Merkaz Hashachar
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Gallery of Pictures
and Stories
In 2007, the Mansur Family, refugees from war-torn Darfur in Sudan, crossed the border from Egypt into Israel,
risking their lives to find safety and some peace of mind. The Kibbutz Ketura community offered Jamila, Mansur
and their daughters a home and they have been living here ever since.

Through donations via Merkaz Hashachar, this past year has seen each member of the family develop new skills
that are helping them to integrate into local life and to prosper at work and school. The family continues to take
Hebrew lessons, which enhances their ability to communicate with their work colleagues, their children's school
teachers and their friends on Ketura. Eilaf finished first-grade at the local school and Arafa moved up to 7th
grade. Contributions have helped cover the costs of the school fees and also to purchase a computer for
homework. Arafa has also been able to participate in weekly tennis lessons with her friends. We were able to
purchase a new television that tunes into satellite channels broadcast from
Sudan and the family is thrilled to
be able to keep up with developments in their home country.
Arafa on Stage
Jamila participating in folklore night.
Every year Merkaz Hashachar sponsors the visit of Yotam Cohen's classmates
from the Urim School for Special Education in Eilat, on the occasion of his birthday.
Yotam hosting his friends.
Yotam showing his friends where he works, in the barn.
The "Merkaz", recently renovated with the aid of contributions to Merkaz Hashachar, is the
center of all religious and cultural activity in Kibbutz Ketura.
Avigail prepares refreshments to
be served after religious services
on Independence Day in one of
the classrooms in the renovated
"Tournir Pini", in memory of Pini Lutman z"l, is an annual sports event which has hundreds of
participants from all over the southern Arava. Merkaz Hashachar is one of the sponsors of the tournament
which takes place on Ketura's soccer field.
The Ketura team 2009
Merkaz Hashachar has contributed to Aliya through its support of the NAALE project. Russian youth
arrived in Ketura at age 16 and finished high school with their Israeli peers, while achieving full
accreditation by the Department of Education. Today, ten years after the beginning of the program, we
are proud of Sasha and Dasha, who are officers in the Israeli army. Most of the others have finished
military service and in the middle of their university studies. The beginning of the New Year brings the
eighth wedding among the 35 graduates of
NAALE in Ketura.
A recent reunion of NAALE in Tel-Aviv.
"Music Week", in memory of Anne Lewis z"l, has been an annual event in Ketura for the past 23 years.
Close to one hundred concerts and dance performances and lectures have enriched the lives of the members of
Ketura, as well as our guests from the other settlements in the Arava. The
"Music Fund" in Anne's honor has
contributed over the years to the success of Music Week and other music activities.
Ketura's Second Generation of Performers
Yuval and Benyamin
Pini Lutman's family presents the trophies, 2013.
Triathlon in
Ketura       Fall
I would like to thank Merkaz Hashachar for enabling me to participate in a program called     Friends Forever.
This program sends a delegation of five Israeli Jewish youths and five Israeli Arab youths to America together
to live in one house and bond over two weeks. During the program we engaged in a variety of fun, challenging
and enriching activities. There were fun and challenging activities to encourage team building such as:
canoeing, cooperative rope climbing, hiking and camping. There were also activities aimed at exposing us to
different cultures such as: going to services at a mosque, church and synagogue and meeting Indians and
learning about their culture. In addition we attended a communication workshop. We also had to give talks
about the program to various American groups that support the program.

The delegation is chosen from the two high schools Ein Mahel High School and Ma’aleh Shaharut School. The
two schools have a program called Common Paths in which every year the 10th grade classes of these two
high schools meet three times: once they come to visit us in the south; once we go visit them in the village; and
then we meet in the kneset when we get our national Identity cards.

The ten kids who participate in the delegation continue to meet throughout the year and speak on the phone
with the help of a communication coach.

This experience was very meaningful to me and it opened my eyes to many different cultures and I now feel
much more exposed to the Arabs living in our country. I also feel like I understand the conflict between the two
nations much more now. Of course in addition to that I had a lot of fun and I made five new amazing friends.

Again, many, many thanks to Merkaz Hashachar.

    Sahar silverman                                                                             21.9.2011
The stands were full. 2013
The ball is in Ketura's hands. 2013