Vocational Centers

Providing productive employment for the Kishorit members is a vital part of the rehabilitation process and a significant step toward independence. Work provides a daily routine, a place to form social bonds, a way to learn new skills, and a source of self esteem and self worth.

We believe that with the proper training, supervision, support and guidance, the majority of people with special needs can be integrated into the workforce.  In order to achieve this lofty goal, we offer professional training, long term job coaching and opportunities for employment in a wide range of settings – from agriculture to industry – that utilize diverse skill sets and abilities. In consultation with his/her social worker, each member decides where he/she wants to work and is placed in a job that suits his/her strengths and interests.

For this purpose, Kishorit owns and operates a number of businesses that provide meaningful employment for the Kishorit members and also produse goods for sale to the general market.  Some businesses are extremely profitable, others are balanced, and some are still on the way to profitability, but are important centers for providing employment.

Kishorit’s Employment Centers:

The local Galilean climate makes Kishorit an ideal location for a  dairy.  The herd consists of more than 1200 goats (including 700 that are milked) which produce approximately  500,000 liters of goat milk annually, making Kishorit one of the leading producers of  goat milk in Israel.  The dairy provides daily employment for 8 members of Kishorit, under the supervision of Yoav Kedar, a professional herd manager, and staff.  The members find it very therapeutic to work with the goats.  They learn about caring for others, hygiene, and nutrition through their work with the herd.
 
To respond to the increasing demand for  goat cheese and dairy products in Israel, Kishorit built a cheese making factory that provides work for 5 additional Kishorit members.  The factory produces a wide range of high quality, boutique cheeses including Tzfatit, Feta, Tom, Croutan (like Camembert), exclusive Kishor cheese, as well as a wide range of yogurts.  The cheese factory is 140 square meters, and includes a storage area, a pasteurization room, refrigerators, and a packaging area.  The cheese factory is managed by professional cheese-maker, Idan Weisman.  The cheese is eaten by the members of Kishorit and, in the near future, will be marketed to gourmet eateries.  The dairy and cheese factory provide our members with the healthiest possible food, while serving as a significant source of income for the community. 

Kishorit encourages its members to live a healthy lifestyle and to care for the environment.  As such, we practice organic agriculture that does not use chemical pesticides.  This enables us to provide our members with the healthiest possible food, without harmful by-products, chemical pesticides or antibiotics.  The vegetables in Kishorit are raised according to the highest standards in the organic market.  We sometimes use biological pesticides, but even these are kept to a minimum.  In actual practice, most of the produce grown in Kishorit is never sprayed or treated with any kind of pesticide, not even once, and are completely clean and fresh when they are picked.
 
Several years ago, the community planted a 4.5 dunam organic garden.  Today, the garden sits on almost 15 dunam and includes an open air garden as well as four covered greenhouses where sprouts and a wide range of vegetables are grown year round.
 
The garden provides employment for 15 Kishorit members and supplies almost all of the daily vegetable needs of Kishorit.  The seasonal greens and sprouts are sold internally in our village mini-market and we hope to expand our sales and revenue by introducing the produce to the free market in the near future. 
 
We also have an 'edible forest' in Kishorit.
A mixed fruit orchard of more than 300 trees and bushes of all varieties is being planted between the volunteers’ housing quarters and the winery, in close proximity to Kishorit's residential neighborhoods.  The garden will be carefully planned to ensure that trees are flowering and fruiting year-round.  Seasonal gardens will be organized and marked.  Footpaths and seating areas will enable members and visitors to wander through the orchard, taste the fruit and enjoy the orchard’s beauty.
This orchard will provide employment for our members, fruit for the Kishorit kitchen, revenue for Kishorit through the sale of organic fruit to the general market, shade and beauty.  It will reduce erosion, improve air quality and increase the quality of life of all who enjoy it. 

The garden is supervised by Tomer Gafni and Eliran De-Mayo, an expert in organic farming.

