ḤAFEẒ ḤAYYIM (Heb. חָפֵץ חַיִים), kibbutz in the southern Coastal Plain of Israel, 3 mi. (5 km.) S.E. of Gederah, affiliated with Po'alei Agudat Israel . In 1937 Ha-Kibbutz ha-Me'uhad members founded a village there, Sha'ar ha-Negev, but later moved north to establish their permanent settlement, kefar szold . Afterward an Orthodox group, graduates of the Ezra youth movement in Germany, who previously worked on land near afulah , took over the site (1944). The kibbutz has intensive farming and also developed hydroponics to permit the literal observance of the shemittah precepts. Ḥafeẓ Ẓayyim runs a guest house, recreation home, and water park geared to the needs of Orthodox Jews. Its farming includes field crops, citrus groves, dairy cattle, and poultry. The kibbutz used to own a towel factory, now in private hands. The kibbutz is named after Rabbi israel meir ha-kohen (Ḥafeẓ Ḥayyim). In 1968 its population was 360, and in the mid-1990s it grew to approximately 585. However, by 2002 it had dropped sharply to 382, as many of the young left the kibbutz. (Efraim Orni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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