News & Views

September 5, 2013

Greeting from the Judean Hills!

IBEX Fall 2013 is well underway! Our new group of students arrived just two weeks ago and they are already settling into the routine. Classes are in full swing and students are busy with reading and homework. Most evenings you will find our dedicated students hard at work in the library. When students are not in classes, they are traveling around the land of Israel learning about the history and culture. We’ve already spent four full days in Jerusalem reading and learning about the importance God placed upon this city.

Shalom from Israel,


March 24, 2011

Shalom IBEX students, parents, family and friends,

As you most likely know, yesterday there was a terror attack at a bus stand near the central bus station in Jerusalem.  Although Jerusalem hasn’t had this type of terror for a few years, unfortunately this is not the first time such acts have been perpetrated, and it is unlikely that it will be the last time.  Because these attacks have historically been limited to buses and restaurants in West Jerusalem, IBEX students are not allowed to travel on city buses or visit restaurants in West Jerusalem.  This policy is in effect indefinitely, and may be for the rest of the semester. (By the way, this is not the first time IBEX has had this policy.) 

Right now we must “wait and see” if further attacks are soon forth-coming.  It may be a good sign that so far none of the major Muslim elements have claimed responsibility for this attack – i.e., it appears they don’t want an escalation in violence at this time.  However, sometimes these attacks have been committed in waves, so we’ll wait and see, and pray.

Please understand that such attacks are not a threat to the regular happenings of the IBEX program, including our lives here at Yad HaShmonah or on our field studies.


Bill Schlegel and Benj Foreman


January 18, 2011 – Moshav Update

Although it’s quiet here on the moshav when all you IBEXers leave, moshav-life goes on. The moshav continues to develop and expand. Here are a few of the recent developments.

image More recent IBEXers will recognize this building, but if you haven’t been here in several years, you haven’t seen it yet. This is the new Home for Bible Translators. The building is situated just behind the “moadon,” or on the left before you go up the hill when you come into the moshav (notice the chapel tent on the far right). The HBT has an important ministry: they “train national translators in the language and the Land of the Bible so that they are better equipped to produce more accurate and natural translations.” You can learn more about their ministry here. We’re happy they’ve moved to the moshav!

To the delight of all the moshav kids, the playground was installed last April--although to be honest, I don’t know if it was the parents or their children who were more happy when the truck loaded with the slides and swings pulled into the moshav.

If you haven’t had a tour of the moshav for several years, then note also the basketball/soccer court behind the slides. It’s a great court--we’ve certainly been getting our use out of it.


This should make the FA10 IBEXers jealous: a brand new volley ball net (you should have seen the previous “net”)! Okay, so it’s not a huge addition, but hey, this is Israel––we’re thankful for even the small pleasures in life!

Anyone with work study interested in working in the library? Some overly-paid person in some government office somewhere decided that we should get a sprinkler system installed in our library. So for nearly three weeks, our library was just shy of a closed construction zone (okay, I’m exaggerating a little). In any case, the workers did succeed in making a major mess.

Let’s hope they installed the system properly. I don’t want to think about the damage those sprinklers would do to our books (some of which are nearly 200 years old) if they randomly started to squirt!

Anyone recognize this? Although the FA10 IBEXers may not believe it (it was dry and hot their entire semester), winter does show its face from time to time in Israel. A strong wind came the week after the FA10 students left and shredded our chapel tent. At least it cuts down on air conditioning costs!

Well, that’s the latest news here on the moshav. Life has been quiet and peaceful. There are many things to be thankful for; two that come to mind are the rain (Israel is in a severe drought) and the safe return of the Schlegels. We’re looking forward to another great semester here in Israel, and we hope to see you again sometime here on the moshav.

--IBEX Staff


Update – 09/30/2010
The students have been in Israel now one month and one day. Though we’ve been busy, it’s been a great semester so far.

We did experience an incident yesterday which gave us a little taste of what Israelis sometimes have to deal with in certain parts of the country. On the way back from a site that IBEX has visited for years, some kids threw a couple of stones at our bus. Nobody was hurt, and all the students responded well to the situation. (Actually the stone hit me, but I’m fine).

