Shalom! Greetings from Jerusalem Tours!
June 5, 2021 Update

Shalom, wonderful Tour Leaders!

From the staff of Jerusalem Tours International (JTI), we would like to extend a warm greeting and word of gratitude to our wonderful tour leaders, shepherds in Christ, and supporters of Israel!

We are sincerely appreciative of the support and leadership that you have demonstrated during these unusual and confusing times. If ever the world was in doubt, this past year has only made us more certain that our greatest and, only true hope, can be found in Him!

It has been a long season and things are finally moving in a very positive direction, thanks be to God! So, we want to share:

  • General update on Jerusalem Tours
  • What we have been doing
  • What we know
  • What we think we know
  • As well as the questions at which we are still guessing!

General Update on Jerusalem Tours

The easiest question to address is, “How is Jerusalem Tours holding up to the COVID crisis?” The response is…. MIRACULOUSLY WELL AND VERY BUSY!!!

Since travel has been ‘in the air’ for most of this past year (metaphorically rather than literally), it doesn’t make sense that we could be alright. As strange is it may sound to say, but God strategically placed Donna Jollay at the helm of JTI at just the right time and, yes, that was just a few months prior to the outbreak of a global pandemic. God always has a plan! Years prior to Donna taking ownership of Jerusalem Tours, He had been birthing in her a business plan, high-tech giftings, while also placing in her a love for Israel and the Jewish people. Donna’s connections with rabbis, the Israeli Knesset, global business partners, and influential Jewish figures, is impressive.

To provide an example, I (Kellie) was sitting next to Donna on September 15th while she was on a Zoom call with several influential people in Israel, when she started receiving a Skype-video call. When she answered, I had the privilege of being introduced to Dr. James Garlow, an early member of President Trump’s Faith Advisor Board, and his lovely wife, Rosemary Shindler Garlow. They were invited to the White House to witness the signing of the Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony. Shortly after the signing and while still at the White House, they called Donna to share with her highlights of this historical moment.

The purpose of sharing this portion of Donna’s story is not to boast but rather to sow seeds of confidence with our tour leaders and travelers. Anyone, of their own accord, can own a travel agency and simply be in business. In the case of Jerusalem Tours, however, Donna received an unction from God to purchase JTI for two purposes: to carrying out David and Sara’s legacy and to bring MANY people to the Holy Land.

If you would like to read more about "How that happened?" and a bit of the back story of how this all came about, visit this link:

What Have We Been Doing?

As unbelievable as it may seem, JTI has been extremely busy during a time when travel has come to a complete stop. And, this is so much due to our wonderful Tour Leaders and travelers who have remained so faithful in these times-like-no-other.

We have the absolute BEST customers! Re-booking tours has allowed us to navigate these uncertain times in a truly Miraculous way that is enabling us to continue operations when so sadly there are many that will not.

In an abundance of caution, we have also reduced our office hours significantly, so re-booking postponed tours and processing over 1,000 travelers requests as well as signing up future/new tours for 2021 and 2022 is keeping us VERY busy. In addition to all of that, we have been engaged in the following activities, primarily focused on improving our customer’s experience:

  • Tele-conference calls between JTI and the Israeli Department of Tourism (initiated by the Department of Tourism)

  • Newly re-designed Jerusalem Tours website which now includes a means of reliably contacting JTI AND the ability to make payments
with many more enhancements coming soon!

  • The conceptualization, design and implementation of digital ONLINE registration forms which include enhanced features for registration, payment, itinerary/tour download and digital marketing

  • The design and implementation of a new Tour Status page that provides tour leaders with updated information regarding registered passengers, flight information, accommodations and itinerary in one simple, easy-to-read ONLINE document (no more having to ask us and then wait for an updated traveler report!)

  • Digital online proposal forms

  • Many Zoom meetings with our Israeli partners

  • And… we moved our office! As we were being motivated by the COVID stay-at-home orders to become digital at warp speed, we were able to accelerate the 2021 plan to relocate our office to a location that we had already planned to develop into an Israel Regional Center.

We are so pleased to announce that we have taken up business residence at
The Gesher Center located at:
161 N. Hamilton Road, Columbus, Ohio 43213.

Gesher means "Bridge" in Hebrew and The Gesher Center was established by Pastor David and Miriam Swaggerty with the explicit purpose of facilitating relationships between the Christian and Jewish communities. Our new site is equipped with office and meeting space and a banquet area, making it the perfect environment for hosting educational events, orientations, A Taste of Israel, or in-person meetings with our tour leaders! It was a goal of  Donna’s to come alongside to help ‘build’ an Israel Regional Center at this specific location! God used COVID to just accelerate that plan.

What We Know! (About travel today)

Donna was Miraculously invited to come to Israel as one of the first and very few non-Israelis to enter Israel in over a year. She arrived in The Holy Land on April 13th, and, she is very Blessed to be able to go through the process of entering the country to be able to share with you her first-hand experience in doing that. Because non-Israelis were not being allowed, yet, Donna had to go through a special permission process, the same as what groups currently have to go through and we expect a similar process for groups in the fall.

NOTES: Because we are working hard to keep costs the same for those that are re-booking by leaving their bookings in place we are unable to absorb any additional costs due to travel requirements. Nothing is certain at this time, so we are unable to say what the specific process or costs will be, but here is the overview of the current protocol that we expect will be similar for all international travel:

  1. A package of information, including proof of health coverage if covid positive, has to be submitted within 2 weeks prior to travel
  2. Pre-flight testing - PCR testing required within 72 hours before departure and must bring results. This testing needs to be arranged for and funded by each traveler as is standard for any medical requirements for traveling to any country.
  3. Post-flight testing - PCR test administered upon arrival at the airport.

What We Think We Know! (about future travel in regard to the COVID impact)

Things are moving in a positive direction again! Because Israel is just starting to allow visitors after more than a year, in addition to the PCR tests they are additionally requiring anti-body testing in order to not have to quarantine, and is the only country doing this. As the cases in the U.S. are finally starting to decline, and Israel is VERY eager to start letting U.S. travelers back in, we expect that requirement to be lifted by the end of the summer.


Click the link above for more information

So, when can we go to Israel???

Israel just had its first tourists in over a year arrive the end of May, HALLELUYAH! This is a HUGE first step, but is still very much a first step, so Israel is being very cautious. With the lifting of the Green Passport this past week, we are hopeful that cases will continue to remain low and by the end of the summer most restrictions will be lifted for travelers. A PCR test is also required to return the the United States, currently, and Jerusalem Tours will help to arrange that for the group, but the expense will be the individual travelers responsibility.

So, we are very optimistic for our fall groups to be able to enter with minimal restrictions of just PCR tests and will have a much better read on this in late July/early August, and will not require any outstanding payments, in general, until we feel confident. We will evaluate things then and if things are still too restrictive then we can always reschedule.

We know that you are as eager to get there as are we! We are working diligently with our partners to ensure that, when allowed, you will have your well-over-do, trip-of-a-lifetime spiritual pilgrimage you have been yearning for, and we will not compromise on that!

What is the status of Oberammergau?

Oberammergau 2022 is a go! We are so excited that almost every single group has decided to re-book for this truly unique, moving and rare experience. We have re-booked all of your tours to the rescheduled 2022 performance and have your specific date confirmations that are within just a couple days of the original dates, for virtually all of the groups.

A PCR test is also required to return the the United States, currently, and Jerusalem Tours will help to arrange that for the group, but the expense will be the individual traveler's responsibility. So, we are very optimistic for your gruop to be able to travel with minimal restrictions of just pre and post flight PCR tests.

We we are continuing to monitor this closely and will send out specific updates for your group to follow. We will have a much better read on this in the fall and have until then for any additional payments required, in general.

We are a year out for most of our travelers - SO EXCITING!

Here is a link to remind you of how amazing it will be:

(For travelers that are not able or have chosen not to re-book) When will I get a refund of recoverable funds?

The BEST way to preserve your funds is always to re-book and we are working hard to keep costs the same for those that are re-booking by leaving their bookings in place. Because demand is just increasing for both Israel and Oberammergau, we already know that new signups will be at least $500 more per person. Our “normal” refund processing time is 8-10 weeks to allow us to recover the funds that have been expended, but of course these are anything but “normal” times. We also normally only process a handful of refunds a month, but the numbers are significantly more than that with covid. THANKFULLY, the majority of groups are holding in place and that is why we are still in very good shape and are even covering a portion of the funds, if we can, that we have not been able to recover from our suppliers and are within a few weeks of our normal processing time.

The good news from that is the extra time has allowed us to recover even more funds!

What do I have to do to be included with a
re-booked tour?
NOTHING! We have automatically re-registered everyone that is still signed up and we will be sending out confirmations of that over the next several weeks via a brand new “Tour Status” link that will be updated regularly with tour specifics and can be checked whenever you want!

It is our number one goal and hearts' desire to provide you with the best possible pilgrimage and life changing spiritual tour! We are always amazed at the patience and kindness of our tour leaders and travelers!

The staff of Jerusalem Tours prays that God will continue to reveal Himself in your life in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Be blessed and stay safe!

God Blesses those who Bless the Children of Israel! Gen 12:3