I had a free day during my recent Israel trip and wanted to visit biblical sites in the West Bank. For several reasons it was wise to go with someone who knew the area well. A trusted recommendation led me to Tom Powers, an American who has lived in Israel for the past 14 years.
I made arrangements with Tom and had a fantastic day. He took me to ancient Geba/Michmash (where Jonathan scaled the cliffs to fight Philistines), Shiloh (where the tabernacle resided), Tel Balata (ancient Shechem), Jacob’s Well (Jesus and the Samaritan woman), to the new National Park atop Mt. Gerizim (fascinating Samaritan/Byzantine ruins plus a modern Samaritan village), and to the ancient city of Samaria. His explanations brought things to life. Alas, I only had one day to work with but Tom helped me make excellent use of it. Knowledge of the land, history, biblical connections, modern food stops, and driving routes is valuable. I could not have seen or done nearly as much on my own.
Tom has completed the rigorous tour guide program mandated by the Israeli government for licensed guides. He serves tour groups throughout Israel but his specialty is Jerusalem. I recently saw a blog comment about Tom by Prof. Todd Bolen. “There are few people alive who know more about Jerusalem than Tom Powers.” Tom has been published in Biblical Archaeology Review
and is a contributor for the Haaretz news agency in Israel. Tom’s website includes photos, blog posts and articles on biblical history/archaeology/geography, and contact information.
Tom told me he plans to return to the U.S. later this year. If you are in Israel anytime before November and are interested in a great tour guide for one or multiple days, contact Tom and see if he’s available. If you have a day in Jerusalem, consider Tom Powers to get the best value for your limited time.