The past few weeks in Torah BaGolan have been exciting, inspiring, educational, and adventurous!

Here are some of the highlights:


In honor of TuBshvat we had a very special Seder which was attended by the adoptive fathers of the students. Throughout the Seder as we enjoyed the fruits of Eretz Yisrael, each student together with his respective "father" shared a Torah idea they had learned together.


A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to travel to the gravesite of Yosef haTzaddik in the old city of Shchem. This required the obvious protection from above, as well as a strong army presence in the very hostile Arab town. It was a powerful experience, as students enjoyed the brief visit with a few hundred other people pouring out their hearts and souls.


Recently, we also had the privilege to enjoy a shiur by the newly elected chief Sefaradi and Ashkenazi Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Lau, and Rabbi Yosef who came to the Golan and paid us a brief visit.


Shabbat Tetzave was a very special one as we travelled to the old city of Chevron, the place where it all began.

On Erev Shabbat, students who were interested were able to take a dip in a natural stream attributed to be the spring in which Avraham Avinu dipped.

We had the privilege to daven Kabbalat Shabbat and the Shachrit the next morning with many other Jews and with lots of singing and dancing in Me'arat HaMachpela right next to our patriarchs and matriarchs.

After a scrumptious dinner we walked over to the home of the English spokesman of Chevron, Mr. David Wilder who shared his personal story of making aliyah from the U.S, and eventually ending up in Chevron where he raised his family and is on the forefront of positive Chevron P.R.


The next morning after Shacharit we enjoyed a lunch packed with good food, great Divrei-Torah, and sweet singing, and then had a tour of the old city of Chevron.

We visited the homes of Jews who lived there hundreds of years ago, as well as homes of current residents, some of whom shared their unique experiences of living in such a special place as well as how they get along with their Arab neighbors. We also saw the archeological digs of the actual stairway which led in to the ancient gates of Chevron, the very gates where Avraham Avinu stood when he bought Me'arat haMachpeila so many years ago.

We visited the gravesites of Yishai and Ruth, and many other important landmarks as well, such as the Slobodka and Chevron Yeshivot buildings, the Chevron museum, and more.


We also enjoyed a visit at the home of the local Chabad Rav who hosts Shabbat guests from all over the world, as well as the soldiers stationed in Chevron. It was a chance for the students to see true unity in Am-yisrael, as we observed the mixture of guests, Israelis not wearing Kippot at all, shtriemel wearers, soldiers, black hatters, and American tourists all eating, singing and  together enjoying Shabbat.


After Shabbat we headed over to Kever Rachel near Bet-Lechem, and after a very powerful 2o minutes of davening to Hashem at our grandmothers gravesite we headed down to the Judean desert where we set up camp for the night and hiked through the mountains the next morning. We also had a chance to float in the dead sea, and climb, and tour Masada. I must mention this was very special, not only for the obvious reasons, but also because we "happen" to be learning in our Gemara the Sugya-the section discussing Herod and his relationship with Am Yisrael, so it was very fitting to visit Masada, which before it became a fortress for the Jewish rebels, was Herod's vacation home. It gave our Gemara learning a very realistic perspective.


We've been doing volunteering lately with a local farmer who together with his family was expelled from Gaza, and is now trying to rebuild their agricultural empire. The assistance the students have been giving him in clearing his land, and helping him erect his greenhouse, has needless to say, been greatly appreciated.


That’s about it for now. The next few weeks will be dedicated to preparing for Purim, learning about the significance of the Chag and the deep meanings behind its customs and Halachot, as well as focusing on the historical background of this special day.


Kol tuv!


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