About Kibbutz Ketura
Kibbutz Ketura is a cooperative kibbutz, a green oasis located in the southern Arava valley, between the yellowish Negev Mountains in the West and the reddish-purple Edom mountains in the east, some 50 kilometers/31 miles north of Eilat.
The kibbutz was established in 1973, shortly after the end of the Yom Kippur War. The founding group was comprised of some 30 American youngsters, graduates of the Young Judea youth movement. The first few years were very challenging, but the years brought many new members to the kibbutz - new immigrants from around the world and idealistic Sabras, some of whom were graduates of the Israeli Scouts movement. Today, Kibbutz Ketura is the second largest community in the Southern Arava, with some 150 members, half of whom are from North America, and 200 children.
For many years, the kibbutz economy was based almost exclusively on agriculture and income from members working outside the kibbutz. Today, it is based on diverse branches including:
Our date grove, where we grow two main strains: Medjool and Deglet Noor. Our cow barn, which produces upwards of 10,000 liters (10,600 quarts) of milk per day.Our educational tourism branch: Keren Kolot.
The kibbutz is a partial owner of the Arava Power Company (APC), a solar power company, and the kibbutz is home to the first solar field in the country.
The kibbutz is partial owner of Algatechnologies, a factory situated on the kibbutz that produces a powerful antioxidant extracted from algae, for the international nutritional supplements and cosmetics markets.
In addition, the kibbutz is home to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES), an academic institute affiliated with Ben Gurion University.
The students at AIES hail from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and around the world, in line with the Institute's motto that "nature knows no boundaries" and its belief that environmental studies can serve as a tool for creating bridges, dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.
Preschools and kindergartens are located on the kibbutz, and students in
grades 1-12 study at the Ma'aleh Shaharutregional school in nearby Kibbutz Yotvata. The kibbutz puts an emphasis on education and supports its members' children so that they may acquire a university education.
Ketura is a traditional, egalitarian and pluralistic kibbutz.
It is home to observant and non-observant members, all living according to their own beliefs. The Shabbat and kashrut are observed in the public areas (the dining hall, members lounge, community center, pool, etc.), but members do as they please in their own homes. Festivals are celebrated in a traditional fashion, and the synagogue enjoys a thriving congregation. Synagogue services on Ketura include the full participation of women in all aspects, a fairly strict adherence to traditional liturgy and no attachment to any one stream of Judaism.
Equality is not limited to the Synagogue, and is evident in every decision-making body and economic branch of the kibbutz.There is total equality in the realms of leadership, work and the kibbutz's social fabric.