JCHS News

Junior Journey: Hiking the Negev Desert

Rabbi Dean Kertesz, Jewish Studies Teacher and co-Dean of Students
This morning we left Tel Aviv and headed south to the Negev desert. The Negev makes up almost one half of Israel's territory and much of it is empty. We came to the desert today to learn about this beautiful and rugged part of Israel. To walk the land some more and to learn about the people who live here.
This morning we left Tel Aviv and headed south to the Negev desert. The Negev makes up almost one half of Israel's territory and much of it is empty. We came to the desert today to learn about this beautiful and rugged part of Israel. To walk the land some more and to learn about the people who live here.


We drove about two hours south and east of Be'er Sheva and hiked to Ein Yokneam, a spring that provides a pool of water year round. It was a hot today, probably in the 80's. The hike wasn't that long but the heat made it seem longer.
 
We hiked down to the pool where we stopped and ate lunch in a beautiful shaded spot. After lunch we did text study that asked, why was the Torah given in the desert? After our study we hiked back to our bus in silence for about 20 minutes.
 
Some of us then hiked up a rock formation called The Small Fin, that overlooks the Makhtesh Gadol (the big crater) an amazing depression in the desert.
 
We ended our day in Yeruham, where we ate a fantastic meal created by one of the "Culinary Queens" of Yeruham, Mazel, in her home.
 
Yeruham is a development town that was created out of the sand 65 years ago. Immigrants to Israel from North Africa, Romania, India, and other lands were dropped here and told to build a city. It has suffered from poverty and lack of economic opportunity. The Culinary Queens is one of many programs developed in Yeruham to develop businesses and strengthen the city. Mazel's husband, JoJo, told us about his family's aliyah from Tunis to Israel in 1956. In this way, students learned first hand about the Mizrahi experience of coming to live in and build Israel.
 
Tomorrow we are off to Masada.
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Jewish Community High School of the Bay
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Phone: 415.345.9777
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The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.