Metzger recently decided to spend Shabbat in the secular kibbutz. He arrived there before the start of the day of rest, said the Kiddush prayer at the members' club and met with teenagers from the area's kibbutzim.
Dozens of secular kibbutznikim wearing jeans and a T-shirt sat down for the Shabbat eve meal with the chief rabbi, cited prayers, and for the first time in their life – even enjoyed the "third meal" customarily eaten by Shabbat-observing Jews on the holy day.
The meeting was held in collaboration with the Ayelet Hashahar organization, which aims to bring different parts of the Israeli society closer together.
"This is the first time in history that a chief rabbi spends Shabbat in a secular kibbutz," Metzger said later. "Ein Harod is a symbol of the pioneers who sought to cut themselves off from Jewish tradition.
"Something has been happening in the past month in our nation – a radicalization in secular-haredi relations on the backdrop of the exclusion of women. I realized that talking was not enough and that we must build a relationship. I understand that the kibbutz held a vote on my visit and that the majority won."
The crowded around him at the synagogue, escorted him to the Havdalah ceremony marking the end of Shabbat, and participated in his meeting with teenagers from Kibbutz Geva.
"It was very interesting," said 18-year-old Tomer Bernman of Geva. "I am completely secular, and I was very interested in hearing him. I was mostly curious about the military service issue and not the exclusion of women, as I'm about to be drafted."
The rabbi began each of his meetings with the youth and kibbutznikim by sharing his personal story and talking about his military service as a fighter in the Armored Corps and about his meeting with the pope. He also discussed haredi service in the IDF.
"We are brothers and there are more things connecting us than separating between us," Metzger said, and won the kibbutznikim's hearts.