Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nachal Sorek - June 20th, 2008

It was hot.

We me at Mt. Herzl at 7 am. Once everyone was there we drove to Bar BaHar. After the drivers took the cars to the end of the route, and came back, we started walking.

As we were leaving Bar BaHar a dog showed up and decided to join us. We called him Sandy

Our first stop was a lookout overlooking the begining of our route, with Jerusalem in the distance.

We decended into Nachal Ktalav.

Our next stop was Ein Giora, a spring which has been enhanced by digging a tunnel to the springs source, anf building a pool to collect the water. This is common to most springs in the Judean Hills.

Unfortunatly the spring was dry because of the drought we had last winter.

We continued walking along Nachal Ktalav. We did not decendall the way into the canyon, but walked about half way up (on the blue trail).

Out next stop was Dier a Sheich, the remains of a sheichs tomb and mosque. This is we stopped for a bit longer, ate something, introduced ourselves, and heard some more explanations.

After the break, we continued walking, this time on the souther bank of Nachal Sorek.

By this time, some people were having trouble, mainly because of the heat. We had to wait longer and longer for the last people to catch up.

Along the way, we saw the train tracks from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh, and a couple of trains going by.

At one stop, where we discovered that one of the people was really having problems, it was decided to seek help from the rangers. The person in trouble was escorted to a nearby dirt road, and picked up by a vehicle, which took them to the cave.

We ended our hike at the Sorek cave. This cave was discovered because of explosions in the nearby quary, and turned into a nature reserve.

After the cave visit, which was cut short because we were late getting there, we made our way back home.

Special thanks to everyone who helped those who had difficulties.

Thanx to evan who organized the trip on short notice and to Asher, our guide.

More pictures can be seen at

Ilana Browns Pictures can be seen at

Craig Prestons Pictures can be seen at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tzfat - May 15th - May 17th 2008

Thursday night some cars stopped off at the Beit Shean youth hostel to sample the restaurant, others dined in Tzfat, some came by Egged, and all hikers met at Beit Shalom Wolfinger’s inn, for the second year in a row. (Welcome back Blums with the new baby and veteran hiker Ziv).

We left “early” Friday morning for the Golan, entering the park for our hike to the upper Zavitan to end up in Breichat Hameshushim, Hexagon Pools. The brave went in, others sunbathed and caught their breath from the climb. Organizer Phyllis must have arranged with “Above” for perfect weather, and arranged for veteran guide Yisrael Ne’eman to lead our hike.

Another innovation was inviting local Tzfat residents to join our hikers, blending Jerusalemites, Tel Avivim and Tzfatim – welcome new faces, always a good idea. Benefiting from the previous photo workshop, those who came with digi cameras were eager to apply what they learned.

Back for a meditative kabbalat Shabbat in the tradition of the Ari and the mekubalim led by local kabbalists brought some of us into Shabbat, while others sampled the various local synagogues. We all met together for Friday night dinner, although well into the evening, followed by sitting out on the large balcony for the wonderful Tzfat air after dinner.

Next morning, those who went to their favorite synagogues and those who went to “Shaarei Sheina” all met after Kiddush for a Shabbat treat at about 11:30 a.m.: A guided walk by storyteller/folklorist/guide Mordechai Zeller, son of the late Reb David Zeller, a direct link to Reb Shlomo Carlebach. Very excited to be a new resident of Zfat, Mordechai told stories of the mekubalim of Tzfat near significant landmarks in a unique and exciting style, leading us into the “energy of Zfat.”

Back for the best meal of the entire weekend: the do it yourself “potluck” Seuda Shlishit which seems to get better and better as cooks inspire each other. Naps, board games, Ma’ariv and Yediot, conversation, filled the afternoon. Havdalah and into the cars, after paying up to our new treasurer, Craig, who has taken up the responsibility. Steve, we miss you but understand you moved.