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. The community is a desert kibbutz approximately 30 minutes north of Eilat in the Arava Rift Valley. The name is derived from a nearby hill, after the second wife of Abraham (Genesis 25:1).
Today, Ketura has grown to be the second largest settlement in the region, with over 150 members and candidates and over 155 children. One-third of the members are native Israelis; just less than half the members come from English-speaking countries, with the rest from Europe, South America and the former USSR. Hebrew is our common language and the language of daily activity in Ketura, but while walking around one might hear many other languages including French, Spanish, Russian, and even Catalan. 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 volunteering.
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 may also have the opportunity to be hosted in kibbutz community homes.
Ketura defines Jewish tradition as a focus for cooperation, tolerance, and mutual respect. Although the Kibbutz is not considered a religious kibbutz, the laws of Kashrut are observed in the dining room and there is an egalitarian synagogue. By intention, the community members are free to do whatever they choose in their homes, and in fact, a majority of the members are not observant in the traditional sense.