Exploring Gush Etzion
Tour D: Travel to the heartland of the Bible, walking in the footsteps of the patriarchs and matriarchs. Tour includes visit to Kever Rachel, Gush Etzion, Hevron or Herodian, and takes you on some of the ancient roads our ancestors also traveled along.
Our day begins with our traveling to Kever Rachel, traditional burial site of our matriarch Rachel, located on the outskirts of Beit Lechem (Bethlehem). During this visit we’ll consider why Jews visit graves (kevarim) and why they go out of their way to visit the lone grave of “Rachel Emanu”. From here, we’ll travel to Herodian, Herod’s Summer Palace. The wide tunnels inside the mountain make this a super fun place to visit. From visiting this palace, we will have a greater appreciation of the man who ruled Judea and ordered the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Afterwards, we’ll travel to the western side of Gush Etzion, backyard area where King David grew up. We’ll walk along the Path of the Patriarch’s (Derech Avot) the same route used by the Patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob) and other travelers more than 2000 years ago! Now we will take a break from ancient history and review the history of Gush Etzion in modern times by seeing a short movie about the battle of the Gush in 1948. With a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices others made to live in this area, we will now travel to the Pina Chama – “The Warm corner,” a kiosk that offers free drinks, cakes, and a smile to any of the soldiers in this area. We’ll drop off a little snack to add to the collection of food which has already been donated by the community. During our visit in the Gush, , we’ll also discuss the various mitzvoth specific to Eretz Yisrael (shmita, oral, and trumot and massrot). We’ll visit a natural spring and see how early Israelites channeled water to irrigate their fields. (if your are up for it, you can take a dip in the refreshing water! ahh!) If there is time and interest, we can also visit the “Biyar” an ancient aqueduct that brought water from Gush Etzion to Jerusalem and to the Holy Temple (Beit HaMikdash). It’s wet and yes, a bit muddy, so bring along a change of clothes and water shoes. For those who don’t want to do this walk, there’s a comfortable shady place to sit and wait the 20 minutes. Now for the most fun – get ready to learn about counter-terrorism and try your hand at shooting various guns at a shooting range.
*If you are interested, we can include a visit to Hevron, visiting : Ma’arat HaMachpela, [the tomb of Abraham and Sarah, and the other Patriarchs and Matriarchs]. We can also visit the Avraham Aveinu Quarter, and maybe Beit Hadassah, Hevron Yeshiva, Tel Romeida, and the graves of Yishai and Ruth. .