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Friday, February 14, 2014

Spring in the Galilee - Rosh Pinna 2014

After the heavy snow and rain of mid-December, the country has been experiencing drought conditions. Even so, the almond trees are beginning to bloom and the spring flowers are appearing though in smaller numbers than usual.

Last week I had the opportunity to enjoy the spring in the Galilee - a truly wonderful experience!

The Almond Trees in Bloom in the Rosh Pinna Valley

I stayed in a small guesthouse in Rosh Pinna - the pioneer village established in 1878 by a group of pious young men from Safed. After three years of hunger and drought, all but three families left.

In 1882 a group of immigrants from Romania arrived and made the village their home. Aware of the previous troubles, they recalled the verse from Psalm 118:22 - "The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone (Rosh Pinna)" Thus Rosh Pinna became the new name of the village below the Arab village of Gei Oni with whom good relations were established.

In 1883 Baron Rothschild's clerks visited the town and agreed to sponsor its development and established a winery, a silk factory as well as a tobacco factory. The situated close to three springs, the village became the administrative center and seat of the Baron's representatives for all the Galilee villages.

In 1900 Rosh Pinna numbered 500 souls. One resident was Professor Gideon Mer who established a malaria research laboratory in his home. The results of his work was the eradication of the disease in Israel and many other countries.

Situated on the eastern slope of Mount Canaan overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the Hula Valley, Golan Heights and Hermon Mountain, the town has always been a tourist destination for those wishing to enjoy the many archeological, historical and religious sites in the area and the spectacular views the town affords.

Today there are almost 3000 people living in the town which has retained its original character. New neighborhoods and public buildings have been added alongside the stone houses built by the founders of the village.

I visited the area with Richard Woolf, a tour guide who has lived in Rosh Pinna for over 40 years. He toured me around the picturesque village.

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