kibbutz was established at the end of 1931 and was named for Jan Christian Smuts,
a former Prime Minister of South Africa. He was an ardent Zionist
sympathizer and one of the first politicians who supported the creation of
the state of Israel.
It is a secular kibbutz in the north of Israel, about
half an hour from Haifa. Today about 950 people work on the kibbutz.
On the kibbutz, there is a big plastic factory
(Palram), an herb and spices factory, avocado fields, orchards, other
fields for crops, video studio, cow barn for dairy and beef, welding and
carpentry shops, and more.
For the convenience of the Kibbutz members and Ulpan
students, there is dining room, supermarket, ATM, clinic (with insurance
Clalit), salon, physical therapy, soccer field, basketball court, tennis
court, pub, etc. There is a fitness park located a few minute's walk from
the Ulpan. There is also a synagogue
at neighboring kibbutz, Kfar Maccabi.
In April 1948, the Druze began an offensive attack on Ramat Yohanan. There
was a hard battle at the kibbutz against the Druze based in the city of
Shfaram. The Druze attacked Ramat Yohanan and other neighboring kibbutzim
in order to try to take over the roads leading to Haifa. Casualties were suffered from both sides.
With the help of the Hagana, the battle stopped at Ramat Yohanan and a
non-aggression treaty was signed with the Druze. Throughout the kibbutz, there are
scattered defense towers
and hidden stashes of weapons that were used by the kibbutz to defend
itself in the War of Independence.
The kibbutz is located about 2 kilometers from the city of Kiryat Ata and
about 25 kilometers from Haifa. The types of transportation in the area
include: bus, metronit, and shared taxis from Kiryat Ata to the Krayot and
the central bus station Lev Hamifratz.
At Lev Hamifratz, there is also a train station with trains that go
all over Israel.
For bus times:
For train times:
The Ulpan works in joint effort with the Jewish
Agency, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Project MASA, Progressive Zionist Caucus (Kibbutz
Program Center) and the ministry of education. The curriculum for the studies is
determined by the Ministry of Education, as well as the days off for
At the end of the Ulpan, the Ministry of Education
administers to all students a written and oral exam. Students will receive
a certificate of completion.
The Ulpan starts twice a year (in March and
February). The students come from all over the world and are between the
ages of 18-30. Some of the students are tourists and rest of the students
are new immigrants, totaling about 45 students all together in each group.
The students live on the kibbutz, study Hebrew in the
Ulpan three days a week and work on the kibbutz three days a week for 8
hours per day, to contribute to part of the living expenses.
During the Ulpan, the students and kibbutz members
often develop good connections, especially with the younger kibbutz members.
The Ulpan students are invited to take part in some
of the kibbutz activities. The students celebrate the Israeli holidays with
the kibbutz members (and have an additional celebration in the Ulpan for
some of the holidays), Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night in the dining room,
musical performances, parties, and more.
Living arrangements – There
are three students per room. In each room, there is a refrigerator, air
conditioner, bathroom and shower, desk, closet, etc.
Studies – There
are three level of Hebrew: Level A for beginners, Level B for people that
speak basic Hebrew and Level C for the more those that are advanced. Upon
arriving to the Ulpan, each student will be tested so that their level can
Work – Usually
students in the Ulpan work in the supermarket, plastic factory,
landscaping, dining room, laundry, kindergarten, or spice factory. Working helps pays for part of the
students’ stay in the Ulpan. The jobs are decided on by the Ulpan staff
based on scheduling and need in the work places.
Meals – Ulpan
students eat breakfast and lunch in the dining room together with the
kibbutz members. They eat dinner in the club room at the Ulpan. The club is
open 24 hours a day and has hot/cold water fountain, air conditioning, TV
Laundry –Once a
week the laundry will be done by the laundry service on the kibbutz
Trips – During
the Ulpan, the students take organized trips to: Golan Heights, Jerusalem,
Yad VaShem, and a two day trip to the Negev. The trips are planned with a professional
tour guide in several languages.
The students go to Gadna at an army base for five
days. The base staff will take the students through an experimental week of
army life, as is done with Israeli high school students. The students will go to Ganda based on
permission by the army and availability at a base.
program includes living arrangements, laundry service, meals, trips, Wi-Fi,
come to the Ulpan?
