Ramat HaNegev Municipality: A Beacon of Innovation in Community Building
Shalom, members of our vibrant synagogue community!
I am feeling so uplifted after my recent trip to Israel with Jewish Nevada. One of the many highlights for me was visiting our partnership region – Ramat Hanegev. It is an area in the upper Negev comprised of several small towns, moshavim, kibbutzim and more.
I wanted to share some of the remarkable achievements of the Ramat HaNegev Municipality, This municipality has become a beacon of hope, demonstrating how creative thinking and collaboration can transform a community.
Ramat HaNegev, with its diverse population, faces unique challenges that come with residing in an arid environment, not unknown to those of us living here in Las Vegas. However, through visionary leadership and a commitment to sustainability, the municipality has not only overcome these challenges but also thrived in unexpected ways.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Ramat HaNegev's success is its commitment to renewable energy. The municipality has harnessed the power of the desert sun through the establishment of vast solar energy fields. One of those fields is identical to the one we have just over our State border with California. These fields not only provide clean and sustainable energy for the local community but also contribute surplus power to the national grid, making Ramat HaNegev a leader in the renewable energy sector.
In addition to renewable energy, the municipality has implemented cutting-edge agricultural practices. With limited water resources, Ramat HaNegev has become a center for desert agriculture innovation. The region boasts advanced research centers and experimental farms that develop groundbreaking techniques for growing crops in arid conditions. By sharing their knowledge and expertise, Ramat HaNegev is playing a crucial role in addressing global food security challenges. We visited the research center and learned that not only do they give their research away free, but they also invite students from other countries to come and learn so they can take the information back to their countries and implement the most effective agriculture processes for their regions. While we were there a group of students from Zambia were finishing up a year of studies.
Additionally, the municipality has established thriving eco-tourism initiatives that attract visitors from around the world. Ramat HaNegev offers unique experiences such as jeep tours, stargazing in the crystal-clear desert skies, and immersive cultural exchanges with local Bedouin communities. These initiatives not only promote sustainable tourism but also foster cross-cultural understanding and strengthen the bonds within the region.
Ramat HaNegev is also at the forefront of educational innovation. The municipality has established specialized schools that emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. By equipping students with the skills necessary for the modern world, Ramat HaNegev is nurturing the next generation of innovators and problem solvers. We visited the high school that was built since the last time I was in the region. We got a tour of the facility and visited with students who are part of the Robotics club that came in the top five in the world at the recent competition in Texas.
I hope that many of us our able to visit Israel again soon and specifically to visit Ramat Hanegev to continue our growing partnership.
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel