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Special Activities The Israeli Experience Magazine

A day at Kibbutz Kinneret

Following Naomi Shemer, dates and pilgrimage. Suggestions for attractions in Kibbutz Kinnere
by: Israel Traveler   |   20.03.2011

An aura of pioneering heroism and an abundance of famous people’s names are connected with Kibbutz Kinneret in the South-West of the Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee), which started its way in 1908 with the Kinneret Courtyard. Today, more than a hundred years later, the kibbutz is still alive and kicking and offers an abundance of tourist attractions. Here are three suggestions for spending a day with a lot of singing, a lot of sweetness and a lot of atmosphere.

A tour of the childhood landscapes of Naomi Shemer

Naomi Shemer, born and raised in this kibbutz, is its pride and joy and the subject of one of the more popular tours offered here. As a true National Poet, the childhood story of Naomi Shemer is intertwined in the Zionist settlement. The tour, accompanied by a large cassette-player and a book of her songs, starts at the Motor House in the Kinneret Courtyard, next to the most famous Eucalyptus Grove (from Shemer’s song), and continues inside Kibbutz Kinneret itself with attractions such as the "Red Postal Truck” (another one of her song) and the House on the famous Hill from the Eucalyptus Grove song, where Naomi Shemer was born as the first girl on the hill. Later on one gets to the Shafriri House- the home of Naomi Shamer’s grandparents- which today serves as the Kibbutz children’s music room. Among the items in the modest exhibition displayed here, one can find the piano on which Shemer played, some pictures of the family and a small library of song books. The last stop in the tour is the famous Kinerret Group cemetery, where the famous poet Rachel is buried and where in 2004 Naomi Shemer was buried too.

Dates Plus At Kibbutz Kinneret

The "lovely brown fruit” that "the palm tree gave" in Naomi Shemer’s song, gets a huge store in Kinneret, dedicated solely to it. The selection of various kinds of dried dates offered here as well as date products is huge. One can walk around between heavily stocked shelves with natural rub (syrup extracted from dates), date pastes and creatively flavored confitures, while being invited to taste everything. The store also offers honey products, spices, Israeli winery wines, olive oils from the Golan Region, tea infusions and a variety of houseware and cosmetic products. Every once in a while cooking and baking workshops take place here and at the time of the date harvest in September, date tours as well.

Yardenit

Yardenit site, located at the entrance to the Kibbutz, on the bank of the Jordan River, is filled every morning and afternoon with tens of excited pilgrims. Christian believers are baptized here in the place where John the Baptists baptized Jesus. The traditional baptizing location was near Jericho, in Qasr el Yahud (which translates from Arabic as Fortress of the Jews, the place in which the Biblical Israelites crossed the Jordan River on their way to the Promised Land), but due to security reasons the State of Israel and the Kinneret Group moved the baptism site north to where the Sea of Galilee pours into the Jordan River. The peacefully flowing river, the gulls flying above among the numerous eucalyptus trees, the pilgrims’ white garments and their singing voices, create a very special atmosphere and it is hard not to join in the excitement of these people who have come all this way in order to participate in this special experience.

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