New trail follows footsteps of Sanhedrin

Project to enable crossing Galilee on foot from Tiberias to Beit She'arim, accompanied by app that brings Sanhedrin members to life.

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Mordechai Sones,

Students on planned path of Sanhedrin Trail
Students on planned path of Sanhedrin Trail
Gilad Tzinamon, Antiquities Authority

A new hiking trail on the way to Tiberias - the "Sanhedrin Trail" - was initiated just a few days ago. The 70 km-long path crosses the Galilee from Beit She'arim to Tiberias and passes sites attributed to the Sages of the Sanhedrin, the judicial body of Torah scholars that held court in the Temple compound in ancient times. .

Work on the first section of the track has already begun, with participation of students from the Education Ministry's religious education branch and volunteers.

In recent weeks, thousands of high school students have been excavating along the "Cardo" - the main street of the ancient Roman city of Tiberias. The project is part of the Sanhedrin Trail, initiated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Education Ministry's director, with funding provided by the "Milestones" project of the Jerusalem Heritage Office and in cooperation with the municipalities through which the trail runs as well as green organizations.

As part of the Tiberias section of the trail, a visitors' center will be established in the city soon, enabling visitors to get an impression of the project and participate in the excavations, while getting to know the city's ancient heritage first hand.

A trail will be built - one of the longest in the country - with a length of about 70 km divided into five sections, suitable for five days of walking. The trail will be adapted for families and circular routes will be offered. Travelers will connect with the smart route using an innovative, reality-based interactive app that will create a first-of-its-kind travel experience for the country's trails, enabling virtual reconstruction of heritage sites, integrating historical characters who will guide children along the route, bringing them to relive life in the Galilee where Torah study flourished after the catastrophic Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE.

Due to the formidable identity crisis that the people underwent after the destruction of the Temple, the leading scholars of that period's Sanhedrin acted to preserve the world of Jewish law, thought, and culture. The Oral Torah was written down in the form of the Mishnah and the Talmud. As part of this activity the Haggadah was also written, which in its main part contains a transcript of a meeting of Sanhedrin members after the destruction of the Temple. This meeting discussed ways appropriate to mark Passover outside the destroyed Temple, now that the Paschal offering could not be brought, and charted a new spiritual path for the people of Israel (

From the Haggadah: "It happened that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarphon were reclining at a Seder in B'nei Brak. They were discussing the exodus from Egypt all that night, until their students came and told them: 'Our Masters! The time has come for reciting the morning Shema!'")

According to Israel Hasson, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "As part of the project dedicated to the Sanhedrin, which will pass through 70 kilometers and be dedicated to the State in its 70th year of independence, tens of thousands of students and volunteers will give the Sanhedrin members the respect they deserve, and for thousands of tourists the broad, interactive, and fun hike will connect them to their past. We call on citizens who are interested in volunteering to prepare the path to contact us by e-mail cinamon@israntique.org.il. We will meet with the heads of the municipalities that the route passes through, and we will formulate an action plan to involve the local community and youth."

According to Michal de Haan, a pedagogic deputy in the State Religious Education Administration, "a student who digs and reveals remnants from the past, and receives an explanation of the findings, connects deeply to the continuity of life and heritage of our country. The program offers a meaningful extra-curricular learning experience that exposes students to Jewish ideas, values, ​​and creativity."

Yair Amitzur, supervisor of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the eastern Galilee and one of the idea's initiators, says that building and walking the path will connect those who live here today to the spirit of the period. "By using an app developed especially for this subject, the trail will enable experiential learning about the Mishnaic and Talmudic period and a connection to the world of the Sages who shaped Judaism in the Study Hall while walking along the paths of the Galilee."



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