is not a being who stands still, he is a being in the process of becoming.
The more he enables himself to become, the more he fulfills his true mission.”
Hidden away in a pastoral setting
with flowering gardens, in a quiet corner of Be’er Sheva, you find Kfar Rafael
— a calm, peaceful remedial community in the desert, where seven extended
families live and work.
The extended families whose population
numbers 110, are comprised of 50 villagers who suffer from physical and mental
disabilities, seven foster families and twenty volunteers. Each of the seven
couples are parents to their own children as well as to six villagers and
to an additional two staff members. Each extended family lives in its own
Kfar Rafael was founded in 1981. The
founders created the village to enhance the lives of severely disabled people
who had been rejected elsewhere. The village is based on the thought and
works of German-Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner: if a person’s environment
is harmonious, then he will strive to reach his highest possible potential.
At Kfar Rafael, the community members go to great lengths to create and maintain
a well-balanced lifestyle where each and every one contributes their own
Healthy people insure that the community
functions properly. The socialist community functions due to all of the people
who contribute their effort. Every morning after breakfast everyone assembles
in the great hall for the daily meeting and song. Then everyone goes off
to work. Members who are involved in agriculture are responsible for much
of the produce eaten in Kfar Rafael. Among the successful items grown are
carrots, avocados, almonds and squash. In the candle workshop, members of
Kfar Rafael produce candles in different shapes and sizes – all from beeswax.
In the the adjacent silk workshop, they design and dye silk products. Further
on, other members are busy weaving curtains, rugs, bags, table mats and clothing.
Most of the families
who live in the village studied social therapy in the UK, Germany or Switzerland
before they came to Kfar Rafael. Highly regarded internationally, the village
hosts volunteers for one or two years. Germans and Austrians may elect to
volunteer at Kfar Rafael in lieu of their army service.
Regina, a 20 year-old volunteer from
Germany works with five villagers in the silk workshop. She finds the village
a complete departure from any lifestyle she has known. “We work hard. Every
day we are busy until 9 at night. The villagers need and and return a lot
of love and attention. The work is very fulfilling.”
Additionally, Kfar Rafael runs an
internship program for Israelis on the philosophy and practicality of the
methodology of Rudolf Steiner. Kfar Rafael exists on government funding and