by Avraham Zuroff
(IsraelNN.com) Schoolchildren from a school near Shechem are making a pilgrimage walk to Jerusalem along the ancient road that their forebears took nearly 2,000 years ago. On Wednesday, 7th and 8th graders from the Lieberman Talmud Torah, located in the Jewish town of Yitzhar in the Shomron (Samaria), started their two-day trek southward spanning 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the nationâ€™s capital.
The event marks the first time that the religious school, part of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar, near Shechem, is reenacting the historic journey, known as aliyah laâ€™regel. After spending Wednesday night in Ofrah, the students listened to words of Torah from educators there. They expect to reach the Western Wall Thursday night.
The students set out Wednesday morning on a hike from the Tapuach Junction in Samaria, walking along Route 60, known as the Route of the Forefathers, a historic highway from biblical times. Many of the events of the Bible took place on this road, which passes by Shechem, Shilo, Beit El, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hevron, and finally reaches Beâ€™er Sheva. The route was once the main north-south artery along which the Jewish People would ascend on their way to Jerusalem for the festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks), and Sukkot (Booths).
The schoolâ€™s principal, Rabbi Yehudah Liebman, feels that the walk is an educational way of reliving the past.
Elkanah, the father of the Prophet Shmuel (Samuel), was famous for encouraging fellow Jews to walk to the Tabernacle, then in the Samarian town of Shilo. Elkanah would take a different path each year in order to encourage as many of his brethren as he could to follow him to Shilo to bring an offering on the Jewish festival.
According to Shomron Community Council liason David Haâ€™ivri, other groups will hopefully follow in the footsteps â€“ literallyâ€”of both Elkanah and the Samarian schoolchildren.