The Garden:

Free range eggs are eggs from chickens that are raised organically, fed organic food, not given antibiotics (which then are transmitted to the eggs,) and are able to wander freely in a large, open area.
 
Working in the free range egg farm is an important therapeutic-rehabilitative activity for the members.  Feeding the chickens, and collecting, counting and cleaning the eggs gives the members an opportunity to connect with the natural world and practice important fine motor and cognitive skills.  Gathering and packing the eggs – gently, carefully and patiently – and transporting them to the customer, helps the members develop a sense of patience and responsibility.
 
The chicken coop is a 70 meter area.  We produce 500,000 eggs annually that are used in the Kishorit kitchen and sold to a local wholesaler.  The egg farm is overseen by Tomer Gafni and the cleaning and packaging of the eggs is supervised by Yashar Amzelg, professional manager of the plastics and recycling department.

During the summer of 2007, the kibbutz planted its first vineyard with the goal of producing excellent boutique wine for the outside market. In the summer of 2010 (after the grapes had passed the three year status of arlah according to the Jewish agricultural laws of the Land of Israel), we harvested our first harvest and inaugurated the new winery.  Since then, our wine has been sold in stores, high-end restaurants, to companies and private suppliers. 

The vineyard is located at an altitude of 500 m, on the south –west slopes of the Tefen heights approx. 20 km from the Mediterranean sea, the vineyards enjoy the benefits of a distinctive micro-climate in that traditionally Israeli hot summer days are cooled by a constant sea breeze and appreciably cooler nights .
The soils are deep terra-cotta with limestone deposits, which together with the unique climatic conditions helps us in the production of quality grapes.
We cultivate the vines using environmentally friendly production techniques –controlled pest and weed eradication using chemicals only when necessary and carefully monitored.
Today, we have 80 dunam of vineyards that are cared for by the members of Kishorit, under the supervision of expert wine consultant, Itay Lahat, vineyard manager, Richard Davis, and the village staff.
 
5 Kishorit members work in the vineyard and winery on a regular basis, with dozens of additional members joining the team during planting, harvest and bottling seasons.  The members take great pride in the wine-making process and feel a profound sense of accomplishment when they see the finished product being sold, knowing that it is literally the fruit of their labor. 
The Kishor winery currently sells 7 types of wine: Kerem Kishor Dry Red, Kerem Kishor Dry White, Kerem Kishor Syrah, Kerem Kishor Rose, Kishor Savant Dry Red, Kishor Savant Dry White, and Kishor Savant Semi-Sweet Riesling.  

Link to Facebook

Link to the website

In the Kishorit bakery, the members bake whole grain bread, cake, cookies, granola and all of the baked goods required by the community.  Working with their hands, kneading the dough and producing a delicious finished product that earns the praise and positive feedback of other community members is extremely therapeutic for our members.  The intimate setting of the bakery provides employment for some of our most challenging members, adults who suffer from extreme mood swings and require close supervision.
 
The bakery is overseen by professional baker Amir Tsalel.  Amir is assisted by Nir Yaron, a Kishorit member. Nir, who works at the bakery from day one, completed a professional pastry chef course and considered as our pastry "expert". 

The bakery produces a wide range of baked goods, including whole grain bread (with seeds, craisins, nuts, olives, dates, sun-dried tomatoes and basil), braided challah, rolls, baguettes, focaccia, cookies (butter, nuts, chocolate chips, brownies, muffins, sugar-free cookies with almonds, biscotti), birthday cakes and granola.  In honor of special holidays, the bakery produces traditional foods such as hamentaschen, doughnuts, and other delicacies.
 
In the future, we aim to expand the range of products and increase production so that the surplus can be sold in a health food store in Kishorit that will sell our baked goods, organic milk and dairy products, organic fruit and vegetables.  We hope that this store will generate a revenue stream that will cover our expenses and will also create additional opportunities for contact between Kishorit and our neighbors.

