So what do yeshiva bochurim do during bein hazemanim, the inter-semester break that in the summer comes out during the month of Av?
Many of the American students studying in Israel go back to the United States during the summer. Some, however, do remain in Israel for the summer. The majority of the time these Yeshiva students are studying and learning on their own, but many of the Yeshivas are now offering programming and trips during the summer. These trips are reserved for after Tisha B’Av.
The Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim ran a hiking excursion on Thursday in the mountains of Yehuda. Over 100 Yeshiva Bochurim participated in the three hour hike. Although most of the participants were students of the Mirrer Yeshiva, students from other Yeshivos were also allowed to participate. Most of the participants were American with a large contingency from England as well.
The cost to other students was 45 shekel, which covered the cost of the buses. The cost to students of the Mirrer Yeshiva was ten shekel less.
“There a couple of extraordinary views of Yerushalayim,” remarked one participant. “There were two busloads of Yeshiva bochurim that went.”
An American based father said, “I am very glad that these trips are run so responsibly. On the Harei Yehuda trip, there was a rule that every Bochur had to carry a knapsack and four liters of water. My son, a former Yeshiva Darchei Torah student, only came with 1 and ½ liters and they made him buy more water. In my view, this was very responsible of them.”
The mountain region generally runs north-south and extends both to the west and east of Yerushalayim. The southern end of Harei Yehuda is known as Mount Hebron. Other important cities other than Yerushalayim in the mountain range are Chevron, Bais Lechem and Ramallah. The range forms a natural division between the Shephelah coastal plains to the west and the Jordan Rift Valley to the east, as well as causing the rain shadow responsible for the Judean desert.
There was a barbeque after the hike. Hotdogs, kebabs, and chicken cutlets were served.
The Mirrer Yeshiva runs such trips every day during Bain HaZemanim. On Friday, there is a walking tour of the Old City after vosikin by the Kosel. The tour of the Old City included a light breakfast. The cost of this tour was ten shekels.
The Mirrer Yeshiva is the largest Yeshiva in the world, with approximately 6000 students attending shiurim and studying in their botei medrash. Rav Asher Arielli’s shiur of 600 talmidim is the largest in the world.