adventures in pioneering | Zionism | Kibbutz

The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping




© 1957, The CHAY Commission of the Labor Zionist Movement. Republished by Habonim Dror North America in 2009. ISBN 978-0-557-16403-5

To those who came before. To those who will come after. To those here now.


They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. The Habonim Dror youth movement. Habonim camping evolved and grew into a network of facilities across the United States and Canada that has educated tens of thousands of young Jews to values of Zionism. The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. generating the passion.Foreword There was little sense of history in the making during that summer of 1932 when fourteen teenagers moved into their single tent at the edge of a Labor Zionist bungalow colony in the Catskills for the first season of Habonim camp. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’. From that initial summer. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience. teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else. But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. civil rights. Throughout the decades. but there was nothing inevitable about any of it. feminist and Middle East peace movements. anchored in its summer camps. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home.” Today we know that they were indeed making history. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. It all started when the Young .

leaders of Young Poale Zion gathered at Accord to discuss the future of their education program.Poale Zion Alliance. That first summer of 1932. decided in that spring of 1932 to try what amounted to a cross-cultural experiment: to see if the American summer camp could be reimagined in the spirit of the kibbutz and the chalutzim. the socialist Zionist pioneers who were rebuilding the land of Israel. for all its uncertainties. Following days of stormy debate they decided to create a new children’s organization as an autonomous unit within the movement. The summer camp would eventually provide the missing spark. They named it Habonim. with the help of Young Poale Zion alumna Golda Meir. Painfully. prosaically named Buds. couldn’t afford summer camp. Labor Zionism’s main constituency. The new location proved enormously popular. debating ideology and hauling their own trash. and the camp’s first advocates faced strong opposition. after a new Labor Zionist scouting organization established in England in 1929. Chapters were formed here and there. had been successful enough to merit another round the following year. who had settled in Palestine and was now in New York as a shlicha. Nothing like it existed anywhere in America. New York. Others argued that the children of working class immigrants. and the camp thrived. The numbers remained small and enthusiasm was low. but the results were dispiriting. not living as a commune. After the 1934 camp season ended. the movement acquired a campsite of its own in Accord. They hadn’t even settled yet on the name Habonim. the young adult wing of the Labor Zionist movement. Many of the senior Labor Zionists were convinced that summer camp meant volley ball and boating. In the spring of 1933. Young Poale Zion had been trying since the 1920s to establish a children’s organization for ten-toeighteen-year-olds. they agreed to set aside the radical politics of Poale Zion and build . even within their own movement. The founders themselves weren’t entirely sure what they had in mind.

By 1938 it was strong enough to take over a smaller Labor Zionist youth group. The fastest growth was in the summer camps. and so they spent their weekends going to ken meetings and regional seminars to see their friends. but on the movement and everything it did. in Michigan and Quebec. that had been struggling for a decade to find its footing. Traditional summer camp songs and cheers were combined with Labor Zionist ideology and the movement’s sense of mission. Two years after that. Summer might end. protesting the Vietnam war in 1969. Two new ones were opened in 1935. Living for weeks away from their families in a community of their peers. By the mid-1940s. renewed each summer and deepened over time. marching for civil rights in 1957. devotion to Israel and the ideals of kibbutz pioneering. The new organization grew quickly. resulting in a powerful brew that was stronger than any of its components. the Young Poale Zion Alliance dissolved itself and became the senior division of its own offshoot. Three more were added in 1939 and more the following summer and the summer after that.the Habonim education program around character-building. rallying for Soviet Jews and California farm-workers in 1975. Gordonia. And the camp program was unique. but the campers still wanted to be together. And when a few Habonim members showed up for a major public event. scoutcraft. The impact of the camp experience could be seen not only on the individual Habonim members. too.600 campers. Those bonds and those lessons. . Camp had become the heart of the movement experience. By 1945 Habonim was operating eleven camps across the continent with a total enrollment of some 1. yielded for many youngsters a set of lifelong friendships and a powerful movement loyalty. youngsters developed intimate bonds with each other and the group. Habonim. many Habonim members showed up—protesting outside British consulates in 1946. it was clear that camp was no longer just an adjunct to the year-round Habonim educational program.

They continued going over in garinim in the 1950s and 1960s to join Gesher Haziv and Urim. But they are still here. Today. communal settlement groups. of course. but that’s always been part of their charm — the old Habonim principle that it’s “chalutzic to be schmutzik. They went. And because they wanted to be with their friends from camp. and in the 1970s and 1980s to found the new kibbutzim of Gezer. hundreds of Habonim members — nearly the entire senior membership — went there to volunteer. Those movements dominate the Jewish public square so thoroughly that many American Jews are surprised to hear that Habonim camps are still in business. It’s not even clear that the Young Poale Zion organizers knew themselves exactly where they were headed.” They’ve been written off many times. Jewish values camping is high fashion. When the first fourteen Labor Zionist teenagers pitched their tent in the Catskills in 1932. because they wanted to make a difference and to live out their values. They’re not as shiny or high tech as some of the better known camps. when the kibbutz movement was sunk in crisis and Zionism had become a subject of cynicism or worse. The . The notion of camping as a laboratory for values education and movement building was something new in American Jewish education. Hundreds moved to Israel in its early years as members of garinim. and soon after that by the Reform movement. The path that Habonim pioneered in 1932 was trod a decade later by Young Judaea and the Ramah camps of Conservative Judaism. Habonim members continued to move to Israel in garinim. as big as they were in their heyday in the 1940s. settling in urban communes in slums and development towns.When Israel won its independence in 1948 and took to the battlefield to defend it. Jewish summer camps existed to provide children with exercise and fresh air and to give their parents a breather. Even in the 1990s and beyond. Grofit and Ravid. though they had an inkling. that founded Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and Kibbutz Urim.

Goldberg. They have to. the kids want to be with their friends.J. They still have an urgent message to transmit. Besides. J. three-quarters of a century after they began. resurrected by faithful alumni and determined groups of teenagers. 2009 .New York and Los Angeles camps have gone bust and then risen again. And still they carry on.


................................................................................................................................. 94 KINNERET ....... 90 "KVUTZIE"........................... 109 GALIL ......................................................................................6  Foreword from Original Publication .................................................... 122 AFIKIM ............................................................................... CREAMRIDGE ........................................................... YOUNGSTERS!................................................................................... 137 ...................................... KVUTZA.......................... 74 CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN ... 134 AMAL IN RETROSPECT .......................... 25 GROWTH OF AN IDEA "KVUTZA" AND KVUTZA ................................................... 32 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING .................................................................................16  THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING .. WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? .......................................................................................... 60 THE TURNING POINT .... 49 COMING OF AGE .......Contents Foreword ...................................................................................................................................... 20 ACCORD .............. TEXAS .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 87 KENDALL .................................................................................. 33 THE MEANING OF KVUTZA ............ 115 GIMLI....... 104 THE STORY OF "MOSH".........................14  Introduction .................................................... 68 HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ...................................................................................................... 55 PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY........................................................... 98 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM ......1933 ................................................................................................................................................................... 107 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR ................................ 100 KVUTZA IN THE WEST ..................................................................................................................................................... MANITOBA . 129 THE COMING SEASON ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 95 TEL NATAN ................................................................. 85 TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK .................................................................................................... 125 CAMP MIRIAM.... 131 CAMP AVODA.................................................................................................... 126 MONTREAL ........................................................................................ 82 LISTEN HERE........................... 91 KVUTZA........................................... 128 CAMP BONIM....

..............................173 DANNY GINSBURG ...............155 NIGTH WATCH ...........155 TO KVUTZA ....................................................................................................................................189 ENZO SERENI .......................................187 JOSEPH ROSENBERG ..........161 NEED HELP PACKING? ................................... ACCORD ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................159 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS .........................151 UNTIL NEXT YEAR ............................................................156 THE TREE ..............................................................................................KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL NIGHT WATCH ...........143 PEEKING IN WITH OUR SHALIAH ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................153 VIEW FROM KVUTZA HILL................................................................163 KINNERET SHELI .......................168 MIRIAM BIDERMAN ..........................................199 JOHANAN TARTAKOWER ................................................................................................201 ............................................177 NATE KANTER ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................165 IN MEMORIUM HAZKARA ..............................................................................................................191 IRV STERNBERG ..........................................142 ACCORD DIARY ...........................................157 SO YOU WANT TO BE A MADRICH ......................................................................................180 ARI LASHNER ...........................................................................................171 BEN CHERNER ......................................................................181 HAYIM RAMBAM ................................................................................................................................

1932. * * * It is good to participate in the celebration of twenty-five years of Habonim Camping and to help make possible the historic task of “keeping the record. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. Habonim started an important chapter in its youthful story–youthful and on behalf of youth–that was destined to play a significant role in the psychological struggle which confronted Jewish youth in the fearsome years of hatred and violence that were to follow. Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. Aliya and Youth.Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. * * * The Chay Commission. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut.

the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. Bert Goldstein Chairman. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript. * * * Twenty-five years of Habonim camping will undoubtedly afford mixed feelings of reminiscence and of nostalgia to those who have experienced the pleasure and the vicissitudes of summers within the orbit of these camps. Chay Commission 15 . to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well.

studying. Through these years. The pioneers of Camp Kvutza were imbued with an all-consuming desire for creative Jewish living. working. playing . as are most of our chalutzim in Israel.creating their own society of the future. much has been written both for Habonim and for the Jewish educational world on this unique form of camping. The leaders and chalutzim of tomorrow are at Camp Kvutza today. Thus. close to five generations of youth have participated in the Habonim Camps. Today's leaders of Habonim are veterans of Camp Kvutza. It is correct to say that Camp Kvutza is the basic source of strength for the entire Labor Zionist Movement in America. They dedicated themselves to a form of society based on principles of self-labor and mutual cooperation. Many were 16 . These pioneers transmitted their zeal and vision to succeeding generations of Jewish youth in Habonim who followed in their footsteps.Introduction During the past twenty-five years. Camp Kvutza enriched the lives of all who participated in its growth and development.

that each reader will find herein something of intimate significance as well as informational value. our editorial committee. Many adult readers who experienced the birth pangs and gradual development of Camp Kvutza in the United States and Canada will no doubt find nostalgia mixed with smiles upon the perusal of the articles. * * * We want to take this opportunity to thank the Chay Commission. Many present members of Habonim will no doubt discover herein a world seemingly remote from today's reality. Most of the material included has been gleaned from the Habonim archives: News and Views. In compiling this collection. Furrows. we were confronted with the wealth of material which has been accumulated for a quarter of a century. The Editors Summer. Out of these diverse sources.the deliberations within the movement on the development. convention reports. to that of educators and community leaders analyzing and evaluating the significance of this departure in Jewish camping. Many were the reactions written by campers while at Kvutza and upon their return to the city. Menahel. to that of a leader enlarging on the principles by which Camp Kvutza will function. expansion. but have presented the material in the differing forms in which it originally appeared. and internal organizational and educational bulletins. But they will find much which may inspire them and will guide them in their movement activities. Merkaz Habonim. and content of Camp Kvutza. however. and with varying levels of presentation: from that of a thirteen-year old describing his experiences with childish enthusiasm. We hope. Haboneh. we have not attempted to create a literary unit. and especially our patrons for making possible the publication of this volume. 1957 17 . the office secretaries.

The Beginning .


So much comes alive: the chaverim. one retraces the years and comes to the beginning: the first Camp Kvutza. a mutual investigation of the problems inherent in the ideals which we held in common. the studies. the camp. there was merely the living together at a Camp Kvutza among the gentle hills of New York State. They guided and directed our lives. It was very hard for we were going against the stream. with making a livelihood. Suddenly all is focused clearly and is full of an inner glow . Our schooling. Our minds and our hearts were concerned with another land and our problems were foreign and distant to American life. It was the time of the depression. Looking backward. At the Camp Kvutza these ideals were most meaningful. But in truth and most sincerely. Some came to the country as young children. but at that time. We loved this country with its sense of human 20 . Today the conception of "idealist" has acquired a strange interpretation." Many of us were born in the United States.THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING An anniversary is a time of reflection. All around us the youth was concerned with jobs. We lived in our ideal: a worker's life in Eretz Yisrael. one senses how much importance there was to this beginning. the campfire with its songs. we tried by our own living to create a new world: a world in which the Jew would live in his own country. the tiny group of Poale Zion youth. but above all. American Jewish living surrounded us.the beginning. how revolutionary. Yet we. our style of life. the economic collapse after 1929. As one looks back twenty-five years. and it may even sound boastful to say that we were an idealistic Jewish youth. how strange it was. the forms of living there to be based on Socialism. were far away from all that worried Americans. the Kvutza: the living and studying together. how "peculiar. our thoughts were molded by the country we lived in.

vivid with the hope of the liberation of the Jew. the stirrings of the vast labor masses . Russian revolu- 21 . the new forms of the dance. Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. There were before us the grandeur of the West. the beauty of the Appalachians. its pioneers. the awe of Niagara. its lakes. and oceans.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING dignity and freedom. The life of America was our life: the jazz. Or again. and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores. the charm of the South." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. the new theater. and music. Some homes were "Bundist. In some homes. We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts. the night club in Harlem. art. rivers. I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal. it was important to know the reason.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. I learned that often the home and the parents were in opposition and added nothing to these unknown deep springs which lived in the consciousness of our comrades. Another was fired by the tales told by a recent arrival from Eretz Yisrael who worked in Petah Tikva with the Chaverim of the Second Aliya. this tiny group out of the millions of American Jews? Again and again at the Camp Kvutza. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman. What moved these few to meet for a study of Poale Zionism and ways and methods of bringing this ideal to others? So I asked and found that one's Jewish consciousness was awakened by the haunting sadness of the Kol Nidre melody. the breadth of the Hudson. the politics of the country. its mountains and plains.

There were problems to be solved here: tender children working beyond their strength. Why not work here at home? In the first Camp Kvutza. Zionist. the tense young faces lit by the flame. The rhythm. consciousness grew out of this strange soil. Poale Zionist. they motivated the program of work. all spoke deeply to us. exploited by those intent on profits. we went to the writings of Borochov and Syrkin. amidst the dark shadows of the trees. Around us was the camp fire. there was a large mass of workers with no job security. all the above elements were ever present. For Poale Zion ideology. for in America we were still close to pioneering. 22 . there was the singing of the Eretz Yisrael songs which linked us with our unknown comrades. the sentiment of rebuilding and heroism. and American history glorified the pioneer who moved West to build up the great United States. the poetry of the words. bright and cheerful. and at times against the wishes of the parents who were aghast at their child's "peculiarities.THE BEGINNING tionary songs of freedom and Siberian exile were sung. To the Camp Kvutza was brought much out of the American life in which we found ourselves." Why dream of the liberation of the Jews? How about other peoples enslaved by cruel despotic governments? Why far away Eretz Yisrael? There was a working class to be helped in the United States. and young voices filled the air with Hebrew or Yiddish songs of Eretz Yisrael and Jewish revival. We well understood the pioneering life of Eretz Yisrael. to hold them to some kind of Judaism. but not a Jewish folk song. We wanted to know more and more about the ideal we so earnestly believed in. Much must be done for them. Why Eretz Yisrael? There are two million Jews in New York City alone. to teach their children about their glorious heritage. We tried to add to the elements already influencing the chaverim. In the short span of time spent at Camp Kvutza.

