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Kibbutz Lavi

Sunday, 24 February, 2019 - 10:03 am

 On our last day in Israel we all enjoyed the grand Israeli breakfast for the last time. We then began our day with a tour of Kibbutz Lavi. Ellis was our tour guide. He has lived on the Kibbutz for 50 years and originally comes from Baltimore. Kibbutz Lavi is an Orthodox English speaking Kibbutz. In addition to agriculture, their source of income comes from the hotel and beautiful synagogue furniture. The furniture in Bnai Torah comes from Kibbutz Lavi. They ship all over the world and have furnished 5,730 shuls to date.

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Kibbutz Lavi originated in 1949 with immigrants who escaped Germany and Austria in a Kindertransport to England. These children made their way to the Golan and found nothing but rocks.  Now it is a beautiful kibbutz. When Ellis came in 1968 he said they were still clearing rocks. Today there are 120-130 families living there. (530 people).

The hotel on the Kibbutz began in 1962 as a group of small houses. At that time there were not many hotels in the Golan with English speakers. Since the kibbutz had many English speakers, people began asking if they could stay. Since 1962 the hotel has been expanded twice and we saw that they are enlarging the dining room. The hotel is very busy. We later found out that the Kibbutz graciously accepts one school group at a time at a discount. School groups need to reserve a year in advance. We now understand why MyIsraelConnect contacted LYA in Jan. of 2018 to reserve our spot.

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Ellis explained how he does not receive a salary, but he receives housing, electricity, medical, water and food. He receives a stipend for clothing and transportation. His stipend is cumulative, so he can save it from year to year to use it for larger needs. He explained that today about 80% of kibbutzim have privatized and are not run purely by socialism. The greatest challenge to kibbutz life today is that the children do not want to live there anymore. Kibbutz Lavi is working on solving this issue.

We sat in the Kibbutz shul which has been enlarged to accommodate all of the families. Outside the shul is a beautiful mosaic platform of the ten tribes. It is here that chuppahs are set up for weddings. The kibbutz has a special section of rooms dedicated to lone soldiers, who are welcome to hang out during their off time at the kibbutz. While most of us could not imagine living on a kibbutz, we enjoyed learning and seeing how kibbutz life has affected Israel.

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