Gordon Tours Israel Blog

Live Classes from Israel – Assaf Boker Interview

Icon August 21, 2020
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Many of us are spending more time at home, and are looking for new ways to learn, grow, and engage with the world around us. That’s precisely why we decided to team up with Israelcampus.live. An experience-based learning site that features courses taught by experts in history, religion, political science, and culture, each of which works to strengthen and reinforce your own connection with the Holy Land. The team of lecturers at Israelcampus.live is as diverse as the course topics, featuring professors, religious leaders, policy makers, and exceptional career tour guides.

Assaf Boker
Assaf Boker

Meet lecturer Assaf Boker; A former combat intelligence unit commander in the IDF. After extensive travelling around the world following his discharge from the IDF, he returned to Israel to study Political Science and International Relations.  As a tour guide, Assaf has introduced hundreds of travelers to Israel’s culture, traditions, and history.

Assaf is a natural storyteller, teaching a variety of fascinating courses, from the life of Jesus in the Galilee to Jewish insights about the early ministry of Christ, to modern Israeli society and geopolitics. An Israeli who is deeply engaged with the history and culture of his homeland, Assaf brings to life any story or topic related to the Holy Land. “One of the courses I’m most excited to teach is about the key decisions made by each of Israel’s prime ministers”, Assaf says. “This framework allows learners a unique opportunity to engage with the history of the young country in a fascinating, concise, and memorable way.  For me, that’s what it’s all about, making an impression and sharing my love of Israel with the world”.

Q. How are you able to communicate a sense of time and space in an online course?

“I try to focus on the experience of the individual we’re learning about; On his or her main interests, daily life, and maybe even some of their ambitions. Looking through a personal lens allows listeners to put themselves in the same space and truly immerse themselves mentally in the historical setting”.

Q. The courses discuss ancient times – are there any aspects discussed during the session that, in your opinion, are relatable to modern times?

 “Absolutely. Today, Israeli Jewish society is divided between the secular, the Modern Orthodox, and the Ultra Orthodox. These divisions are based on theological divides that create social divides, and there’s a potential for violence there. The Jewish society at the time of Jesus was also divided, only then it was between Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots. Just like today, those divides were social but stemmed from a theological divide. In that case, the divisions did lead to violence, and the destruction of the Second Temple. The resemblances are quite eye-opening!”

Q. What do you find students are usually most surprised to discover during the course?

“I think many participants are surprised to learn how Jewish Jesus was, in his behaviors and customs. Many of the rituals he practiced are still a part of Jewish life today. Encountering an Israeli Jew that can read and understand Aramaic- Jesus’s mother tongue- always surprises people. It’s especially thrilling for our travelers to hear the pronunciation of places as Jesus would have said them.

One other surprising element is experiencing the geographical reality of the Gospel.  For example, the Sea of Galilee really isn’t a sea, and the Jordan River isn’t really a river! The Judean mountains look more like hills to most visitors. During our course we explore Biblical geography and learn that the gospels were written with a local geographical context: for example, the people who wrote about the Jordan River had no way to compare it to the Mississippi!”.

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The Southern Wall
The Southern Wall, Jerusalem

Q. What are you surprised to discover about your students during the courses? 

“The eagerness to learn and take in anything about Israel. The love for the Holy Land, both ancient and modern, is something quite extraordinary”. 

Q. Who are the courses suitable for?

“Honestly, anyone who thinks Israel is important and would like to learn more about it in an experiential way”.

Assaf is currently teaching two courses with Israelcampus.live: one about Mt. Herzl, Israel’s national cemetery, and one about the excavation of the Southern Wall of old Jerusalem following Israel’s recapture of the Old City in 1967. In both courses, Assaf explores culture, archaeology, and politics to give an immersive and comprehensive course experience. 

This program will expand your congregation’s knowledge and strengthen its bond with the land of the Bible. Simply select the topics you are interested in, schedule the day that works best for your members, and look forward to a LIVE seminar from the Holy Land with a leading Israeli educator, all for less than the cost of an average lunch. We’re actively enrolling now. Click to learn more!

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