The new methods were so well fitted to our Poale Zionist ideal. he was motivated. The project method was concomitant with these new theories. I had just received my Bachelor of Science degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University. All these methods admirably suited our need. and Thorndike! I was fired by the new philosophy of education which they taught and I had learned the new techniques which they advocated. he studied on his own level. T. and audacious. It was new. My special contribution to Camp Kvutza was to bring to our studies the new educational philosophy of John Dewey. These new me- 23 . It aimed to enrich the individual by giving him the tools whereby he could continue his investigations. which was to give the Jew inheritance in his land. Twenty-five years ago their educational philosophy was a complete departure from what was then prevalent. Thorndike. Kilpatrick. It was a theory of freedom in education and especially John Dewey's philosophy. How happy I was that I was privileged to study under John Dewey. opposed to all forms of absolutism. my teachers. challenging. Both in planning the program of the Camp Kvutza and in carrying it out. These. The personality of the learner was stressed. the chaverim wholeheartedly accepted these new methods which I so enthusiastically advocated. he was taught to work and think in a group. his personality was respected.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING To the Camp Kvutza we also brought the new educational theories just coming into being in the United States. My share in the program was to teach and demonstrate those new techniques so that the chaverim could take them to the clubs of which they were the leaders. William Kilpatrick. Adult education was assuming its rightful place. were breaking new ground in education. namely. to study our ideology and to pass on our ideals to many American Jewish youths. and E. The new education stressed respect and dignity of the individual.

study deeply and creatively. The waves in its wake have reached the Promised Land. Especially suited to our Camp Kvutza idea was the fact that these new educational methods stressed group work and participation in group discussion and reaching conclusions by group thinking. but to study for the love of the subject . Their children are growing up in Israel. What a new world these fundamental methods of learning opened up for us! We sensed the democracy of these techniques. We sought to draw out every individual to full participation. 1957 24 . It was group living and learning which was deep and lasting in its influence. And the genesis was that first Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago. By their example they have influenced others to come to Israel. they were in Cypress. Udin. Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago was a small pebble thrown into the vast ocean of American Jewish youth.THE BEGINNING thods taught the individual how to motivate a study not by committing to memory many facts. they fought in the War of Liberation of Israel. The small ripple it caused has moved farther and farther. This group work was in complete accord with the cooperative ideals of Labor Eretz Yisrael. Happy are we to have been comrades and partners in that great adventurous undertaking. Sophie A. and they served in Sinai. They were on so-called "illegal" boats. For chaverim from the Camp Kvutza have settled on the soil of the land. but never had I enjoyed a more innerly satisfying experience. The study of Eretz Yisrael problems lent themselves particularly to the new project method. I had some years of organizational work behind me. So we studied the creative discussion method.

It was held in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. YPZA should utilize that in every way possible. in which one labored and which was governed by its own members. who was then 25 . something other than a mere replica of the senior Poale Zion. and two. One of the first media that came to mind was the establishment of a YPZA summer camp similar to the one I had seen in Galicia. With the help of Golda Meir. Many of us began to think in terms of making of the Labor Zionist youth movement a youth movement in fact. But most of the other leading chaverim of the senior organizations were skeptical and some were even opposed. then National Secretary of the Poale Zion. The following winter and spring. strenuous efforts were made to obtain a campsite of our own. the insistence that inasmuch as the movement already has a children's camp. The lingering memories found their expression when in America I became a member of the Central Committee of the Young Poale Zion Alliance. Berl Locker. the use of a beautiful spot in the Catskills was gotten. enthusiastically accepted the idea. of a place that one built with one's own hands. it was generally felt that the real spirit of a Kvutza. Jacob Katzman. In the summer of 1932. therefore. Kinderwelt. ideology. the lack of funds. we decided to make an experimental beginning in Unser Camp. Sophie Udin assumed the leadership.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD . I attended a convention of a Zionist scouting organization with which I had been affiliated.1933 Shortly before I came to America. Other members of the YPZA Central Committee were like-minded. was lacking. I saw then what such a camping experience can mean in the development of the spirit. and while all who participated gained considerably in their knowledge of Labor Zionism and techniques of leadership. The reasons were: one. and leadership of a youth movement.

THE BEGINNING National Secretary of the YPZA and directed our first Kvutza at Accord. and assign work for the daily work crews. and a multitude of other jobs. supervise all the camping activities. including K. I bad to conduct all the discussion groups and Shabbat programs. First of all. camping and the Young Poale Zion were quite alien as yet. I found the campers a most heterogeneous group. and geography of Eretz Yisrael. to mold a cohesive group. But Katzman had to leave in the middle of the season to help prepare the forthcoming YPZA national convention. They came because after all. keep the grounds clean. Little by little. who immediately instituted a program of Hebrew. New Jersey. a Hebrew teacher. provide wood for the stove. we also had some newcomers who could not even pronounce the name of the organization. However. Meyer Brown and Shmuel Siegel. whose task it was to bring some modicum of civilization to this wilderness. carry water from the well. our senior chaverim started to look upon the camp as something worthwhile. but we succeeded in instilling the proper spirit of cooperation and a form of self-government. and a fine Jewish background. I took over for the remaining period. The first few weeks were the hardest. Margolin. Jewish history. One of the four tents consisted of ten boys from Orange.P. Among them were some of the best members of the YPZA from several communities. who 26 . it was very hard to improvise a program to keep the campers busy. and to institute self-rule and discipline. has already related the story of its birth elsewhere in this -volume. and upon his insistence and that of our Central Committee. young people with organizational tradition. the tuition was only $7 a week and where could one get such a bargain even during the Depression? Under those circumstances. The first substantial help came with the arrival of Mr. with leadership abilities. to most of whom. To this day I don't know how it happened.

Her discussions on halutziut were inspiring to the campers. Work was assigned judiciously and without favoritism. brought back to the city good reports of what was going on in Accord. There was quite a large proportion of chaverim who had completed their preparatory training and were awaiting aliya certificates.P. under those primitive circumstances (without a heater for hot water). The age range of the first season in Accord was probab1y older than any of the subsequent seasons. they were carried out in a responsible fashion. it was during 27 . when the velocity of the wind was of hurricane proportion and the rain came down in sheets. The camp reached its maturity when we instituted the forms of "selfgovernment. If ever the spirit of the camp was manifest. The first Accord Kvutza was also rich in adventures. we even had the whole camp sit in judgment of a camper who broke discipline and left camp without permission to go to a dance in a nearby hotel. Of inestimable value in this respect were the several days which Golda Meir spent with us. was quite a chore. This was taken in stride." Representatives to a camp council were elected by all the campers. a program mapped out. The council took its task seriously. so it was not surprising when occasionally a tent was blown down. Everyone. a decision arrived at.. but her report to the senior movement was of even greater importance in bringing Camp Kvutza to its attention. During that time. The council proved its effectiveness by seeing to it that once a task was undertaken. without exception.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING came to visit their families. the camp found itself without a single tent standing and without a place for the campers to sleep. But one stormy late afternoon. There is a limit to the punishment which even a secondhand army tent can take from the elements. help police the cleanliness of the grounds and tents. had to participate in K. which. and share in whatever manual labor was required.

and we were all sleepy. We emerged from the dining room and began a snake dance to the tune of Chopin's Funeral March.THE BEGINNING this emergency. on their backs to the other side. our cooks. our clothing was soaked. with the exception of a few. It pointed the way toward self-discipline and self-government. this experience became a highlight of that camping season. It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that more campers of this first group went to Eretz Yisrael than of any other group since. lent dignity to the camp and helped to establish the reliability of Camp Kvutza in the minds of our senior haverim. In retrospect. especially the haverot. Many have made their mark in Eretz Yisrael as chalutzim and leaders in the Labor Movement. the cots and all the possessions of the campers were put out to dry. and it proved that a camp of this kind lends itself to the pur- 28 . were transferred to a nearby hotel. the roof leaked. By the time the exodus began. The advice of the good people around to break up camp was not heeded. The taller and older chaverim had to carry the younger ones. the brook had overflowed its bank and the water covered the bridge. However. the tents were put up again. The few that remained on the camp grounds tried as best they could to sleep on the tables in the dining room. Mention should be made of the contribution to the camping experience of Rachel Siegel and Leah Brown. and cold to the marrow. As soon as the sun came out. The first season of Accord was the proving ground for the concept of a camp run by youth for youth. One would like to characterize some of the campers but that would take too much space and would be unfair to those not mentioned. but by their presence. and no matter which way one turned. One vividly recalls the morning after-the sky was overcast. he got wet. But this did not diminish the spirit of those who remained behind. who not only saw to it that the food was adequate and wholesome. wet. All the campers.

held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. It was mainly due to their stand and influence that this convention decided upon the reorganization of the Young Poale Zion. The basic idea of the camp was that no member of the staff was paid or received any other special consideration outside of the authority deserved for good leadership. to introduce tzofiut. and problems of the organization. history. Jacob Lemberger.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living. 1957 29 . participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent.

Growth of an Idea .


and joy. and no number of meetings in the city can accomplish this. This attitude toward one's fellow men is the essential ethical motif in our educational program and represents the only true socialist mentality. The differences between a Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael and our summer Kvutzot are quite evident. All these are expressed through communal living. one's entire personality must be overhauled. in as great a measure as possible. attitudes and states of mind are not created by speeches and lectures and discussions. as if final judgment would be pronounced by the words "yes" or "no. yet one is surprised to what a great extent the essence of Kvutza life is retained. a triumph for our idea. Deeper emotions must be stirred. study. the responsibility which the individual feels to the group. They can indoctrinate a theoretical acknowledgment of what should be. communal labor. worry. therein is contained the keen desire to realize personally. which makes him place all his ability at the disposal of the group without measuring how much he receives in return. That true comradeship. those ideals which motivate our movement. but from a heartfelt recognition of the value of one's haverim. For what are the great values introduced by and embodied in our Kvutzot in Eretz Yisrael? The mutual relationships between haverim. They cannot put what should be into being. deeper roots must be sought. that true self-esteem and es- 32 .GROWTH OF AN IDEA "KVUTZA" AND KVUTZA Probably the query most frequently flung at me during my sojourn in our Kvutzot was: "Is a Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael really like this?" The answer was awaited anxiously. though expressed in different forms. play. These instrumentalities are limited in scope. from the educational viewpoint. the true equality which arises not from an abstract philosophical belief that all men are equal. One can master the art of living together only by living together." Both the question and the intense anxiety for a positive answer represent. However.

and in general. In the Kvutza. but from following those paths in common. Ben Zion Ilan. to provide 33 . does not arise from common outlooks on the paths to be taken. The camp setting provides the opportunity to help the camper increase his range of interests. to enrich his personality. and then all return to their respective different places. in addition. develop socialized attitudes and patterns of behavior. one does not meet with another. What are meetings? They signify that all present have come from different directions. one lives with another. cannot be complete without the Kvutza. Thus our education. guarding the health of others-enjoying starry evenings of collective singing and group dancing the sum of all these moments which make up Camp Kvutza life is that self-discipline. self-reliance. The objective is not only to provide a change of physical environment and healthful recreation.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING teem of others. knowledge and skills. and the consideration for the welfare of others which years of preaching could never develop. which aims at creating an individual who will not only have definite ideals but also realize them. meet temporarily. 1937 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING Modern educational camping has increasingly emphasized experience in creative group living and learning. Jewish camps conducted under communal or semi-communal auspices have sought. Sleeping with one's comrades in tents pitched with one's own hands-eating food prepared and served through one's own labor-learning some important fact about Jewish life one hour and the next chopping wood or playing ball with the same comrades-spending rainy nights on night watch.

Habonim. To strengthen the bonds between American Jewry and Eretz Yisrael. Educational Objectives of Habonim In order to properly understand the motivation and character of Camp Kvutza. to provide satisfying and creative Jewish experiences. is essential to know something about the aims of Habonim. to create a cooperative Jewish Commonwealth. based on the principles of economic and political democracy. To train young Jews to become halutzim. 34 . conceiving their work as an extension of the program of Jewish group work agencies in the city.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Jewish educational experiences. 2. These camps. known as Camp Kvutza. This paper describes a type of Jewish camping program which attempts to apply this philosophy and technique of educational camping. in Eretz Yisrael and. the camps are the extension as well as the annual climax of the Habonim program. To prepare young Jews for" participation in the upbuilding of a new social order throughout the world. which caters to young people of the age level of 14 to 21. have a ten-year history under the auspices of the Labor Zionist Youth Organization. Modeled after the Eretz Yisrael collective settlements. as members of the Histadrut Haovdim (General Federation of Jewish Labor of Eretz Yisrael). and actively to support the rebuilding of the Jewish National Home. These aims were formulated at the 1940 convention of Habonim as follows: As an educational youth movement aiming to develop within its ranks haverim who shall in their own lives realize its aims. Habonim has the following purposes: 1. and at the same time. 3.

for the study of Jewish life. Differences exist which are based on local circumstances. Nevertheless. and culture. test their validity. The camp director enjoys no privileges not available to the youngest camper. To prepare young Jews for active participation in American Jewish community life. 5. Habonim members live according to the principles they have been studying and. for instance. At Camp Kvutza. where a camp is located on rented property. Experimentation in methods and program materials varies with the personal predilections of the camp leaders. Principles of Camp Program Although all the camps are the expression of a similar social and educational outlook. history. 35 . The reader must not overlook the importance of the words. reflects the Yiddish school influences under which the campers live during the year. toward a feeling of identification with the Jewish rights everywhere. and personnel. physical environment.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING 4. In one camp there may be more free choice of activity than in another. To prepare young Jews for the defense of Jewish rights everywhere. Thus. it does not follow that they are identical in character. 6. in a sense. "who shall in their own lives realize its aims. Equality of all persons in the camp is a cardinal principle. Each camp has developed in time a distinctive character. The Montreal camp." This is a central concept in the educational program of the movement. To educate young Jews toward the revitalization of traditional Jewish values. The vegetable garden is a bigger undertaking in California than in Winnipeg for obvious climatic reasons. it is deemed inadvisable to put too much effort into construction projects. the camps conform within the limits indicated to certain principles and patterns.

the singing. it is impractical to rely entirely on the campers to build the necessary structures. Staff and Organization Before any Camp Kvutza opens for the summer. particularly at the establishment of a new site. Self-government is a third basic principle. The staff and leaders are all members of the organization who contribute their services and regard themselves as members of the camp community. and in other ways. arts and crafts. and sports. and elect various committees which are responsible for specific phases of camp life. The executive committee meets often with the director and staff members to act upon various problems. Exceptions are made when it is not possible to secure the services of a competent physician or nurse or when. Disciplinary cases which are not easily adjusted may be brought to the attention of the designated committee. The functions of the staff members and leaders are to direct the educational activities -the discussion and study groups. dramatics. Representatives of Habonim and the adult Labor Zionist organizations constitute the committees. an effort is made to have no hired labor in camp. reading circles.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Neither is he exempt from any of the chores which are a part of the maintenance of the camp. scoutcraft. Workmen are also hired when. A camp committee is established by the local organization. The committees assist in raising funds. on rare occasions. recruiting campers. Where several cities in a region cooperate in conducting a camp. In keeping with the practice of the collectives and cooperatives in Eretz Yisrael. such committees are established in each community and contacts are made by correspondence and personal visits by their members. considerable preparations have to be made. and daily routine. programs. a cook has to be engaged. purchasing food staples. The regular camp meetings discuss administrative problems. The local Habonim take the initiative in all this 36 . nature study.

its responsibilities and functions are discussed. repair the plumbing. and beautifying the grounds. and get the camp generally ready. The executive committee is elected. and the various functional committees are named. the minimum being two weeks. At a meeting of the entire camp. This is a group of members who generally remain as staff members and leaders. Prior to the arrival of the first group of campers. enlarging the camp. boys and girls taking responsibility for the leadership of groups of younger children. the director or an experienced camper outlines the purposes of Camp Kvutza and indicates some of the specific objectives for the summer. In speaking of staff and leaders. then. 37 . outlining projects. No attempt is made to do a complete job of renovation. In addition. These leaders are themselves active members of groups of their own age at the same time that they are leading the younger children. They open the buildings.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING work and carry the burden of responsibility. both in the cities and in the camps. and preparing for the discussions and activities they will conduct. the full program is initiated. With the arrival of the campers. it is necessary to bear in mind that we are considering here individuals generally much younger than their "opposite numbers" in other camps. as one of the major activities of camp is to carry forward the program of improving facilities. clear the grounds. The year-round program of the Habonim organization provides for the continual preparation of members for or leaders of groups of younger children. Campers may register for varying periods. They determine the fees to be charged and establish the differential in tuition as between members and nonmembers of the organization. to find. putting up new structures. both communal and private. the advance crew spends the evenings outlining plans for the summer. set up the tents. It is very general. an advance crew arrives at camp to prepare for the opening of the season.