The opportunity to start life in Israel smoothly and easily,
without worrying about financial issues
Learning Hebrew will give you more confidence when starting your
life after the Ulpan
Working on the kibbutz will help you understand the habits that
will be expected from you at work in Israel
Opportunity to volunteer on a kibbutz where members still work
together in a collective effort
You will get to know Israeli society and the kibbutz society and
allow you to make your first connections with people in Israel
We will help you overcome the difficulties of the Israeli
beuracracy you need to go through as a new immigrant – ID cards, health
insurance, bank account, driver’s license
Introduction to the landscape and history of Israel
Chance to learn Hebrew in a quiet and relaxing environment where
you don’t have other worries and distractions so that you can integrate
more easily after the Ulpan
For those interested in
going to the army, we will help you get information and connect
you with the recruiting office and programs for volunteers from outside
The Ulpan studies will give you the opportunity to learn to speak,
as well as read and write in Hebrew
Get to know young people from all over the world, share this
special experience together, and leave with great memories you will never
You will experience what is means to live in a “kibbutz,”
something special and unique to Israel
Learn about the Israeli holidays and celebrate them together with
Through a Shaliach (emissary) from the Jewish Agency.
Jewish Agency Global Center: http://www.jewishagency.org/aliyah
Nefesh B’Nefesh: http://www.nbn.org.il/
The Jewish Agency subsidizes your time at the Ulpan (also
for Returning Minors and Immigrant Citizens) so that the program is very
worth your while. Two weeks after your arrival at the Ulpan, you will
receive a payment slip for a total of 4,500 Shekels to be paid to the
Please contact the Kibbutz Program Center or the MASA
Project for costs of the Ulpan, scholarships, and directions for how to
register, including the correct forms to fill out.
Kibbutz Program Center:
Project MASA: http://www.masaisrael.org/programs/kibbutz-ulpan
This is a once in a life time experience. We receive
email from tourist that came to the Ulpan 20 and thirty years ago that
remember their time in the Ulpan and, after so many years, still has a
special spot in their hearts.
I know that the state gives new immigrants an Ulpan for free. Why do I need to
pay 4,500 shekels?
The government gives only the
studies at the Ulpan for free. If you chose to live in the city, you would
pay for rent, food, electricity, water, laundry, etc. The 4,500 shekel nominal fee is the
excess after your working hours and the Jewish Agency contribute to the
majority of the cost.
I arrive at the Ulpan and take the test to determine my Hebrew level, will
there be an opportunity during the course of the program to change from one
level to another?
Changing levels is allowed on
the recommendation of the teacher and with the approval of the Ulpan
I made Aliyah. Where do I go when the Ulpan is over?
In order to reduce uncertainty
about the future, about one month and a half before the end of the Ulpan,
we’ll start to help the new immigrants find housing and an employment
Is it required to go to class, work and the trips?
Yes. In this program, we
require students to be serious, in class and at work. The trips are
educational tours (in addition to being a fun experience) so all students
What training to the teachers in the Ulpan have?
All of the teachers received
their certification from the ministry of education, which is also the
organization that supervises the curriculum.
6. How many days off can I take during the five
months of the Ulpan? How much free time will I have each day after class or
the Ulpan, you can take four days off plus the days off we will have from
the holidays. You will have a lot of time each day after you finish your
responsibilities for the day, except for activities that will be planned
from time to time that take place in the evening.
7. Is it possible to visit
family and friends that live in Israel during the week?
You may only go to visit
friends and family on days off or after work/class. You can also go to
visit on Friday afternoon and return on Saturday nights to the Ulpan.
8. Will I need to work on the weeks?
Like all the kibbutz members, every
few weeks you will take a turn to work in the Ulpan or the kibbutz on the
weekend. This work will be a maximum of two hours on Friday or Saturday
night, in the dining room or in the Ulpan.
9. I want to volunteer on the kibbutz without learning Hebrew.
Is this possible?
No. Participation in the
program requires Hebrew studies.
10. What is the normal daily schedule in the
Three days a week you study
Hebrew from 8:00am to 1:00pm plus another hours and a half after lunch.
Three days a week you work from about 7:00am to 3:00pm. The hours of work
might be slightly different depending on the work place.
11. I am interested in coming as a tourist. Is
there an opportunity for a scholarship?
Jewish tourists are invited to
look into what is available to you before coming to the Ulpan. Please check
with the Kibbutz Program Center.
12. Where can I find a list of documents I need
to register to the Ulpan?
If you are making Aliyah—the
Jewish Agency. If you are a tourist—the Kibbutz Program Center. Do not forget
to tell them that you want to sign up to Ramat Yohanan. J
13. I registered for the Ulpan. What should I
bring with me? How do I get to the Ulpan?
After you received
confirmation that you are registered, please send us your email address and
we will send you all the details you will need to know before you arrive at
14. I am coming to the Ulpan as a tourist and
received a visa only for three months. Is it possible to lengthen it?
Towards the end if the visa,
we will help you make an appointment with the Ministry of Interior to ask
them for an extension.
In order to see pictures and
videos, we encourage you to send us a friend request on Facebook to Kibbutz
Ulpan Ramat Yohanan.
Please call between the hours
of: 8:00 am to 5: oo pm (IST, GMT +2) to Keren Shahar, Ulpan Manager
or +972 52-3662219