The inspiring story of the Dubrovin Farm and Yesud HaMa'ala 

Visit the interesting Dubrovin Farm and follow this with a visit to the nearby village of Yesud HaMa’ala. One can be done without the other, but together they tell the inspiring story of immigrants to the Hula Valley who refused give up, when objectively they had reason enough to do so. The farm displays life in the early days of settlement at Yesod HaMa’ala. Consider also a visit to the nearby Hula Nature Reserve to complete the picture.

Yoav and Rachel Dubrovin were Christian Shabbat observers (termed Sobotnikim) who converted to Judaism and came on aliya in 1904 as part of the First Aliya. They had been Russian farmers and had considerable experience in agriculture, being familiar with the type of flat countryside of the Hula Valley. They were persuaded by Baron Edmond Rothschild’s organization to settle here. They purchased land in 1909 and were helped with construction of their farm. Because of their expertise, this became a model farm for the other settlers in this area. However, they lost two of their children from malaria. In his old age Yoav moved to Rosh Pina to avoid malaria and he left the management of the farm to his bachelor son Yitzhak. His workers would have been local Bedouin. Yitzhak would eventually donate the estate to the Jewish National Fund, and the farm has been reconstructed to demonstrate farming life at that time and its challenges in the Hula Valley.

Directions: Enter “Dubrovin Farm” into Waze and click on “Dubrovin farm, Ha-Shmura Street, Yesud HaMa’ala.”

Admission: The farm is open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm Sunday to Thursday and from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm Friday and Saturday. Admission is 20 nis for adults and 15 nis for seniors and children. A brochure is provided in English. Their phone number is 04 693-7371. For their website (in Hebrew) click here

Dubrovin farm.jpeg

The tour in the Dubrovan Farm is in Hebrew, but the guide will be pleased to give the explanations in simple Hebrew, as one learns in ulpan. There is an inspiring 12-minute movie about the settlement in this area. There are also reconstructed living quarters and kitchen and a display of farming implements. Outside is a well that the Dubrovins constructed. From the farm you are only 1.3 Km to the Hula Valley Reserve.

Oven in Dubrovin Parm.jpeg
Irons in Dubrovin Farm.jpeg

To Yesud HaMa'ala

One can walk from the farm to Yesud HaMa’ala. There is a paved sidewalk all the way. You pass by orchards. It is worth going to the former pier for Lake Hula within the village and this takes about 40 minutes each way and is a distance of 2.5 Km.

 

From the farm continue to the T-junction and turn right. At the next T-junction, turn right onto HaShmura St and this will take you to the center of Yesod HaMa’ala. Turn left onto HaMeyasdin St. Further directions are as by car.

To visit Yesud HaMa’ala by car, enter “Yesud HaMa’ala” into Waze. This will bring you to a parking area on HaMeyasdin St. by the mo’aza.

Yesud HaMa'ala - a delightful place to live - but it took a while

Yesud HaMa’ala was formed in 1883 by members of the First Aliya from Poland. The name of the village was taken from a sentence in the Book of Ezra (7:9) "the commencement of the ascent (yesud hama’ala)." The settlers lived initially in tents because the Ottomans refused them permission to build houses. However, Baron Edmond Rothschild visited the settlement and in 1887 persuade the Ottomans to reverse this decision and he built houses for them. Yet life was very difficult. Yesud HaMa’ala was built next to Lake Hula, and there were many deaths from malaria. In fact, Dr Mer, the malaria expert from Rosh Pina, advised them all to leave. However, they were determined to continue. Their decision was reinforced by their finding of an inscription in Aramaic on a stone from the ruins of an ancient 5th century synagogue located in the village which read “May his memory be for good, all who settle here.” This provided the settlers the strength to continue living here despite illness and frequent deaths from malaria.

 

Eventually, the malaria was overcome with pesticides and draining of the lake. The next hardship was shelling from the Syrians on the Golan Heights. This too was overcome during the Six Day War. As you can see, Yesud HaMa’ala is a delightful place to live.

TOUR OF YESUD HAMA'ALA

  • For both walkers and car riders, walk along HaMeyasdin St in the direction away from Route 90. Cross HaShmura St. Note the concrete blocks on the sidewalk that sometimes provide brief histories of the families living here. Continue to the fork at the end of the street.

 

  • To visit the ruins of a synagogue from the Byzantine period turn left and adjoining the garden you will see the ruins on your left. This is where the stone was found that provided support to the settlers to continue living here. The synagogue faced south to Jerusalem. It was in use until the 7th century, but functioned as a sugar factory in the Muslim and Crusader periods.

 

  • Return to HaMeyasdin St and take the right fork at the end of the road. Then take the first street on the left.  Almost immediately you will see a sign with the words Toto in Hebrew by a path. Follow this path through the park and then a grove of old eucalyptus trees and this will bring you to a former pier for Lake Hula. From here, the villagers went fishing in their fishing boats. There are signs in Hebrew describing the significance of this place.

 

  • Return the way you came.

Old eucalyptus.jpeg

A walk to the pier takes you through a grove of old eucalyptus trees.

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Signs by the former pier describe the development of Yesud HaMa'ala