September – November we stayed on kibbutz Yizrael, a predominately South African kibbutz up North near Afula. Kibbutz life was great, the chader ochel provides 3 meals a day, with a wide variety of foods for all 3 meals. My favourite meal was between the lamb kebabs or this pickled vegetable dish which I probably ate every single day. We really missed this when we moved away.

Each day we would have peulot written and run by our madrichimot. They were engaging and exciting. Covering topics such as Jewish history and how it connects to us, gender & sex and the conflict. We often left these peulot feeling overwhelmed and questioning our identity in a positive way. Our madrichimot made life on kibbutz really what it was… Phenomenal.

Every Tuesday we had a siyur, visiting different villages & towns across Israel, understanding the history of each place as well as enjoying what they have to offer. We visited, Akko, Haifa, Tel Aviv and more. One of my favourites was Haifa where we learnt and discussed the different demographics in this mixed city and the special feel of the presence of co-existence.

On the weekends, we went out and explored other parts of Israel as well as meeting up with other Shnatties from South Africa, Australia & New Zealand. I can confidently say these friendships are ones which will last for years to come and I have never met such amazing people.

Once our weekends were finished we would enjoy the long bus back to Afula, the lovely bustling northern grain town, once wished to become the economic powerhouse of the North. The bus home was always a tired one but when we got back to kibbutz we could look forward to the surprisingly comfortable kibbutz beds, the small rooms allowed for some serious kvutzah bonding experiences. Overall Kibbutz was a blast, the mixture of education and fun so effortlessly blended together was something I had never experienced before. – Ben Fingret, Shnat 19/20