Night Hike Magic

On my third “last” night at Livnot, a small group of chevre headed out into the darkness on a night hike. Illuminated by the stars, the wilderness surrounding Tzfat was vibrant in a whole new light and complimented by the silence of the night. Winding down the trails we quietly sang “Hallelujah” and learned a few Israeli jingles along the way. Stopping to gaze upward into the heavens, shooting stars rained down glamorously–for some the first they have ever seen–creating a magical feel for the adventure.

The night hike crew outside the mikvah cave (Photo by Keith Levinson)

Without knowing our destination, we followed our guide faithfully. Sprinting across the seeping highway into an abandoned 16th century home, the atmosphere instantly changed. Huddling around a dank pool under a small arch, Noam explained the history of the home, its village, and its importance during the War of Independence–but our minds were about to be blown once more. Following the trickling water into a small crack I soon found myself in a tiny cavern with a crystal clear pool shining in the candlelight. The water glistened as we sipped the freshest water I ever tasted, before dipping into the ancient mikvah. Emerging from the tunnel still dripping with mikvah water was exhilarating. A feeling of rebirth washed over me as I stepped out into the night breeze. The rest of the night passed in a blur, but the taste of fresh-picked wild plums still lingers in my memory; surely a night I will never forget. This is just one of a thousand different amazing experiences Livnot has given me, and is the reason I find myself struggling to leave. Every day I make new plans to disembark and head to Tel Aviv, but Tzfat just keeps pulling me back in–and it is because of the strength of the Livnot family I have formed. Eventually I will have to leave, but until then I await my next Tzfat adventure.

Meir Paltiel
Meir Paltiel
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Originally from Syracuse, NY, Meir received his BA in American History and Political Science from Tulane University and his MS in Resource Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. He arrived in Israel in 1992, served in the Nahal Infantry Unit before moving to Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. On Kibbutz, Meir was Assistant Manager of the... Read More