical deserts

Hike to Herod’s mountain palace of Masada before descending into the Dead Sea basin and floating weightlessly in the mineral-rich waters

Explore the importance of Jerusalem to the three Abrahamic monotheistic faiths and observe their practices at the holy sites in the Old City

Faculty leader

Martha Crenshaw

Martha Crenshaw is a senior fellow emerita at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Her primary areas of interest are international conflict, political violence and terrorism. From 2005 to 2017, Dr. Crenshaw was a lead investigator with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In 2019 she was affiliated with another DHS Center of Excellence, the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE).

On this trip, Dr. Crenshaw will lecture on conflict in the Middle East and how the region’s tumultuous history has informed current events. Discussion topics may include the Iranian Revolution and its consequences, civil wars in Syria and Yemen, and the rise of ISIS. In addition, Dr. Crenshaw will address the evolution of the Palestinian nationalist movement and American policy toward the Middle East.


December 20–31, 2021
Day 1

Jerusalem, Israel

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, transfer to our hotel in Jerusalem. ORIENT JERUSALEM

Day 2


Explore the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and view some of the sites excavated over the past 30 years including the City of David, the very core of ancient Jerusalem, and the Cardo, Jerusalem’s main street during the 6th century. Observe the faithful praying at the Western Wall, and wind through the Western Wall Tunnel, which runs along the length of the Temple Mount. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner. ORIENT JERUSALEM (B,L,D)

Day 3

Jerusalem / Gush Etzion

Return to the Old City to navigate its Muslim and Christian Quarters. Visit the Temple Mount, or Noble Sanctuary, arguably the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the world. Site of the First and Second Temples, this platform is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third-holiest site. Walk along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, widely considered to be the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Drive to Gush Etzion, the block of West Bank settlements originally established in the 1920s, and converse with a settler. En route gain insight into new developments around Jerusalem, including the security barrier, or separation fence. ORIENT JERUSALEM (B,L)

Day 4

Beit Guvrin / Jerusalem

Drive to Beit Guvrin National Park, and take part in an archaeological dig at Tel Maresha, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Uncover pottery from the Hellenistic era, and delight in an optional spelunking tour through an unexcavated cave system. Return to Jerusalem to sample local delicacies at Machane Yehuda market, then attend a guest lecture by a Holocaust scholar and visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial and museum to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. ORIENT JERUSALEM (B,L)

Day 5

Jerusalem / Ramallah / Rawabi

Drop by Jerusalem’s Hand in Hand bilingual school, dedicated to bringing together Jewish and Arab children. With a Palestinian journalist, drive to the West Bank city of Ramallah to engage with key Palestinian figures, then continue to Rawabi, a new Palestinian town, to meet with the development’s chief architect. Back in Jerusalem, participate in a traditional Shabbat dinner, pending availability with chayelim bodedim, lone soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who have no immediate family in Israel. ORIENT JERUSALEM (B,L,D)

Day 6

Masada / Dead Sea

This morning listen to an Arab-Israeli journalist discuss current territory dynamics, then drive through the Judean Desert past Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, to Masada, Herod’s mountain palace and site of the Jewish Zealots’ last stand against the Roman legionnaires. Set off for the Dead Sea to float in its mineral-rich waters, then return to Jerusalem for a festive Christmas dinner. ORIENT JERUSALEM (B,L,D)

Day 7

Jerusalem / Sea of Galilee / Upper Galilee

After a guest lecture by a local political science professor, drive along the Jordan Rift Valley to Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu to learn about the BioBee project, which is devloping environmentally friendly methods of protecting crops, and to understand how this kibbutz (collective community) is thriving in 21st-century Israel and strengthening green technology in the international marketplace. Continue to the Sea of Galilee and discover Tabgha, where Jesus is said to have performed his miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes. Explore Capernaum, which ostensibly served as a base for Jesus during his Galilean Ministry, and take in a spectacular view from the Mount of Beatitudes, reputed site of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Drive to our hotel, located on the grounds of a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee's Hula Valley. HAGOSHRIM HOTEL (B,L,D)

Day 8

Upper Galilee / Golan Heights / Tzfat

Travel into the Golan Heights to visit former Israeli and Syrian fortifications and reach the top of Mount Bental to observe Quneitra, the largely destroyed and abandoned Syrian garrison town that now lies in the U.N. demilitarized zone. Nest stop: the town of Tzfat, a centuries-old center of Kabbalah whose rich history is represented by remarkably well-preserved 16th-century synagogues. End the day browsing Tzfat’s contemporary artists’ colony. HAGOSHRIM HOTEL (B,L,D)

Day 9

Akko / Caesarea / Tel Aviv

Travel across the width of Israel to the subterranean Crusader Halls in the Old City of Akko (or Acre), on the Mediterranean Sea, then attend a private cooking workshop in the home of an Arab-Israeli family. Drive along the coast to Caesarea Maritima, an ancient port city built by Herod the Great and home to one of the most impressive architectural feats of the ancient world: an artificial harbor constructed in the open sea. Move on to Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city of modern times. ROYAL BEACH TEL AVIV (B,L,D)

Day 10

Tel Aviv

Meet with the former deputy head of the combat intelligence corps and adviser to the prime minister on foreign media—she’s among the 2 percent of Israeli women to have achieved the rank of colonel in the IDF—then explore the Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies, which was established to promote tolerance across all sectors of Israeli society. Enjoy lunch independently at one of the colorful small eateries of the Carmel Market, then hop on a bike for an optional ride from the Yarkon River to the Tel Aviv Promenade. ROYAL BEACH TEL AVIV (B,D)

Day 11

Tel Aviv / Jaffa

Visit Jaffa Port where, according to tradition, Jonah emerged from the whale and Saint Peter raised Tabitha. Discover the urban culture of the city during a tour of Tel Aviv’s graffiti and street art. This afternoon experience Tel Aviv on our own before gathering for a farewell reception and dinner. ROYAL BEACH TEL AVIV (B,D)

Day 12

Tel Aviv / U.S.