In a four-week period one summer at Kinneret in Michigan. This has been particularly true where the camp was established on a new site and had to be built "out of nothing." Using hired workmen only where the tasks made this unavoidable. wait on tables. The girls painted the dining room and screens. designated daily by the committee in charge of assigning individuals to various tasks. some elements of nutrition. new tent platforms. dug a tile tunnel for the water pump. as has been suggested. Work projects are a consistent feature of every Camp Kvutza. No one at camp is exempt from taking his or her turn at this work. There have been instances where it was necessary to curb the eagerness of the campers to devote themselves to work projects to the virtual exclusion of other activities. The nature of these projects varies. put up screens and shutters on the doors and windows of the dining room. with the local circumstances. trees have been cut down. The following year they added a shower house.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Work Projects Some aspects of the camp program and some of the "institutions" which have developed in the course of years merit detailed description. is assisted by campers. Building projects are planned and executed sometimes within one season. over a period of years. and buildings erected. the group finished waterproofing the roof of the dining room and kitchen. and in some cases. In the kitchen work. The maintenance of the grounds. sheds to cover the pump and washing machine (the 38 . and tents is likewise the responsibility of the campers. and clean up after meals. In the process they learn menu planning. built shelves and drawers for kitchen equipment. This phase of the program has been one of the most fruitful sources of creative expression. who is usually a member of an adult Labor Zionist group. buildings. The campers help prepare meals. ground cleared and ploughed. the cook. and problems involved in maintaining the camp within budgetary limits.

acquire an enlarged dining room. and recreation hall with impressive ceremonies. it serves to inculcate in the campers a positive attitude toward work and collective self-sufficiency. 39 . and the beginnings of a small building intended for use by activity groups in bad weather. interest in gardening was heightened by associating this activity with the need for maximum food in this country. the produce from the garden is used in the kitchen. During the 1942 season. It is an end in itself inasmuch as it fills immediate needs and serves to beautify the camp. All this was done in addition to clearing two large wooded areas to accommodate the tents." Five trees were cut down. an outdoor amphitheater dug out of a low hill and furnished with a stage platform. the income being contributed to the Jewish National Fund. In recent years. The complete electrification job was done and celebrated late in the summer when the lights were turned on in the dining room. trimmed. During the weeks of camp. log bridge and dam over a stream which fed the swimming pool. The campers acquire considerable information and numerous skills. Girls have taken to this activity particularly. This emphasis on work has several motivations. It is a real-life demonstration of the values inherent in socially useful labor. In some of the camps.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING campers conducted a cooperative laundry). shower house. efforts have been made to introduce gardening with varying success. I have watched the camp at Killingworth. Moreover. The advance crew usually prepares the soil and plants a variety of vegetables which mature during July and August. painted and erected so that electric cables could be drawn from the nearest sources of power. new garbage pits. the practice has developed to sell produce to visitors. The greatest adventure was that of "bringing light to Kinneret. infirmary. shower house. and the beginning of a storage bin. Connecticut.

personalities from Jewish and Socialist history. Reading of relevant materials goes on simultaneously. covers a wide range of topics of Jewish and general interest. and staff members serve frequently as points of departure for discussions. but an atmosphere of purposeful learning permeates the camp at all times. The topics range from the aims and organizational forms of Habonim. long and personalized discussions as to the implications of the war took place in all camps. and special occasions. particularly among the younger age groups. The subject matter. Jewish community organization. to the causes of war and the prospects for permanent peace. the Bible and modern Jewish literature. and elements of Socialism.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Study Activities The casual visitor to any Camp Kvutza would probably be struck by the amount of time devoted to more or less formal study. from vocational problems of American Jewish youth. anti-Semitism. Definite periods are set aside for this in the daily schedule. Here the emphasis is on creating new forms 40 . At the end of the 1939 season. Group discussion is the dominant method. Talks by visitors from nearby communities. Observance of Shabbat Much attention has been focused upon the observance of Shabbat. when war was imminent in Europe. problems of Jewish adjustment. Jewish migrations and refugees. The subjects keep changing as events suggest the timeliness of various problems. derived from the basic aims of Habonim. with projects involving related activities being used to a fair degree. "famous unknowns. Groups have discussed and read about Jewish historical subjects." phases and problems of life in Eretz Yisrael. to the effect of rainfall on the economy of Eretz Yisrael. holidays. representatives of the Eretz Yisrael Labor Movement.

The day is characterized by more leisure. The Friday evening at Camp Kvutza is the highlight of the week. being original. they have drawn those which lit particularly the spirit of Shabbat. the dining room is furnished with fresh flowers and ferns. After the meal the singing normally continues. symptomatic of the swing back from an earlier rejection in radical Jewish circles of all that smacks of the old and "outworn. and from their extensive repertoire of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. reading circles. with or without choral group to provide direction. and a special menu is prepared. Specific themes may be used as the foci of the program. laundry is done. discussions of current events. sports and swimming for longer periods than usual. give to the observance a spontaneity which is so often lacking where the traditional orthodox customs are practiced. At the same time. and when this is done the first hint may well appear in the blessing of the candles." Groups have prepared special readings from the Bible and the Prophets. and continue in the dining room before and after the meal. they do not stiffer from that coldness and remoteness which so often characterize the reformist or "non-sectarian" services in vogue in many Jewish camps. Preparations for Shabbat go on all day. Some experiments have been made with developing new forms for Saturday morning and with the Havdala 41 . the evening closes with folk dancing in the open or in the cleared dining room. and which will be emotionally and aesthetically satisfying. Invariably. Considerable success has been achieved in this area. The ceremonies may begin at flag-lowering. all work projects are in abeyance. Camp is cleaned up. tables are covered with white table cloths.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING of observance which will give meaning and significance to the holidays. The use of the traditional Kiddush has spread in recent years. On Saturday. There may be also a story or brief talk on a subject related to Shabbat. These ceremonials.

The Common Fund One of the most radical features of Camp Kvutza is the elimination of "private capital. the founder of political Zionism. has become a traditional event. individual rights. and Hayim Nahman Bialik. after the campers had debated the question of having breakfast or not. In all the camps. On Tuesday the solelim rebelled. where the diary of the week is reviewed. it was decided that "only the solelim (the youngest children) were to have some fruit juice. is observed." In keeping with the principle of collective living. They refused to drink their juice. too. it is interesting to note that some camps have observed the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sacco and Vanzetti. breakfast is foregone on Tisha B'Av. involving as they do questions of equality. The effect of such practices is illustrated in the incident reported from Los Angeles where. This was on Monday. the camps have always emphasized the concept of keeping all campers and staff on an equal basis with respect to money. Tisha B'Av (Ninth of Av-date of the destruction of the Temple). The Saturday night campfire. the Hebrew poet. are observed regularly with special programs." Reflecting their interest in the general struggle for human freedom and civil rights. Other Celebrations The anniversaries of Theodor Herzl. The educational value of the discussions is obvious. and the money normally spent on the meal is contributed to the Jewish National Fund. group re- 42 .GROWTH OF AN IDEA services at sunset. and every year. each camp takes up anew the question as to how to operate the common fund. and here the tendency to create new ways of observing old holy days finds expression. This has not been achieved without some difficulty. which occur during the summer.

Experience has varied.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING sponsibility for the individual. are being trained in agriculture or trades for settlement there. Where a request is considered to be out of line with the budget or unjustifiable for any other reason. means of curbing excessive demands. On the whole.) 43 . stationary. Those who have been identified with it from the beginning have grown with their experiences and have demonstrated the soundness of the theories with which they began to work. asked: "If we don't have one. The only exception to this general practice is made in situations where the camper deposits with the committee some money to be kept for his return home. frequently over the objections of a minority. at the same time enabling him to defend his request if he wishes to do so. Occasionally. and combs are placed with the committee which fills the orders as the finances permit. (A goodly number of former campers are now living in collective settlements in Eretz Yisrael. All requests for supplies such as stamps. tooth brushes. The common fund generally functions as follows: All money in the possession of the campers and staff members is placed in a common fund administered by a committee. difficulties arise. as members of the American Hehalutz. in a discussion as to whether or not there should be a common fund. No accounts are kept of what campers give or get. and the like. or. Where it includes the agreement to share among the entire camp all foods and candy sent to individual campers. the troublesome problems associated with these gifts. How well it has been accepted by the campers is illustrated in the anecdote about the boy who. are virtually non-existent. how will we be able to get stamps and batteries?" After ten years Camp Kvutza has remained true to its original principles. problems familiar to all camp directors. it has been accepted and has worked out very satisfactorily. particularly with non-members of Habonim or with new campers. however. the committee advises the camper accordingly. As indicated. the common fund is not instituted without prior discussion and acceptance.

The emphasis continues to be on translating into personal experience the concepts of individual and social living of the movement and on providing a wholesome and stimulating Jewish environment. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. Abraham Cohen. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. 1943 44 .GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. Concurrently they acquire information and emotional attitudes toward their Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life which help to make of them healthy mid creative Jewish personalities. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures.

Y.P.Z.A. Convention, Buffalo, 1935, where decision was made to form Habonim.

Hora, Shabbat, Highland Mills, N.Y., 1932.

Rachel Siegal, Golda Meir, Jacob Lemberger, Leah Brown, Ralph Cohen, and Izzy Shapiro, Accord, 1933.

Campfire, first Kvutza, Highland Mills, N.Y., 1932.

Jacob Katzman and Leo Krown at Accord.

Campers at first Kvutza, Highland Mills, N.Y., 1932.

Ready for overnight hike, Accord, 1936.

Visitors at Accord, 1939. Left to right, an unidentified woman, Leah Goldberg, Hayim Greenberg, Judy Goldberg, Arthur Goldberg, Rufus Learsi, Mr. Greyer, Kalman Whiteman.

The Camp at Hachshara, 1935. Ben Zion Ilan leading a discussion.

Parents Day at Kinneret, 1941. Kvutza truck, Accord.

Washday at Accord.

Outdoor discussion, Accord, 1935.

Campers, Accord, 1935.

Waterfalls, Accord, N.Y.

" that concept which makes man struggle to fill his pockets so that he and his small family may enjoy the fruits of the world.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING THE MEANING OF KVUTZA Camp Kvutza is our way of making the ideas we have developed and the ideals in which we believe real for ourselves and for the haverim whom we lead. we would choose other avenues than Zionism on which to live. takes part in the renaissance of his people. we would implant a concern for mankind. Were we to believe only in man's right to be a free individual. We believe in the right of man to be free as an individual. this means that we want to develop an individual who is awake and sensitive to his world. When we speak of new society and new values. he is a young Jew who understands what is happening to his people in an alien world and. who dares to participate in every phase of its life. We believe that there must evolve a new society of cooperation where mankind will develop new values. and who creates within himself a force that drives him on to self-realization. In specific terms. We believe in the right of an entire people to be free as a group. We familiarize our haverim with our historical past. because of the sensitivity within himself. In other words. we interpret our present struggle. But it is because we believe in the value and the necessity for national living that we are Zionists. In the place of this narrow view of life. His participation in this renaissance becomes the foremost factor in his life as an individual. And 49 . but followers after the pattern of life being created now in Eretz Yisrael. we try to erase the narrow concept of "me and mine. In the new society that we seek to create. for our people. we are not dreamers after Utopia. for all individuals. and we point the way to return to nationhood as our only means of survival and our way of participating in the further development of our people and of society.

religious. If he is too young for this. discipline and attitudes of the little community. prepare himself to go to Kvutza. While still in the city. Individual Development at Kvutza Haverim who come to Kvutza must create the Kvutza. he should bear witness to all the excitement of preparation. we must educate an entire generation of Jewish youth along new lines of thinking and acting. We seek to take the word equality off the lips of our haverim. This equality and this concern for mankind will become real only when man is judged by his selfless contribution to society. otherwise there is no equality. study. In Camp Kvutza we live our ideals.GROWTH OF AN IDEA this concern would be demonstrated in our economic. music. That is our best way of developing the new individual. and educational programs. our haver must be made to feel that he is going out on a pioneering adventure to work out a way of life with a group of boys and girls his own age. Even before he sees the site. management of the kitchen. he should become a part of Kvutza. he should have a part in the actual planning of construction. dramatics. but living is by far the greater teacher. crafts. In order to translate these ideas into human living. art. If he is a responsible boneh. and put it in their hearts and in their way of living. everyone must be made to have an interest in every phase of the day's activity: work. political. appearance and cleanliness of the settlement. Everyone must become interested in the management of Kvutza: the government. Once at Kvutza. food and equipment purchasing. Equality must be expressed in every phase of life economic. and social selves. development of creative interests such as. scouting. cultural. social. and only when he is a laborer for the improvement of that society. and sports. Unless the individu- 50 . Discussion is an important part of education. photography. help to raise funds.

games. For in the city. songs. To deal with the problems of life in a group through the creation of a society based on equality and cooperation. it is absolutely vital in the Kvutza. The madrich must come to Kvutza prepared for his duties. For no one in Kvutza is on a vacation.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING al is part of the day's activity. through discussion and dramatics. Our aims for the haver who participates in Kvutza may be summed up as follows: 1. He will create the atmosphere and the spirit. 3. the life-struggle of our people today. the madrich sees his haverim only once or twice a week. 4. To learn to live with a large group of individuals. and rainy-day activities. the individual" and to be so challenged as to take upon himself the task of realizing that future. he should be ready with his discussion material. it is our training ground for the tomorrow 51 . To experience. through special programs and in daily living. If possible. The Madrich of Kvutza Upon the madrich rests the Kvutza. but at Kvutza he is with them during all their waking and sleeping hours. Now there are no "company manners" between them. he will develop-or fail to develop-all the individuals who come to Kvutza. If his role is important in the city. he must be prepared with the proper attitude. To know that the future of our people depends on "me. Now there is only day-by-day living. To understand the significance of being pioneers in a new form of living. At the very least. we will fail in our attempt to develop him into the person we want. 5. 2.

The madrich must be wide awake. He explains Kvutza and people to them. He helps them adjust to their surroundings. he is responsible for the physical well-being of his haverim. be is responsible for their development as individuals. "firm" in stating our point of view? The rosh of every Kvutza. he makes them aware of the role they play in their group. He must foresee problems before his youngsters create them so that he can divert energies to other channels. he draws them into every activity. Exactly what is his responsibility? First. He must be a good pal and know how to have f un with them. must know how to put across his way of thinking and the desired way of acting. Freedom with a Pattern Herein lies a real problem for all madrichim. and then. he is responsible for their psychological well-being. Second. He faces a serious task. eat enough. and spends many hours in just speaking with them about all the big problems we face together and all their personal problems. and only one who understands the responsibility should be entrusted with it. The luxury of experiments in edu- 52 . He sees that they sleep enough. How far can we go in allowing the haverim of Camp Kvutza to go their own way in managing Kvutza? Will we create any sins against progressive education and against individual freedom if we guide all activities and if we are. turn them loose. promotes friendly relations among them. The madrich directs the training. We do not bring together a group of youngsters. Third. he discovers their hidden talents and interests. wins their confidences. must understand that Kvutza is not merely an educational experiment. keep themselves and their sleeping quarters clean. write up our scientific observations. lie.GROWTH OF AN IDEA of our people. together with the madrichim. at times. At the same time. with notebook in hand.

