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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 24, The Sea of Galilee Swim.
The Sea of Galilee Swim - צליחת הכנרת (tzlihat hakineret) is the largest and most regularly held national swimming event in Israel. It takes place in the Sea of Galilee, once a year—usually around the holiday of Sukkot - סוכות. Many consider it a symbol - סמל (semel) of Israeli culture and the Israeli way of life.
Let’s learn about the most refreshing sporting event in Israel.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
Who are the people called “golden crossers”, and how did they win this title?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
The Sea of Galilee is in northern Israel, and it’s the largest freshwater lake - אגם (agam) in the country. The beauty of the Sea of Galilee and its surrounding landscape has served as inspiration for countless artists for generations, and many songs have been written about it. The Sea of Galilee is a popular leisure site for families - משפחות (mishpachot), couples, and groups of friends - חברים (chaverim) who come to enjoy its crystalline water and beautiful beaches.
In 1943, the first competitive crossing of the Sea of Galilee was held, and later, other competitive events were held in which professional Israeli and foreign pool swimmers participated. The national swim of the Sea of Galilee began in 1954, and has been held every year since then. The competition administration set guiding principles for this event, which state that two swimming events—a long event, and a short one—are conducted during the national swim.
In the past, participation in the swim event was a type of rite of passage for young Israeli adults. The medal and certificate received after completing the swim were a type of testimony - עדות (edut) to the physical and mental abilities that helped them with this challenge.
In recent years, another smaller women's-only swim event has been conducted. The swim is held on a weekday, and is designed primarily for religious women who can’t participate in the large national swim.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Who are the “golden crossers” - צולחי הזהב (tzolchey ha’zahav), and how did they get this title?
Shortly before the 50th anniversary of the swim event, a non-profit organization was formed. It’s for swimmers who have completed at least forty swims in the long track and continued crossing the Sea of Galilee. The non-profit organization’s roughly twenty-five members are called the “golden crossers”.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? Have you ever been to the Sea of Galilee?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!