Rabbi's Message

Temple Sisterhood Shalom Temple Tifereth Israel,

After a long, grueling winter filled with countless hardships, we anxiously await change. Personally, I am more than ready to enjoy longer days, stronger sunshine, baseball, and chirping birds. But what I’m really interested in is going to a baseball game, learning with and from my teachers and colleagues in person, and attending a wedding, graduation party, or giving my niece and nephew a real, heart-felt hug rather than a Zoom wave.

I venture to say that nearly every New Englander is ready for this season, which has felt more like a year of winter, to reach its final and abrupt conclusion. Yet, let’s not be so foolish to prematurely write Mother Nature’s obituary. While March 1 st marks the beginning of meteorological Spring, and the same month in which we celebrate Passover, an alleviation from our struggles isn’t always realized in a predictable, timely fashion. In some years, it’s a season of tremendously wild transitions; from the winter snow pack to the spring thaw, we can experience 60-degree days or dangerous Nor’easters. Once, during a field trip to Fenway Park in early April, I watched Red Sox maintenance shovel snow from the bleachers. How could anyone forget the April Fool’s Day Blizzard of 97? We lost power for two days! Rumor has it, it once even snowed during B.U.’s commencement in May?!?! Only the novice New Englander foolishly removes the snow plough sticks from their driveways on March 1st.

This should not surprise us. The heart can want what the heart wants, but the head shouldn’t be ignored. As hope springs eternal, we can’t lower our guard from winter’s wrath. For even after the Israelites tasted the sweet air of victorious freedom on the other side of the Red Sea, in reality, their difficult journey had only begun. Freed from the bonds of slavery, liberation no doubt allowed for new found pleasures in life, yet it also offered serious character defining obstacles, brought on by an expanded understanding of one’s relationship and responsibility to G-d, Torah, and humanity. As the Israelites slowly learned only after they departed the tough Egyptian winter, indeed the other three seasons in the desert provided plenty of opportunity for misadventure. A change of scenery and seasons creates only new challenges.

While time progresses in a mostly forward, predictable fashion, human progress is less linear. We have ups and downs. Sometimes we take two steps forward, one step back. Occasionally, two feet of snow falls on your head in April. Believe me; I am an optimist, just a cautious one. I fully understand and accept that spring, a real spring with graduation parties, weddings, and baseball, will arrive. In the meantime, we can’t let our guard down; continue to wear masks, maintain social distance, and accept the vaccine when we’re allowed to receive it. Please, don’t take your snow stick out of the driveway too soon!!

The following services will be held online, until further notice:

Friday, March 5 th , Shabbat Across America; 7pm
Saturday, March 13 th Shabbat morning services; 9:30am
Friday, March 19 th , Kabbalat Shabbat services, 7pm
Friday, March 26 th , Kabbalat Shabbat services, 7pm
Sunday, March 28 th 2 nd Night Passover community seder, 6pm

Please let the shul office know if you have any questions, needs, announcements, or urgent requests, and as always, feel free to pass our information on to friends and family.

Chodesh Tov and Chag Pesach Samaech,

Student Rabbi David Joslin

A Bit of Israel – The Israel National Trail

The Israel National Trail (INT) is called the Shvil Yisrael in Hebrew and is a hiking trail that runs the total length of Israel from its northernmost border to its border in the south. It traverses a wide range of landscapes, a rich variety of flora and fauna, and a diversity of cultures.

The trail stretches all the way from Kibbutz Dan, near the Israel-Lebanon border, to Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba. It was named by National Geographic as one of the 20 best "epic hiking trails" in the world. Although the driving distance between Kibbutz Dan and Eilat is around 300 miles, the Israel National Trail is about 680 miles long since it wanders back and forth to take in as many points of interest as possible. The exact length also changes periodically as the Israel Trails Committee makes minor changes to the route in various locations from time to time.

The trail is marked with three stripes (white, blue, and orange), and hiking the entire trail takes an average of 45-60 days to complete. Most hikers do the trail in small sections – anywhere from part of a day to the full two months. Even if one doesn’t hike the trail, there’s a good chance one will come across a white, blue, and orange trail marker, as I have, when exploring Israel’s unique outdoor scenery.

The Israel National Trail has been listed in National Geographic's 20 most "epic trails." It is described as a trail that "delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of the modern Israeli."

The trail is the brainchild of Avraham Tamir a journalist and hiker who hiked the Appalachian Trail in the late 70's and Ori Dvir, hiker, educator and one of the founders of The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). The Israel National Trail was officially inaugurated by then President of Israel, Ezer Weizmann in 1994. One of its purposes is to give Israelis a way to experience the entire breadth of the land firsthand. Various sections of the trail were added progressively during its development.

In 2003 a portion of the trail was diverted from the Sharon region of Israel and now runs along the Mediterranean coast. The reasons for the change were the development of Highway 6, avoiding the security risk of walking along the Green Line and the desire to add sections of the trail with urban and sea views.

In addition to hiking along the trail, other options have developed since the trail was first inaugurated: There are now special sections for cyclists and for all-terrain vehicles. An Israel Bike Trail is under construction.

Israel is very proud of this trail and the SPNI estimates that hundreds of thousands of hikers have already walked along it – both Israelis and tourists from abroad. In addition to individuals and groups using the trail, often special marches are organized for different environmental or social causes – such as marches for increasing the awareness of the need to find a cure for ALS, marches in memory of fallen soldiers, or even bachelor parties in the form of a joint hike.

Shown below are a map of the Israel National Trail along with photographs that were taken along the trail.

The Israel National Trail

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