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by Yael Adar
The story of the Galilee's early settlement includes an interesting footnote, the Dubrovin Farm near Yesod Ha'maala. The Dubrovin family came to the Land of Israel from the Astrakhan region of Russia in the early 1900's. They were Sobotniks (known in Hebrew as Sobotnikim), coverts from Christianity who kept the Sabbath. After their conversion, they took Hebrew names; the head of the family was called Yoav and his wife, Rachel.
They moved north, from Sejera, and bought 162.5 acres (650 dunams) near Yesod Ha'mala – and established their farm there. They dug a well, began farming the land and were quite successful, despite the hardships and the fact that most of their children succumbed to malaria from the nearby Hula swamps.
According to the contract with the Jewish National Fund for the purchase of the land, there was a clause that stipulated that if the family abandoned the site due to malaria – they would not be
reimbursed for the full value of their asset. The head of the family, Yoav, was 104 at the time of his death - and the family never left the site. The last family member to live on the farm, Yitzhak,
gave the farm to the Jewish National Fund, which restored the site and opened it as a tourist attraction.
Though small, the reconstructed farm is a nice place to visit. As you walk toward the entrance, look on the left – at the well. As you enter the compound you'll immediately note that it was built around an internal courtyard, with buildings on all four sides. Turn right and begin your self-guided tour.
There is a reconstruction of the Dubrovin's living rooms, kitchen, as well as several rooms that display some old documents, from the local archive. An audiovisual program in English and Hebrew provides historical background about Yesod Ha'maala (presentations in other languages should be available soon).
Jews from Poland established the nearby village of Yesod Ha’maala in 1883, although the land was purchased in 1872. This was one of the places where attempts were made to grow silk worms as well as roses. The first settlers dreamed of creating a type of Riviera in the area, but the reality was quite different and fraught with hardship.
At the Dubrovin Farm you'll also find a working potter, a blacksmith display and a non-kosher restaurant, which is quite popular and requires advance reservations.
Directions: The Dubrovin Farm is located about 10 kilometers north east of Rosh Pina – on Route # 9119, off Route # 90. From Route # 90 turn toward Yessod Ha'maala and the Hula Nature Reserve and
follow the signs. Where the road splits and the left part of the fork leads to the nature reserve, you will want to take a right. Then drive until you see another sign to the Dubrovin farm – turn
right and follow the road.
TEL 04/ 693-7471, 04/693-7371
Visiting Hours: Daily from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Entry fees apply.
Ha'Achuza Restaurant (reservations are recommended)
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM (lunch). The rest of the week the restaurant is open daily from 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM.