This is a story about a man with a vision. His name is Joseph Gitler, an American Jew who immigrated to Israel in the year 2000. After witnessing significant food wastage in Israel at a time of rising poverty, Joseph started to collect food from catering halls and corporate cafeterias out of his Subaru car. He stored the food in his own refrigerators before delivering it to the needy.
When he saw the success of his new mission, Joseph’s storage started to grow and eventually became the largest food bank in Israel.
Joseph’s organization is called ‘Leket Israel’ and has become the leader and expert in nationwide food rescue since 2003. The organization sources, collects and redistributes fresh, perishable and quality food, which would otherwise be considered waste, from farms, hotels, military bases and catering halls. This is done in an effort to aid the country’s population that lives below the poverty line. ‘Leket’ works with 195 non-profit organizations throughout the country in order to weekly provide nutritious food to over 175,000 Israelis. Last year alone, ‘Leket’ collected and delivered over 30 million pounds of fresh, healthy food for the needy.
To meet this goal, ‘Leket Israel’ carries out a wide array of food rescue activities. One of the main activities is harvesting fresh products from farmers’ fields all over Israel throughout the year. A significant portion of ‘Leket’s’ food rescue activities is carried out by its tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers. These numbered over 52,000 in 2016.
The food is then stored in optimal and safe conditions before being transferred to its partner NPOs all across Israel, while maintaining the food’s high quality, and adhering to strict food safety guidelines and regulations.
To enjoy a few hours of volunteering you can contact me or Email their office yourself: firstname.lastname@example.org
First of all, where are we? This site is located at the most north-western point of the map of Israel, just a few yards from the Lebanese border.
Before taking the cable car and exploring the site, there is something very unique we should see: A mile away from the beach there are some islands which seem to be ‘popping out’ of the water. These islands are apparently part of an ancient sandstone range that was once connected to the beach. Archeolo
gists have found on these islands many signs of quarrying from thousands of years ago.
When we look back, we can see the ‘Ladder Range’. This range is part of the Galilee Mountains and its name comes from its shape. This range is mentioned a few times in Jewish history but the most interesting source talks about Abraham’s arrival in the land of Israel: “When Abraham arrived at the Ladder Range… he said: If I could only have a part of this land” (Bereshit Raba 39)
After enjoying the view and going down the cable car, we can start exploring this amazing site.
The biggest excitement is walking through the Grottos. This phenomenon was created thousands of years ago. Underground shaking caused small cracks inside the huge rocks. The rain and the salty waves from the sea expanded those cracks and sculpted those beautiful grottos.
As we leave the Grottos we see a huge tunnel to our right.
Today, an Israeli would fly in order to reach Europe, but until August 1942 this could be done by train! When the British controlled this land, they wanted to have a connection to Lebanon and therefore they created a new train line from Haifa to the city of Tripoli in Lebanon. The line from Lebanon to Turkey already existed. The tunnel that we see was blown up by Israel during the Independence War in order to prevent the Arabs from transferring troops to the country.
This site is opened every day from 9AM – 6PM (summer time) / 9AM – 5PM (winter time)
They have Palestinian IDs but they’re not Muslim, They speak Arabic but they put a Mezuzah with Hebrew letters on their doors. So who are the ‘Samaritans’?
If you ask a Samaritan he will tell you that they are the ‘Authentic Israel’. When the Children of Israel came out from Egypt, God’s temple was built on Mount Gerizim – in North Samaria. But as a result of a conflict between two priests, Eli and Uzi, Eli left and created another temple. Most of Israel followed him with only three tribes remaining loyal to the temple in Mount Gerizim. The name ‘Samaritan’ comes from the area ‘Samaria’ but could also come from the Hebrew word ‘Shomer’ which means ‘keeper’. They still keep God’s mountain.
On the other hand, we have the Bible’s version. As written in the book of Kings, Israel was defeated by the Assyrians in 722 BC and was sent to exile. To make sure that Israel would never return he placed others in the settlement:
“And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah… and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel” (2 kings chapter 17)
This new population couldn’t live peacefully there due to lions coming and killing some of them. They sent representatives to the Assyrian king and said:
“The nations which thou hast carried away, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land“
The king had a solution:
“So one of the (Israeli) priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came… and taught them how they should fear the LORD”
In other words, an Israeli priest came and converted them.
I’ll let you decide which version is closer to the truth. Until then, you should come and visit their amazing neighborhood. Today, there are 400 Samaritans on mount Gerizim. You will see their holy mountain with a breathtaking view; explore their interesting museum with all kinds of exhibits which tell us much more about their traditions. And finally, the high point of the tour; If you have any more questions you can meet the priest Ovadia, their high priest in his home. He will be very happy to tell you how do they celebrate Shabbat, Passover and other festivals, which calendar they use? and how do they get married when most of their community are men?
Many tourists travel to the Dead Sea Resort to relax and enjoy the view. But after they got tanned they’re looking for something else to do nearby. Just behind the hotels, an amazing oasis is waiting for you. Welcome to Ein Bokek stream.
As you already know, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth and thatis inviting trickling. Because we’re in the desert and water is an expensive source, the hotels around took advantage of this water stream and used this source. The problem was that the stream got almost dried… The agreement was to leave some water in order to maintain this beautiful oasis.
What are we going to see? Beside the waterfalls and animals, the most interesting tree we will see is the ‘Tamarix’. First, he has a lot of history. In Genesis we can read about him: “And Abraham planted a tamarisk-tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God”.
This tree has also so many abilities to survive almost everywhere:
- He’s able to absorb the humidity in the air during the night
- He drops salt from his leaves on the ground in order to make sure that other plants won’t grow next to him and drink his water
- He has 2 different roots – one who grow to the bottom and the other parallel to the ground level.
This visit is only 1.5 miles back and forth. Mostly flat and easy hike. Kids from age 5 can do this easily.
What should you bring for this hike? Half a gallon of water per person, a hat, water shoes (not flip flops!) a camera and good mood!