JCHS News

Junior Journey: Walking the Israel Trail

Rabbi Dean Kertesz
The Israel Trail runs the entire length of Israel, from Mt. Hermon in the North to Eilath in the South. One activity during this 70th anniversary year is that different mechinah programs commit to hiking different sections of the Israel Trail so that the entire trail is covered by all the different mechinot.
Today we had a challenging and tiring day, but first a little background.
 
This year is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel and it is packed with special celebrations and activities. The Israel Trail runs the entire length of Israel, from Mt. Hermon in the North to Eilath in the South. One activity during this 70th anniversary year is that different mechinah programs commit to hiking different sections of the Israel Trail so that the entire trail is covered by all the different mechinot. The Kibbutz Baram Mechinah, which we met last night, committed to hike the Israel Trail from Kibbutz Baram to Mt. Meron, the second highest mountain in Israel. Mountain is a bit of an overstatement as the top is easily accessible on foot by trail. Our section of the trail was about 7 kilometers or a little over 4 miles.
 
We joined our new friends from the mechina at about 9:45 to begin our hike. The weather was clear and the temperature was in the mid 70's. On the first part of the hike, a we were joined by many army units which made progress slow but interesting. The hike was fairly level, we stopped a number of times on the way to chat, take breaks in the shade, and enjoy the beautiful countryside. We had a picnic lunch where we made our own sandwiches. The mechina students organized an activity, after lunch, where we discussed Jewish identity and commitment from an Israeli and American-Jewish perspective. 
 
The final push to the top of Mt. Meron was a steady uphill grade and a number of our students felt  challenged physically, but they all made it to the top where they were rewarded with incredible views of the Western Galilee (almost to the Mediterranean) in the West, Lebanon and Mt. Hermon and the North, Sfat in the east and far in the distance, Syria. Israel is at the end of the rainy season so everything is green and the wildflowers are still in bloom. It was a lovely sight.
 
We had dinner with our new friends from the mechina, said our goodbyes, and returned to Kibbutz Gonen. Everyone is tired and will get a good night's sleep... I hope.
 
Tomorrow we are off to Shfaram, an Arab town in the southern Galilee that has a mixed population of Muslims and Christians and then to Dahliat al-Carmel a Druze town in the Carmel mountains. This will be a day where we learn about religious/ethinic minorities in Israel and what their life is like. 
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Jewish Community High School of the Bay
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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.