Cindy Iglitzen-Socianu: At Home in the Holy Land

 
 

Ashley Ricks
Published June 20, 2018

Fast Facts about Cindy Iglitzen-Socianu 

Who do you plan for?

Israel Advantage Tours

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Isaiah 2:3 (NIV)

“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Where are you from?

Cindy Iglitzen-Socianu was born and raised in Chicago.

What is your favorite Destination?

Her favorite destination is the Western Wall in Jerusalem

What are your Hobbies?

Iglitzen-Socianu enjoys flower arranging and event planning.

Meet Cindy Iglitzen-Socianu

Like an ancient scribe copying passages of holy text, Cindy Iglitzen-Socianu is meticulous and enthusiastic about her work.

Along with her husband, Dan, Iglitzen-Socianu owns and runs Israel Advantage Tours. Travelers and partners who work with her will quickly come to appreciate her passion for Israel and bringing the Holy Land to life for visitors.

The seed of Iglitzen-Socianu’s passion for the Holy Land was planted when she was only 16 years old. Her family went to Israel for her cousin’s bar mitzvah. Like any normal teenager, she wanted to spend the summer with her friends, not knowing what she would be missing out on; but her mother made her join the rest of the family on the trip, telling her “No! You’re going to Israel. It’s yours. It’s for you to experience.”

The first time she stepped off the plane, she realized the importance of the land, and she bowed on her hands and knees and kissed the ground.

“I realized then that somehow, somewhere, I was going to have something to do with bringing people to Israel,” she said. “I knew in my heart I was going to be doing it. I didn’t know how God was going to lead me to it, but I knew that it was going to happen.”

Iglitzen-Socianu was the deputy director for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the first person born outside Israel to hold the office. After more than a decade in that role, she moved on and began her own company, Israel Advantage Tours, to continue the mission of bringing the word and the lands of the Bible to life for others.

“All groups are our guests,” she said. “We’re bringing them to our home because Israel is our home.”

Iglitzen-Socianu helps travelers learn about the destinations and holy sites the group will be visiting; she distributes information early on and works closely with the pastors and group leaders to create itineraries and plan the trips. She also gives her travelers insight at the holy sites by reading passages of scripture related to those places.

Like any tour leader, Iglitzen-Socianu hopes her trips have an impact on her travelers, but she also works to constantly learn and grow.

“I learn from my pastors and my colleagues and those around me every day, and mostly I learn from the Bible,” she said. “I’m a Jewish woman, but I learn from Jesus’ life and ministry, too, the way he interacted with people.”

Iglitzen-Socianu shared one such learning experience that occurred when she brought a group to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Shrine of the Book. One of her travelers got separated from the group and called Iglitzen-Socianu to tell her she was lost but was by the white fountain. Iglitzen-Socianu went all through the building looking for fountains before she realized that the woman was outside looking at the founts of water that fall on the roof to help cool the building. Once she found the lost traveler, she realized her mistake. Iglitzen-Socianu said the event hit home with her and taught her to open her eyes to different perspectives and how different backgrounds can shape us.

Travel Tips

  1. Encourage travelers to pack their Bibles. It’s the best guidebook of all.
  2. Help travelers understand that there is a “before” and an “after” when
    traveling to the Holy Land. Their lives and their perspectives will change with their first trip to the lands of the Bible.
  3. Buy shoes well before the trip. Take at least a few weeks, if not a month or two, to get them broken in before the three to five miles a day of walking you’ll be doing in the Holy Land.