Yemin Orde’s annual Challenge (Etgar) Hike tests 12th graders outdoor survival skills with a four-day, 100 kilometer trek from Mount Meron to the Village. Mount Meron, located in northern Israel, has special significance in Jewish religious tradition and is a beautiful nature reserve.

For our youth, the challenge hike reinforces their connection to the Land of Israel and provides them with opportunity to put new leadership and teambuilding skills to the test.

Based on tradition, the seniors assign a name to the group of incoming ninth graders following the hike. This year, the outgoing 12th graders named the future ninth grade group “Daniel” in memory of a beloved young math teacher at the Village who recently passed away.

Hikers’ Joyous Return to the Village

There was great joy in the Village when the hikers returned from their journey. The group made a dramatic entrance by running down the road from the Arab village (Ayn Hawd),  just above Yemin Orde, hollering and whooping all the way.

The Challenge Hike is one of the most popular and anticipated programs at Yemin Orde. Our youth look forward to the chance to learn outside the classroom and challenge themselves with extreme outdoor activities. A small group of staff members accompany the teens on their trek to facilitate group discussions, explore the area and help cook meals out in the open.

“It was a bonding experience for us. It was difficult, and sometimes we hiked in the rain. We  coped with everything. It taught us that nothing stands in the way of the will,” said one youth.

The Etgar hike is solely funded by donations to Friends of Yemin Orde. Each year, the Village is in need of new equipment to accommodate the youth who will participate in this adventurous trip. The cost to supply all needs for the hike is  $18,000. If you would like to provide this financial support, please email

Based on the hike’s success with boosting confidence and teamwork among the teens, Yemin Orde’s Village Way Educational Initiatives partner communities have also incorporated similar Etgar hikes into their programming. Indeed, it has become a signature program of the Village Way programs.

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