Tag Archives: journey

Why I am walking the Israel National Trail

5 Mar

Israel Trail MapFor me, Israel is another “home.” A place I visit at least once a year
because Israel is a part of my identity. If I didn’t go visit often I wouldn’t be
nurturing this part of myself. Yet, I feel that something even stronger pulls me
there year after year…and that is my belief that connection to Israel is central to
what it means to me to be a Jew. During my youth, my Jewish identity was tied to my family and the synagogue where I grew up. Judaism lived in those distinct places. This changed when I traveled to Israel for the first time when I was 16 years old on a NFTY in
Israel trip. Once I was there I realized that the words of Zachariah rang true for
me. Israel is admat hakodesh, a holy land (Zachariah 2:16).  When I am there…when I walk the land…I believe the sacredness is palpable, so much so, that my draw to the land, is actually what is shaping my upcoming sabbatical. This coming spring I plan to walk shvil yisrael, the Israel national trail, 683 miles from the southern tip of Israel to the northern most point in the Golan Heights. I am thrilled that I am able to take this journey during Israel’s 70 th birthday as I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a place I love by being in such close connection to its vast and diverse landscapes. Not only will
this journey be a physically challenging one, I also see it as a sacred pilgrimage, an
act of devotion to a place I love.

Hiking the Land of Israel through vast and diverse landscapes will provide me with an immersive and holistic experience that will strengthen and complement my skills as an educator and more specifically as a teacher of Israel studies. For so many generations before me, Israel was more than just a political and cultural center. Israel was and I believe still is today the physical and spiritual heart of the Jewish people. I want to walk the land of Israel in order to deepen my connection to this spiritual heart and expand my love of Eretz Yisrael beyond my intellectual and material connections. During the trek I plan to cultivate and deepen my spiritual practices of mindfulness, meditation, and paying attention to the experience of awe. I also believe that “unplugging” from the daily routines of city life and challenging myself physically will be invigorating and provide for spiritual renewal and transformation.

I am looking forward to joining Walk About Love an organization dedicated to bringing groups of people together to walk the INT. You can follow my journey on this blog and also on the Walk About Love website