'This weekend is going to be one of the best weekends of WUJS', the staff told us on our way to Kibutz Ketura in the Negev desert, near Eilat. And it was... although fortunately we haven't finished our 5 months in Israel yet, it was a great couple of days in the hot south. After a long busdrive, we arrived at the Kibutz where David, member of Ketura, welcomed us. We had some time to settle in the nice apartments, get adjusted to the heat and refresh ourselves in the swimmingpool. After that, we could choose between a few desert art workshops. However, the majority chose to go on a hike, which turned out to be a three hour climbing and downhill experience in the desert... exhausting but beautiful! The poolside bbq tasted even better after all this physical exercise. Sitting in a big circle, David explained us the Kibutz lifestyle and rules. Ketura is one of the few kibutsim which still holds
the socialistic way of sharing everything that is in the kibutz. The members are a group of 150 people, and besides them there are a lot of volunteers, soldiers and other guests (like us) who temporarily live in the kibutz. There is a variety of work that can be done: on the cowfarm, where they produce many liters of milk everyday, the algae farm, where they produce antioxidants for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetical industry, or at the fruit trees.
After a short night, we were ready to start our next hike in the Red Canyon at 7 am... again a beautiful hike, red mountains, narrow passages, some climbing, pretty views, and good breakfast when we got back to the bus. We drove to Eilat, where we did some snorkeling, swimming, relaxing, shopping, the good life! The chaos, heat, and crowdedness of Eilat made us longing for Ketura, where we prepared for shabbat later that day. It was special to experience the services in a synagogue in the middle of nowhere! We had dinner in the diningroom, with other members and guests of the kibutz. The next day, on shabbat, we had discussions about different topics the assembly of the kibutz has to deal with. Can somebody who is not jewish become a member of the kibutz? (yes). Is there money for children with special needs or for prodigies to fulfill their needs? (yes). Could a man who cheated on his wife with a volunteer, come back to the kibutz with his new family, after living abroad for three years? (he could, because he was still a member, but he didn't because of the antipathy against him). Later that day, we played a quiz called Schnitzelborscht, which has got nothing to do with schnitzel or borscht, but everything with knowledge about Israel. Wiser, more tanned/sunburnt and relaxed we ended our weekend in the south.