Since every person is a universe unto himself, the way of life at Kishorit is unique for each and every member. Most of the village members live in apartments in the community, work in its diverse employment industries, are accompanied by the village’s social staff; receive health services at the local clinic and participate in the various leisure and sports activities that take place there. However, there are members who choose, for a period or permanently, to live in the surrounding communities. These members are an integral part of community life: they work in the Kishorit industries during the day and use all of its available services. There are also members who choose to live at Kishorit and travel to work every morning in various factories and places of employment in the area. These members also return to Kishorit at the end of the work day and take an active part in social and cultural life. Each and every member has different desires, needs and abilities – so each one of them is suited for something different.
“Each contributes to the community according to his ability and takes from the community according to his need”
This slogan, which used to be the basis of kibbutz life, has lost much of its power for most kibbutzim. At Kishorit, it still exists in its full meaning. This principle is at the heart of our perception of life and the way we work in our daily lives. It expresses the commitment to the changing and diverse needs of each and every one of the members of the community, and at the same time – the value of community life, sharing and mutual responsibility that we experience in practice.
Recognition of the value of every person and their right to self-realization, whether the person has “special needs” or is defined as “normal,” is our foundation. Kishorit members are not patients or dependents – they are members of an open and supportive community. Like each and every person, the Kishorit members choose how to manage the various aspects of their lives, while receiving support for their unique physical and mental needs. Kishorit members are part of a community where “ordinary” families live alongside people with special needs, and from this community, they travel to wherever they want and meet friends and family when they choose to do so. The community is a safe foundation from which they can go out and meet a variety of people in a variety of places.
The right of the members to make personal and free choices in all areas of their lives is our guiding principle. Decisions of this kind take on a real and significant meaning since they are made with the continuous guidance and support of a broad and attentive staff, and in full participation of their families. We see the combination of these conditions to be fertile ground that allows the members to carry out and realize their own choices. We strive for the independence that exists within this relationship: the relationship of deep acquaintance, interpersonal and professional commitment, and friendship.
The World of Work
We see productive and fulfilling employment as a significant step on the path to maximum independence for all people – with or without special needs. The value of work is very strongly rooted in Kishorit, and as a result, 95% of Kishorit members choose to integrate into the work force – even though their livelihood does not depend on their work.
In our view, through appropriate training, guidance and accompaniment, it is possible to break the vicious circle of exclusion that society creates in the field of employment and include most people with special needs into the world of work. To this end, a long-term, broad and varied personal placement and training program with a significant employment path must be implemented.
Kishorit, built and managed as a kibbutz, has over the years established a variety of employment enterprises in the fields of agriculture, crafts, industry and service, which provide the community members with productive and meaningful jobs. With the understanding that different people have different interests, abilities and inclinations, our goal at Kishorit is to allow members to choose from a wide range of areas so that they can integrate into work that suits them best. Most of the members work in the farming and service industries of the kibbutz, and about 10% of the members who chose to do so leave Kishorit to work in various industrial companies, kindergartens, nursing homes, educational institutions and more.
Functionally and emotionally, work has enormous value. It forms a framework and schedule for daily life, activates the head and body, stimulates the senses and is a means of training and functional improvement. Through integration into work, members are able to express their abilities and inclinations, to cultivate responsibility, dedication and self-discipline. Work is a source of self-realization and finding meaning, and even a place to make connections with other members and staff.
A member’s work placement depends on their desire, suitability and social integration in the industry. With the help of the staff, personal adjustment, guidance and continuous listening take place regarding the member’s conduct in the industry, the realization of their abilities and the examination of the possibilities of moving from one workplace to another. It is our aim for each member to wake up in the morning happily to a job that attracts and interests them. They should feel that the work is beneficial, that the industry they work in is profitable and productive, and that they are contributing, advancing and valued at work. The work in Kishorit’s industry sectors is overseen by employment instructors, who provide members with the necessary guidance and accompaniment for study and integration in the industry. Most of the members work in the agricultural industries: the organic vegetable garden, vineyard and winery, free-range chicken farm, horse stables, and goat farm. Studies show that there is great value in therapy with animals and plants for people who suffer from mental health issues and physical disabilities, and they are considered to be recognized therapeutic areas. Working in agriculture benefits people with special needs in that it allows contact with nature, staying in the open air and contact with plants and animals. Caring for animals has a positive impact, among other things, due to the feeling of unconditional love, the security and responsibility in satisfying the needs of the animal, and breeds happiness from the very act of giving to another. It also develops natural curiosity, sharpens alertness and the ability to listen and gives members a sense of empowerment by being responsible for the fate and health of the animals they care for.
Other members work in crafts, media (Kishorit TV) and the service industries: laundry, kitchen, dining room, maintenance, etc.
More details on the employment sectors can be found in the Our Industries tab.
People with special needs often experience social alienation, loneliness and isolation in the wider community. At Kishorit, on the other hand, the close and ongoing relationships between the members bring back the original, deeper meaning to the word community – as an extensive, supportive and enormously important system of connections for the individual.
Kishorit places great emphasis on strengthening the sense of belonging and the social ties in the community. It strengthens the social conduct of acceptance, mutual help and meaningful partnerships between the members of the village.
