In 1983 the first olive trees were planted in the fields of Kibbutz Gezer. The area selected was of poor quality, with rocky barren soil. Since that time the area has been transformed into a green grove
teeming with life. The olives are grown organically, without any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. We have four main types of olive trees: Suri, Nabali, Barnea, and Shimlali, each withits own special characteristics and taste. They are cold-pressed at a local olive press and bottled here on the kibbutz. We also produce olive oil soap and pickled eating olives, zaatar and lemons.
Since the orchard is small, encompassing about 35 dunam (5 acres), each tree gets special care and attention. Interspersed among the olives are other indigenous fruit trees- almonds, figs, pomegranates,and almonds. We have also planted 50 forest-type trees as a shelter barrier from winds and from neighboring farmers who don’t have the same feelings about organic farming as we do. Each year, at Tu B’Shvat (the Jewish Arbor Day), we plant more olive and other trees as a reminder of our obligation to respect and maintain nature.
The work is done by kibbutz folk, both members and their offspring, as well as friends and volunteers who come for the experience. This is not by chance. In spite of all the changes in kibbutz society (and Israel as a whole), we still maintain some of the ideals that were the mainstay of kibbutz ideology. We believe in the importance of self-labor and maintaining our connection with the land. Just as important, we want to avoid the exploitation of others, especially workers from foreign lands who have limited rights and little power to claim what is due to them.
About Kibbutz Gezer
Strolling around our kibbutz early in the morning, you notice a beautiful sunrise over the surrounding fields, the chirping of a variety of birds, the mooing of cows from the kibbutz dairy, parents escorting their children to the kibbutz childcare center, some people walking to work or driving a small tractor or golf cart if they work on the kibbutz, and others driving their cars to neighboring cities or train stations to get to work. You might catch the scent of food cooking in the early childcare center kitchen or the smell of mowed grass and, of course, the heavenly scent of wild flowers and herbs in season.
Later on in the day you can see parents walking their babies in strollers or older kids by foot… you might hear the gentle winds in winter or the splashing at the pool in summer. Towards the south, ancient Tel Gezer looms on the horizon, a famous archeological site from the time of King Solomon and just a half hour walk away – part of our back yard. You will hear snippets of conversations in Hebrew, English (with American, English or South African accents of the many English-speaking members and residents of the kibbutz), or even Spanish, Russian or Amharic, illuminating the diverse population of the Kibbutz.
As the sun sets magnificently over the softball field, the coach instructs kids in playing the game, and later cheering for the Gezer team rings out as it hosts a visiting team. The basketball court is also a popular place for kids and adults. On weekends, cyclists, hikers and runners do laps around the kibbutz or in the surrounding fields. Families are at home spending time relaxing together after the busy week; some are gardening or engaging in other projects together. Sometimes there are social activities bringing the community together.
What are some of the things which make Gezer special? Friendly and warm people, open to visitors, many with a deep caring of the environment and with an altruistic nature. Social activities include working in our community garden, parties, olive picking in the season and fitness groups. Birkat Shalom, a reform synagogue which holds musical Sabbath services on Friday evenings for those interested, also arranges social and cultural activities.
Gezer is situated in the center of Israel in the scenic Ayalon Valley, about 30 minutes’ drive both from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, not far from historical sites such as Tel Gezer, the Latrun Monastery, Emaus and the town of Ramla (not Ramallah) which exudes history of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. From Gezer there is easy access to train stations and buses heading to destinations all over the country and to the major highways.