13 days in the footsteps of: The Queen of Sheba to the Land of Cush. The Stories of Eldad Hadani, and Benjamin of Tudela. Following the Lost Holy Ark in the Mountains of Simien, the Source of the Nile and the Churches of Lalibela. November 1-13, 2009 Includes participation in the International Conference of Ethiopian Jewish Studies in the town of GONDAR Ethiopia of today, Abyssinia or Cush of ancient times, is an enchanting land of kings and legends. The exciting beauty of its high plains, untamed deserts, lofty mountains and green hills, verdant valleys and fast flowing rivers. Unlike any other society on the Dark Continent, Ethiopian society is almost entirely descendant from Semitic origins; its beginnings are well documented in the history of times gone by. The ancient Jewish history connects with that of Ethiopia already during the period of the First Temple; the days of King Solomon and the dispersion of the Ten Tribes due to the division of the monarchy and the exile to Assyria. The 2009 Expedition to Ethiopia will include visits to the capital Addis Ababa, Tana Lake and the Blue Nile Falls; the Town of Gondar - an important historical location which served (and continues to serve) as the Falasha (the Beta Israel communities of Ethiopia) center. We'll explore the rocky height of the Simien Mountains, visit the antiquities of ancient Axum, and wonder with awe at the subterranean churches hewn from of the red sand-rock of Lalibela. The crowning jewel of our expedition will be our participation in the International Conference "Beta Israel in Gondar: A Conference in Situ" under the auspices of SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry) headed by Dr. Shalva Weil, which will be held at a special campus in the town of Gondar. Expedition members will be able to participate in all the authoritative lectures, and will join in the conference field study tours to the villages and Jewish centers, where they will learn the fascinating and complicated story of the Jews of Ethiopia. Departure Dates: Meeting in Addis Ababa for those arriving on their own, on Sunday morning November 1, 2009 For those coming from Israel - Departure from Israel on Saturday Night October 31, 2009 Ending in Addis Ababa, for those returning on their own, Thursday evening November 12, 2009 For those returning to Israel - Arrival on Friday morning November 13, 2009 The Expedition Route We'll meet in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia and tour the city, including the Mercato open Air Market, the Ethnographic Museum and the Mount Entoto View Point over the city. We'll visit the volcanic crater lakes on Mount Drebre Zeit, a distance of some 50km from the capital. From Addis Ababa we'll fly to the town of Bahar Dar on the banks of Tana Lake, the largest lake on Ethiopia. We'll scout the Tisisat Falls on the Blue Nile River and sail past ancient monasteries located on the many islands in the lake. We'll visit with welcoming monks and see the wall illustrations, ornamental curtains and carvings dating back to the 13th century. From Bahar Dar we'll travel by jeep along the western shores of Lake Tana to the village of Ambobar, the largest and most important Beta Israel center. We'll visit the villages, synagogues, the Jewish school and the sacred mountain, where the Jews of Ethiopia celebrate the Sigd festival. Toward dusk we'll arrive at Gondar which used to be the capital city during the reign of the Ethiopian Emperor Fasiladis, and for some 250 years. We'll tour the remains of the many castles, palaces and fortresses that comprise the imperial compound. We'll also visit the unique and impressive church Debra Brihan Silsi, with its wall paintings, some of the most valuable examples of ancient Ethiopian art. The crowning jewel of our expedition will be our participation at the "in situ" International Conference on Ethiopian Jewish Studies under the auspices of SOSTEJE, which will be held at a special campus in the town of Gondar. We'll be able to participate in all the lectures and in this fascinating meeting of international scholars and experts in the field of Ethiopian Jewish Studies. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain and in-depth understanding of the magnificent history of the Jews of Ethiopia. After Shabbat and the academic conference, we'll leave Gondar for the impressive Simien Mountain Range the peaks of which rise to a height of over 4000 meters. We'll tour the national park and view the dramatic scenery from the lofty peaks of the towering mountains and enjoy the endemic flora and fauna of this part of the world. After a night in the mountains, we'll continue on a mountainous road down the range to the town of Axum. We'll visit the archeological museum, the town squares, the necropolis, the Miriam Zion Church and the ruins of the Palace of the Queen of Sheba. This is the place, according to legend, where she bore Menelik, the fruit of her love for King Solomon, who was to become the first Emperor of Ethiopia. From Axum we'll fly