We as an IBEX staff do not see this as an escalation of violence––this is not the first time that stones have been thrown at tourist buses in Israel. Stone throwing, however, is very localized in this country, and thus we as a staff have decided that though we’ve been visiting this site for many years, it is best that we do not return there in the future.

All have had positive attitudes and are very grateful for the opportunity to study in the land of the Bible. We look forward to two and a half more excellent months here in the land of Israel.

Dr. Benjamin Foreman
Assistant Professor of Bible – IBEX
Summer Update – August 15, 2010
The IBEX faculty have been busy this summer! Here’s a short summary on what we’ve all been doing recently:
The Foremans have just returned from traveling the world (well, maybe not the whole world). Their first destination was Scotland, where they visited friends from times gone by. An academic conference in Cambridge then brought them south to England for a few days. After meeting up with friends and scholars, they flew across the pond to the land flowing with burgers and burritos: California! Indeed, Mexican food and In–N–Out were the highlights of the Schwarzenegger State, but the need to feel the outdoors pushed them north into the beautiful Stanley Basin at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. One week of camping, fishing, hiking, and sitting in natural hot springs in the Salmon River was not enough, but the call to return to reality eventually came, and they headed back south once again to spend some much needed time with family and relatives. After spending a few more weeks enjoying the passing pleasures of America, they returned to Israel only to be greeted with a 105 degree heat wave. However, while it may be hot here, it’s hard to beat the scenery! You can’t look out of your kitchen window in Simi Valley and see the hill top where the Ark of the Covenant rested for over 100 years! idaho camping trip 10 260

Heather The Surls’ family visited Israel in late June. They enjoyed traveling the land and playing Quiddler with Austin’s parents. After that, Austin and Heather’s summer did not go according to their plan—but they know it went according to the Lord’s. They practiced patience and waiting on God’s timing, while trying to be obedient one day at a time. Heather spent a lot of time writing, Austin worked on a summer class and studied for the GRE, and they both rested and read a lot. A few weeks ago, God answered their prayers and provided them with service opportunities that will extend beyond the summer. They’re excited for these opportunities and that IBEX Fall 2010 is coming soon!
[Photo Caption: Heather and Austin visited Acco with their friends Israel and Audelene. Israel is the group manager at Yad HaShmonah.]

The McKinnys have had a busy summer. After participating in the maiden excavation season of Tel Burna, Chris returned to his registrar duties at the Tell es-Safi/Gath expedition for the month of July. Mindy has had her work cut out for her editing the final photos from the Tel Burna excavation (click here for slideshow). Once the excavations finished, Chris’ brothers came for a travel-packed, fun-filled two-week visit/tour of the Land, which was accomplished in the smallest car ever built.
Chris 1
Mindy, Chris, and his brothers at Makhtesh Ramon.

The infamous car…
Chris 2

…and what about Becky? She has been busy working at the hospital, caring for family, and running the farm. An official update from her will soon follow. Stay tuned!

June 24, 2010 – The Schlegels will be on a six-month sabbatical, July-December. They plan to be most of that time in the Minneapolis area. It will be the longest time that Bill has been in the States since 1984. Chris and Mindy McKinny will join the IBEX faculty in the Schlegel’s absence. Both Chris and Mindy are IBEX alumni. Chris is currently finishing an M.A. thesis at Jerusalem University College on the reign of King Jehoshaphat. He is scheduled to teach The History of Ancient Israel and Old Testament Period Archaeology at IBEX in Fall 2010.  Other Fall 2010 courses include: Benj Foreman: The Land and the Bible, and Biblical Hebrew. Ariel Berkowitz: Jewish Thought and Culture. Ephraim Goldstein: History of the Modern State of Israel. Looking forward to another great semester in the Land of Israel!
Family Schlegel screen sarah sr Mckinny Chris and Mindy at Tel Bornat sr
The Schlegel family will be on sabbatical July-December.
Their “baby” Sarah is on the right, apparel courtesy of her older brothers.
Chris and Mindy McKinny excavating at Tel Burna, possibly the town of Libnah of Joshua 10:29, 2 Kings 8:22 and 19:8, etc.  That’s an Israelite Period wall behind them.

