Feb 14 – Visit to Merchav Am – on way to Dead Sea!

Merchav Am Visit – We stopped in the middle of nowhere, Zecharia our wonderful bus driver, found us an Aroma Restaurant at Shoket Junction – one of CAARI’s favorite Israeli cafe chains!  Then on to the Merchav Am community  located on a hill between Sde Boker and Yeruham, with magical desert scenery.  Our host, Allison, welcomed us.  We admired her energy, enthusiasm, spirit, sense of humor and native English!  She took us for a tour of community showing us the original caravan housing and the new housing which she and her family will be moving to in the next few months.  Their new community service is amazing.

She explained that Merchav Am is the very first orthodox community established in Ramat HaNegev Regional Council and serves as a model of a developing settlement rich in community life. It is currently home to 42 families and has a local synagogue, mikveh, kindergarten, day care for infants, a members’ club and other facilities. The village also holds Torah lessons for men and women, cultural activities on festivals and other special events, lectures on matters of common interest, Sabbath meals together and more. The children enjoy high-quality religious education, including pre-school day care, a kindergarten up to school age. An orthodox elementary school, a high school Yeshiva for boys and a separate “Ulpana” for girls are only some of the educational options offered. Informal education for children and young adults is also afforded proper attention in addition to activities in the local branch of the B’nai Akiva youth movement.

The sources of employment for local residents include education, regional industries, private ventures and a khan (inn) offering lodging accommodations.

We were all so impressed with this community and were honored to plant trees along the sidewalk being built. Wow – what a day and now we are ready to enjoy the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea and take in the beautiful desert scenery.

The Canadian American Active Retirees in Israel, CAARI, offers active seniors a unique opportunity to experience Israel. The program is designed to explore the biblical landscapes, follow the footsteps of the early pioneers, and envision the future of our Homeland. The CAARI Program includes community service, toursa speakers forum and the camaraderie of the CAARI Family. The Program is designed for to feel, touch, hear and see Israel from the mountains to the desert, from sea to sea, and from ancient to modern.

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Links: Jewish National Fund USA : https://www.jnf.org/