Kishorit has a dog breeding kennel that specializes in breeding miniature schnauzers and dachshunds that are sold throughout Israel and Europe.  The dogs have an exceptional bloodline and papers, have won hundreds of championships, and some have even become European champions.
 
The Kishorit kennel also offers boarding services, including veterinary supervision, for dogs whose owners are away.  The large, spacious pens are heated in the winter, and the Kishorit members walk the dogs and give them time to run and play on a central green.  In addition, Kishorit offers a “doggie old age home” for elderly dogs whose owners can no longer care for them, dog grooming, and an educational center that teaches about dog breeding, training, and therapy dogs.
 
The Kishorit kennel is one of the most important and beloved employment centers in Kishorit.  Research has shown that dog ownership, and connection with animals in general, contributes positively to a person’s physical and mental health.  Child psychiatrist, Boris Levinson, showed how having a pet dog can help children with behavioral problems.  The children succeed in developing a spontaneous connection with the dogs and were then able to transfer this connection to their families and other people. 
 
The same pattern is seen in adults with special needs.  Dog ownership helps them to develop social connections with people around them.  We believe that a connection to animals, and dogs in particular, offers many therapeutic benefits for people with special needs.  The dogs provide friendship, physical touch, love, attention, understanding, reduced stress levels, and a reduction in feelings of disappointment, frustration, and loneliness. 
 
When researching employment centers for Kishorit, we understood that there was an excellent fit between our population and a dog breeding kennel.  In searching for the right breed, we chose schnauzers and dachshunds because they are small, have good physical health, can offer love and be loved, and are very loyal, “one-man dogs” that also love the whole family.
 
The kennel is managed by professional manager, Kitty Gillos, originally a Dutch milkmaid, who has raised boxer dogs for many years.

Link to the website

The therapeutic stable at Kishorit plays an important role in the rehabilitation of the Kishorit members.  7 Kishorit members work in the stable which is managed by Nadav Golan.  Currently, the stable has 8 horses, some of which belong to Kishorit and some of which belong to others, but are stabled at Kishorit and cared for by the Kishorit members.  The stable offers therapeutic riding lessons for the Kishorit members, the students of the Ziv Kishorit Democratic High School, and for members of the wider community.
 
Equine Assisted Therapy has been proven to improve self confidence and feelings of independence, increases self awareness vis-à-vis one’s self and one’s environment, improves communication, teaches the rider to deal with frustration, and develops gross motor skills, coordination and balance.  Riding requires the rider to respect authority, follow rules, be assertive, be empathetic and develop trust.
 
In Kishorit, therapeutic riding is used to treat people who have difficulty communicating and connecting with others, such as those diagnosed with autism or cognitive impairments, those who have experienced major traumas, those suffering from psychiatric disorders, and ADHD.

Kishorit’s petting zoo was established in 2010 as an attempt to provide work for a particular member who was prone to violent outbursts and had difficulty working with others.  We believed that working with animals would be an effective means for rehabilitating someone with special needs due to the unconditional love offered by the animals, and the sense of security, responsibility and self-worth that come from giving to others.
 
Within a few short months, the member underwent a monumental change.  He no longer needed a full-time shadow and his behavior improved tremendously.  This prompted us to open a petting zoo that would employ additional members with significant challenges.  Under the professional management of Natalie Fox, the new employment center was born and became a central part of some members’ rehabilitation.  Today, the zoo cares for a wide range of wild and domesticated animals – birds including birds of prey, reptiles, and mammals. 
 
9 Kishorit members work in the petting zoo on a daily basis.  Once per week an animal workshop is offered as a leisure time activity for anyone in the community.  Additionally, any member who needs individual animal therapy can receive it on a one-to-one basis in the petting zoo.
 
