Welcome to Taglit Village at Kfar Hanokdim

Welcome to Taglit Village at Kfar Hanokdim, located in the Kanai’m valley in the Judaean Desert.
On June 8th your group will arrive to our Taglit Village, accompanied by other Taglit-Birthright Israel groups who are also currently travelling in Israel.
There are three main goals for our Taglit Village:
First, to offer you enjoyable and “off the beaten track” activities while you are in Israel with us,
second, to offer you an opportunity to meet and mingle with other Taglit Birthright Israel participants from North America and Israel, and third, to offer you a firsthand encounter with some fascinating people,
all of whom live and create in the Negev and are leading the workshops presented tonight.
Shortly after your arrival to Kfar Hanokdim,
you will participate in a workshop of your choosing, alongside other participants from all other groups. Please review our list of offered workshops. Each guide/madrich will make a list of the workshops, from which you will have to choose the one that interests you the most.
Only 4 people from each group are allowed in each workshop.
Upon your arrival to the village our staff members will give you a bracelet that will assign you with your workshop.
On behalf of Taglit Birthright Israel and your hosts in Kfar Hanokdim,
we wish you a memorable and enjoyable evening with us.

Gidi Mark
International CEO
Taglit Birthright Israel

Dr. Zohar Raviv
International VP of Education
Taglit Birthright Israel

The workshops menu

Desert Medicine - Lior Oknin

I'm a naturopath and natural medicine lecturer. I love traveling, drumming and being in nature. I grew up in Arad, a small desert town situated right above the Dead Sea. After a long journey around the world, I came back to Israel with my wife, Becky, and our three daughters, Ella, Gaya and Mika, were born. As a 'desert child' I always used to run from school straight to the gullies, looking for different plants and animals, slowly falling in love with the desert's expansiveness and quietness. Desert medicine combines two of my greatest loves: nature and healing. According to an old Bedouin folktale, God created the camel from a cloud and the Bedouin from the wind – so that they remain as free as the wind…. Over thousands of years in the desert the Bedouins have learned to identify and use natural herbal medicines. In the workshop, we will become acquainted with the medicinal attributes of desert plants, explore home remedies, discover their effectiveness in treating common health problems and how to use them, and, finally, experience cosmetics and skin nourishment products made from desert plants.

Green Recycled crafts - Michal Ben Ner

I was born and raised in Arad and today I'm married and raising my four children here. Other than being a mother, I am also a midwife and an artist. Inspired by my parents, I began practicing arts and crafts from a very young age, mainly around textile. The desert, in which I grew up, inspires me in all aspects of my work. In its calmness, its colors, its enormous horizon. But mainly in reminding me how simple and true nature is. I remember sitting against the wall behind my house and staring into the desert for hours, looking for sheep and shepherds. In my workshop I invite you to bring some of that magical desert spirit into your home by getting creative with recycled textile. We will make beautiful bags made all from recycled material and inspired by the beautiful desert.

Stone Balancing - Yuval Arazi

I was born on Kibbutz Givat Chaim Ichud, located between Hadera and Netanya. A few years ago I went out on a quest looking for my own tribe and for the lifestyle that would best suit me. During that quest I met my wife and came to Arad. We live here with our two children and I work in therapy. I love the desert, I love the landscape outside of the windows of my home, and I love feeling that the desert is always there for me, if I decide to leave the house and meet it again. Out of sheer love of the desert I picked up the art of stone balancing. It's about laying stones one on top of the other, at seemingly impossible angles, with the only glue between them being gravity. In my workshop I will teach basic techniques for stone balancing, and each individual will have a chance to experience leaving a 'rujum' behind, the nomad's milestone in the desert. I invite you to experience the satisfaction of letting go of a stone and seeing it stay, to enjoy the impressive constructions that form as we practice the art, and to take a picture of it all in the end, as a reminder your visit to the desert in Israel.

Desert Tracking - Ibrahim Abu Ga'ud

From the day I was born until the age of fifteen I lived a true nomad's life along with my family. We lived in a tent and we wandered according to the seasons, which influence the air compression, and the availability of water and plants. Every day I'd walk barefoot for an hour and a half to school. Sometimes, just as I got home from school, even before having my lunch, I'd have to go out looking for a lost sheep. And how do you find a lost sheep? You look for its tracks! I invite you to join me in finding lost sheep and to learn about the Bedouin theory of tracking. Together we will learn how to listen to the desert and we will discover the secrets of a Bedouin tracker's sight, hearing and orientation. We will experience tracking techniques, locate animal tracks, talk about the importance of the trackers' work for personal and national security, and learn to read the mysteries of the near and distant past on the desert ground. That way you will have a chance to become familiar first hand with the way the secrets of tracking are passed on from generation to generation in Bedouin society.

