In late November 2016, a group of 22 young adults moved into brand new apartment complexes in Mitzpeh Ramon. The group called themselves “Karnei Ramon,” and their goal was to strengthen the small Negev city, and bring in a new life. Within a year, the group grew to 32 in size, and had brought 8 large community projects to life, and over 1,000 collective community volunteer hours.

About the Seed Group

The Karnei Ramon group gathered together from all over Israel, especially the Center. The group is primarily made up of young academics and grad students, between the ages of 26 and 35, and totals 32 adults and 5 children.

Most members of Karnei Ramon have always wanted to live in Mitzpeh Ramon, and used to dream of the desert landscape often – but were too scared to make the move alone. When they saw OR Movement’s call for desert pioneers, they realized that this might be their chance. Now, as a group, they have the support and friendships they need to make the desert community flourish.

The Karnei Ramon Seed Group is doing something entirely new, and hopefully will begin a new trend for developing communities in the Negev and Galilee. The group lives in apartment complexes in Mitzpeh Ramon, which were designated specifically for them. Residence is subsidized, and on a three-year contract. At the contract’s end, the group is expected to purchase (or rent) their own homes around the Mitzpeh Ramon community, which by then, they’ll have come to know well. As each group moves on, a new young group will take their place, providing a continuous flow of young residents to bring life to the town.

The Seed Group committed to implementing community projects with intent to create a bridge between current residents, and contribute to the quality of life in Mitzpeh Ramon. The group was divided into task forces for each project. Each group was trained in writing grant requests, and then submitted requests for financial support.

Some of the projects have already begun and have created a tradition, such as alternative Kabbalat Shabbat, Lag B’omer bonfires, holiday events, and more. The group has established a wholesale community market run by volunteers, allowing the residents of Mitzpeh Ramon to buy produce and groceries at a much lower cost. Next month, the group is launching their mother-daughter empowerment group, for mothers and daughters, who are around Bat Mitzvah age, to attend sessions and group activities geared towards educating and empowering girls and women.

The projects with wider urban characteristics such as the community garden, which the municipality has already agreed to providing the water for the project, and creation of the first dog park in Mitzpeh Ramon are currently in various stages of the bureaucratic system.

The Karnei Ramon Seed Group have already created a tremendous impact on the city of Mitzpeh Ramon.

Partners: Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Alan Gindi, UIA – Keren HaYesod, Mitzpeh Ramon Municipality, The Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee.

To help us create more pioneering Seed Groups, please click here to donate.

Karnei Ramon 2017 in Numbers