In a bid to expand his Jewish education, we decided to take Andrew Krucoff, newly minted Aish Hatorah Yeshiva boy and Gawker mascot on a field trip. Of course Torah study is important, but it’s also handy to see the land, see what it’s all about. Hence we decided to go to the Dead Sea and hike in Ein Gedi. Ein Gedi is a gorgeous oasis with natural springs and caves. It is also where David hid from King Saul and composed his famous Psalms (Tehilim תהילים, in Hebrew).

Krucoff’s first lesson however did not involve the Davidic dynasty. See, we decided to hike up Wadi Arugot rather than the shorter, easier and more touristy Wadi David. There we ran into a group of Seminary girls from Machon Shoshana in Jerusalem out on a hike for the day. These women of valor were dressed modestly in long skirts and long sleeved shirts, not the most ideal wear for a difficult hike in hot weather. At one point a difficult climb was required and Kruchoff, ever the gentleman, yet much to my horror, helped one of the girls up over a particularly slippery ledge. Lesson number 1 – these women are shomer negiah hence touching a member of the opposite sex is forbidden. Now granted, the girl in question may have slipped and seriously hurt herself, thus this instance of touching is pretty much permissible. But Kruchoff was still surprised to learn about this negiah thing and apologized profusely. The Machon Shoshana women very graciously giggled and allowed their savior to pose with them in a photo (above and below).

Things got a little wilder after that though. We witnessed something best described as Seminary Girls Gone Wild – and it left us slack jawed. Read the rest of this post for more pics and the rest of the trip. Let’s just say this paassage from the Song of Songs (Shir Ha Shirim in Hebrew, שיר השירים) took on greater resonance: My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna flowers in the vineyards of Ein Gedi.

I don’t know about the vineyards, but things sure got crazy at the first waterfall of Wadi Arugot as our otherwise Tznius (modest) gals plunged into the cool refreshing water. We just watched slackjawed.

Krucoff’s face really says it all. But I do have to give credit where credit is due. These women were soaked to the skin and yet remained tznius at all times. I have no idea how they managed that. Must be some cool trick they learnt at Seminary.

So we left our new friends at the waterfall and continued further up the Wadi to the source. There were far less people and the hike was breathtaking. We got to the end of the path and Krucoff, our Michael and his friend Ariel crawled through a tiny crack and climbed upon a giant boulder held up by me. OK, the photos don’t do justice to the whole situation – but it was a really tiny hole and it was really, really hard getting through it. Really. Afterwards, we took a dip in the pools. Soooo nice. And we saw an Ibex, also a river crab! I didn’t even know stuff like that existed! What do I know from crabs?

Finally, we see Krucoff in the classic pose, reading the Jerusalem Post while floating in the Dead Sea. Of course we staged that shot… everyone knows Krucoff is illiterate. A fun day was had by all though and after hitch hiking back to Jerusalem, we all went to the Magic Carpet restaurant near Hamashbir and ate, like, everything. Five hour hikes tend to make one hungry. And sore as hell. Can’t wait till the next tiyul (trip)! As for Krucoff, stay tuned for his American Apparel sponsored Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel!!

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

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