Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where is Yokne'am, What is Perma-culture, And More

This past weekend, I went on a bit of an adventure. I hit three cities, a few villages, and a co-op. Where did I go? What did I see? How did I end up playing darbuka under a passion fruit vine? Read on to find out.

I made the trek up to St. Louis' Sister City, Yokne'am - Megiddo. For those of you who don't know (which is nearly everyone), Yokne'am is a small city of 20,000 located in Northern Israel, located a bit south of Haifa. I had been put in touch with Shachar, a resident of Yokne'am who has been organizing a community of young adults, and thought he'd be a great person to speak to and learn from. There is no central bus station in Yokne'am, and so I got dropped off on the side of a main road, next to a mall.

Shachar picked me up, and I was a bit relieved to learn that he had actually be born in the US, which made me feel better about speaking to him in English. He and his wife, Yamit, and their 5-month-old, Ma'ayan, live in an apartment block with a pretty amazing view of the surrounding area.

We spent the afternoon talking about the area, the neighborhood, and the community. Below is a video of Shachar talking a bit about Yokne'am

After a nice Shabbat dinner at the apartment of one of the other young families in the community, Shachar and I went to a house party in Zichron Yakov. There, we found people doing what is called 'Playback' in which one person tells a story and then actors act it out. It was a little weird, but also pretty interesting. Along the way, we met some great people.

On Saturday morning, we went to a permaculture coop which is based around sustainable design. The coop was having an exchange event in which people brought clothes and books and could take things that others brought. In addition they had music, dancing, and some great food. Israeli hippies do it up right.

Saturday night, I stayed with Yogev and Noa, two St. Louis Israelis who were back in Tel Aviv for work. While out watching the US/Ghana soccer game, I ended up sitting next to Zach, who had just finished a year in St. Louis as a Koro fellow.

Sunday morning I made it up to Ra'anana to interview Joseph Gitlers, founder of Leket, an amazing non profit. You'll have to stay tuned for that video.

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