WUJS Israel
post-college Israel programs

February 2010 Archives

The Weekend at Kibbutz Ketura

IMG_9524.JPGThe WUJS group recently spent a wonderful and action packed weekend down south at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava valley just north of Eilat. The
kibbutz was founded in 1973 by a group of immigrating American Young Judaeans shortly after the the Yom Kippur War. They faced many challenges while building a settlement in the middle of the desert and after taking a visit there, we can understand why! It is extremely hot (and it is winter now), there is very little water, and there are lots of rocks and sand! We spent the weekend learning about how they overcome these challenges and continue to flourish as an oasis in the desert.

We started the trip with a hike at Har Tzfachot where we were able to simultaneously see lands of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel as well as the Red Sea. We took some time to wander the streets of Eilat before returning to the Kibbutz for a BBQ dinner and a moonlight tour of the community center, cow stables, living units, library, and school. Following the tour we learned about the history and formtion of the kibbutz. It was started by 32 ideological American immigrants who, after the Yom Kippur war took advantage of Government policy that the best way to keep the land was to populate the Negev with civilians rather than army units so the units moved out and the kibbutznikim people moved in.

The rest of the weekend was filled with desert art, sports, educational tours, and relaxing. Some people made rock dream catchers while others created music videos inspired by the heat of the desert. We took a tour of the date fields and learned about the algae factory that today provides a large amount of the Kibbutz's income.  We also learned that the kibbutz cultivates fish for aquarium around Europe. It is incredible how the Kibbutznikim have learned to use natural resources such as heat, dryness, and underground salty water to their advantage.  

It was a peaceful Shabbat/Tu B'Shvat weekend and a great way to experience an important type of lifestyle here in Israel. We had a great time hiking, learning, and playing in the desert.  What a fantastic way to spend one of our final weekends in Israel.

Check out the photos from the weekend Kibbutz Ketura