Special Initiatives
The petting zoo partners with the Israeli Society for the Preservation of Nature and the National Parks Association and has become a wildlife rehabilitation center.  Injured animals from all over the north of Israel are brought to Kishorit where they are then rehabilitated. The members feed, clean and care for them, and the animals receive veterinary care.  Those that can be rehabilitated are re-released into the wild.  Those that cannot be re-released are kept and cared for at Kishorit.
 
Often, the members see their own stories in this process of rehabilitation and they draw great strength and encouragement from the animals.  During the process, the person with special needs who is generally on the receiving end of the “kindness equation” switches roles and becomes a giver, a supporter, the stronger one in a relationship, the one responsible for rehabilitating another.  This opportunity empowers and strengthens the members, and gives them a feeling of responsibility and self worth.  Some of the animals that we regularly rehabilitate are tortoises, eagles and hawks, although many other types of animals are sent to us as well.
 
The Kishorit petting zoo works in conjunction with the veterinary services of the Ramat Gan Safari, and takes in the Safari’s wounded song birds.  Some of these birds are endangered due to habitat destruction and climate change caused by mankind and it is particularly gratifying when we can rehabilitate them and re-release them into the natural environment to continue laying eggs and increasing the species.  Some of the songbirds in our petting zoo include the hoopoe and robin.
 
In Israel, in general, and the North, in particular, there has been a sharp decline in owls in the wild.  In our petting zoo we are proud to breed and raise owlets and release them into the wild.
 
Plans for the Future
In the Western Galilee there is a large population of insect eating bats.  We plan to establish a bat colony that will nest, breed and hibernate in our area.  It will be used as a natural way to control the insects in the fields and vineyards in our region.
 
In conjunction with the Ramat Gan Safari, we also hope to open a zoo for animals that are indigenous to Israel.  The idea is in the earliest planning stages and we hope to make it a reality in the near future.
 
Ultimately, we would like the open the petting zoo to the broader community and invite students from other regional schools to care for the animals together with our Kishorit members.  The Kishorit members will benefit greatly from working with individuals from mainstream society.  They will learn to work together in groups and take responsibility.
 

The plastic and recycling center is a multi-purpose employment center that provides productive work for approximately 40 Kishorit members.  The members who work in the recycling center typically choose that site because they can work while sitting, in comfortable physical conditions, and because the repetitive, routine work offers them a sense of emotional calm and security.
 
The work done in the recycling center is varied and includes preparing packages of plastic goods for “Yiscar,” sorting and packaging screws and hardware for “Trellidor,” sorting, cleaning and packaging the organic eggs collected from Kishorit’s free-range egg farm, and creating unique, hand-made, bags from recycled newspapers that are sold to gift shops, liquor and clothing stores throughout Israel.  The bags have generated a great deal of interest and we have received incredibly positive feedback about them.  Each bag has a sticker that tells the story of Kishorit and shares our message of environmental sustainability and employment for people with special needs.
 
In the words of professional manager, Yashar Amzaleg, “the more work we have to do, the more that everyone is engaged in activity, the better the atmosphere, and the calmer the emotional states of the members.”  Yashar has been supervising the recycling center for more than a decade with endless patience and personal warmth, and an unparalleled ability to give and listen to the members. 

KishoriTV is the only communications center in the world that is operated by adults with special needs.  Founded in 2005, KishoriTV offers some of Kishorit’s most capable members the chance to do creative, challenging, dynamic work in the field of communications.  KishoriTV affords members the opportunity to tell their own stories, in their own voices and from their own perspectives.
 
KishoriTV produces a 30 minute television program that is broadcast on mainstream Israeli television (on the community channel, 98).  A new show is produced monthly and broadcast 3 times each week.  Old episodes are then uploaded to the Kishorit Youtube channel.  The communications center is well equipped with professional cameras, video equipment, three editing rooms and a mobile unit that allows us to document cultural and social events around the village.  The members are involved of every aspect of the production process.  With the guidance of professional staff, the members write the stories, conduct interviews, film, edit, produce and present the final show. 
 
