The Carpathian Mountains in Samaria…a Photo Album

I had the distinct merit and pleasure of spending this past Shabbat with religious immigrants from the former Soviet Union, in the tiny outpost town of Givat Yano’ach…roughly 5km outside of Itamar in Northern Samaria (just south of the main Palestinian city of Nablus). It’s right next door to the well known Givot Olam organic dairy farm, where young Jews from all around Israel and the world come to work and live.

The town was founded roughly 13 years ago by Alexander Gimburg, who emigrated from Tajikistan where he worked…yet his family originally hails from Ukraine. He had originally founded the outpost town by the name of “777” which is situated right next to The Lookout Point of Three Seas, where one can see the Mediterranean, Lake Kinneret and the Dead Sea on a clear day. There he lived in everything from tents to caravans.

He eventually came to start Givat Yano’ach with a few other immigrants from the Former Soviet Union. I asked Alex why he came to this place and he answered half-jokingly:

“Over there I was building socialism…here I’m building Zionism ;)”

Gennady, another resident of Givat Yano’ach hails from the Carpathian Mountains, speaks fluent Ukrainian (as well as Russian and Hebrew) and as it turns out, attended the same university as my father, Lvov Polytechnic Institute, where he majored in Civil Engineering. They are the same age, but Gennady graduated four years after due to his army service. (My father majored in Applied Math).

Gennady is the town’s “construction manager” aka handy-man. He built a house with his bare hands—one of the few full homes in Givat Yano’ach—in just under a year.

As with most of the names of the cities in Judea and Samaria, the name Yano’ach originates from the Tanach. It was a town on the border of the territories held by the tribes of Ephraim and Menashe.

When Jews bless their children on Shabbat, they bless their boys to be like Ephraim and Menashe, as they were the only two brothers of the twelve who did not quarrel with each other.

Gideon's Tomb
Gideon’s Tomb
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Myself with friends from RAJE (Russian American Jewish Experience)…a kiruv organization based in Brooklyn, NY

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IDF pillbox
IDF pillbox

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Rabbi of the neighboring town of Gideon's Tomb
Rabbi of the neighboring town of Gideon’s Tomb
Surveying the landscape
Surveying the landscape
the house that Gennady built
the house that Gennady built
Gennady
Gennady

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Dining Hall
Dining Hall
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Alex preparing sleeping acommodations for the guests
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Guest Ariella Esther preparing potatoes for the Shabbat stew
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Me with the Lookout Point of the Three Seas in the background

 

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Shabbat comes in
Shabbat comes in
Havdalah
Havdalah
About the Author
Greg Lauren was born in Ukraine and grew up in the NYC metro area. After working as a trader on Wall St. for 8 years, he made aliyah in 2010. After living in Jerusalem, he returned to NYC and runs the blog Israel Beyond, where he educates young Jews about Israel, the Middle East and Judaism. His ultimate goal is to return to Israel and inspire young Russian-Jews to make aliyah.
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