The History of Birya

Benji Marcus | Mazkir, Pittsburgh

As part of the Bnei Akiva of US&C online Lag Ba’omer experience, James Williams and Rafi Engelheart took us to the old Birya fortress. There they created a cinematic masterpiece, a comical reenactment of what took place during the British mandate over the land of Israel. The story goes that members of Bnei Akiva within the Palmach (played by Rafi ) decided that they were going to retake the fortress from the British (obviously played by James, very accurately if I may say as a Brit myself). After some back and forth with the British (James), the palmach were successful and recaptured the base. Every year 9th graders (manhigut) in Bnei Akiva across Israel go to Birya to recapture the base just as those Bnei Akiva/palmach soldiers did all those years ago.


Rafi Engleheart | Experiential Education

On Lag BaOmer afternoon, we gathered to commemorate the birthday of Bnei Akiva, and tell a little bit of its history. James and Rafi travelled up to Biriya, a community on the outskirts of Tzfat, where in 1946 Bnei Akiva and other released religious Palmach soldiers squared off against the British in a battle for an agricultural and strategic outpost to be built there. Comically filming a creative recreation of the events, we celebrated Bnei Akiva’s accomplishments, her birthday, and learned how it was no coincidence, that Bnei Akiva was created on Lag BaOmer