These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Golan Tiyul, or Adversity Builds Community

Posted on March 27, 2013 by Aliza Geller

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Courtesy of Megan Dyer (Spring '12, Spring '13)

Courtesy of Megan Dyer (Spring ’12, Spring ’13)

Now that the craziness of preparing for Pesach and the seder itself is over, I have time to write about the Golan Tiyul. It was so beautiful! Flowers in bloom everywhere! Last week we experienced such a different climate than in Jerusalem, it was rainy and much cooler. We were joined by the families of several Pardes faculty members, which was really nice. Of all the tiyulim we have gone on this year, this has been the one with the most “modifications”. Rain made our first hike interesting, it was very muddy. As someone with a reasonable fear of slippery surfaces ( in 7th grade, I broke my ankle when I lost my footing on some wet leaves on a hill), I was not a happy camper. At the end of the hike, I was ready to throw out my mud saturated sneakers, but a friend brought them to the bus for me. Even though I felt like I never wanted to hike again, this was a good thing because after a good night sleep I was ready to do the hike the next day.

Day two turned out to be the most modified. There were supposed to be two hike options, but rainfall and more mud made this difficult. We ended up with just the “easy” option, a really nice hike at the Banias, complete with waterfalls, ruins of flour mills and a dairy farm?! After this, we were lucky enough to be able to go on a tour and experience a wine tasting at the Galil Winery. Then, we went to Har Bental, which was extremely cold. This was the site of a battle that took place during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Today, you can walk around the bunker and get a good cup of coffee at Coffee Anan, a cafe adjacent to the site. You can also see some really cool metal sculptures. Some time between the first and second day, a couple of students developed a stomach bug and ended up spending the morning at a hospital. That night, we had a jam session with bagpipes, drum and a lot of singing.

On the third day we were told we were going on an “easy” hike with the possibility of going for either two or five hours. This was a much more technical hike then I would have liked. We had to cross a couple of streams climb over many uneven rocks and along very narrow ledges. At the beginning of the hike, I was sure I could do the whole thing. Soon it became apparent that I would be doing the shorter option. After the group of us got back to the bus, we learned that the trail had been closed to a landslide(?) and everyone else had to turn back as well. After having so much go wrong, our final stop was a lookout point where we had some final words from our Guide, Ma’ayan, and Mincha. I would have been happy to spend several hours looking out at the view. Instead, we got back on the bus and came back to Jerusalem earlier then we had intended.

Even though we had things go wrong often on this tiyul, it was still a lot of fun and saw many beautiful sites. What happened on the tiyul on an interpersonal level is truly a testament to the kind of community we have created at Pardes. In tough situations we rally together. Many times during the hikes, I was offered a hand or a word of encouragement. This made me really proud to be a member of the community.