We started our morning off with a lecture covering the history of Zionism. Our lesson began with biblical narratives and wound its way into modern history. In just a brief amount of time, our group was thoroughly saturated in a rather comprehensive review of the emergence and evolution of Zionism.

Following our morning lecture, we took a tour of the Arava Institute’s off-grid village, which serves as a hub for both student research and commercial technology exposition. We explored accessible innovation in solar technology, as well as forms of earth-based agriculture. All the while, we learned about the cross-cultural challenges of implanting new technology in various communities.

After lunch, we gathered our dirty clothes for communal laundry, a staple in kibbutz life! For those of us who lose our socks even in small, personal loads, this was a small leap of faith J

Some of us elected to hike Electricity Mountain, which overlooks Kibbutz Ketura and is named for its proximity to the electrical lines. Once we summitted, we were greeted by five inquisitive ibexes.

In the afternoon, we learned about the Arava Insititute’s Peacebuilding Leadership Seminar (PLS). We heard about the importance of the seminar in allowing enriching student life, as well as some of the approaches to and challenges of moderating the seminars.

Finally, we rounded out our evening discussing the Kibbutz’s governing structure, as well as some of the challenges of living in a tight community.