No amount of "freedom" is real or desirable if it destroys our Kvutza spirit or discolors our Kvutza design. We need this for the education as well as for the spirit of the Kvutza. other institutions may be created to assist in the order of the Kvutza or in 53 . We want our youngsters to create their summer Kvutza because that is the way to teach them that they must build the real Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael. goes far toward creating the orderly society. Rising. neat haverim. but more is needed to make this orderliness complete. The rosh and madrichim must keep them in mind always. The appearance of Kvutza must be orderly-clean grounds. Our only sin can be the failure to make Kvutza what it must be: a pattern of life for our haverim. Staying awake until all hours of the night is ruinous to health and humor-it is not freedom. The program should be full so that haverim know that one activity follows another regularly.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING cation for their own sake we must leave for people more fortunate than we. each thing in its place. they are likewise entrusted with a great responsibility to the Labor Zionist movement. There should be clean-up committees of campers." Camp Kvutza is our instrument for inspiring and remaking individual young Jewish lives. clean buildings that are nicely decorated. Failure to participate in discussions. Kvutza must be a symbol to us-a symbol that we will eventually make real. A day filled with activity. in any group activity. Haverim must live on schedule. the day's program-all must add up to steady living. meals. An Orderly Society Kvutza must be an orderly society. That symbol and its realization are the prime forces behind Kvutza. in work. We are trying to "turn men into a nation and sand into a country. Let them not be frightened by terms or by name-calling. is not freedom but a weakening of Kvutza spirit. The rosh and madrichim are entrusted with young lives and young minds.

should come the specific aims of that Kvutza for the season. The better the madrich. Therefore. Kvutza should develop the machaneh." since each case and the individuals concerned must be considered. Our second aim of Kvutza is to 54 .GROWTH OF AN IDEA the handling of haverim who refuse to be a part of the general orderliness. our first aim for Kvutza is to integrate these new haverim into the movement. 2. the machaneh in which I am now living has chosen its Kvutza committee. with this committee I have had one discussion from which we concluded: 1. lack of discipline. lack of understanding of Kvutza. No general rule may be given for "order" or "discipline." They are actually the "backbone" of the machaneh. it cannot be stressed too much: Prepare your members for Kvutza. not only for the development of our haverim individually. Poor enrollment of movement members. poor participation. For example. the fewer problems will arise. as well as a goal toward which they will work. but beyond that and greater than that. From these discussions. Insofar as possible. Setting Goals Each Kvutza is a reflection of the city from which its people come. Before going out to Kvutza. Thus there will be an understanding among those who will lead the Kvutza. Our machaneh has a good group of Kvutza "veterans. rosh and madrichim should have discussions oil the weaknesses and strengths of the machaneh and its needs. Summer Kvutza can do much. all these problems should be settled between the madrich and the individual concerned through talks. a broken common fund-these reflect the city activities. Therefore. Our machaneh has expanded rapidly so that only about half of our haverim have been to Kvutza and have an understanding of the movement.

so immersed in the every-day workings. created. This will mean that all who are madrichim must become well acquainted with the objectives of Kvutza before they go. even before the official beginning of Habonim as an organization. thoughtful. Therefore. that Bar Mitzva is upon us. and business of the camp. our haverim must feel that in Kvutza they are undergoing training for their role tomorrow. and must prepare as much as possible for the season. must think a great deal about Kvutza as an educational institution and as a symbol. an institution such as camp is considered old and established. For although thirteen years is a relatively short period of time in the life of an individual. by a small group of stubborn young people who were dissatisfied with Jewish summer camping as 55 . at that age. complete leadership within the Kvutza and within the machaneh. Miriam Biderman. we become more certain that we will face still greater responsibilities in the movement here and abroad. like last. We have been so occupied in actually preparing for Kvutza." What have we accomplished in these thirteen summers? What institutions can we point to? What have we established. our movement faces a serious lack of leadership for our summer Kvutzot. to my amazement. This year.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING prepare these sixteen-year-old “veterans" to assume. It was only when I sat down and began to count that I suddenly realized. contributed? The first Habonim Camp Kvutza was started thirteen years ago. that we have hardly had time to notice the years creeping up on us. 1935 COMING OF AGE The thirteenth consecutive year of Habonim summer camping has rolled around. and talkative "Bar Mitzva dinner. With our awareness of what is happening to our people in Europe and in Eretz Yisrael. worries. wherever necessary. entitled to a sedate.

" Today. we now own all but one of our camps. we now have an average of 1.GROWTH OF AN IDEA they knew it. Jewish problems. and preparing to operate nine next summer. gave too little room for the expression of the creative abilities of campers. most alert. and are constantly expanding our facilities. Jewish history. dreams incapable of realizationtoday they are part and parcel. of our camping system. as it did last. It is undoubtedly the strongest educational instrument which we have succeeded in developing. Habonim is operating eight summer camps throughout the United States and Canada.400 or more each summer. in a highly developed form. Whereas thirteen years ago all the principles listed above were dreams-according to some. They felt it was too occupied with trivialities. They decided that they. They had the impudence to believe that they could operate a camp which could change these things. should work several hours a day in and about the camp. They were determined that the spirit of modern Eretz Yisrael should permeate the camp. change them for the better. and paid too little attention to intelligent discussion and teaching of Jewish attitudes and heritage. thirteen years later. Whereas thirteen years ago there was a group of some ten to fifteen campers. They called the camp "Kvutza. We have found no better way to develop youth toward an intelligent understanding of Zionism 56 . Whereas thirteen years ago the first campers "squatted" on a piece of land loaned to them. most Jewish-conscious and responsible Habonim groups. It is almost a truism that those cities which have a good Camp Kvutza in the vicinity have the strongest. They decided to devote some time each day to discussion of Jewish current affairs. They felt that the camp should be run democratically with each camper having a choice in decisions affecting programs and work. the campers. Today Camp Kvutza is integrally bound up with the life blood of Habonim as a movement.

By their very nature our camps become institutionalized according to a given pattern. New systems for activity have to be worked out. There are several reasons for this. two-month living course presented by Camp Kvutza. conditions the type of camp we have. The fifteen. to become vitally concerned with our problems. Our staff must consist of a certain type of individual. The fact that we are interested in retaining a permanent hold on the camper through the year as well as in the summer months.and nineteen-year-old haverim who would normally assume positions of leadership are to a large extent unavailable. perhaps it is because to an increasing extent they are concerning themselves with problems which have hitherto been considered the domain of their elders. we are reticent about pointing to our accomplishments. We cannot. our 57 . be concerned simply with supplying a staff for our camps. Programs have to be adjusted to their level of preparation. The eighteen.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING than the twenty-four-hour-a-day.and sixteen-year-olds who in the normal course of events would not be groomed for leadership and responsibility have been forced to become the physical and intellectual core of Kvutza. The inner strength of our camps is showing itself in the way this crisis is being met. Whatever the reasons. with a certain type of background. that we want him to assume responsibility. The nature of our purpose makes for an extremely high rate of change and adaption to circumstance. like others. Perhaps it is because younger people all over are becoming accustomed to a greater degree of responsibility. Thus we have been hit more than ordinary camps by the current war situation. and it is increasingly difficult for even them to devote themselves to camp. Despite our realization of these things. Ways must be found to draw them actively into the cause which circumstance dictates they must fight for though they be unprepared. and with roots in Habonim.

the Labor Zionist movement as a whole has failed to recognize its value and gives it no more than perfunctory backing. All that I have mentioned can definitely be considered on the credit side of the Camp Kvutza ledger. In others. have we exploited as fully as we could have and should have? Have we succeeded in getting the Labor Zionist movement as a whole to recognize it and actively support it? Have we succeeded in bringing it to the attention of the Jewish public as a whole? The answers to these questions are doubtful. there exists no Kvutza because the movement there has failed to become enthusiastic enough about it to undertake the establishment of one. in those places where the senior movement has become interested. We have encountered many problems along these lines and to this day. we have not succeeded in completely solving them. the advisability of younger people being entrusted with financial and physical responsibility for what in some cases is a big business. so good. other ticklish problems arise. In others. We have always felt that an important element in shaping the character and initiative of the campers would be lost were 58 . Given the conviction that Camp Kvutza is a good instrument for the advancement of our approach to Jewish life. In some cities Kvutza is the summer camp of our entire movement. receiving enthusiastic backing of all its segments. On the other band. But there is another angle from which the whole picture can be viewed. comes into question. new ideas are being contributed.GROWTH OF AN IDEA younger haverim have reacted in a way which leaves no doubt as to the future of Habonim camping. camps are being expanded. The extent to which Habonim should actually run the camp. We have continued to develop during the last two difficult summers. Three new permanent sites have been acquired. So far. plans for new camps are under serious consideration.

is naturally desirable. Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. That non-members should attend Kvutza. it has been left up to the individual city to decide on this question although certain minimum principles such as no work on Shabbat have been adopted nationally. and its preservation and strengthening is perhaps the greatest contribution Habonim can make to the cause of Labor Zionist youth in this country. In general. In the establishment of a network of twice and thrice the number of Kvutzot we now have. I. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. lies the road to the establishment of a really alert Labor Zionist youth.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim. more powerful than Hebrew schools. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles. 1944 59 . But it is the general feeling that their number should be limited to a certain percentage of the campers in order to preserve the Habonim character. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. All these questions must eventually be resolved. Murray Weingarten. for one. It is more powerful than city propaganda.

Self-Labor . each camper learns to live with a large group of individuals and to handle the problems of such a life together with the others in a way most efficient and beneficial to the group.In Kvutza. and ways of meeting these needs. We have. program. 60 . in turn. the haver becomes a full-fledged member of a community with duties. No individual accounts are kept. Social Justice A. even construction of buildings. The maintenance work is done by the camper: kitchen duty. cleaning. We have a meeting of the entire camp community to discuss its philosophy. The food is distributed equally. responsibilities. This is in keeping with our belief in the dignity of labor and with the ideal and policy of the Histadrut .In Kvutza. We discuss the desires. Each person at Kvutza puts in as much money as he can and whatever food he may bring or receive from home.Here. for example. needs. Self-Government . Cooperative Living .that a man must not be exploited and that he. there is never hired labor except where necessary-the cook and the nurse). suggestions. And we elect our committees and our officers. Each person receives what he needs from the common fund. to each individual. and where necessary and possible. sanitation. B. This is in keeping with our cooperative ideal: from each according to his ability. our common fund of money and food from home. perhaps for the first time. to each according to his need. and interests of the campers in regard to the Kvutza program.GROWTH OF AN IDEA PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY I. C. and privileges that carry consequences affecting him directly. and at the same time. exploit no one.

and use privileges well. The Individual A. We want to develop the desire to participate personally in the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael. We want to make him realize his own worth. We want to develop in our people a feeling of belonging to all that ever was and is Jewish. We want to develop in Kvutza. Zionism It is our purpose in Kvutza. in our lives.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING II. we must regard it as if we. the identification with the people and its struggle. carry responsibility. Into this spirit goes the appreciation of the culture and tradition. We want to develop or intensify an appreciation of the Jewish tradition and a desire for participation in and perpetuation of this culture. We strive to develop a historical sense and an identification with the past and present struggle of the Jewish people. and in our haverim through Kvutza. reading circles. to be able to make decisions. singing. and a positive. Camp Kvutza and the Movement I. 61 . Judaism A. are experiencing these things. to have a healthy self-respect. personally. comfortable feeling of being Jewish. that intangible Jewish spirit-the folkways of our people. This. The Haggada says that as we read at the Seder Pesach of the Exodus from Egypt. is perhaps the most important part of Kvutza life. We approach this through our Shabbat and holiday celebrations. We desire to aid each individual to become self-sufficient. dancing. to give the haver an intellectual understanding of Zionism and an emotional feeling of healthy nationalism. as in our machanot. III. B. though it is hardest to define in -words. Hebrew study. C.

and stimulation in a group. Habonim becomes the social group. The individual and the group are closely interrelated. courage. discussion groups. For many of our people. KM. In the course of such participation. his personality develops and a socializing takes place. Meetings. and hav- 62 .GROWTH OF AN IDEA B. Through the achievement of all the above. one has a real opportunity to increase his knowledge. II. We strive to develop within him a community mindedness: the ability to live within a group. C. Through self-study. to conform without losing his individuality. There are satisfactions which an individual cannot obtain alone. When people have a place in the social setup of the movement. and standards. stimulating. All of the foregoing is important to the machaneh. "In unity there is strength. D. This is especially important for us because it makes for strong ties among members of Habonim and for cohesive groups. Kvutza is a stimulant to movement work -When haverim come from Kvutza. group attitudes. general and Jewish. become an integral and pleasant part of their lives because it is so for their friends also. The Group A. discussions with other haverim and with madrichim. reading circles. having had a full. and enjoyable summer. and to be able to influence without becoming domineering. a haver is more willing and able to be active in the movement during the course of the organizational year. III. Every person needs a sense of belonging. B. We want to develop within the individual a respect and regard for his haverim in the group and a successful method of cooperating with them for the general good. The Machaneh A. He develops loyalties. they are more willing to devote time and energy to the movement." An individual gains significance. and the hanhaga. We expect the haver to develop intellectually during the course of the summer.

to make a quick decision where necessary-in other words. they are usually anxious to get started on machaneh activities and have a lot to offer intellectually and spiritually. C. We come together and have an opportunity to live a portion of our lives as we believe and desire. and rosh are integral parts of this group. 63 . The campers. The Movement A. B. B. Kvutza offers an excellent opportunity to attract. "The whole is greater than its parts." Kvutza Is a Living Community I. They have been assigned their roles by virtue of their wider experience and greater insight and understanding. The madrichim are perhaps the equivalent to elected officers in a democratic society. Their function is within the group and not above and outside of it. Kvutza is a democratic. He can influence the entire atmosphere of a Camp Kvutza. is a vital part of the community. Leadership qualities are developed . or simply through the group experience. The movement is strengthened by the activities and stimulation of Camp Kvutza. It is not a vacation from our "real" lives. cooperative community. The rosh. He is responsible for Kvutza as a whole and for each of its facets. educate and induct new members. madrichim. C. Kvutza Is a Living Community A.Through opportunities for leadership. It is his responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of the Kvutza and its people. to feel and understand the tempo of the camp. like the madrichim. IV. This gives them a greater responsibility to the group. committee work. many return from Kvutza in a position to influence and lead others.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ing formed strong group ties.

The first day of camp sets the tone for the entire period. He also has the job of making decisions necessary for the best functioning of the Kvutza. Future relationships between madrichim and campers can stem from impressions received on the first day. the group stimulates him.The first meeting is the most important one of the season.GROWTH OF AN IDEA II. intellectually. If we are successful. in turn. B. The madrichim must exert every effort to make the campers feel at home and must be with the campers every minute of the day to aid in their personal adjustment and orientation to new faces and new surroundings. we enrich our lives through this relationship. The rosh and madrichim must work closely together in order to achieve the best possible results for the group. socially. The relationship between rosh and madrichim is important in forming attitudes and understanding in madrich-camper relations. The madrich that works with a group must be part of that group. though it is natural that the rosh and the youngest tzofeh are not 64 . The First Day I. because of his particular position. The Meeting . The madrichim in a Kvutza are not counselors in the usual sense. Relationships in Camp Kvutza A. He stimulates the group and. A. and in a creative manner. however. There we will determine the policy and principles of Kvutza. There is a definite carry-over of attitudes. has veto power over decisions of madrichim and campers in matters of health and safety.” We want the haverim to understand that. They are not technicians functioning in the limited sphere of their specialties. There we put into practice our theory that Kvutza is a "living community. The rosh. It is in all of the madrich's behavior as a social being. It is also one of the biggest factors in the tone and atmosphere of the camps. This is the first community expression of the campers. in relation to all others madrichim and campers alike-that he influences people.


equal in influence, they are equal in right of expression. The madrichim also are an integral part of this community meeting, with full voting rights and complete freedom of expression. Let us clarify the question of jurisdiction which will arise in some form. The madrichim will deal with our general educational policy and health and safety measures. The madrichim must have an appreciation and an understanding of all other camp problems. The primary function of the general meeting, on the other hand, is to discuss the group life-the community life such as common fund, work committee, evening programs, and daily schedule. It is clear, however, that an explanation of the guiding principles of our health and safety measures is necessary, that a discussion on the educational aspects of camp can be a positive thing. If the thoughts of the campers on this aspect of camp life are feasible, then they certainly are acceptable. B. Common Fund - Our purpose in advocating the common fund is to teach the first fundamental principle of a Labor Zionist life. It is not advisable, however, to impose such a decision on Kvutza. Our job must be to educate in such a fashion that the haverim will decide themselves that it is practical and necessary. Our approach should be: How do you want to handle spending money and food packages? We can get across the point that beside the educational value, it is practical, pleasurable (isn't it more fun to do things together as friends?), and is wanted. Educational Tools I. We have, in our movement and in Kvutza, established certain definite and characteristic methods of "getting things across.” We utilize the discussion, the reading circle, creative group activities, and Shabbat and holiday programs. These are our educational tools.



