Gush Etzion, Hevron and Kever Rachel
Gush Etzion - over 22 Jewish communities with a population of over 70,000 - set in the Biblical Judean Hills, is not to be missed! There are many options for an inspiring and fun day including Tanach (Biblical) sources, history, adventure and more in this beautiful areas just 20 minutes South of Jerusalem.
Gush Etzion Tour Options:
Herodian: a boutique Masada with an amazing cave system to walk though as well. See synagogue and mikvah that Jews built when they fled from Jerusalem just before it was destroyed in 70. See also Herod’s burial place and caves where Bar Kochba’s men hid out while fighting the Romans from 132-135 CE.
Kever Rachel – Visit the traditional tomb of the Matriarch Rachel. Modest clothes required.
Neve Daniel Lookout: A great view of from 1000 meters high. Only 2 flights of stairs to walk up.
The Biyar – Climb through this ancient water system that brought water all the way to Yerushalayim 2,000 years ago! Bring water shoes with good treads that hold the foot, and flashlights. (You might prefer to bring old clothes because tunnel is somewhat muddy.)
Ask about our Gush Etzion Expedition Game Tour for Ages 5 and up!
Park HaShibulim – Enjoy this unique park in the center of Efrat with stone slides that is made to remind us of Ruth gleaning wheat in this area in the Book of Ruth. Hear about life in ancient and modern Efrat. Great place to do some archaeology crafts and learn more about the trees of the Land of Israel – fun for all ages.
Pina Chama – Cozy Corner for the Soldiers. This coffee shop which is free to all those who serve in uniform in the area, is completely run by volunteers and donations. Everyone who lives here is involved in some way with this project to serve slushies, coffee, popcorn, soup and homemade baked goods to show appreciation. Visitors can drop off some cookies (can buy nearby)as well.
Oz V’Gaon – This is a beautiful park with picnic tables, playground equipment (including a small zipline), and a synagogue, which was established in memory of the 3 boys who were kidnapped nearby in 2014.
Lunch in Gush Etzion: Many options. All are kosher and many are Mehadrin (Efrat/Gush Etzion).
Story of Gush Etzion – Visit Kibbutz Kfar Etzion and hear the story of the establishment of Jewish communities here in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, their destruction by the Jordanians in the War of Independence in 1948, and the re-establishment in 1967 following the 6Day War. See remnants from Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in 1948, the Jordanians who conquered the area, and an ancient olive press as well. There are several options for movies at the newly redone visitor center.
ATVs! Great way to really see Gush Etzion. Can also include swimming in a natural spring.
Derech Avot – the Path of the Patriarchs is an ancient road where Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, their families and many others walked on their journeys in the Land of Israel. Today we can see an ancient mikvah and much more there.
Deer Land – If you like real adventure (and heights), try the Omega/Zip Line that is stretched between 2 mountains.
Caliber 3 – The entire family can enjoy and learn about fighting terrorism at this special 2 hour seminar. Kids ages 5-18 will shoot real weapons with fake bullets. Ages 18 and up will have a chance to try 3 guns with live ammunition at the range.
Tzomet Institute for Halacha and Technology – Can also see ancient Winepress and Yeshivat Har Etzion “The Gush Yeshiva” nearby.
Kiryat Arba: Tour the Ariel family winery in nearby Kiryat Arba. See their ancient winery and taste wine from the Land of Israel.
Hevron: Visit Ma'arat HaMachpela - the Burial Cave of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs and new 4D movie in Beit Hadassah.
Fruits of the Land of Israel – Enjoy picking cherries, raspberries and blackberries in season.
Other fun activities: woodworking workshop and bread making are also great options.
Emek Ha'Elah: Visit nearby site of the battle between David and Goliat.