June 7, 2013
Today we became students of the desert. Debbie Golan from Atid BaMidbar took us to the lookout at the Youth Village and we read from Birashit and the works of famous Jewish writers about the miracle of the desert and its inspiration. Then we traveled a short distance to the Yerucham Fortress, ruins that go back over 3000 years to Nabatean times. From the Fortress, we studied Torah answering the question of why we and mankind received the Torah in the desert. Suffice to say that most of the answers spoke to the mind and the heart.
Desert Trek in and around Yerucham
Then Shai Ben Tal took over and took us to Kibbutz Revivim where we met Yuri the man in charge of olive oil production and the son of one of the founders. Yuri related the kibbutz’s history which is truly fascinating and spoke about the Bedouin problem he and others were addressing. We had lunch at a goat dairy farm owned by the Kronmel family. Picture tin homes and barns with a restaurant which from the outside looks a lot like a trailer, but once we were seated therein the view and the food distracted completely from the appearance of the place. The cheeses were comparable to any in France and in spite of the desert facilities every bit as delicious delicious. We were then off to Sde Boker and saw the outside of Ben Gurion’s home in the desert along with the memorial grounds and gardens and then moved on to Ben Gurion College and the dormitory where we were to stay the night. The plan is to hear more about Ben Gurion participate in Kabalat Shabbat services and sleep over. Within the space of a few miles around Yerucham there is so much to see, so much history to take in, and so many accomplishments of our Negev pioneers, new and old to celebrate. If we did not come as Zionists we certainly are Zionists now.
Shabbat shalom to all. Reuven (Ron Hoffman)