A. The Discussion-The discussion has traditionally been our way of disseminating information. We have considered it our chief "tool." We realize that informational lectures seldom move a young person or change his attitudes or ideas. Our discussions have often been reduced to information-giving periods, and only by carefully planning and preparing them, can we avoid making lectures of the discussions. Methods that are interesting, provocative, and attractive must be utilized. B. The Reading Circle-The reading circle is a pliable "tool.” It can be used in connection with the discussions, as well as independent of them (Zionist classics, for instance). It can also be a device for transmitting certain attitudes and feelings. As an example of this last, reading stories and poetry from Hebrew and Yiddish literature in the original or translation may help in developing an understanding of and feeling for the literature and folkways of our people. In Camp Kvutza, where there are a number of Hebrew-speaking haverim, there is certainly an opportunity for a reading in circle. Personal Preparation I. This coming summer, madrichim in our Kvutzot, on the average, will be younger than ever before. In many cases, this means that the madrich will be lacking in experience and background. We must be prepared to conduct more extensive and intensive training in the city for our madrichim prior to their going out to Kvutza. This can be accomplished in various ways. A. The madrichim responsible for camp work should begin to meet once a week. What does such a group hope to accomplish? The group should aim to have a clear understanding of what Camp Kvutza is, how it differs from the average camp in this country, what we hope to accomplish with our campers, and what the ideas of Habonim are. It should aim to have an under-



standing of what to do with children and how to make decisions on practical and technical problems of Kvutza. B. This "workshop" is to serve as the instrument whereby the madrichim obtain basic attitudes and ideas for camp work. After concentrated discussion, the madrich should be ready for the necessary personal preparation. Conferences with individuals and supervision of individual assignments is an important aspect of our training. The facilities of the city can be utilized, and various haverim can be assigned to take courses in first aid, dramatics, crafts, carpentry, cooking, sports, swimming, office work, scoutcraft, etc. Others can begin to think in terms of preparing for the discussion groups, evening programs, Shabbat celebrations, rainy-day programs, and the work program. C. The "workshop" and individual preparation do not rule out the necessity for frequent meetings of all the madrichim. The following items must be understood thoroughly: 1. Health and safety requirements and standards 2. Kitchen setup and rules 3. Daily program 4. General educational work 5. Role of the madrich in Camp Kvutza 6. Discipline D. From the beginning we should strive to create the feeling that the madrichim are working as a group, thrashing out plans, discussing theory and practice, and helping establish the basic principles which govern their tasks. The job of this group becomes increasingly important since training and supervision are paramount to achieve the necessary continuity of program and stability of approach. Handbook for Madrichim, 1952



THE TURNING POINT Habonim camps, at their inception, introduced new and revolutionary methods and concepts into the field of camping generally, and Jewish camping in particular. Perhaps we, not to speak of authorities in the field of Jewish camping, have never fully evaluated or appreciated the new and progressive approaches we developed in our first camps. Our program was outstandingly different from other Jewish camping programs; in most phases of camping, we led the way and were far ahead of other camps. Alongside the most progressive educational techniques and values, our camps, from the physical point of view, operated on a most primitive level. Campers were generally housed in tents. Outdoor plumbing was the rule and not the exception. Dining halls were small, kitchens totally inadequate. There were no special facilities for infirmaries. Frequently, camps were situated in virtually inaccessible sites. There were no special technical personnel; an older havera with relatively limited experience might well be the cook or nurse, and an older haver, the business manager. And no camp season was complete without at least one good epidemic, fire, or accident, which created the material for "chizbatim" told to this very day. In fact, the more primitive the camp, the more enjoyable and satisfying the camp season appeared to have been. And, surprisingly enough, parents sent their children to such camps. Perhaps it was that in the late thirties and early forties the Jewish community had not as yet reached its present economic middle-class level, with corresponding middle-class standards in regard to the camps. Perhaps parents-and especially those from so-called "Jewish homes" -felt that the uniquely Jewish content which we had to offer their children in such a creative and dynamic manner more than offset the primitive environment to which their children were exposed. Whatever the reason, though they complained, parents sent


Two boys and a girl start to saw wood for the flooring of the house they are erecting . Now the plumb line and the level go into action.. Others are busily mixing mortar and cement for the foundation of the house. They visited the cities. The foundation is about to be laid. to private camps charging high tuition rates. realistically enough. is a description of a B'nai B'rith camp: "The most popular of the subjects studied was the imaginary trip to Israel . new camps come into being which stress similar approaches to the very ideals in camping which were once almost exclusively ours. and their children returned from camp none the worse for wear and full of enthusiasm for the type of creative Jewish camping which they had experienced over the summer-an enthusiasm which to varying degrees was communicated to. He begins to see the value of working together with his fellow camper for a common goal. one can find a strikingly familiar description of a day at camp in the March 14. The cement is ready. The monopoly we once had in the field of creative Jewish living" is no longer ours either. from the point of view of progressive educational techniques and values. Today. issue of The Reconstructionist. such as the one described above. Here... for visas at the Israel Consul's office. Emanuel. with its emphasis on the dignity of labor and cooperation among men. for example. the parents themselves. .. 69 .. cannot do the job alone." by Hyman R. Cooperation is essential. our camps are no longer unique.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING their children to our camps. "At a Work Camp of the American Jewish Society for Service. The children were started on this imaginary trip by applying. 1954. Every year. and shared by. Sankel. For instance. This is a key job. The camp individualist. " The day's work is beginning . . He must ask for help.. ranging from agency camps. It is actually a description of a typical "work camp" of which there are many. in an article entitled." This could be a description of a very successful work project at a Habonim camp. Still others are digging a ditch to lay the sewer pipe.

A good madrich should be able to educate towards the aims of Habonim in a modern. And today. on the contrary. in terms of our movement's needs. using the approach to Jewish camping which such an activity typifies. " While we may take pride in the fact that a B'nai B'rith camp here employs so successfully a technique long known to Habonim. f acing the Arab Triangle. we find that we are not the only progressive Jewish camp on the scene. which is on the Gilboa. on the contrary. well-run camp as well as. technically we have failed to keep pace with the other camps. in 1954. unlike other Jewish organizations. if not better than. For in Habonim. in a primitive one. and only our camps can educate towards that aim. . and landmarks of the country. the madrich has more tools and materials at his disposal 70 . we want to create halutzim. When they entered the kibbutz Yizr'el. Each site was investigated for its ancient and modern significance. in a modern. the Jewish parent pays increasing attention to the physical setup of the camp to which lie sends his child. or among the few. The physical setup and technical functioning of the camp finally chosen may well be the deciding factors. On the other hand. though educationally Jewish camping has caught up to us. . well-operated camp. they could sense the immense drama which has taken place and is taking place around this famous mountain . well-equipped. Habonim camping is as necessary and important to us as it ever was. more than ever before. Let no one conclude from my foregoing remarks that our particular type of camping has outlived its usefulness. But one need not have a technically primitive.GROWTH OF AN IDEA famous settlements. which can be drawn from this and other examples. there are so many Jewish camps from which to choose that he may well be particular as to the one he finally decides upon. an even more important conclusion. ill-managed camp in order to educate towards that goal. So now. is that we are no longer alone.

Habonim camping is now at a crucial turning point.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING to aid him in his job. we may once again find ourselves in a leading position in the field of Jewish camping in America. a time will come when our camps will be empty. and administrative spheres so that we can once again compete with other Jewish camps and be acceptable to the modern Jewish parent. The need then is to bring our camps up to date in the physical. Dex Srauss. technical. To defend the primitive camp on ideological terms is to distort the entire meaning of our ideology. whose first concern is with his child's health and safety. If we do not advance technically. We must face up to the realities of the situation and solve the problems confronting us in a responsible and mature manner. If we do advance. 1954 71 . as we have set out to do.

History and Development .


new camps were projected for Texas and Winnipeg. most sites were rented. and set up a systematic program for selecting the volunteers to staff the camps. two more Kvutzot were opened in 1935-in Montreal. the fundamentals of Camp Kvutza were developed: 1) collective-democratic living. 74 . In 1936. 1940. Close to 1500 haverim attended the camps in 1940. with fourteen haverim in a tent. called for the organization of a Habonim Kvutza Committee.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS It all began in 1932. 2) a full Jewish life. New York. they ran the gamut from experiments in Lieberman's Creative Camping to semi-military discipline. During that first summer. As a result. Inspired by Accord. began to work on the first Kvutza Manual. With the development and expansion of the camps came a need for better planning and direction of both their educational and administrative aspects. 3) self-labor. Only a few of the camps were on permanent sites. Accord stands out in the memories of all the old-timers for its sheer physical beauty and difficult pioneering conditions. Habonim established its first Camp Kvutza at Accord. and in Chicago at Camp Tel Hai. The following year. but there was already a feeling that means must be found of assuring permanency and continuity in the operation of our camps. This by no means meant that our camps were becoming standardized. Moshava (Baltimore) and Kinneret (Detroit) were founded. Los Angeles had its first camp. This committee established a series of minimum requirements. The summer Kvutza had become Habonim's most powerful and most effective educational weapon and had also become a "big business" operation. and in preparation for the 1941 season. By 1939. living and studying together for a month. In educational methodology. the Cincinnati Habonim convention in December. In many cases permission was secured to use the site for an indefinite period of time.

The primary educational factor in Camp Avoda was its proximity to the collective group and the farm. New York. New Jersey. in Killingworth. Baltimore. Connecticut (for New York). Its first season in 1948 opened on a rented site in Vermont with 26 campers. St. Tel Natan. Dallas. 1600 youngsters spent the summer at eleven camps. Amal itself was at Creamridge. Chicago. for several years. For several seasons this was a work camp in the process of construction. gained the backing of six bureaus of education in various cities which sent scholarship students. During the years. and at Creamridge. there have been a number of significant experiments in Habonim camping. Winnipeg. Ottawa. Louis had its Kvutza. In 1945. Los Angeles. 1946 saw perhaps one of the peak years in Habonim camping when over two thousand campers attended Kvutza. Later. fairly large numbers of non- 75 . a number of interesting and important Hebrew programs were planned at Kinneret and Moshava. Montreal. a number of highly successful Camp Avoda seasons were conducted at the farms with groups drawn from within the movement. Amal. Philadelphia founded its own camp (Galil).ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING In 1943. Camp Avoda was operated for the first time at the Hehalutz training farm in Creamridge. The objective of this experiment was to create a positive attitude toward collective living and halutziut among non-affiliated American Jewish youth. Influenced and sparked by Amal alumni. New York bought a new camp site at Amenia. the camp accommodated fifty campers. In later years. One of the significant results of Amal has been the proof that under proper conditions. Detroit. At Amenia (1949) and Killingworth (1950). in 1951. Foremost among these was the national Hebrew camp. Habonim was the only Zionist organization to sponsor a Hebrew camp. Toronto. and became established as one of the foremost Hebrew camps in the country. but the collapse of the movement in the city brought about the demise of the camp as well.

HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT movement people can be attracted to our camps and integrated into the movement. and during the summer of 1953. In 1950. and pre-embarkation seminars for the Habonim Youth Workshop in Israel. In 1952. too. in which all the campers participate. Toronto conducted a "rambling camp. one in Vermont for the East and one in Detroit for the West. carrying full supplies and equipment and camping nights at previously selected sites. At the 1953 convention of Habonim. In 1948. and noar. The past few years." A number of haverim made a long trip by truck. The national Habonim Camping Association has been showing steady but slow improvement in the handling of national aspects of 76 . bonim. two madrichim camps were held. the sports and cultural festival. one national madrichim camp was conducted at Kinneret. This pattern was followed the next year at Montreal and St. The first national mahaneh madrichim was held in the summer of 1940 at Galil for the training of madrichei tzofim. Amal was conducted at Moshava. There has been a trend to put the administration of our camps on a semi-commercial basis. There has been an awareness that existing Habonim camps must be put on a more efficient and permanent basis. 1950 also saw another experiment long under consideration. Louis. Each subsequent summer has witnessed large seminars of madrichim. In addition. have seen a number of interesting variations and experiments in the Habonim camping picture. at Galil. most camps have conducted training programs for prospective madrichim. Mahaneh madrichim is an experiment in the realm of leadership training rather than strictly camping. The three camps in the East have conducted an annual Maccabia. it was decided to discontinue Amal as a separate institution and to stress Hebrew at all Habonim camps. Many more camps are on permanent sites into which large investments have been put by the local Labor Zionist movements and Merkaz Habonim.

Michigan. St. The permanent New York Kvutza at Red Hook. Faustin.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING camp. Kvutza Manual. Quebec. Camp Kvutza. New camp sites were purchased for the Midwest in 1956 and for Camp Miriam in Vancouver in 1956. all on permanent sites. Saugus. will be conducted: Camp Habonim. British Columbia. the following seven Kvutzot. Ottsville. was purchased in 1953. Camp Kvutza Galil. New York. New York. 1957 77 . and increasingly aware of its potentiality as an instrument for expansion. Annapolis. Maryland. During 1957. Red Hook. Camp Naame. Gabriola Island. Midwest Camp Habonim. Pennsylvania. Three Rivers. Camp Moshava. We are aware that Camp Kvutza is our most effective educational instrument. California. Camp Miriam.

The Kitchen at Accord. Accord. Joev Criden and friends. New York. . A lecture at Accord. at Kendall. "Brocky".

Enzo Sereni and friends ponder a problem. .David Breslau. Accord. Accord. Carl Allentuck working on "sanitation". Accord. 1937. Rosh at Accord. Kieve Skidell. 1939. 1938. Discussion under "tree of knowledge".

Y. Tent Area. Accord. . Accord. 1935. N. N.Work at Accord.Y. The Dining Room and Kitchen at Accord. Campers. 1935. Building at Accord.

Abe Meadow installing electricity. 1941. 1941. Campers. "All aboard for the noar seminar". Kinneret. Montreal.Dining Room at Camp Kvutza. 1941. . Building the Migdal. Kinneret. 1940. Youth Day. Kinneret. Kinneret. Kinneret. 1942.

Kerhonkson-never beard of the places. with two or three lectures in each period." For lack of a more specific address. The closing hours are devoted to evaluation and self-criticism. but the country gets more and more beautiful as the road becomes steeper and the hairpin curves sharper.. A havera in California met Golda Meir and told her of a sister in New York who is part-owner of some land in the Catskill Mountains. and from an unexpected quarter. it wasn't our own. A series of interviews. . dusty. it was a camp and not a Kvutza. Next year we must have a real Kvutza.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KVUTSA IN THE NEW YORK AREA CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN The last days of August. farmers' dirt road into a wilderness. the product of our own labors. 1933. Suddenly... The haverim have learned much and have had a lot of fun. The sister would like to do something for "the Jewish people. efforts. Granite. and the more primitive the better! Next year we must learn not only theory but also how to provide for ourselves. only a deep-rutted. Unser Camp offered too many comforts and too many distractions... Somehow. The first Young Poale Zion Kvutza is winding up its four-week session at Unser Camp. Finally one morning we are off to the Catskills: Accord. The fourteen pioneers have been together for a full month and have valiantly tried to imbibe three lecture and discussion periods a day. New York. enthusiasm waxes high. Our hearts sink. Soon there is no highway at all. and ingenuity. 82 . We were guests and not creators . We are getting panicky. Three hours. . yet everyone feels that something was missing . we have lost our way a half-dozen times. no matter what the difficulties... spirits flag. Life in the big tent has been most congenial. four hours. an undreamed of opportunity. Farband summer colony at Highland Mills. we accept this bid as meaning us. Summer is knocking at the door and still no Kvutza site. 1932 .. Mid-June. too. bumpy.

