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A Day In the Heartland: One MountainOn Thursday of Pesach 40 people joined us for our Chol Hamoed Day Trip to the mountain called both Gerizim and Bracha/Blessings.

It’s a year where ‘let my people go’ had more poignancy than ever.

We started with a visit with Guy of the Shomronim. In their chairless synagogue, he explained their religion, an offshoot of First Temple era monotheism which led to many interesting questions both to him and later to me. While we were having our seder last week they were enacting their version of a Passover sacrifice, giving us a modern human glimpse perhaps into what our ancestors did. Although they are not recognized as Jews they consider themselves from Bnai Yisrael.

Yup. Things to ponder.

We then looked down into Shechem from windy Joseph’s Lookout. The historical ancient city and Joseph’s Tomb are inaccessible due to dangers posed by the Muslim jihadists who control it, but with open Tanach, I read of the blessings and curses given at that very spot as the reenactment of the Sinai Covenant in the Land with Joshua. (I do miss that so much, guiding the country with Tanach in hand…among everything else war is not good for tourism.)

We met the irrepressible Nir at his Har Bracha Winery, imbibing and purchasing his fantastic wines from grapes grown on the hill, fulfilling prophecy between crunches of homemade lunches.

Rabbanit Melamed honored us by giving our group the history of the Har Bracha community, with Yonatan Behar of the yeshiva adding his own story. They embody perseverance, resilience, enormous faith and indescribable dedication to the mitzvah of settling the land of Israel despite tremendous difficulties and tragedy.

The last stop was at the encampment of Biblical Christians, the HaYovel families from Tennessee whom long-timer Josh Waller described as being partners with the Jews in bringing redemption. They live there, providing invaluable help in the vineyards and making a staunch defense of modern Zionism via their podcast, ‘The Israel Guys’.

We returned to Jerusalem after a day spent physically and emotionally out of our comfort zones, which is exactly where I like to take people.

There’s so much more to Judea and Samaria than meets the eye when you open your mind and your heart.

We work hard at One Israel Fund so we can thrive in the hills. In gratitude to all the security forces whose never-ending sacrifices enabled us to enjoy an unforgettable experience.

May ה׳ continue to watch over all of us.

 

Eve Harow

Director of Tourism and Education

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