Desert Jewelry - Adi Miraro

I was born and raised in Arad. Ever since I can remember I've always loved both crafting and traveling. I've crossed Israel from top to bottom and from side to side. I've also traveled around the world- the United States, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, to mention a few. Everywhere I went, I always took with me my box of beads and stones that I collected during my travels, with which I made jewelry for myself and for friends I met along that way. At some point I decided to bring that box with me to the wide-open space of Arad and I opened a studio for jewelry design and body decorations. Here, I can get all the inspiration I need for my jewelry crafting. There is a somewhat beautiful contradiction in the desert between quietness and savageness, and this contradiction finds its way into every earring, bracelet or necklace I make, from the planning all the way through to the end product. In the workshop we will prepare body decorations made of beads in all of the colors of the rainbow and of the earth. You will be able to make yourself a necklace or a bracelet which will remind you of the desert everywhere you go.

Juggling - Amir Lavi

I was born and spent my childhood in Arad, and I feel very strongly connected to the desert. I hike a lot and love to investigate the surrounding desert. Here is where I developed my love for the circus arts in general, and for juggling in particular. I play saxophone and drums and I perform in several ensembles. My connection to music and the circus arts challenges me to explore the subject further and to find my inner peace through it. Juggling isn't just a game in which balls are thrown up into the air and caught. Juggling can help us learn a lot about how we deal with learning new things, with success and with failure. Juggling is a first-rate tool for sharpening concentration, developing creative thinking and improving time management. In my workshop we will learn to "stop running after balls" and to just enjoy the training and the method.

Meditation in the Desert - Ofri Baron

I was born and raised in the desert and am a graduate of the "University of Life". I'm vegan, an indigo child, I travel the world, am a contact juggler and lover of life. When I'm standing, and the living desert surrounds me, I feel at one with nature, and can practically hear the creek asking me to close my eyes and soak in the serenity. Meditation for me is the silence within the big noise. It is the ability to sit for a moment without letting any thoughts lead us or any emotions stir us. Meditation equips us with tools to help us keep balanced even in infuriating, scary and painful situations. I invite you to disconnect for a moment from the tumult and your daily routine, and to devote yourself to a world that lies within you, and in that world to find peace, quietness and consolation. I'm certain you will be happy to discover how simple it is to "jump in" and come back out fresh and attuned!

Dynamic Yoga - Ronnie Waldmann Pelach

I was born and raised in the city of Arad by my father David from the UK and my mother Zehava from Yemen. The differences between my parents created a liberal environment at home, which allowed me to cultivate an occupation in the arts from a very young age. I started dancing when I was five, and already as a youngster I danced in different ensembles, including the Bat-Dor and Kamea companies. When I was my twenties, I lived in South America where I learned different styles of dance, such as contemporary dance, improvisation, African dance, Argentinean tango, and flamenco. My passion for movement is also what brought me to Godfrey Devereux's dynamic yoga. What started as a practice became a profession. During the last few years, after acquiring a broad international yogic education, I have been teaching dynamic yoga. Its principals are sensitivity and respect for bodily sensations, lengthening, widening, and rooting of different body parts, use of the bare minimum of physical strength needed, free breathing, comfort and stability. Practicing dynamic yoga allows the body to work in a wholesome way and allows its natural intelligence to surface. In the workshop, we will combine Pranayama breathing exercises, moving between Vinyasa and Asana positions and meditation.

Yoga in the Desert - Ariel Tamir

I was born in Givataim, a small town located next to Tel-Aviv. During my childhood I spent a lot of time hiking all around Israel with my family and friends. Ever since I remember myself I have loved spending time in nature - on the beach, in the forest or under the open sky of the desert. When I grew up I took my love of nature one step farther and started traveling all around the world, exploring the never ending variety of the landscapes of the earth. I spent years flying between the continents, from the rainy jungles and magical beaches of the Far East to the wild desert of Mexico. During my travels I discovered yoga, and immediately felt a deep connection to it. It was the perfect way for me to develop a bond between my body, my soul and the earth. I have kept practicing ever since I began, and fell more and more in love with it as time passed. After years of traveling back and forth from Tel-Aviv I decided to give myself some peace of mind and settled in Arad, a small town in the Judean Desert. I opened the first yoga studio in the district, with the intention of making our yoga practices accessible to all, and allow anyone who wants to experience it to do so in ease and peace. Throughout my practice I aspire to let the practitioners find their own tempo, and desires, to allow them to get to know their body and soul better every day. I practice the Vinyasa style of yoga, which is based on keeping a natural flow between the postures and maintaining the bond between the breath, the movement and the earth.

