Shabbaton Weekend: Hiking the Gilabun Trail

September 6, 2011

The madrichim organized a Shabbaton weekend for the international students. The group of 60 to 80 students traveled to Tel-Chai to hike, swim, do some sightseeing, and of course, find relaxation on Shabbat. This trip was a fulfilling first weekend in Israel! I made sure to write about the highlights in my journal. I’ve decided to document the trip in parts, as it would all be overwhelming in one read.


Hiking the Gilabun Trail

For the trip, the madrichim required that we pack three liters of water, a hat, sunscreen, an closed-toe shoes. After having traveled from 6am to 10am or so, we got off the bus in Golan Heights. We were told that the fields we drove through up the mountain were filled with land mines! But no worries… our tour guide said we were safe. We broke into groups and began the hike. I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of hike we were in for, and it seemed pretty light at first. But the trail ended up zigzagging across the valley, up each mountain a couple times. We must have crossed the river six or so times. Some of the hike was steep enough to climb, and I regretted carrying so much stuff. I also should have worn a moisture-wicking shirt! Since I’d been keeping hydrated since I got here, my body had a good time with this activity. Perhaps the hike is better illustrated with pictures and video:






This hike was absolutely amazing, and the views were breathtaking. All of the international students really got to know each other a little more. I got to practice my hiking and light rock climbing skills. I got my body going the weekend before dance started… I was in awe throughout. “I’m across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In northern Israel. On one of their many beautiful hiking trails. In a cave, crossing a stream, in a watering hole, above a waterfall, under a tree.” I was living moments with these people, so far away from home.


Cultural Notes

The madrichim are something like the American university equivalent of RAs, but without the patrolling and write-ups. They’re more of the programming side of the student resident experience, and coordinate trips and activities.

Shabbat is the holiest of Jewish holidays, observed from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Check out this site that explains it in detail.

A Shabbaton is a spiritual getaway that revolves around Shabbat. It can be loosely translated as a sabbatical.


  1. a beautiful photo of your silhouette in the cave!

  2. Thank you, Jeff! The photo was quite impromptu, and the cave was out of this world!

  3. […] weeks ago, on the Shabbaton weekend, we hiked the Gilabun Trail, visited the industrial park and photography museum at Tel-Chai, stayed at the Tel-Chai guest […]

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