Jesus Trail representatives participated the inauguration of a section of the Abraham Path in the Negev Desert October 20-22. The Abraham Path, a long-distance cultural path underway in the region, was initiated by Harvard University’s Global Negotiation Project to recreate the journey of Abraham, father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, leaving his homeland of Ur to his final resting place in Hebron. The path will begin in Harran, Turkey and connect significant cultural sites through Syria, Jordan, the Palestine and Israel, with future dreams of expanding into Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
So far the project has been selecting and developing small sections of the route in each country along it. Each country team is working separately on their segment of the path, in parallel, but not in cooperation with each other. Trail sections in Turkey, Jordan, and Palestine have already been inaugurated. The project is working to promote economic development and ecological preservation along the trail, as well as to foster mutual respect between the Abrahamic faiths centered around the shared common narrative of Abraham.
As part of the inauguration, a delegation walked a small portion of the trail near the south Hebron hills, ending in the Bedouin town of Derijat. The group also visited important archeological sites associated with Abraham, such as Tel Arad and Tel Be’er Sheva, lead by the renowned archeologist Avner Goren. The program featured a stroll through Be’er Sheva River Park, a huge green area being developed as part of a renaissance of Be’er Sheva as a tourist destination.
The delegation met with some of the unique and diverse people of the Negev, including the Cochin community of Jews from India, who trace their ancestry back to one of the ten lost tribes of Israel, as well as a group of Ethiopian Jewish women potters, who create and sell beautiful traditional clay sculptures. The group also heard from a young Bedouin woman realizing her dream of creating a line of cosmetics made of natural local ingredients.
Jesus Trail representatives enjoyed learning more about the Abraham Path and comparing notes with a project that connects to similar goals.
Check out the Abraham Path web site for more information about how you can be involved or walk a portion of the trail: www.abrahampath.org