The story of the beautiful community of Rechelim has sad beginnings. In October of 1991, a bus driving on the highway toward Tel Aviv was attacked by Palestinian terrorists, leaving two dead, one of whom was Rachel Drouk, a woman from the Israeli town of Shiloh. The Jewish settlers’ response to this tragedy was to build temporary houses, at the site of the terrorist attack, to honor and commemorate Rachel’s life.
Building and bringing life into tragic situations has been the main response of the Jews of Judea and Samaria, in the face of these horrific acts of terror.
The front gate of Rechelim
Since then, this “temporary settlement” has grown into a city of more than 800 people. The community of Rechelim is approximately 30 miles north of the Holy City of Jerusalem and has become famous for the Tura Winery, which is located at the very heart of this small community.
Because it was started in the honor and memory of Rachel Drouk, it received the name “Rechelim” which is plural for the name Rachel in Hebrew. It is plural because it not only remembers Rachel Drouk, but also Rachel Weiss who was killed with her three children in a bus firebombing in 1988 on the road to Jericho. The last Rachel it remembers is “Mama Rochel” as some Jews call the Matriach Rachel from biblical times. These three Rachels all share the same journey, in that they died while journeying through the Land of Israel. It is a reminder of the verse found in Jeremiah 31,“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”The stories of these three Rachels, cause us to cry over the land of Israel, wishing that peace would be once again found in the Land of Peace. Yet it is because of women of faith like these, that we can believe in God’s promises found further on in the same chapter of Jeremiah.“Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears…there is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border.”May it be soon that we see all of Israel restored to their homeland, as God Himself has promised:“He will establish the boundary of the widow.”