Tourist Tip #254 / Kibbutz Yavne, Still Is the Way We Were

One of the last holdouts against privatization, this religious kibbutz introduces visitors to an almost-gone way of life.

Kibbutz Yavne is one of the oldest religious kibbutzim in the country, founded over 70 years ago, mainly by yekkes, German Jews. Today the kibbutz – located in central Israel, east of Ashdod – has more than 300 members, including 250 children up to the end of high school, plus soldiers and young singles and couples who are not members as yet.

All our children are educated on the kibbutz. We also have quite a number of senior citizens, who receive any care they need on the kibbutz, either in their own homes or in our senior citizens' home.

Yavne is one of the "holdouts" against privatization, and is still run like the traditional kibbutz, including three meals a day served in the communal dining room and no "differential salary" (all salaries go straight to the kibbutz bank account). Every member receives a budget based on age and family situation, rather than on the type of work he or she does.

The kibbutz has several industries, including Adi watches and our canning factory, Kvutzat Yavne Food products, which sells olives, olive oil and various pickled vegetables across the country and abroad. If you buy them at the kibbutz, you will be able to get a discount.

Other highlights include the large cowshed and modern milking station, the animal feed industry – for which we grow many of the crops ourselves – chicken runs that supply eggs to our hatchery, one of the largest in the Middle East (which, unfortunately, if off limits to visitors due to bio-security requirements). We also are the site of an experimental station for producing solar energy.

We recently started a museum that exhibits domestic, work-related and agricultural items from the kibbutz's past, most of them donated by members and their families. These artifacts tell the story of the early days of the kibbutz, founded prior to the establishment of Israel, and of the country in general.

Another stop on the tour is the "children's farm," an educational project where school children tend to the animals – horses, goats, deer and many smaller animals – and learn about work and responsibility from an early age.

As a religious kibbutz we, of course, have an impressive synagogue and our own mikveh (ritual bath).

A tour of the kibbutz lasts from two to four hours, and can be adapted to the interests of visitors. In addition to English and Hebrew, we offer the tour in several other languages. We generally cater to groups of about 20 or more. The price: NIS 10; NIS 20 with cake and coffee; and NIS 50 with lunch. There are no tours on Shabbat.

For reservations and more information contact Ido: Tel. (050) 699-8599; e-mail: yona71_ef@walla.co.il

(Individuals can join a group by advance reservation.)
 

Limor Edry