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The Ortal Community

Kibbutz Ortal is a communal village of about 50 families located in the Golan Heights. We make our living mostly through agriculture and our varied crops and activities include: apples, cherries, peaches, nectarines, wine grapes, a beef herd and a dairy, poultry houses and various field crops. Our orchards specialize in fruits for the Israeli market, growing to market specifications both as to size, color, and varieties. Our major apple varieties are the Top Red variety of Red Delicious (40%), the Smoothee variety of Golden Delicious (25%), and Jonathan, Royal or Galaxy Gala, and Grannysmith (all about 10%). We have also started planting Pink Lady quite heavily, but it will be some years before most of those orchards start producing. Our vineyards produce Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. Our combination of rocky volcanic soil, cool summer nights, and hot dry summer days makes the Golan Heights an optimal place to produce wines. Our vineyards produce for the Golan Heights Winery in Katzrin and for our own boutique winery here on Ortal.

As I said above we are a communal village. This means the various business branches are owned by the kibbutz and run by the members for the good of the kibbutz. Each member gets a monthly salary based on their specific job, half of which goes to them and half goes to the kibbutz to run the community services. These services include: full-service dining room, day-care for preschoolers, health services, a laundry, a fleet of cars for use by members, maintenance services, and gardening services. The kibbutz also provides members with life and health insurance, pensions, and pays taxes for them. We get a lot from the kibbutz but are expected to give a lot back. Besides working full-time to the best of our ability, each member is also expected to help with the running of the kibbutz, either by participating on committees or doing those administrative jobs which need doing, after regular working hours. Because we have succeeded in this, we have been able to maintain a high standard of living throughout the difficult business climate the world has been going through.

Our major goals in life are to hold the land for the Jewish people and make it fruitful, provide for our children (growing up safely with good values) and living well. We are able to meet these goals with hard work, communal values, and good management. There is much more I could say about Ortal but will stop for now. If you have any questions feel free to ask me: Ahuva Applebaum - ahuvaa@kortal.org.il



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