. This is the place. back in the city. . How are registrations coming? . . . lay it out cross-wise so that the kitchen part will come right over the spring. cots . All right now.. . we'll borrow. . Two coming from Rochester . . So much to do . There is only an indescribable shack occupied by our benefactress and her partner in the summer . Time is short-so short! A matter of days now… And through it all..ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING A few more minutes and we find ourselves on the summit of a hill. . really building! . . Ten haverim want to build a dining room and platforms for the tents . get lumber . here is what we have to do. no house (it burned down when the place was abandoned seven years before). . . A singing brook cascades over the rock ledges forming crystal pools every few hundred feet-and on "our" land! We are filled with joy at the sight of all this beauty. . . And how about discussion leaders? . we'll owe . Raise money. Take advantage as much as we can of the cement floor of the 83 . the answer to our prayers. Clear the site on top of the hill. . .. And how about the program? . We need a car .. No shelter? We'll build our own. . . Far? What of it? Wild? We've got a job to do. . . and in the near distance. Feverish days and nights . Persuade some Pioneer Women to come out as "cookies. . Who can forget the day when the big truck came rumbling across the wooden bridge to unload the first $400 worth of lumber ." . a beautiful valley below. No money? We'll beg. . the earth is parched. . ... a glorious tingle in the blood we are building our own Kvutza! Yes. . a ring of mountains that seems to change color before your eyes. Haven't heard from Buffalo . What will they eat? Who will cook for them? . . Buy tents. a meeting of the National Executive is hastily convened. but also with sadness when we see how the land lies waste and neglected-grass and weeds waisthigh. The next day. .. . Here. silverware? .. Can you borrow dishes. .

ready for the first Shabbat in our own Kvutza. . we will build platforms for the tents . Over the dining room we can stretch canvas if necessary.. and the old farmer's stove bought for $4 refuses to get fired. . our sages tell us. . should be received with rejoicing. Every hour brings one or two more haverim. The Shabbat. The single pyramid tent that had housed the work crew is now joined by three others. . scrubbed clean at the brook and dressed in our "best. But the cookies work hardest of all. Here. miracles have been happening. There. We fulfilled the mitzva with overflowing hearts. They form a thrilling silhouette against the sky. the outhouse. the original number of the work group is more than doubled. The long tables in the dining room are scrubbed clean.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT burnt-down barn. In the meantime. Thursday noon. . 1942 84 . The Kvutza is scheduled to open Sunday. Everyone is working against time . Jacob Katzman. Nerves are on edge . and decked with flowers. We've got to finish the kitchen first. set with dishes and silverware.." sit down to break bread together. and it seems as if everything is still to be done. Every newcomer is pressed into service as soon as he has a bite to eat . The seven-year growth of grass and weeds has been cut. Friday all day they come trekking in. The cookies become more and more exasperated as the number of mouths to feed increases. By nightfall. twenty-four of us. In the deepening twilight. . down below.

over dangerous cliffs and precipices to get to the “sink and washtubs”–a swirling. and how to extinguish them quickly once they started up–and last but not least. YOUNGSTERS! You know. No sooner was the shack or dining hall constructed than we had a real project on our hands. sometimes it makes me mad! You who go to Kvutza these days have a way of saying: “Well – of course. for instance. under the expert direction of the Philadelphia engineers. or any time we wanted to wash our hands – you have an idea of the tremendous work involved in keeping clean. It took a genius to know how to line the stove with fire brick. for taking swims or showers. brushing teeth. Take Accord. Soon after we braced it. made the plans. how to keep the sickly stove from falling apart.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING LISTEN HERE. We decided to construct a brand new dining hall. we really had work to do. When you realize that we had to take the same hike for washing clothes. and constructed the new building. Zalman. We had to support the doddering building. 85 . we had a program of activities you’ll find it mighty hard to match! Just making it possible to live was program enough. Keeping ourselves and our clothes clean was another constant work project. how to stack the wood so as to direct the heat towards the pots and away from the cook. you had lots of spirit back in 1934-35. swishing torrent of icy brook water. how to keep the flames from climbing the wooden walls. One of our own members. estimated the materials. how to replace a broken grate. how to make that stove cook the food the right way at the right time. but did you have any programs?” Why. Then the work that was involved in keeping ourselves fed! Becoming acquainted with the personality of our coal stove was the work of an entire summer. None of those new-fangled ideas like faucets for us pioneers! In the old days we trekked down from the hill to the creek.

Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. Celeritas. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. all responded to the emergency. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York. As one man. we still made time for our cultural programs.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do. I guess I haven’t the space to tell about the revolution at Tel Hai. Saadia Gelb. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. but that is one discussion few of us will ever forget! Talking about catastrophes reminds me of the forest fire which came to within half a mile of the Kvutza. We survived the event of course. One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. Well. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. It was many days and nights before the fire was brought under control–days and nights during which we had double watch–nights during which we slept in the open ready to move at a moment’s notice… But once I get started reminiscing about Kvutza–it’s hard to stop me. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds. 1942 86 . A couple of hours later a storm descended upon us apparently for the purpose of proving to our guest that the Accord Kvutza was not such a safe place after all. the truck–or even midnight swims. safe summer resort. A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. Then you’ll see how much spirit and how much program we had in the early days of our Kvutza. He described a storm which he had once seen blow down and rip five tents there and he sort of made fun of our Kvutza as a comfortable.

The first reaction: We were ap- 87 . did not help the situation at all.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK That summer. The mahaneh in Red Hook. in the early spring of 1953. spending my first year in Camp Kvutza. During the summer of 1952. I'd say that many of us did not know at the time who Yohanan was. The name of Yohanan Tartakower was completely unknown to me. When we returned to the city. but Mahaneh Tel Yohanan was a living thing. and the majority of the Galilniks were of solelim-tzofim age. Since the majority of the New Yorkers were of bonim age. Who wanted to go anywhere but to our own Tel Yohanan for the summer? Nonetheless. not a memorial. we went to Galil. but we lived in such a way that he continued to exist in us. the shock of hearing that Tel Yohanan had been wrecked by vandals was numbing. New York. I was a still-wet-behind-the-ears tzofa. Despite this attitude. In June. faced its first meeting with Habonim during a spring session in 1953. the news was announced: New York Habonim had a new home-at the (then stupendous) cost of almost fifty thousand dollars. That summer of 1951 in Tel Yohanan was a six-week honeymoon with the movement for all of us. the many friendships and traditions which developed during the course of eight short weeks were to have an important effect on the future of the New York movement. The Merkaz wore out tempers and tires in everlasting jaunts around New York State looking for a new camp site. New York was determined to build a Kvutza of its own once again. it often seemed as if we New Yorkers were marking time. The fact that the Galil campers were living in the cabins and most of the New Yorkers in a separate tent-camp. Finally. and the registration of Tel Yohanan promised to expand enormously. the great tales of "adventure" found willing ears. the division between the two groups was extremely sharp.

but were also faced with a previously unknown problem of incorporating a large percentage of nonmembers. Habonim had arrived at an understanding of the needs of this new type of camp and gathered a staff of the highest possible caliber from every part of the movement. It was a wonderful experience for both camps. A comradely atmosphere from the outset . The campers responded. Camp Hatzofeh. The population at Red Hook climbed to more than double that number. There was a Habonim atmosphere. active Habonim within the camp did not exceed forty percent of the total population. while the Habonim population remained at roughly the same level. In accepting the "luxury" of our new home. At the same time. served to dispel a few illusions. the number of Habonim campers from the New York region was under fifty. 1954 was the "honeymoon" season at Red Hook. outhouses. a separate shower-house. in the activities run by the campers themselves. no electricity. It was felt in the unfolding of the daily program and in the Shabbat celebrations which were real "productions" complete with interpretive dance and special effects. It was felt.even cheers were care- 88 . too.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT palled! It was all too civilized for our tastes. Red Hook. It became as natural for some madrichim to converse in Hebrew as for the campers to try to emulate the actions of the staff. The first summer in Camp Habonim. we could not afford to let our ideals go by the board. and (we thought) no halutziut. Gone were the days of cold water only. In Tel Yohanan and again in Galil. The next summer was somewhat less of a memorable experienceperhaps because the previous season had been so overwhelmingly successful. It will be remembered as the year of the Habonim Maccabia with the summer camp of Hanoar Hatzioni. This perhaps was the more serious of the two. We had not only to adapt ourselves to a new concept of camping with its attendant responsibilities.

1957 89 . What is to happen to New York camping in the future? That is in the hands of the haverim themselves. with people from all three camps cheering the competitors impartially? Each camp had a theme . at camp. and Negev for Moshava ." 1955 saw a new venture in Habonim camping-that of a successful Leaders' Training program. from the concept of halutziut "in the raw" to a more mature understanding of our role in the community and of how we must fill it. though not until a contest had been waged in which every point was in doubt.upon which the cheers. 1956 saw the revival of the Habonim Inter-Kvutza Maccabia.both wanted to "rip up the score sheets. Once again held at Galil. Galil for Galil.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fully censored to exclude any derogatory material about the opposing camp. In addition to the spirit of comradeship which grew up in the three days. and songs were based. Remember the afternoon spent in track events. As usual. with a large number of participants.cold-water stage to the cabins-hot water stage. it was the high point of the season. Ziffy Entin. evening program presentation. a new dimension of education had been added to the Maccabia which made its meaning even fuller for the participants.Yehuda for Red Hook. the New Yorkers won. Each summer has seen the development of the concept of Habonim camping-from the tents. The spirit of the entire competition may be imagined from the unanimous protest of the two camps directly before the close of the Maccabia .

It handled thirty to fifty-five children per week. I was only thirteen in 1937 when I spent one week at Camp Kvutza. our departed haver and teacher. Our camp was not a large-one. were the cook. and as a result." Camp Kvutza catered to the Habonim of Rochester. opened in 1937 and ran through 1941. Hanopolsky. I cannot comment on the feverish activity involved in trying to set up the camp for the first time. aside from many of the Habonim members. This group existed from 1946 to 1949 and was probably as active a Zionist group as existed in this country. Buffalo. The burned-out remains of a house nearby. A large two story barn served as the kitchen and recreation hall. one-eyed Pete. Several ex-G. thirty miles west of Rochester. However. inhabited by the ghost of two-fingered. From my experience on pre-registration camp committees in later years. It was situated on farm land along Lake Ontario. the Habonim camping experience would have been denied to most of the Habonim in this region.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KENDALL Camp Kvutza at Kendall. Some of the haverim who were campers are now in 90 . It is not difficult to measure the importance of Camp Kvutza to upstate New York. I can fully appreciate the time and effort expended by the "older haverim. 1941 was the last year of Camp Kvutza. and was responsible for many lasting friendships. Havera Atlas.I. Many new Habonim members were obtained through the camp. and Syracuse. and the empty "haunted house" down the road gave the camp additional atmosphere.'s (and ex-Habonim) formed the Enzo Sereni Labor Zionist group in Rochester. however. Permanent fixtures at the camp. Had it not been for the camp. and Mark B. the loyalties it helped cement bore fruit after the war years in 1946. The woods behind the tents and the hay loft behind the barn served as "rooms" for discussions and Hebrew lessons. New York.

rosh Kvutza. The previous week. 91 . three "big shots" were pushing an old. rusty-looking. It was hard. Only three weeks remained before the opening of Kvutza. The fire had left a desolate spot. She had been given to us for nothing. we had to revive a place which was once a beautiful Farband camp. 1957 KVUTSA IN THE MIDWEST "KVUTZIE" It was a hot June day in 1936. Many of the members of the Poale Zion and the Pioneer Women in the area are people who were campers in those years at Kendall. dilapidated. to realize that the three were none other than Nahum Guttman. In these three weeks. even for members of Habonim. and that this little scene was actually the first practical beginning of Habonim's second Kvutza in America at New Buffalo. Michigan. and so we pushed her slowly to the garage and told the mechanic to get her in running condition for that evening. we had received our first application with $1 deposit. The haver in whose lumber yard she was stationed after serving some time at our short-lived Hehalutz training farm in Indiana was glad to see her go. the super truck driver-to-be. But we knew she would run again. and myself. and we were pushing that truck to a garage to get her running. and down Douglas Boulevard in Chicago. Tel Hai. tiredeflated 1926 Dodge truck. business manager.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Israel. now overgrown with weeds and grass and ruins all about. Danny Owerbach. The advance crew would have three weeks of unceasing work to get the place in shape for the opening. and said he'd see what he could do. He looked at us and grinned. for upon her depended all the transportation of haverim and materials for this crucial period and for the Kvutza season itself. Julius Cohen. but which had been ravaged by fire. shook his head.

the driver completely new. We had no lights. but all the way. we tried to think of a name for our truck because we could already see that she was to be an important factor in the life of Kvutza. Before we left. 92 . Here we picked up fourteen brave souls and were on our way. I got into the driver's seat. Those in the back were frozen from the cold night air. With the aid of that flashlight and the full moon. those in front roasted from the heat of the motor. we got the Dodge started on her way back to Chicago-just Julie and I. I urged her on by calling out. Kvutzie!" and thus she was named.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In the evening when we returned. After a harrowing hour and a half we were finally out of the city. and through the grace of an inefficient police force. She needed a new generator and new battery. The Dodge was old. when the battery went completely dead. Trembling. "Come on. she was indeed able to run-but no telling how. and then somehow managed to drive to the center. We decided to take the chance. We started her up. Then on the way. Cries of "ouch" rang out and the people along Western Avenue stared. there was spirited singing and joking. fearlessly risking their lives. Julie and Nahum. got into the seat next to me. It was now about midnight and the traffic was not very heavy. We looked up at the sky and saw that the moon was full. What should we do? Turning back would mean another precious day wasted. We decided to continue. One of the haverim climbed up on top of the cab and shone his flashlight down on the road in front of the truck. After a few hours' sleep and a little more pushing. when she began sputtering over a little hill. The streets of Chicago are renowned for their holes and bumps and I didn't miss one of them. We could take the chance of using her that night if we wanted. but he wouldn't advise it. we finally reached Tel Hai.

we'd see. Frightened parents trembled as Kvutzie pulled out of the dirt road onto the highway at three in the morning. "What? With Kvutzie? Never!" Well. There. But we survived the trip. she soon died. They dismantled her and used her parts on other trucks. and everything was against our getting there. Then we went to buy her new shoes at an old junk yard about two miles from Michigan City. We played guessing games as to what time she would return from a trip. the source of the greatest fear. Her every arrival was the source of the greatest excitement. for who could tell when or if she would return? The most spirited singing of the summer and the most gleeful laughter took place aboard her on trips to the beach and back. There. the rain. Miraculously. her every departure. how many flats she would have. Then we decided to take a number of haverim 1000 miles to the seminar at Accord. we sold Kvutzie to the Hehalutz farm at Creamridge. New Jersey. Songs were written about her. and whom and what she would bring back with her.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Kvutzie was the cause of most of the joy and sorrow of that first season. We arrived at Accord amid great celebrating (and without a single flat tire on the entire trip). Kvutzie became a legend. our New York Kvutza. she served us through the entire summer. We had her gear fixed so it would stay in high. who had inherited the junk yard from her father and who was sitting among old rims and tires and spare parts writing a book. and the sixty hours of traveling. What a night that was! We packed eighteen haverim into the back of Kvutzie and started the trip! It thundered and rained. at Accord. the mountains. 93 . But Kvutzie had been running on love and sympathy. Without them. we found four almost new tires for Kvutzie. aided by a Jewish girl of about twenty.

" I thanked the gentleman for his kind offer and consideration and hung up. "Sure enough. a spirit which could take a dead object and give it the soul that Kvutzie had. see? Nothing to worry about. "I have just the place for you. the discussion. I phoned that number. and an official title was given the committee. "Yes. All you have to do is put a dozen steam shovels to work for two years and you've got it. the wonderful spirit." said the man on the other side of the line. R-Radiators-Radios-ah. Only in the wonderful life that is ours at Kvutza could such a spirit come to be.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Others may remember the camp fires. But it was. And it's only 9. With eyes closed. "I have just what you want. WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? When we left Tel Hai at the close of the Kvutza season last summer.762 1/2 miles from Milwaukee. the overnight hikes." I hung up. None other like it in the whole state. KVUTZA. It was decided that Wisconsin would be the lucky state containing the new Habonim Kvutza. When at the winter seminar it was decided to leave Tel Hai and look for a new site for the Midwest Kvutza. I supply the blasting powder. I remember Kvutzie for she was the creator of that spirit. the Meshugoyim (mad ones). We took out the trusty telephone book and began paging through it. none of us were too sad. A committee was elected to look for a site. Real Estate." said a bass voice. I spun around three times and placed my finger on the page. 94 . 1942 KVUTZA. that first season of Kvutzat Tel Hai. Moshe Goldberg. the comradeship. Again I went through the same procedure. little did we expect that it would be our last summer there. How should we go about it? Where should we start? Whom should we contact? The method we used was quite simple.

but for all other facilities. A patch of grass surrounded by a D-shaped trench formed the open-air dining table. pooled their resources to purchase a couple of tents which they pitched on the side of a hill overlooking Waterloo Road near Chelsea. During the summer of 1939. by the time you'll be reading this article. and sank a shallow well. and level. A large group of Cincinnati 95 . after calling for enough times to have lost count. they enlisted the moral and financial assistance of active seniors who helped plan construction of the new Habonim camp to be known as Kinneret. the hardy group turned to Farband Camp. built a dining hall and kitchen. and Danny Ginsburg. twenty acres of which belonged to the Farband. Michigan. This they immediately staked out as the perfect spot for their future ventures. 1944 KINNERET In the summer of 1938. among them Ben Kaminker. only thirty-five miles from Milwaukee. Nevertheless.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Well. a few members of the group waded through a swamp to find a large tract of unused ground. erected platforms for the tents. under the leadership of Ben Kaminker. we will probably be building for the 1944 Kvutza season. high land. Armon Kamesar. That winter. a place with real possibilities turned up. hilly. Mordecai Salinger. While exploring the area south of their encampment. their neighbors across the road and owners of their camp site. It meets all the requirements and we are awaiting word as to the possibilities of our developing the lake into a swimming pool. a small group of Detroit Habonim. our haverim cleared a road through the swamp. Kinneret was a success and ready for further expansion when Mordecai Salinger took over as rosh Kvutza in 1940. heavy woods. and with the assistance of a professional carpenter.

