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
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 be determined.
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 and Wi-Fi.
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 Saliach
(messenger) from the Jewish Agency or the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization.
Jewish Agency Global Center: http://www.jewishagency.org/aliyah
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 2,000 Shekels to be paid to the Jewish Agency.
(It is possible to pay the first half in the first month and the second
half in the second month of the Ulpan.)
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 2,000 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 2,000 shekel
nominal fee is the excess after your working hours and the Jewish Agency
contribute to the majority of the cost.
After 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 manager.
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 solution.
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 work?
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 Ulpan?
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
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