The Kehilla Non-Profit Organization was established by members of the Urban Kibbutz Tamuz and residents of Beit Shemesh and the surrounding area in the spirit of the Kibbutz. The organization operates various programs in the fields of education, welfare, and social justice on both local and national levels. The organization promotes values of community, volunteerism and sustainability.
Alongside the longstanding projects – daycare centers, home replacement centers for at-risk children, and a citizens’ rights center, there are numerous new programs.
During the past 3 years, we are developing a model for community development, which combines the establishment, and mentoring of community councils in low-income neighborhoods, a sustainability center and a mobile and accessible kit to easily create a community activity using games.
PlayKit- A Social Venture
For the past two years, we have been developing a tool for community development called “Playkit – creating a community through leisure”. It is a mobile kit that includes 8 huge floor games that create a colorful, inviting open space of games for dozens of families at a time. Working with low-income communities, we have identified a lack of an appropriate, healthy leisure activities. We see more and more children and families spending their afternoons indoors, in front of screens. Over time we realized that there are public shared spaces that are not taken care of and the residents are unable to enjoy them. We believe that a community is created in the back yard or at the front door, which is how we came up with the idea for a process to create “sustainability on wheels”. The sustainability center provides tools like “Playkit” to the different neighborhoods in order to create a sense of solidarity and belonging, which is so important for building a community, and to encourage families to volunteer together in order to make a change in their living environment. The “Playkit” enables communities to engage in a fun, affordable and healthy way in their own public spaces.
The kit is manufactured in Israel, and the games are printed in a local printing shop in Beit Shemesh in order to encourage a local sustainable economy. The Playkit was developed first and foremost as a community-building tool. It allows for the creation of an inviting environment for families: parents, grandparents and children are invited to re-experience the neighborhood and the community park. The Playkit was meant to reinforce the connections between parents and children and as well as their neighbors and community members. The games are designed so that they can serve as a basis for multiple contents and they are accessible, so that anyone can operate the kit, which is multifaceted: communal, educational and experiential. This is a high-quality leisure time that has been pushed aside over the last years with consumerism and the smartphone generation.
In addition, with adapted contents the kit can serve as an educational tool for teaching various disciplines. It can integrate the studies of mathematics, language, geography and physical education.
Thanks to our partners: Joint Ashalim, The Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, the Jewish Agency, the Shachaf Foundation and Gandyr Foundation.