to Lalibela and tour both sides of the Yarden River and the complex of subterranean churches hewn from the red sand-rock. It's not for nothing that Lalibela is considered one of the man-made wonders of the world! Many of the churches bear biblical names and according to local legend, the Lost Ark of the Covenant is reputed to have found its way here. Here, at the end of our expedition, we'll complete our comprehension of the wondrous connection between this place, Christianity in Abyssinia and the history of the Jewish people. In the afternoon of our last day in Ethiopia, we'll fly back to Addis Ababa and later on fly back home after nightfall. Price of the Expedition: $2,875 per person Price for travelers from Israel, including international flights: $3,480 per person Single Supplement: $575 Price Includes: Three domestic flights: Addis Ababa - Bahar Dar; Axum - Lalibela - Addis Ababa 11 nights in Ethiopia (November 1, 2009 - November 12, 2009) in First Class and Tourist Class Hotels as available Kosher Board, including breakfasts and dinners, and supplies for making sandwiches for lunch Land transportation in tourist minibuses, and jeeps where necessary Entrance to all sites and parks according to the expedition plan Cruise in small boats on Tana Lake Crew of two bilingual (English-Hebrew) Israeli guides Local English-speaking guide Meetings with researchers at the SOSTEJE conference in Situ, headed by Dr. Shalva Weil Participation Fee ($140) in the SOSTEJE conference in Situ in Gondar for those registering before August 27, 2009. Meetings with Ethiopian Jews who have remained in Ethiopia Pre-departure seminar in Israel International Flights for those coming from Israel according to the above-mentioned price Price Excludes: International Flights for those making their own travel arrangements Ethiopian Visa Accommodation before November 1, 2009 and/or after November 11, 2009 Airport taxes and fuel surcharges Tips for local service providers: $96 per person (Excluding the Expedition Guides) Extended Travel and Health Insurance Further tours in Ethiopia and Africa for those interested Personal expenses (drinks, phone, laundry, shopping, etc.) Supplemental conference fee of $70 for those registering later than August 31, 2009 Important Notes The Expedition Program The expedition program may change depending on local conditions, such as weather, road works, local government permits, unexpected developments in meetings with local communities, etc. The expedition crew will make the necessary decisions and will inform the participants accordingly. Accommodation In Bahar Dar, Gondar, Axum and Lalibela we'll stay in basic tourist hotels - the best available. Total of 8 nights. In Addis Ababa we'll stay in a First Class hotel. Total of 2 nights. In the Simien Mountains we'll spend one night in a special mountain lodge. Transportation For most of the expedition we'll be using minibuses (Toyota Coaster) for ground transportation - the best we can find locally. These are not the luxury coaches one finds in the developed world. On the day we travel to Ambobar on the banks of Tana Lake we'll travel by jeep. Participants The Ten Lost Tribes Challenge is a unique expedition that travels to far-flung locations under challenging conditions, and requires a suitable mix of fellow explorers, that will be able to complete the expedition and will manage with the situational conditions. The adventure is very real and will be a lifetime experience for the participants. In order to ensure that all who register are suitable for the task, registrants will be asked to complete a personal questionnaire that will enable the organizers to choose those best suited for the expedition. The questionnaire is available from the expedition Project Coordinator Shuli Yazdi, email: shuli@shaibarilan.com Phone: +972-3-922-4410 ext 112. The number of participants in the expedition is limited to 30 Registration Participants who have been accepted to the expedition will pay a registration fee of $500 upon registration The balance will be paid up to 45 days prior to departure, and not later than September 9, 2009 Please forward to our office a Xerox copy of your passport (photo page) up to 45 days prior to departure, and not later than September 9, 2009 - along with two passport photos for the Ethiopian Visa Cancellation Terms Up to 45 days prior to departure: $250 cancellation fee per participant 15-44 days prior to departure: $750 cancellation fee per participant 5-14 days prior to departure: $1850 cancellation fee per participant 4 days and less prior to departure: The entire cost of the expedition. Fridays Shabbat and Holidays (including Chol Hamoed in Israel) and Sundays and Public Holidays abroad are not considered working days. Cancellation notification must reach us via fax, email or mail. Details, application forms and registrations forms are available from: Expedition Coordinator, Shuli Yazdi: +972-3-922-4410 email: shuli@shaibarilan.com

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