News from our Jordan Valley branch in Maale Efraim [chsvan 5777]


We went on a long weekend (Parshat Vayarah) and especially Shabbat' sleeping outdoors in the Gush Etzion area. During the weekend we became more united, staff and students. We learned about the area and its history, meeting fascinating, inspiring people.
We started Thursday night at the Oz and Gaon Hilltop, a hill that overlooks the major junction in Gush Etzion, which was built in memory of the three boys who were kidnapped and killed. We met with Ruth Gillis, hearing about living and growing with joy in spite of and through times of sorrow (her husband, Dr. Shmuel Gillis, was killed in the Second Intifada, in 2001) and with Uri Schecter who told us uplifting stories. We made dinner for ourselves (Thai style) and sang songs late into the night.
Friday morning, after prayer with dawn and a good breakfast that one of the parents provided, we met Yaron Rosenthal, the director of the Kfar Etzion field school and from there to see the new and moving film about the defenders of Gush Etzion in the 1948 War of Independence.
After a hike and a dip we made off to be in the Nes Harim camping area for Shabbat. We heard a lecture from Yoaz Hendel, the head of the Institute for Zionist Strategy. Saturday night we went to escort the queen, Shabbat, with the help of Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon in Alon Shvut.
We had a great experience that pulled us close together

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