In addition to the monthly KishoriTV show, the Communications Center produces promotional films for private customers such as Rambam hospital, the Mazra Mental Health Center, Colibri (a subsidiary company of Iscar), Vargos, Chanita metals, the Jewish Agency, Partnership 2000, the City of Carmiel municipality, and more.
 
The members who work in the Communications Center are also responsible for producing the annual Kishorit newspaper “B’tocheinu,” “In Our Midst,” before Rosh Hashana.  The newspaper includes stories, poetry, pictures and feature articles about community activities. It is written, edited and produced by the members of Kishorit in conjunction with the staff and it provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride to our members.
 
The Communications Center is directed by Israel Eshel, a professional with 30 years of experience in the field of film production, screenplay writing, directing and managing multi-media projects.

Pastel Toys was one of Kishorit's first and best-known businesses.  The Pastel Toys brand was known as a mark of quality in Israel and around the world, but market competition from China forced the company's closure in 2014.

The Pastel Toys factory produced and marketed beautiful wooden toys for children of all ages.  The toys’ classic design was a throwback to a simpler, more wholesome time.  The soft, pastel colors lent a magical, romantic, calm air and reflected the values of Kishorit: naturalness, simplicity, sharing and humanity.
The beauty of the toys was due to their outstanding quality and simple design.  They stood up to thousands of hours of play and became family heirlooms, passed down to children and grandchildren.  Pastel Toys produced a wide range of products including, animals on wheels, building blocks, rocking horses, walkers, doll carriages, doll houses and more.
 
The factory employed many members of Kishorit who worked under the careful supervision of a few professional carpenters.  The members were full partners in the entire production process, with each member taking responsibility for tasks that suited his or her abilities.  The members operated the machinery, cut out the wooden shapes and painted each piece.  Members assembled the toys, shrink wrapped them for shipping, and delivered them to the stores.  Members could work alone or in groups, doing varied, creative work or more repetitive tasks.  The work developed the members’ concentration, fine motor skills, ability to follow through on a task and decision making.  It afforded members a sense of tremendous pride, self worth and belonging.
 
Pastel Toys products were one of the leading quality brands of wooden toys in Israel.  They were distributed in stores throughout Israel and were shipped internationally.  

The story of 'PastelToys':

 

The Kishorit Kitchen is responsible for providing three meals daily as well as catering for special events in the village.  The kitchen works like a traditional, central kibbutz kitchen and provides meaningful employment for the ten members who work there.  The members work alongside a paid staff and work in shifts scheduled around meal times.  The members do a wide variety of tasks, each according to his/her ability.  In addition to helping the chef cook and preparing fresh salads daily, they set the tables, arrange the napkins and flowers on every table, serve the food, clean up and wash dishes.

Based on the traditional kibbutz model, Kishorit has a central laundromat where ten members work.  They wash, dry, iron, fold and distribute the clean laundry to the other members.  The Laundromat is an efficient, modern operation with high quality machines.  There is lots of potential to open its doors to the general public and use it to generate revenue for the community.

 The winery’s Visitors Center is also an employment center.  There, guests can tour our winery, learn about the process of wine-making in Kishorit, watch a film about the community, and of course, taste our award winning Kishor wines and other products.  The Visitors’ Center overlooks one of our vineyards and the beautiful Galilean forest.  Members work in the Visitors Center welcoming guests, giving guided tours, and interacting with the mainstream public.  They take great pride in the fruits of their labor.
 
In the Visitors Center it is possible to purchase Kishor wine as well as our other organic produce: a wide range of hard and soft goat cheeses, goat’s milk yogurt, whole grain bread, cookies and other baked goods.

Contact Us

M.P. Bik'at Beth Hakerem 2012300                                   Tel. 972 4 9085110                  Fax. 972 4 9986810 kishorit@bezeqint.net