Life on the Kibbutz
Barkai is an Israeli Kibbutz in the Menashe Regional Council on the Western side of Wadi Ara. Its main industries include thermal and acoustic insulation, lamination and packaging at The Polyon Barkai factory (which you’ll see as you enter the Kibbutz); and agriculture: cattle, poultry, avocado, and field crops. Barkai has a large population of Jews who came from the United States, Canada, and South Africa, so there are many people who speak English. Barkai doesn’t have road signs or addresses, so you’ll have to learn your way around just through experience. At the center of the kibbutz is the Alonit (ministore), the hederochel (dining hall), the main kibbutz offices, and the laundry center.
Food and Meals
We provide one meat / vegetarian dish (main meal) Sunday – Thursday. This hot meal is served in the dining room (12:00-13:30). The rest is up to you to buy and to cook for yourself. There is a small store on the kibbutz (open 7:00AM to 7:00PM) that has comparable prices to other grocery stores and has almost everything you’ll need. However, you might want to explore other grocery stores. There is a grocery store in Pardes Hanna (take a right out of the kibbutz, left at the junction, and first right into the shopping center) and a grocery store in Gan Schmuel. In all of the Arab villages there are fantastic vegetable shops and butchers and super markets that you can also venture into. You can cook your meals in the kitchen, which is attached to the classroom. There is also a woman on the kibbutz who makes cheese, labaneh, and yogurt and you can buy fresh sandwiches from her in the morning and early afternoon for only seven shekels. Her “store” is located in the center of the kibbutz next to the hederochel (dining room).
The Laundry is open Sunday-Thursday from 06:00 to 14:00, Friday from 06:00 to 12:00. You can bring your laundry in the morning and pick it up in the afternoon/evening. The cost of laundry is 6 NIS per kilo (cash/credit card).
Temperatures range from 50 degrees Farenheit in the winter to 100 degrees Farenheit in the summer. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing for both seasons: sandals and T-shirts, bathing suits, a sweater and a warm jacket.
There is a hairdresser in Barkai. Open Sunday to Thursday from 16:00 to 19:00, he is very flexible, so you can call him and find a convenient time. This is fine for those who want simple haircuts (boys…), but if you want a nice haircut, you might have to go to one of the bigger cities, like Hadera, Haifa, or Tel Aviv.
The swimming pool opens during the summer. You are welcome to swim and enjoy it in your free time.
Sunday to Thursday: 09:00-13:00, 16:00-20:00.
Friday: 09:00-13:00, 15:00-19:00.
The Medical Clinic is open throughout the week for your use. You can go to the clinic and either make an appointment or sometimes you’ll get seen right away. You all have medical insurance through the program that covers almost everything you’ll need. Carry your card around with you so that you can get medical care when you are traveling around the country. The doctor only comes a few days a week so make sure you look at the timetable to see when he will be there. The Medical Clinic is open Sunday-Friday.
Every Friday there is a Shabbat dinner at the Kibbutz dining hall. Many Kibbutz members attend and it’s a nice place to get together with everyone from the Kibbutz. After dinner, everyone heads outside to the downstairs patio for the “Barkai Coffee Shop.” At the coffee shop you will find several home baked cakes and coffee and plenty of Kibbutz members sitting around chatting and playing with their children after dinner.
There are two libraries on the Kibbutz. There is a larger Hebrew library and a smaller English library. You will have a key to the English library. There are many books there in English—mostly novels. There will also be a small library of books in the classroom for your use. These books are mostly related to Islam, Judaism, Israel, Arabs, or politics.
Kibbutz Hours of Operation