In the blink of an eye March has gone by! I can’t believe it…. ahh and there is still so much I want to experience! It’s surprising to think that in such a small country there can be so many unique and different places to explore. I want to camp with the Bedouins in the Negev, hike up north near the Golan Heights, and even though I’ve been in Jerusalem for two months now I have not finished exploring all of the Old City yet.
Nonetheless, the first two weeks of March were pretty active. The first day, which happened to fall on my birthday, Jerusalem hosted its International Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km race. Alongside several friends and classmates I joined over 10,000 runners to participate in this distinctive event. This must be one of the coolest runs ever! Starting by Jerusalem’s biggest park, Gan Sacher, the 10km route went through the city’s Government quarter, downtown, and the Old City. Entertainers and spectators lined the streets and cheered on the runners, and even a couple of superheroes showed up.
Thankfully I didn’t need Spiderman’s assistance this time… although I spent the weekend recovering!
A week later some friends and I received an invitation to a kibbutz! Kibbutzim are a key part of Israeli culture, the word is literally translated in to English as “gatherings”. They are enclosed communities which are based on the value of sharing goods and developing the land. Residents of Kibbutz are called Kibbutzniks and they form part of the collective community in which each individual resident either works in the Kibbutz for its up keeping, maintenance and development, or works outside of the community but contributes his income to the community. In exchange, housing, food, transportation, education and most of life’s necessities are provided by the community of the Kibbutz.
We arrived at Kibbutz Hatzerim which was celebrating its 67th year in existence, although some Kibbutzim have been around since 1910. Kibbutz Hatzerim is located in Beer Sheba, approximately 2 hours south of Jerusalem and at the beginning of the Negev Desert. It was an impressive site. The community had a population of approximately 1000 people and the Kibbutz had everything, from a playground for its younger members, to an athletic recreation complex for its more active youth, a dairy farm, a local store, and even a small club! Its residents eat communally in a dining hall, share their cars, and will even help each other build their homes. Around me, although I
knew I was surrounded by the Negev desert, I saw green grass, a variety of plants and life in full bloom. In contemplating the history and development of Israel my visit to the Kibbutz helped me understand the effort and solidarity which Israeli’s have toward the development of their country. They have truly made “the desert bloom!”
At school things started to get pretty busy in the first two weeks and how I wish I could have shared my homework with someone… I wonder if this sharing applies in Kibbutznik life as well.
Thank you for reading,