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Sunday, 19 August 2007

Intro - 31/07/07

Dear Friends,

After five months of being out the country I am finally back in the UK.
I spent the first 3 months traveling around South America visiting
Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil. I saw some incredible
things and met great people along the way, it was a real adventure.
After a quick transfer in the middle of June I made my way to Israel.
There I represented Pro Zion at the meeting of the Zionist General
Council of the World Zionist Organistation and at the Jewish Agency
Assembly in Jerusalem. The two events were engaging both in terms of
the content of the proposals that were discussed and voted upon, and the
educational sessions that were put on.

After the conference I spent the next 4 weeks on Kibbutz Lotan, one of
the two Reform Zionist Kibbutzim in the Arava Valley. I had previously
spent 5 months on the Kibbutz during the Shnat Netzer programme in
2001/2. It was great to be back to a place that inspired me so much
and, whilst a lot has changed, the community still has the unique feel
that I remembered and I was not only warmly welcomed back in by the
members of the Kibbutz, but I was again inspired by my short stint
living there. Lotan is at an exciting time with the financial
difficulties that plagued the Kibbutz five years ago already becoming a
distant memory. The three main income industries of the kibbutz: the
Diary, the Dates Plantation, and the Ecological tourism are all
expanding. One of the most exciting projects currently being worked on
is the construction of a new neighbourhood to house the students of the
Green Apprenticeship programme
(http://www.kibbutzlotan.com/creativeEcology/ga/index.htm). This
project is using the principles that Lotan teaches to create
ecologically sound and sustainable housing for the environment of the
Arava. I had the fortune of working for a week in the construction of
these houses whilst I was there as well as working in the Dates
Plantation for the rest of my time there.

However, it is good to be home, and with Daniel away in Israel for the
next fortnight I am sending you the articles this week. As well as
information about the planning application of JCoSS and a poster for the
ZF's conference in September, please find attached two articles about
the Agunot bill and one about civil marriages. As always, your comments
are warmly welcomed.

B'Shalom,

Charlie Gluckman and all at Pro Zion

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