Apr 11, 2008

Touring Eretz Yisrael: Northern Region: Bet Lehem HaGlilit

This week I went from Bet Lehem to Bet Lehem. This time, the Bet Lehem was in the north side of Israel. There is a small village called Bet Lehem HaGlilit. They do not have a Kever Rachel there, and it is not under PA control.

Bet Lehem HaGlilit is a small moshav that was originally built by teh Templars. They built a few villages around Israel. They were chased out at the end of World War II, as they had collaborated with the Nazis (this is according to the history they told us in the village). The refugees from Europe were not sympathetic to the Templars (who were of German origin, and supported the Nazi movement, albeit quietly).

The company I work for goes on an annual day of Tiyuling (called Yom Gibush). This year we went to Bet Lehem HaGlilit. The activities lined up for us included "Tractoronim" A.K.A. "Rangerim" (or in English "Dune Buggies"), a bike ride, and a treasure hunt.

I won't describe the treasure hunt, other than to say my team won!

The Tractoronim were great. We were led through the countryside in these dune buggies (the one in the pic is a dune buggy driven by one of the guides - our dune buggies were a little bigger and held 2-3 riders). "The countryside" includes uphills, downhills, rocky terrain, dirt and dust, streams and fields.

Then it was my groups turn for the bike ride. Actually they gave us a choice of either biking or a lesson in Tai Chi. I have already taken 6 months of Tai Chi and found it boring and for old people, so I chose the bikes. Man was that a bad choice! I did not realize I was about to embark on a 10 kilometer mountain bike ride offroad, through mountains and fields, experiencing rocky terrain, dirt, uphills and downhills.

To be blunt, the downhills were not the problem. Except for the one downhill that was literally at an angle of 85 degrees! Yet I lived to tell the tale, and I can be proud of myself that I made it the whole way riding my bike. I did not have to get off to walk my bike even once! I could barely move by the end, and I made it the whole way with a lot of huffing and puffing, but I made it. I have not gone biking in a very long time, and I now think it is time for me to get back into shape a bit (though not by biking).

The real benefit of going on the bike ride was getting the tour from the leader of the group. He described the area and the other villages (Moshavim) in the region.

One nearby was called Alonei Abba (Alon is an Oak Tree, and there were a lot of Oak Trees in the area). The vineyard you see below is part of Alonei Abba. The guide told us that they call this "Provence" because it is so similar to Provence, France which is a wine region in France. He described how wine and grapes has been the major product of this area for 2000 years, with documentation of this being a star area for wine in the Roman Empire.

The area was full of ancient wine presses, one of which we stopped to take a look at (the pic is part of it).

Then it was dinner and home.


  1. "They do not have a Kever Rachel there"

    iirc, i happened across a kever imahot in teveriah

  2. Man. I read stuff like this it REALLY makes me wanna go home...

    What do you do for a living, Rafi? If I may ask, that is! :)


    Which Imahot? Supposedly, the other three are buried in the Me'arat Ha'Machpelah...

  3. Rafi, nice post! You know that right outside your own home in Beit Shemesh the hills are full of wells, wine presses, and other ruins from previous Jewish life. Right around the corner from our friends' house (in the neighbourhood) is an old mikvah. They didn't even know until I showed it to them last year! You really should do a post about these places right outside your door. We'll be checking them out again on Hol Hamoed!

  4. Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People:

    the same imahot that are buried in me'arat ha-makhpelah. i'll see if i can find the photograph (from pre-digital days) and post it.

  5. Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People:

    i stand corrected. i found the photograph. it is the kever of bilhah, zilpah, yocheved, tzipporah, elisheva and avigayil.

    my wife always yells at me when i take pictures of these types of things. now i'm really glad i did, otherwise you might have been misinformed.

  6. LOZ - do you know where it is?


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