Derech Eretz – An Interactive Agricultural and Heritage Center The Derech Eretz Educational Center was founded 5 years ago by the EME”T organization, a registered non-profit in Israel. EME”T in Hebrew stands for "Truth from the land shall rise." The project was established in the lower Galilee as an interactive center where visitors can participate in educational and productive agricultural activities. The Center sits on the Toran ridge with a spectacular view of Beit Netofa valley.
Our program offers a unique experience to visitors that helps them truly understand the Galilee – its development, its achievements, and its way of life. Visitors have the chance to work – actual physical labor – in local agriculture, and their labors serve as a catalyst for discussion and debate of myriad topics including Zionism, pioneering, the Galilee’s history, and social leadership.
Derech Eretz was founded in memory of Major Daniel Gomez who was killed in the Second Lebanon war in 2006. Daniel dedicated his life to values like generosity and love for his country. He believed that Israel’s history was determined by its landscapes and by generations of hard work and daily achievements. EME”T also believes that connecting people emotionally to the Land of Israel and helping them get to know our country are crucial to Israel’s future.
The purpose of the Derech Eretz Center is to generate strong emotional connections in our visitors to Israel and its landscapes, using new discoveries and knowledge, shared manual labor, and the satisfaction that comes from personal and team achievement. Our experience proves that the team work and personal experiences provided by our program are very empowering and lead to sincere and significant discussions of many topics that may no longer be in style but are still very important: the contribution of work, particularly manual labor, to our quality of life; our mission and significance as contributing members of society; our values and how we express them in words and deeds.
When visitors arrive they first gather at the Center’s northern view point for a short explanation of the Galilee, the immediate landscape, and the national challenges that face the northern region of Israel today. After splitting into groups, the visitors are invited to take part in an agricultural activity that requires manual labor to reach a shared goal. Participants are giving training for the work they will be doing, safety instructions, and all the tools they will need. Working together, they’ll become a team. They’ll get their hands dirty and experience and love the “Land of Israel” in a completely new way. By working in the fields like Israel’s earliest pioneers, every visitor is living Israel’s history in a very personal way.
After each team completes their tasks they sit down to hot herbal tea, bread and chocolate, and a traditional bonfire to share their experience and discuss significant topics.
As they work, our visitors are building the agricultural center. Participants are building the farm from the ground up by clearing rocks , constructing trails, sowing seeds, and pruning orchards. Derech Eretz, when completed, will be a place of beauty and productivity and will serve as a gateway to the lower Galilee. The Center will naturally evolve into an educational site where tourists will learn the historical and agricultural heritage of the lower Galilee, and it will have been proudly built entirely by the joint efforts of all its visitors.
Dozens of people have already taken part including school children, teens in youth movements, soldiers, high tech employees, and young adults touring Israel with Birthright. At Derech Eretz we believe that the center's unique educational opportunities will continue to attract many visitors from all over the world; we invite you to join us and to deepen your roots in the Galilee.
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