Check out of our hotel, and transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

Day 13

Map of trip's locations
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Map of trip's ship

Our ship

Trip details

Group size / age

This trip requires a minimum of 20 participants and is limited to 34. Travel/Study is committed to providing a low-density experience on all programs and will implement protocols to do so, including social distancing on transportation as well as during lectures, meals and excursions. Single accommodations are limited—please call for availability.

Minimum age: 18 (siblings 15 years of age and older are also welcome)


$9,495 per person, double occupancy

$11,895 per person, single occupancy

*Stanford Alumni Association nonmembers add $300 per person.


11 nights of deluxe hotel accommodations · 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners · Welcome and farewell receptions · Gratuities to guides and drivers for all group activities · All tours and excursions as described in the itinerary · Transfers and baggage handling on program arrival and departure days · On-tour quarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage · General medical, accident and evacuation insurance · Educational program with lecture series and predeparture materials, including an education resource list and travel information · Services of our professional tour manager to assist you throughout the program

Not included

Your personal flights to and from the program · Passport and visa fees · Immunization costs · Meals and beverages other than those specified as included · Independent and private transfers · Nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage · Baggage insurance · Excess-baggage charges · Personal items such as internet access, telephone calls, laundry and gratuities for nongroup services

Air arrangements

Your personal flights to and from the program · Passport and visa fees · Immunization costs · Meals and beverages other than those specified as included · Independent and private transfers · Nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage · Baggage insurance · Excess-baggage charges · Personal items such as internet access, telephone calls, laundry and gratuities for nongroup services

Room arrangements

What to expect

We consider this program to be moderately strenuous and at times physically demanding and busy. We will have a very full schedule of excursions, lectures and special events, with very little downtime, and most days will require early-morning starts. Some excursions involve short walks, and others involve hikes that range from one to three miles over hilly terrain. On four separate occasions, visits include walking through dark, narrow tunnels. Tours can last as long as four hours at a time. Much of the walking takes place at ancient sites, where paths can be rocky and uneven, and you may be required to walk through tunnels, caves or dimly lit spaces, as well as on city streets, which can be uneven, cobblestone, and slippery. In some instances, such as museum visits, guided tours require standing in one place for as long as 50 minutes at a time and climbing up and down several flights of stairs that may not have handrails. Many sites and buildings do not have elevators and do not allow buses to pull up in front, thus requiring a walk of several minutes, sometimes uphill, to reach the entrance. Our journey at times requires several hours of travel by motor coach, the longest drives being about five hours (with stops). Participants must be physically fit, in good health and able to keep up with an active group of travelers. We welcome families with at least one child 18 years of age or older. Siblings 15 years of age and older are also welcome.

Request information

This program is still in development. Dates are subject to change and details on trip costs are not yet available. Submit your request to be among the first to receive notification when final details are available. At that time, you will have the opportunity to place a deposit, ahead of our general audience.


Get started

If you’re ready to reserve your trip, click on the “reserve” button below to place a deposit. Please note: you’ll need to log into your Stanford Alumni Association account to complete the transaction. You do not need to be a Stanford Alumni Association member or an alum to create an account.

Questions? Call the Travel/Study office at (650) 725-1093.


Contact us

For all other inquiries, complete the form below or email us at and a Travel/Study associate will contact you within one to two business days.

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Stanford Travel/Study Terms and Conditions


We encourage membership in the Stanford Alumni Association as the program cost for nonmembers is $300 more than the members' price. A person traveling as a guest paid for by a current member will not be charged the nonmember fee. To purchase a membership, call (650) 725-0692 or visit for more information.

Deposits, Payments and Cancellations

A $1,000 deposit is required to reserve space. Deposits and any payments are fully refundable until 90 days prior to departure. After that date, refunds can be made only if the program is sold out and your place(s) is resold, in which case a $1,000-per-person cancellation fee will apply.


Stanford Travel/Study provides all travelers who are U.S. or Canadian citizens with minimal medical, accident and evacuation coverage, as well as on-tour quarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage, under our group-travel insurance policy. Our group policy is intended to provide minimal levels of protection while you are traveling on this program. You may choose to subscribe to optional nonquarantine-related trip-cancellation, -interruption and -delay insurance coverage and/or baggage insurance. Information offering such insurance will be included in your confirmation materials. The product offered includes special benefits if you purchase your insurance within 14 days of receiving your welcome email.


The Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University and our operators act only as agents for the passenger with respect to transportation and ship arrangements and exercise every care possible in doing so. However, we can assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity in connection with the service of any automobile, motorcoach, launch or any other conveyance used in carrying out this program or for the acts or defaults of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the program. We cannot accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, force majeure or other causes beyond our control. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger as tour rates include arrangements only for the time stated. We reserve the right to make such alterations to this published itinerary as may be deemed necessary. The right is reserved to cancel any program prior to departure in which case the entire payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. The right is also reserved to decline to accept or retain any person as a member of the program. No refund will be made for an unused portion of any tour unless arrangements are made in sufficient time to avoid penalties. Baggage is carried at the owner's risk entirely. It is understood that the ship's ticket, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the passenger and the cruise company. The airlines concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board their plane or conveyance. Neither the Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University nor our operators accept liability for any carrier's cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in connection with the tour. Program price is based on rates in effect at the time the brochure is published and is subject to change without notice to reflect fluctuations in exchange rates, tariffs or fuel charges. As a condition of participation, all confirmed participants are required to sign an Assumption of Risk.

California Seller of Travel Program Registration #2048 523-50

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