1942 was another year of big construction . We began work on the hospital. 1944 also saw the end of the beloved tower-the termites and old age finally beat the creosote and supports. and last but not least. a migdal. the rosh. and all became sweetness and light at Kinneret-for once we were genteel. The hospital was nominally finished and we began our eternal project. raising the number of campers to an average of sixty during that summer. but the campers carried on valiantly under the expert whistle blowing of Esty Carson. Shalom Wurm set the pattern for cultural activities at camp. The rosh was Paul Milgrom (Pinhas Rimon). with Ettie Skidell in charge of camp and the boys hard at work moving mountains of dirt to lay the sanitation distribution field.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT haverim joined the Detroiters. the Ashkenazy building. while Aharon Remez was the fair-haired boy whose experience and muscle were relied on to continue with the building program. under the tutelage of Yosef Israeli. In 1945. which was dedicated to Donny Lee of Cleveland. with Shirley Milgrom who came along for the honeymoon. 1941 was a quiet year. The washing facilities were enclosed and work began on a real outhouse. Artie Goldberg was rosh Kvutza. Electricity was installed. and the hills around Kinneret resounded with labor songs. We added our 96 . the storage cellar. separate outhouses were under way. In 1943. Harry Kinneret. and dug another distribution field for the modern improved shower house. work was again the watchword. and the arrival of four girls from Cleveland marked the beginning of Kinneret as a regional camp. We built a cabin. New tent platforms. Leon Adler became rosh. enlarged the dining room by moving the kitchen to a new addition. arrived late. In 1944.

Murray Weingarten. In 1950. Of the season. 97 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING annual brick to the storage cellar and spent the rest of the season looking for work. Detroit's United Hebrew Schools provided a number of full scholarships and there was a large enrollment. Abba (Cherniak) Tzuriel was rosh." and also a year of strong emphasis on scoutcraft. The season gushed with culture. Haim Stopak was rosh. In 1951. Camp doubled its enrollment on weekends-an ambitious weekend program. In 1948. art. A madrichim camp was held after the regular season. and Evvy Weingarten made her famous leap from rooftop to Ann Arbor hospital. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew. the greatest stunt ever at Kinneret. including many younger children. the Detroit United Hebrew Schools said that more Hebrew was learned by their students that year than any other." and Blue-White Day was distinguished by its blood and gore. Several more cabins were built. 1947 was the year of Joey Criden. Joey brought the overnight hike back to Kinneret and the innovation of naming the tents-remember the famous Dorot and Mishmar HaNegev? And not to be outdone. was rosh in 1946. Joey named his quarters. That was the year of Doris Dombey's bouncing bed. Doodle Horowitz led Kinneret in its first year as a Hebrewspeaking camp. Dvora Frankel was rosh in 1949. There was an ambitious work program mainly centered about maintenance-there were no new projects. modern dance. Pipeline HaNegev. in honor of sixteen-month-old Donny. with Dave Katz as his right-hand man. drama. There were many midnight "Arab attacks. This was the year of the "flexible schedule. and the discussion program centered about the False Messiahs.

but a marvelous business manager. and assorted spouses and progeny. A new truck was purchased. a group of “old-timers” packed box-lunches. again including younger children. Seymour Salinger. Nathan Kanter. managed to make money even on only twenty campers. and the last year of Kinneret closed with a Bonim Seminar.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 1952 opened with a low registration. which we had dreamed of for many years and talked about for several months came into existence early in 1947 when we found that 98 . Dani Kerman returned in 1953. Tel Natan was named for our dear haver. who was one of the most sincere and dedicated members of the Labor Zionist movement and represented the best that is found in Habonim. Jerry Katz. 1955 was Kinneret's last year. Tel Natan. Harriet Gelfond. There was no big construction projects because of the lack of people. It was unique in having complete facilities. In 1954. baby carriages. Chicago and Detroit combined efforts in staff and campers. Nate was killed in an automobile accident at about the time we were beginning to work on the idea of a camp for our area. 1957 TEL NATAN Tel Natan was the Camp Kvutza for the St. The foundation for the wash house was laid that day and work for the rest of the season had a concrete basis-repairing the efforts of the old folks. Geli Gelfond was rosh. Esther Goldberg. but things picked up. Louis and Cincinnati mahanot in 1947 and 1948. Abbie Haklay was rosh. Detroit had had a very successful year and camp registration was up. Prior to opening. and spent a day of labor at Kinneret. Dani Kerman was rosh and Kinneret was still a Hebrew-speaking camp.

The camp and the setting were beautiful and the facilities excellent (two stoves. and printed application blanks. no one lost any weight (thanks to Havera Kanter.000 acre park. and the two tons of dishes and pots did not arrive till fall. This was even more successful than the summer session. Nate's mother.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING there would be no camp in the Chicago area to serve the St. After we shut down the camp for the winter. Missouri. Louis. I'm not sure why the camp failed or what lesson other camps can learn from Tel Natan. the food was good. office. two tons of dishes and pots. a large dining room. We did not have to struggle and fight to establish our camp. Perhaps St. Louis was just not ready to con- 99 . we were convinced that we had made a wonderful beginning as the first year-round Camp Kvutza in history. and after one more season. In a matter of days. and since the swimming at Cheetham Pond was not too good anyway. examined and leased the camp site sixty miles west of St. and the activities and discussions excellent. bought a truck. We were wrong. no one complained. an electric refrigerator. The camp. shower house. known to the Missouri State Park Commission as Camp C1. a walk-in icebox. hospital. We broke even. was located on a high hill in the heart of a 6. Louis mahaneh. who was our cook). All that we missed was the swimming. Forty haverim spent four satisfying weeks at Tel Natan. We returned to Tel Natan for a winter conference. The first season was a success. Quiure River State Park. ten large cabins. a recreation hall. guest house. the camp discontinued operation. The cabins were warm. Troy. and several buildings we never used. formed the Habonim Camping Association of Missouri. we contacted the movement in Cincinnati. Perhaps it was too easy. plenty of hot and cold water. four sinks.

carefree period in our lives where we learned and lived the principles of Labor Zionism upon which we today base our lives and our work for Israel. of exciting days and romantic nights.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT duct and sustain its own camp. names such Tel Hai. created by a slowdown in activity during the war. I believe that Tel Natan failed because the leadership in the mahaneh. and a feeling of deep regret that the monument we began to erect in memory of Nate Kanter in 1947 was never finished. It was a concept of a place where young Labor Zionists would build their own camp with their own hands from the ground up. memories of a glorious.the Labor Zionist Youth. a bold. to other movement assignments. Kinneret. Yad Ari. This void. Wil Schoomer. which was mainly older. of singing and dancing. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. This was a new idea. innocuous name. and left a void. or moved on to other personal activity. went on aliya. And yet this name holds for us twenty-five years of memories-memories of other camps with other names. was probably the main cause of failure. These are names that really bring back memories of our youth. thrilling one for our haverim of those early 100 . For Midwest Camp Habonim is today the culmination of our work and our dreams of twenty-five years ago when the concept of Camp Kvutza first took shape in the minds of a few young people who were to be the nucleus a few years later of Habonim . some photographs. 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. of work and love and devotion. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael.

near New Buffalo. containing all the necessary facilities. so we had to travel ten miles to go swimming. 160 acres of land were purchased near Waupaca. or perhaps he would forget to loosen the ropes so that the tent pegs could come out of the ground and cause the tent to partially collapse . was the fact that the campers and the staff were satisfied and happy. and will continue to go on for many. The physical facilities were not always of the best or the most modern we had our difficulties and tribulations-our lake dried up after the second year. Then followed an interim period of three years. two of which were spent at a rented camp near Savannah. Here was the opportunity for Habonim to truly build its own camp. were spacious and comfortable. The name. Many fine and beautiful traditions were built here. today stirs beautiful memories among many of our senior haverim. however. in northcentral Wisconsin. Tel. and the camp itself was always clean and well kept. Most important of all.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING years. which doubled as a recreation room. were built. not even the fin- 101 . who recall those days with love and tenderness. for it has endured (with a few changes to meet the changing times) to this very day and has grown stronger with the passage of time. Its tenure came to an abrupt end. They planted a pine forest.but nothing. Hai. Michigan. however. which has since proven to be the most memorable part of the whole camp. beautiful dining room. This was camp Yad Ari. It was a good idea. which served the ChicagoMilwaukee-Minneapolis area. Here the ideals of Camp Kvutza could really flourish. and they did! They built a big. The first Habonim camp in the Midwest (and the second to be established in the United States) was Tel Hai. No other buildings. and so it remained a tent camp. many years. and a modern shower house. Illinois. however. except for a dispensary. In 1948. The tents. occasionally someone would get wet at night when he forgot to close the tent flaps. when it was destroyed by fire.

can never forget. turn tears into laughter. the true Habonim spirit. Kinneret was the choice. with everyone in white. wherever or whenever it might have been. this was Camp Habonim. Louis and Minneapolis. and 1955 saw Camp Yad Ari and Camp Kinneret combined at Camp Kinneret near Chelsea. this also came to an end. Thus. Obviously. more intimate type of camp was no longer feasible. It was too small and lacked the proper facilities for a large number of campers. Can you remember. that resiliency which can change disaster to triumph. Yad Ari was abandoned. A new concept of camping had been born in the minds of the leadership of Habonim. This was the idea that the very small. central Michigan was much nearer the center of this region than northern Wisconsin-therefore. This was Yad Ari. a more modern one. modern Camp Habonim. The changing times and the change in the type of youth now coming into Habonim made it mandatory that Habonim go along with these changes insofar as the physical plant was concerned. But. Michigan.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT est of facilities or the most beautiful buildings and grounds. the combining of the two small camps into one large camp at Kinneret. At the end of the 1954 season. We had to have fewer but much larger and better (physically speaking) camps. with the singing and the dancing afterwards? Those of you who ever attended Camp Habonim. could ever be a substitute for the most wonderful of intangibles. of a closeness and oneness that could be achieved nowhere else-the indomitable spirit of Habonim. The combined areas would now extend as far east as Pittsburgh and as far south and west as St. haverim. or the simple beauty of a Friday evening meal by candlelight. the feeling of real group living. Kinneret was never meant to be the permanent new home of the large. and one that has proven itself. A good concept. It was to serve merely for the transition period until 102 . Why choose Kinneret over Yad Ari? Mainly because of the location. as all good things do. the dignity of the flag raising.

Midwest Camp Habonim today is. With the new buildings we can now house seventy-five campers comfortably and we have enough room to expand to a hundred and fifty. The purchase itself marked a new phase of Habonim camping in the Midwest because this was the first time that Habonim had used its own resources to purchase a camp site in this region. eighty acres of beautiful grounds near Three Rivers. with which all Habonim campers are so familiar. self-government. In the spring of 1956. de- 103 . It did just that. This camp had been a farm resort and was situated on beautiful Kaiser Lake.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING a new site would be found. were purchased by Habonim. In short. We now come to the current chapter. But to go along with more modern practices. The dining hall is probably one of the most ideally situated spots in camp. The next season found us in the new camp. Michigan. the new cabins come equipped with these appurtenances. Negotiations were completed early in May and two additional cabins were begun. we have improved upon many of the primitive physical facilities. The cabins are all equipped with electric lights and even the grounds are illuminated at night. and did it well. All toilet facilities are indoors . The most important features remain . the new Midwest Camp Habonim. however. we believe. The campers are now housed in cabins rather than in tents (although some of the older bonim may still live in tents at their own request).self-labor. Does this fact. We have not lost sight of the unique Habonim camping program and we retain that spirit that typifies Habonim. that we are giving up the old idea of Camp Kvutza? Not at all. The good old flashlight. Its many high windows overlook the lake and present a truly scenic picture for the diners. a combination of the best of the old and of the new. all the modern conveniences that one associates with the best in modern camps are present at our new Midwest Camp Habonim. is now almost a thing of the past.

the determination indomitable. camping experience in 1937 and Azusa in 1938. the physical plant of the camp. and cities. 104 .C. In 1939. We feel that we now have a camp. becomes an attraction for newcomers to our movement. For the first time. This is a record that speaks for itself. In looking back upon twenty-five years of Habonim camping. Lenny Zurakov. Sleeping was mostly outdoors.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT mocracy. that feeling of kinship and real comradely spirit. with Ben's arrival in Los Angeles. Many graduates of Habonim camp have gone to live in Israel. that can compare favorably with any in the area. we can honestly say that we have compiled a tradition of living Judaism which would be difficult for any group or organization to match. the permanent camp in the Angeles National Forest. the concept of a common fund. that the idea of Habonim camping ripened and the first camp was established. cooking in an abandoned shack. Old-timers remember the C. and once a child has had a positive camping experience at camp. these were the ingredients of the first Camp Kvutza in the West in the year 1936. as well as the program. but in all parts of the American Jewish community. and many others have remained here to become leaders not only in the Labor Zionist movement. twenty sprightly youngsters. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE WEST A goat farm. and the results were a full camping season which was followed uninterruptedly for the next twenty-one years. and water had to be brought by car from about a mile away. Swimming was in a public pool. It was during that summer. his chances of remaining in Habonim are excellent.C. and Ben Cherner. and a program superior to most. in kibbutzim. But spirits were high. moshavim. and of course.

as well as some that were specifically camp activities. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks. 105 . Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. Situated. Last year's camp was a typical Habonim camping year and the following report is characteristic of most of the others: Camp Duration and Composition Habonim Camp opened on July 1st in 1956 and lasted for six weeks until August 12th. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks. games. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen. and the arts.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles." Through lectures. models. as the camp is. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it. the several activities directly associated with it. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history. 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. discussions. beginning with our ancient struggles for freedom and independence and down to the modern deeds of courage and valor of the defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto and of the Hagana. literary trials. on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate. During the entire period.

Here. Camp Spirit We would be greatly remiss in our factual report of camp activities and program if we were not to stress the spirit of the camp. the Israel and Zionist spirit of all our activities. the discussion of Jewish problems and of Jewish achievements. Camp accomplished in a very few weeks what efforts by parents could not achieve for years. arts and crafts. We also extended our camp season to eight weeks. We anticipate doubling our registration this summer. 106 . We are beginning to receive campers from other cities on the West Coast and are rapidly becoming an all-Western camp. including showers. all this left an indelible impression upon the campers. photography. Four large new cabins were built. they were in a thoroughly children's atmosphere as well as in a thoroughly Jewish one. and for many campers for the first time. the Shabbat morning Tanach circle. The sports facilities were improved. The Shabbat celebration. We felt it in the expressions of the children at camp. the following camp activities were open to all campers: swimming. and other camp diversions which took place regularly. singing. Much new equipment was purchased. toilets and wash basins. Future Plans All this progress was made possible through a building expansion program undertaken last spring.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In addition. the daily Hebrew classes. dancing. we felt it even more in the conversations with the parents of the campers. hiking. sports. scouting. we felt it in the one hundred percent attendance at the first camp reunion.

