Where is the Arava Institute Located?
What is a kibbutz?
The Kibbutz (Hebrew word for “communal settlement”) is a unique rural community. A kibbutz is a society dedicated to mutual aid and social justice; a socioeconomic system based on the principle of joint ownership of property, equality and cooperation of production, consumption and education.
The Arava Institute is located on Kibbutz Ketura. Kibbutz Ketura is a desert kibbutz approximately 30 minutes north of Eilat in the Arava Rift Valley. It derives it’s the name from a nearby hill, which is named after the second wife of Abraham (Genesis 25:1).
Kibbutz Ketura is a community of 400 members, residents and children. About one third of the members are native Israelis, with the rest coming from the United States, Canada, Britain, South Africa, Australia, Spain, France, Latin America, Switzerland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Russia. In addition Kibbutz Ketura has a vibrant community of young people, including students from the Arava Institute, volunteers from around the world, and young Israelis on a year of community service.
Arava Institute students are an important part of the Ketura community. They are invited to community, cultural and holiday events, and eat meals with members in the communal dining room. Students are also offered the option of being hosted by kibbutz families in their homes.
Agricultural enterprises of Kibbutz Ketura include a date orchard and a dairy herd. Ketura has a large cow shed for milk production, but it is most famous for its guest house and educational center—Keren Kolot—and its Algae plant. Algatech processes haematococcus algae through a filtration system in order to extract natural astaxanthin. The extract is then sold around the world as a natural high-quality ingredient for fish food, as a natural pigment for use in cosmetics, and as a nutraceutical.
Ketura is rare among kibbutzim for its religious pluralism. Although the Kibbutz is not considered a religious kibbutz, the laws of Kashrut are observed in the dining room, public areas, and at social and cultural events, and there is a functioning liberal synagogue. However, individual members are free to practice religious traditions in their homes as they see fit.
The population of the Kibbutz is composed of observant liberal and secular members.
Kibbutz Ketura received the Speaker of the Knesset Prize for religious tolerance as a result of its religious progressiveness.