Monday, May 07, 2012

Route of the Patriarchs, דרך האבות

Yesterday after noon, Pardes took a mini-tiyul/trip, to Gush Etzion.  It is a group of settlements that fell into Jordanian hands on May 13, 1948, the day before Israel declared independence. The dates that they were re-established are listed below. (Wikipedia -

(EOY 2008)[28]
Alon Shvut19703,400Communal settlement
Bat Ayin1989900Communal settlement
Beitar Illit198538,800Independent municipality
Efrat19838,300Independent municipality
Elazar19751,706Communal settlement
Karmei Tzur1984700Communal settlement
Kedar1984960Communal settlement
Kfar Eldad1994120Communal settlement
Kfar Etzion1967820Kibbutz
Gva'ot198475Communal settlement
Har Gilo1968570Communal settlement
Ibei HaNahal199950Outpost
Ma'ale Amos1982270Communal settlement
Ma'ale Rehav'am200140Outpost
Metzad1984380Communal settlement
Migdal Oz1977440Kibbutz
Neve Daniel19821,883Communal settlement
Nokdim19821300Communal settlement
Pnei Kedem2000100Outpost
Rosh Tzurim1969560Kibbutz
Sde Boaz200290Outpost
Tekoa, Gush Etzion19751600Communal settlement
We got dropped off in Beit Daniel and walked on the Route of the Patriarchs which ended at a lone, 600 year old tree. The tree was one of the only survivors of the war, along with just four people.  The road was the way road that the patriarchs travels from Jerusalem to Hebron, to Beer Sheva, (and technically all the way to Egypt.)  On the way we saw Roman ruins, and other signs of our ancestors living the area, like this mikvah (ritual bath). 

Me coming out of the mikvah! All clean and pure!! ;-) 

After our fun hike/stroll, we got to eat dinner at our teachers' houses in the area. I got to eat at Michael Hattin's house. He is my Tanakh teacher and my academic advisor for PEP. I had Shabbat at their home before, so I knew their family. It was such a wonderful opportunity to return with my classmates (about 10 of us) and have a discussion about how Michael and his wife ended up in Israel and how Michael made his way to Pardes! (Such a great story and such luck for the Pardes students!) As before, Michael's home was warm and welcoming and overflowing with Torah! I can't wait to go back for another visit! Thanks Michael and Rivka for hosting us! 

Issue of Hugs

At Pardes, all my teachers are orthodox, which means they don't touch people of the opposite gender. This doesn't really seem to be an issue, except, I love my teachers! And sometimes, I really want to give them a hug. They are the best!! I can't explain to you how wonderful they are as people, mentors, teachers, (sometimes they feel like parents, in a good way) and even friends. When I returned from student teaching it was so exciting to see all of them after two months away, but can I hug them? Not the male teachers! But I could hug the female teachers. And in a way this made their hugs even more meaningful. (Because I know they don't pass them around frivolously) And to be honest, if I could only hug the male or the female teachers, I'm glad I get to hug the female teachers!! (No offense to any of the teachers!)

Last night we went to Gush Etzion to hike Derech HaAvot (the path of our forefathers) and then go to dinner at one of our teacher's home.  Well, I had the honor of going to one of my favorite teacher's home. (I had been there before for a Shabbat earlier in the year, so it wasn't my first time meeting his wife and family.) And I got to hug his wife (who is amazing in her own right)!!!!!!!!!! And it was wonderful to express my gratitude and love to her. And I'm sure that my teacher knows how appreciative I am of his teaching and guidance without giving hugs, but it was still nice to be able to express it physically to her. Maybe it is more for me, that I want to express my appreciation, but whatever it is, it's something to think about. And I was really happy to be able to hug her!