According to Geoph Kozeny of Community Catalyst Project in San Francisco, California, an intentional community is "a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values."
Ariel Glucklich is professor of theology at Georgetown University, and in this substantive work he presents a detailed and pensive portrait of Neot Smadar, an intentional ecological and spiritual community which has been going for a quarter of a century in the Southern Israeli desert. At any one time the community may include about 230 to 250 people ranging in age from newborn to nearly eighty. This group of people have created a school for the Self which translates ordinary actions into a unique form of "everyday mysticism."
Anyone interested in the search for religious experience or community will find much food for thought in Glucklich's firsthand accounts of Neot Smadar's listening practices, communal construction of an Art Center, the work of making wine and milking goats, the functioning of extended family, and other aspects of shared life. He paints a clear and compelling picture of constant struggle and dissatisfaction that community members — and all of us — face internally and in relationships, which can only be met by deep personal inquiry and change. At Neot Smadar, each person is expected to engage in this inquiry according to his or her ability. Then "a unique field of inquiry develops that permits a true consideration of relationships and cooperation, with respect and trust."
Similar to other intentional communities, members are always concerned about whether or not Neot Smadar can be passed on to the next generation. Will the youth of today come to see themselves through introspective conversation and shared work as their parents did? Only time will tell.