May 29, 2010It’s been a busy May at IBEX.  Four groups have been touring the Land.  Dr. Greg Behle has been teaching the Dallas Seminary group;  Dr. Mike Grisanti - The Master’s Seminary group;  Nate Foreman – Eternity Bible College group; and, Dr. Will Varner – Sojourners group from Grace Church.  We also were blessed by visits from longtime IBEX associates Dr. Doug Bookman and Randy Cook, both leading groups in the land.  Separate from IBEX (but they are our good friends) a group from the Associates for Biblical Research, directed by Dr. Bryant Wood, is staying at the moshav while excavating at Hirbet el-Maqatir, candidate for biblical Ai.  Dr. Eugene Merrill of Dallas Seminary is also here with that group.
Merrill email room sr
IBEX students will like this.  That’s Dr. Eugene Merrill of Kingdom of Priests fame in the email room (and yes, behind him, Heather Surls, IBEX administrative assistant :).
Merrill lecture 2 sr
Dr. Merrill lectured to students from The Master’s and Dallas Theological Seminaries on efforts to find the biblical site of Ai, once conquered by Joshua.
Wood IBEX lecture 2 sr
Dr. Bryant Wood, archaeologist excavating Hirbet el-Maqatir, possibly biblical Ai, lecturing on The Rise and Fall of the 13th Century Conquest Theory.  Dr. Wood has shown that the archaeological data at Jericho matches the biblical description of a conquest in the late 15th century.  Ai is next.
2010 Staff meeting 2 sr
Dr. Will Varner, Dr. Benj Foreman, Bill Schlegel, Dr. Greg Behle, and Chris McKinny met to plan upcoming semester and short-term programs.  Chris and Mindy McKinny will join IBEX while the Schlegels are on sabbatical for the Fall 2010 semester.

January 28, 2010 - IBEX hosted the three-week study tour of Talbot Theological Seminary January 2010.  The Talbot Group was hosted by Dr. Richard and Donna Rigsby, longtime friends and supporters of IBEX.  Todd Bolen returned to Israel to guide the group.  Forty-eight students participated.  They traveled from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Hermon – and lots of biblical locations in between!  Thanks to the Rigsbys and Todd for another great Talbot study trip.
Rigsbys and Todd
January 14, 2010 – IBEX Spring 2010 arrives in a few days, all 42 of them. Since Becky’s mom has recovered, she will return with the students—we’ll sure be glad to have her back here in Israel. We’re looking forward to another great semester!

September 22, 2009 – Cooks, Bolens and Becky Bange Update
Randy and Phyllis and family 
We’ve completed our first year at Meridian First Baptist Church in Idaho.  Being a pastor (and pastor’s wife) is challenging but rewarding work.  We really enjoy our Mondays off at the cabin (about an hour away from the church).  We’re expecting our fifth grandchild in December – a boy this time.  We have a group going to Israel from our church next May.  We miss IBEX a lot and think about all the good times frequently.

Cook Alaska-sm
Phyllis adds:

Hello IBEX friends,
Now we are the ones missing IBEX and Israel!  We have gotten to go back a couple times to lead tours and see our IBEX family on the moshav.  This last summer Todd and Kelli Bolen and their family came to visit us in Idaho which was a huge blessing.  We also got to have Pastor Meno spend a weekend with us, and our church people loved him.  I've been teaching a women's Sunday School class this summer on the topic of Biblical Womanhood, and have been involved in a women's Bible study, as well as mentoring a young woman from the study. The LORD is truly our refuge and strength.  With love,  Phyllis
Bolen Family 09 sr
The Bolen Family

Todd Bolen is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Biblical Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.  His studies and exams encompass the entire Bible, and his dissertation research will be focused on Israelite-Aramean relations during the reign of King Jehu.  Todd has recently released a new collection of photographs at The four children are now all in school, and they are enjoying benefits of “American life,” including soccer practice and swimming lessons.  Kelli keeps everyone and everything moving, while also serving the church and involved in a women’s Bible study.