Reiki - Tali pal

I was born in Israel and grew up in the city of Arad. I had a lovely family that loved me very much, but despite that I was just a bit weird. I was always looking for the answer to the existence of our life force. When I was 19, I began to travel all over the world. This helped me to understand that the answer lies within ourselves, but I knew that in order to find it, I would need a teacher to guide me to it. After few years of traveling I arrived in India and found my teacher. He taught me to meditate with a technique called Kriya Yoga, and, most important, he taught me how to use the healing power we have in our own hands. This is known as REIKI - REI (universal energy) KI (our source - the self). After ten years of practice and experience I began guiding people to find the power within themselves. In this workshop we will begin to feel the universal energy that surrounds us, from the universal aspect to the personal aspect, and how to use this existing flow of energy to heal ourselves. Energy is essentially a flow, that is, while we heal others, we are actually healing ourselves!

Qì Gong - Avital Aharoni

I have been living in the desert for over twenty years. I have trained as an artist, and am currently working in sculpting and pottery. A number of years ago I discovered Qì Gong, an ancient Chinese movement art and fell in love with it. In these three disciplines I find a deep connection between the body and the desert earth, and draw great inspiration from this connection. In this workshop we will experience the practice of Qì Gong, which is a kind of moving meditation accompanied by soothing music. We will re-energize our bodies, refresh and strengthen ourselves. The Qì Gong boosts our mood and stimulates us. It's a wonderful way to balance body and mind and to empower ourselves.

Nocturnal Desert Creatures - Shir Perlmuter

I was born and raised in Arad. Since I was a child I have wandered in the desert surrounding my town. When I was 17 years old I began volunteering in Arad's Search and Rescue team, which operates mainly in the Judean desert. I did my Army service in the northern part of Israel and was sure that my future laid there. But when I came back to Arad I realized that this is my home and here I feel that anything is possible. Nowadays I am working as a tour guide for the general public and for the education system. I also work with teenagers and adults who have been in trouble with the law, guiding them on wilderness therapy treks. I am currently trying to find a way to strengthen the commitment and involvement of our youth to the city and to the desert surrounding it. I invite you on a nighttime journey to search for the nocturnal creatures of the desert and to understand how they manage to survive! We will head out through the dark desert night and if we're lucky, we will find scorpions, snakes, foxes, wolves, jackals, owls or bats.

Drumming Circle - Brian Acevedo

I arrived in Israel from Argentina when I was 10 years old. After completing my national service I moved to Arad, since I wanted to be close to the desert and the Dead Sea. I love the desert because it allows me to live life at my own pace. I feel as though the desert accepts me exactly for who I am, and fills me with its power and strength. Since I can remember myself I have been practicing art in many different ways, such painting, jewelry, sculpting, playing music on different instruments and writing songs. The drumming circle for me is a way to connect with people. Come discover, with my guidance, the souls of drums from all around the globe. Allow the rhythms to enter your body and soul and connect you to new places. In the drumming circle you will become drummers yourselves, learn different drumming techniques and get too know the lifestyle of cultures where drumming plays a leading role. Together we will create a free, rhythmic energy and learn the language of drums - a language of no words, for absolutely anybody.

The workshops:

  • Desert Medicine - Lior Oknin
  • Green Recycled crafts - Michal Ben Ner
  • Stone Balancing - Yuval Arazi
  • Desert Tracking - Ibrahim Abu Ga'ud
  • Desert Jewelry - Adi Miraro
  • Juggling - Amir Lavi
  • Meditation in the desert - Ofri Baron
  • Dynamic yoga - Ronnie Waldmann Pelach
  • Yoga in the desert - Ariel Tamir
  • Reiki, Healing hands - Tali Pal
  • Qì Gong - Avital Aharoni
  • Nocturnal Desert Creatures - Shir Perlmuter
  • Drumming Circle - Brian Acevedo

some photos from last year...