The Kishorit framework of life gives members many opportunities to meet and connect with other members and staff – in the common dining room, working in the various industries, at the gym and swimming pool, in the social club and at courses and enrichment activities during leisure time.
This multifaceted interaction between the members of the village, in all these different contexts, leads to very significant connections between the members, who are real partners to each other along the way.
Personal independence, which is one of the core values of Kishorit, is also reflected in the housing options.
Kishorit has developed a series of housing options that allow each member to choose the type of housing that is right for him or her. The series of options is dynamic and each member can move within it according to his or her situation and choice (in consultation with the staff).
- A member can choose to live in a private apartment, which varies according to their age and situation: a studio apartment for a single person, a shared apartment with a person of the same gender (private bedroom for each and a shared living room), with a partner and even with a husband/wife, who met in or out of Kishorit.
Much attention is given to the aesthetics at Kishorit, both of the buildings and apartments, and of the external environment. The apartments are in small one-story houses, wrapped in vegetation and greenery, similar to members’ apartments in kibbutzim. Each apartment has suitable furniture, a small fridge, TV, telephone and an alert system for help if needed. Each apartment has a patio, which is a personal seating area, in addition to the lawns scattered throughout Kishorit.
- Members who wish to do so can live in Kishorit’s satellite apartments – apartments located outside the village, in the nearby city of Karmiel, while Kishorit continues to be a social, therapeutic and employment support network for them. Here, too, there are a number of options to choose from: living in residential training apartments, living in an apartment with an aid, or completely independent living.
- At the same time, homes at Kishorit have been established for members who need closer accompaniment during a certain period in their lives, or permanently. These houses have a staff member nearby, who is available around the clock. There is also a nursing home, Beit Shikma, which is designed to provide a solution within the community for sick members and members in their old age, and it serves as a residence for members with conditions that require close supervision.
Kishor – An Inclusive Community
The community includes three populations:
• Kishorit – A village for adults with special needs.
• Kishor – A renewed kibbutz that includes three neighborhoods, of which 16 single-family houses were constructed by families who chose to build their homes there and have already moved in, 18 houses that are in advanced construction stages prior to occupancy, and more houses that are planned to be built in the near future.
• Al-Fanara – A village for people with special needs for the Arab population, which is in advanced planning and development processes.
The main idea that drives the establishment of the community is the principle of normalization. According to this principle, there is coexistence, side-by-side, of people with special needs and of “mainstream” people. The inclusive community is designed to provide an opportunity for a full and shared life for three populations that are different in essence in their culture and abilities, and who are interested in creating a common and supportive fabric of life.
The people who chose to live in the renewed Kibbutz Kishor and build a life together with Kishorit members (and with Al-Fanara members in the future), have a special interest in rehabilitating and caring for people with special needs – and have a direct connection to its members. Whether because they work in Kishorit, or because they are parents or siblings of members, or simply because they feel a special connection to the issue. This community actually fulfills the principle of “normalization” without ignoring the special needs of Kishorit and Al-Fanara members, as happens in many cases when hostels are established in areas of communities that have no special interest in including people with special needs into the community.
The two population groups: the “mainstream” (Kibbutz Kishor) and those with special needs (Kishorit and Al-Fanara), are united as separate economic and legal frameworks, cooperating in social, cultural and occupational activities.
In the renewed Kibbutz Kishor, each member is responsible for their own livelihood, and the residences are the private property of the members. This model reduces the sharing of material objects and encourages a lot of sharing spirit. Together with Kishorit (and in the future, with Al-Fanara as well), there is a framework of living together with connections and ongoing interactions in community life, work and leisure, while separating the residential frameworks. The separate residences are designed to enable the preservation of privacy and separate cultural, ethnic and religious content.
In November 2006, the government of Israel passed a resolution to expand Kishorit and establish a neighborhood within Kishorit for adults with special needs from the Arab sector. The therapeutic philosophy of Al Fanara will be similar to that of Kishorit but will respect Arab cultural sensitivities, language, and religious practices. Kishorit and Al Fanara members will work together in Kishorit’s businesses and share many leisure time activities, but the customs and rhythm of communal life in Al Fanara will be determined by its Arab members and staff. The spoken language will be Arabic and the manager of Al Fanara will be an Israeli Arab with extensive experience in the field of special needs. The infrastructure for the community has been laid and the first building – a high school for Jewish and Arab adolescents with mental illness – is complete. We are now embarking on the next stages of fundraising and building for Al Fanara.
On 11.08.2009 the cornerstone of Al-Fanara was laid in the presence of the former President Shimon Peres and Mayor Ron Shany. לרבים מבעלי הצרכים המיוחדים יש קשיים לשוניים בדיבור, בשמיעה, בהבנה ובקריאה, מה כל שכן בשפה שאינה שפת אימם. במהלך השנים התגבשה ההבנה שעל מנת לספק לאדם בית לחיים, על המסגרת לספק מקום בו השפה העיקרית, התרבות, החגים, והווי החיים- קרובים לתרבות ולמסורת שבה גדל.