About Merav

 
History

Malkishua was the oldest of the religious NAHAL outposts in the early 1980’s. In 1982, it became the civilian settlement Kibbutz Malkishua, the newest settlement in the Religious Kibbutz Movement. In 1987, the settlement moved to its present location and changed its name to Merav.

Geography

Merav is located on Mount Avinadav, one of the summits of the Gilboa mountain range. The settlement overlooks the Beit Shean Valley and the Jordan Valley, and has beautiful vistas of the Gilead Mountains, the Golan Heights, and the Lower Galilee.

Population

Merav’s population recently passed the 500 mark, with about 100 families now calling the settlement home. The residents of Merav are graduates of the Bnei Akiva youth movement in Israel and abroad, sons and daughters of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, graduates of Yeshivot Hesder, and others. The average age is between 30 and 40 years old.

In recent years, Merav has welcomed a large number of new families. This has invigorated the community, allowing the settlement to realize its goals of development and expansion.

Kibbutz or Community Settlement?

During the 1990s, the kibbutz underwent a number of significant changes that focused on the settlement’s organizational setup and kibbutz lifestyle. One of those changes was the decision in 1998 to allow members to be accepted to the community membership track, launching efforts to establish a neighborhood (Pisgat Merav) adjacent to the kibbutz.

Once accepted, new residents join the community association common to all Merav residents. In Merav, we strive to integrate all families into a single, integrated, and well-organized community. With the launching of Pisgat Merav in 2000, the settlement defined the “one community” goal as a primary objective.

Employment

On Merav itself, there is a considerable amount of commercial and community-oriented activity. At times, there is a demand for employees in such fields as agriculture, industry, community services, education, etc.

In the surrounding area—the other Gilboa settlements, the city of Beit Shean, and the settlements of the Beit Shean Valley—there is a wide range of employment opportunities. Within a one-hour commute from Merav are the urban employment centers of Afula, Tiberias, Hadera, Migdal HeEmek, Yokneam, and Haifa.

Job placement services are offered by the Beit Shean Valley Regional Council employment department and the Regional Economic Development Center (MATI Beit Shean). These centers act as clearinghouses for job seekers and employment opportunities, and try to assist, refer, and give direction to all those who seek employment in the region.

Education and Culture

Merav has a very comprehensive early-childhood education system and a supplementary education program for elementary school children and teenagers during after-school hours and vacations. This educational programming is the focal point of Merav’s community activity. In addition, the Bnei Akiva youth movement has a very active branch on Merav, with local teens serving as counselors for the younger children.

Merav also offers a wide variety of cultural activities to its residents. In 2002, a new community center opened its doors. The facility serves as the home of the local library, a youth center, classrooms for extra-curricular activities, and an all-purpose hall. The community center plays a central role in the cultural life of the settlement.

Religious Life

The atmosphere of Shabbat on Merav is truly special – a mixture of spirituality and tranquility that emphasizes both the spirituality of the settlement as well as its strong community spirit. Shabbatot are marked by moving prayer services in the synagogue, and a variety of Torah classes and gatherings for all ages.
Throughout the week a number of classes on religious subjects are offered to the community, primarily by Rabbi Eitan Zucker, the rav of the kibbutz. Subjects include the works of the Rambam, Daf Yomi, a weekday morning class for women, and a very popular regional class on education.

Philanthropic Activities: Zionism at Its Best

Developing and expanding social action and philanthropic activity has always been high on Merav’s list of priorities. This orientation has guided local residents over the years in their involvement in such efforts as assisting new immigrants, helping in the rehabilitation of former drug addicts, adopting lone soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces, and other projects. At present, most of our efforts in this area are directed towards our three large community projects:

  • The Merav Children’s Group Home (MCGH), known in Hebrew as “Beit HaYeled”, this family structure for children from distressed home environments has been successfully operating in Merav for over a decade.
  • Bayit Bagilboa, a home for women with special needs.
  • Beit Michael, a home for lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

We hope that as the community grows and expands, we will be able to extend our philanthropic endeavors as well, and meet more of the challenges facing Israeli society.

For more information about MCGH, please contact Yitz Feigenbaum, one of the program directors, at yitz@merav.net.

Joining the Merav Community

An orderly and friendly absorption process, managed and facilitated by the local absorption committee, exists for people interested in moving to Merav. After successfully completing the various stages of the process, new residents are matched up with one of the settlement’s existing families, who help out and accompany them during the initial acclimatization period.

After living on Merav for a year at least, residents who are interested in buying or purchasing a home in Pisgat Merav can apply to be accepted to the community association.

Contact Information

If you have any questions concerning Merav, please contact us at misrad@kmerav.com or phone us at 04-6539111.

In addition, letters can be addressed by regular mail to Kibbutz Merav, D.N. Gilboa, 19148, Israel.

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