26th March 2015

by Oli W and Yanna A (Etgar)

This week saw the first of Etgar’s two tiyulim, Tiyul Darom. The weekend was very quiet. Most people stayed in the rooms preparing in anticipation of a hike most well-known for stories of a number of miraculously harmless but near-fatal accidents in previous years. We met in Beit Shmuel’s lobby at 06:00 on Sunday morning and took a coach south to the Negev. There, we met Guy, our guide and a top lad, Ali, our security guard, medic and hobby comedian, Yaakov, Guy’s friend and a podiatrist carrying out some kind of research, and Iran, who would drive the van carrying our tents, equipment and food to each new campsite, a man with very impressive skills, capable of making a grill out of pickle cans. The first day was the longest hike, but was on the easiest terrain with only one medium incline. Lunch consisted of bread, spreads and canned food, with rice cakes for the glutards. We also had several breaks for vafflim and dates. That evening, we stayed in an old Roman fort overlooked by an IDF surveillance zeppelin. The reason for this was a facility situated nearby where Israel most definitely does not keep the nuclear weapons it doesn’t have.

The next morning we hiked down the side of Hamaktesh Hakatan, one of only seven makteshim in the world, five of which are in the Sinai Peninsula and three of which are in Israel. They are craters formed when a mountain top is eroded by the sea, which then retreats, leaving a flat plateau. Rain then enters cracks in the plateau eroding the soft rock on the inside of the mountain which is carried away through an outlet in the side of the mountain. Eventually, the hollow mountain collapses to leave a crater with only one wadi. After hiking across the bottom of the crater, we left through that wadi, Devil’s Gate, and camped just outside. That evening, we made potjiekos for dinner, a mix of vegetables boiled in Coca Cola® and date syrup over an open fire, served with rice.

On the third day, we re-entered the maktesh and crossed to the other side to climb “the Mountain of Doom,” a steep slope, almost vertical at points, leading out of the crater. When we reached the top, we had a short break before continuing to that night’s campsite for lunch. The afternoon was mostly spent sleeping, aside from a short ma’amad. That evening, we held a satirical talent show after dinner to make fun of Machon. We left the maktesh behind us on the final day and hiked across a ridge, stopping at another Roman fort littered with ancient pottery to make coffee. Towards the end of the tiyul, we stopped at a spring to swim and have lunch, before continuing to meet our bus, which arrived half an hour late.


Weekly report by Beth C (Machon)

MACHON CLOSED WEEKEND – a weekend where the entire machon machzor stayed on campus and shared their movements traditions

COMMUNAL SERVICE – kicked off the weekend with a kabalat Shabbat with contributions from all the movements

KEF – Netzer typical kef on the Friday night

SHACHARIT – a few people from each movement ran a shacharit service allowing everyone to experience other movements practices (I went to the Netzer one ran by Nikki and Louis, beautiful music and new songs taught)

CHUGGIM – individuals from the machzor ran sessions for each other. I attended Joe’s which focused on poetry writing. This was an engaging chug which encouraged creativity and the exploration of slam poetry. Other sessions such as ‘Islam do you want fries with that’ by Esther where also run which focused on differing Eastern and western cultures.

MINCHA- on the Saturday afternoon I attended a Hineni modern orthodox women’s service. This was an incredibly empowering experience and opened my eyes to modern orthodox traditions. The lovely Annie Levy laned and Sally said a the prayer before the Torah is read. The service was run by three girls in Hineni who were incredibly confident in their relationship with Torah and Judaism.

SUDAH – singing and food ran with a lot of ruach

HAVDALLAH – closing Shabbat which finished with a huge norties 00 disco ran by Habo SA

MACHON CHANGES – adaption in the machon are happening and some of the suggestions we made are being integrated into the machon programme

MACHON ONLY YOM TNUA – Etgar are away on tiul this week so it was a machon only yom tnua. Tomer and Ella ran a spiritual ma’amad based on the toa of Winnie The Pooh. This was followed by a kef session ran by Jess where we all got in our pyjamas and cuddled up to play pringle of fortune.

That’s this week. Oh also Spanish speak machon have arrived.

שלום חברים

Bethany Castle