1957 KVUTSA IN THE BALTIMORE-PHILADELPHIA AREA THE STORY OF "MOSH" "Half the year you look forward to it-the other half you look back on it. David Yaroslovsky. many changes have occurred since that memorable year. but the setting is so perfect and the scenery so beautiful that we never want to forget it. to improve the present shower building. to enlarge and improve our dining and kitchen facilities. Mosh has changed from a small camp sponsored by Gordoniawhose tents were pitched on the bare ground. The first month of the summer season. and whose campers came from Baltimore only-to a large camp sponsored by Habonim following the amalgamation of Habonim with Gordonia. In 1935 Mr. And it is no wonder that we all love it. Habonim camping on the West Coast is confidently looking forward to a secure and ever-expanding future along with all Habonim camping in the United States and Canada. with seven tents pitch- 107 . And so Moshava began its first season! Needless to say. for not only do we spend some of the happiest weeks of the year there. while Gordonia would have the camp in August. July. The two groups were the Hashomer Hatzair and the Gordonia organization of Baltimore. Hashomer would use the camp. Sigfrid Sonniborn of Baltimore gave 162 acres of land near Annapolis to two Zionist groups to be used for a camp site. where there was no electricity whatsoever. 1935.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Our plans for this summer are to build a staff building. an arts and crafts pavilion. The capacity is now seventy-five to eighty campers from all over the Atlantic seaboard. to build several new concrete platforms." Such is the effect "Mosh" has on its campers. whose dining room had a canvas top.

a piano. or go to sleep on the sandy beach while taking a sun bath. where baseball. Here on this trail is the wellknown "Tree" on whose roots many a couple sit wrapped in the velvety darkness of night. for flanking them. an outdoor stage. tantalizing monkey vines swing just above your reach. a modern hospital with up-to-date equipment. a newly reinforced dining room. this scene is dimly repeated. From there.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT ed on platforms. and listening to the waves lap on the beach. can one see it completely. In all directions there is green foliage that beckons to you with its coolness in the heat of the day. and far on the distant side of the river. one sees the side road leading from the water tower to the hospital opposite. Past interesting coves and the beach. a popular place for rehearsals or for a nocturnal group wishing to read Edgar Allen Poe in just the proper atmosphere. horseshoe. volleyball and basketball courts. One can relax in the mildly cool river water. Only from the water tower. 108 . four large airy cabins. Following a shady quiet path that starts in back of the kitchen one comes to the crossroads where many a heated discussion can be heard. But this is not all. get an invigorating swim in the deeper cold water further from shore. however. Following the path further. gazing at the stars. and electrical connections. we come to the long uneven trail that leads back to the central field. one finds oneself on the bench near the river. basketball. spreading below. The center of this circle is the center field. and here and there. These two cabins begin the camp proper. and track events take place during sports periods. This trail is the most popular of all. Scrambling down the side of the cliff. It is lined with clinging vines draped around the trees. The picture Moshava presents is truly a beautiful one. wide and level. the tents and stage are arranged in an almost perfect circle. a large roomy kitchen. one arrives at last at the old cliff that overlooks the Severn River. a well-filled library.

1939 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR It was after their return from the 1937 Accord season that the Philadelphia haverim realized the necessity for their own Camp Kvutza. brooms.former anarchist hangout and spiders' hideout. and nagged the National Executive. Far and wide they traveled. In May. buckets. and soap. three kitchens. The scrubbed and rubbed. Camp Tax became the byword. a site for camp. The manor house after being scrubbed from top to bottom revealed an immense dining room. Then came the eventful day when fourteen haverim. The central field is not far ahead and soon one can be in the midst of activity again. contacted sympathizers.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING It is also on this trail that we find the path leading to the new cliff. one of which leaked from the luxurious 109 . So the determined Quakers set to work. the first expedition set out armed to the hilt with mops. hot and cold water. and ten stall showers which. They slept and ate and grew gray hair over pledges. They screened and painted. They formed committees. Through mosquito-ridden New Jersey to mosquito-ridden Pennsylvania until they came upon Camp Germinal . printed stationary. But soon the cash thermometer rose and $250 became a realization. And now. influenced by their anarchist background. They transformed a chicken coop into a habitable shack. "Mosh" Diary. worked with characteristic irregularity. and a rosh Kvutza set foot on forty acres of poison ivy studded with two outhouses. the Sunday of the 23rd. It was a crime to travel hundreds of miles for the inspiration and learning we could achieve on our own grounds.

music room. could be persuaded only by Schmeer up to the hill again to camp. or on a line to the Delaware. Who of us can ever forget Sir Ferdinand. Tzip and her hatred of kitchen duty. The office served as a lounge. named for his predecessor. the bull. and Shlomo and his hat. Clara's operetta. Galil Diary. The six master bedrooms did come in handy when the fourteen pioneers increased to sixty. and dance studio. Ernst who drowned you trying to teach life saving. Cookie and the chocolate pudding. 1938 110 .HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT bath upstairs every time one of the girls decided to miss a discussion. Aba Kibbile's drama group. and then after a sojourn with the flowers. Leslie and his hair washing. Yak and his travels in Ferdy. Or can we forget our staff-rising and falling like the stock market? One week ten and the next week four. Sossy from Chicago. And their famous idiosyncrasies. Yona and her trying girls. who often stopped to admire the flowers by the wayside? He carried our haverim down to the swimming hole in the Shamony. Edi and Brown Betty. Leo and his driving mania. and the other which had a natural waterfall coming from the center roof every time the dishes fell.

1956. 1957. Rose Breslau. Laizer Blitt.The "Ten Lost Tribes" prepare to return. Overnight hike at Montreal. Aviva Gootman. All proceeds to the J. "The Women". 1941. Chana Reitman. 1957. Moshe Goldberg. Gaby Stalzenberg at work. Etty Skidell. . Montreal. Shirley Goldberg.N.F. Kinneret. 1941. Kinneret. 1956. Corn for sale at Camp Habonim. Montreal.

N. The Dining Room at Camp Habonim. 1957. The Lake at Tel Yochanan. 1957. N. Montreal. Dining Room at Tel Yochanan. Amenia.Y.Y. "B'tayavon". .Visiting Day. Red Hook. Camp Habonim. 1957. Solelim Dance at Red Hook.

1957. 1957. N. Red Hook.Y. Annapolis. Ottsville. Pennsylvania. Maryland. The Waterfront at Moshava. Camp Habonim. Galil Choir performs for Visitors Day. Bridging the Creek at Galil. 1948.Flag Raising at Moshava. .

1955. Moshava. Moshava. Moshava. Taking a dip in the enlarged "L" shaped pool at Camp Habonim. . my people". "Chalil and Drum Corps. Tisha B’Av. 1957. 1957.A discussion under the trees. "Comfort ye. 1957. Harvesting Corn at Camp Habonim.

Yak Rycus was imported from the Midwest to act as rosh Kvutza. A county highway divided the cabins from the rest of the site. and staffed mainly by older haverim of Habonim. the Philadelphia haverim rented the old anarchist Camp Germinal near Jamison. for the summer. a permanent site for a Philadelphia camp. had two unfortunate deficiencies. One must recall the times in which this thinking took place. Fortunately. War clouds were gathering. at the height of the depression and with much trepidation because of the lack of finances. Pennsylvania (for the then large sum of $1. however. which could be rented for the summer. plans were made for finding. Our appetites were whetted. Upon returning from Moshava at the end of the 1939 summer season.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING GALIL In 1938. Pennsylvania. let alone talk in terms of developing a permanent camp. we were determined to have a camp of our own. we were able to convince enough members of the senior movement of the importance of a local camp for them to organize a camp committee to seek a site. it was impossible to raise the necessary funds or to evoke sufficient interest on the part of the Philadelphia movement to even rent a camp site. and the first Camp Galil came into existence. After much searching. The White Paper was soon to be issued and the horror of Hitler-Europe was soon to be upon us. The site. and the swimming facilities were reached by climbing a very steep hill at a considerable distance from the 115 . and a number of cabins which at one time had beeii4 chicken coops.500). a very successful summer program was carried out. a site was found near Pipersville. and immediately upon the close of the summer. It included a well-constructed farm house. a magnificent barn. as many of our members as possible spent the summer at Moshava near Baltimore. During the summer of 1939. In 1939.

notwithstanding the broken arm of one of our haverim who managed to fall off a roof while shingling it. Meyer Cohen. and frequently more. The most striking memory of this summer. Guard duty became an important job. they managed to deface and almost destroy the dock we had built at the creek. Construction went well. were the roshim. the German American Bund was active in the area. Undaunted. at the younger haverim. the haverim of Habonim. At that particular period. with the help of some adults. had to do with the last three weeks of camp which was devoted to what. Dr. The purpose of this particular mahaneh madrichim was to train madrichei tzofim. one recalls a most interesting and unusual Hebrew program. began intensive construction projects to make the site as serviceable as possible for the summer. I believe. This unpleasantness. The group was small-I doubt if there were more than fifty at any one time-but the spirit was high. Edie. The summer itself was full of interesting and varied experiences. no further incidents took place. did not detract from a very fine summer. and daily Hebrew sessions were a part of the program. Haverim came from all over the country and friendships were created which were to last to this very day. a principal of a Philadelphia Talmud Torah. In retrospect. One remembers nostalgically the first contact with shlihim. Word was passed around and fortunately.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT cabins. was a member of the staff. however. In addition. Irv approached the local sheriff and received a permit to carry guns. Irv Sternberg and his wife. So much so that at the beginning of the summer. To counteract these activities. it became a nightly occurrence for a truckload of these hooligans to drive slowly through the camp hurling epithets. was the first national mahaneh madrichim. however. The rampant anti-Semitism which existed and which was manifested so clearly made a deep impression upon our younger haverim. The effectiveness of this endeavor 116 .

this pattern was repeated. the kitchen had an old wood-burning stove. this dedication to the importance of the summer Kvutza soon manifested itself. returned from the service. supplied the necessary labor and technical knowledge to begin im- 117 . and the water supply was dependent upon an old gasoline engine which worked on occasion. The camp was purchased for the sum of $30.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING paved the way toward the utilization of the summer camp for serious and intensive discussions of mutual problems which were to transfer themselves to each city and each Camp Kvutza in the country. was shared by one haver of the senior movement of Philadelphia. The camp was quite primitive-there was no electricity. When the war ended and Habonim haverim. Abe Segal spurred on the efforts of the movement to raise the necessary funds to purchase a most beautiful site at a relatively small cost. that the young Labor Zionist movement of Philadelphia grew and was strengthened because of a program which revolved around the camp.000 from the YWCA. The movement suffered accordingly. From 1941 through 1945. Happily for Habonim. Abe Segal. Connecticut. without whom there would have been no Camp Galil today. for without a camp. or as inspiration for a new year's activities cannot be minimized. or returned to Moshava. It can truthfully be said. Most of our haverim spent that summer either at Killingworth. The young branches. Conditions brought about by the imminence of war 'unfortunately dictated against a camp of our own in 1941. Almost singlehandedly. whether as a culmination of a year's work. The impetus of the Camp Kvutza. whose membership came from ex-Habonim members. it became clear that the local mahaneh could not really grow. All efforts were bent toward getting a camp for Philadelphia and vicinity. The realization that Philadelphia finally had a camp of its own proved a tremendous incentive in the determination of the young adults to create as fine a camp as possible. this dream of having a camp of our own.

serviced that number-this. and installed electricity. there was no leadership for the winter mahaneh. the civil engineers in the group directed the building of the necessary footbridge to cross the stream. The idea as finally formulated called for the establishment of two camps on the Galil site. In 1952. Interesting results followed. The lessons learned that summer were to be utilized during the following year. they were somewhat overwhelmed by the influx of the New Yorkers. While eighty children could be accommodated. We are all part of one movement. Because of the weakness of Habonim in the city. but there are many local differences and loyalties which can be positive. Few children came to camp-the camp leadership was not from Philadelphia and. which would in turn provide children for the summer season. Killingworth could no longer be used and the Amenia site was not adequate. Interest in the camp was further heightened by the events of 1947-48. The experience for Philadelphia. if ever. despite the fact that campers came from as far as Wilmington and the Vineland-Toms River areas. designed.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT proving the camp site. was somewhat unnerving. during the struggle for Statehood. Aside from the fact that Philadelphia haverim acquired Brooklyn accents. it was at first difficult to utilize the camp to its fullest extent. camp rarely. one would retain the name Galil and 118 . haverim of the Camp Committee were approached by the national office with a proposition to use the site of Camp Galil for the Hebrewspeaking Camp Amal. however. In 1953. consequently. and the general membership supplied the muscle-power to dig the ditches so that all electric wires would be underground. The next few years were filled with gradual growth and improvement. The cycle was rather vicious. To solve this dilemma an arrangement was made whereby the New York haverim registered at Galil for the summer. the New York mahaneh was having its camp difficulties. The electrical engineers in the group planned.

despite all the handicaps. at the same time. The best that can be said of that summer was that. quite clear at the end of the summer that such an arrangement could never be repeated. and could register up to sixty children. But this was not enough. The Camp Committee of Galil wholeheartedly endorsed this approach and determined upon a course which would make Galil a truly Hebrew-centered camp and. Camp terminology was almost exclusively Hebrew.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING would accept campers from ages nine through twelve only. in addition to the everyday terminology. Camp Amal would register children ages thirteen through sixteen who met the Hebraic requirements. It was. It was during this year that the movement crystallized its thinking with regard to a central Hebrew-speaking camp. It was agreed that every Habonim camp should have as much Hebrew as possible in its program. Galil was helped considerably in registering children by the fact that because of the emphasized Hebrew program. Being on the approved list of the Council brought help 119 . actual classes for study of the language. a great deal of Hebrew was always used. During our camping history. the Council on Jewish Education of Philadelphia approved Camp Galil as one of three Hebrew camps for which it provided scholarships. The future of Habonim in Philadelphia was therefore dependent upon those unaffiliated children who could be brought to spend a summer at camp. This meant that the facilities of Galil were to be used to their maximum. quite a bit was accomplished in both camps. The idea of two separate camps with separate staffs and differing orientation was too difficult an undertaking to be of any real success. and while the camps might never become completely Hebrew-speaking. make use of its facilities by improving the physical plant so as to be able to attract more children. they should become Hebrew centered. Registration would be limited to forty campers. however. The idea now evolved to include.

for the first time. at least sympathetic to our program and completely cooperative in carrying it out. It should be noted that the national office was never able to supply the total staff needs of Galil. the Hebrew teachers' training institution of Philadelphia. Many of the youngsters bring with them specific requests from their teachers and principals as to material to be covered.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT from other quarters. they have covered the equivalent of a full year's work in the city. During the past three summers many of the campers at Galil have made considerable progress in their Hebraic studies. and in 1957. Supplementing the Habonim staff were Gratz College students working to our mutual advantage. In most cases. Galil depended on the creek for water for the swimming pool. In 1956. In addition. In some cases. camp was full. a number of staff members of Galil were employed from the student body of Gratz College. the water level of the creek continued to fall so that there were times when the pool could not be properly filled. A Hebrew Educators Advisory Committee was organized and the Hebrew program of Galil approved. but the well water will be purer and free of algae so that the pool need not be emptied and cleaned as frequently as heretofore. During the past few summers. Several of the largest congregations in the city also announced to its membership that it would grant scholarships to children desirous of attending Galil. the Gratz College students were. registration was closed by the end of March. The Hebrew program at Galil is flexible enough to be able to provide for these individual needs. if not directly connected with our movement. 120 . Not only will this be avoided in the future. The swimming pool was completely rebuilt. if necessary. Improvements to camp continue. especially in the case of boys. In previous years. A second well was dug primarily to provide water for the pool and to act as a supplementary water supply for general use.

however.” This in a sense represented our thinking. make it. Parents today seem more concerned for the material aspects of camp life and. They are not interested in running a camp just for the sake of a summer business. and every meeting has on its agenda a report from the rosh mahaneh of Philadelphia Habonim. In the "old days. All members of the Camp Committee are dedicated to this purpose. We are raising a new generation of children and a new generation of parents. 121 . like it or not. is to no avail unless it leads to an invigorated and expanded youth movement in the city. Our parents.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The future of Galil seems assured. The Camp Committee has assumed all of the responsibility of a Chay Commission. All of this. immigrants themselves. Haverim cried that this would violate the principle of self-labor. deeply committed to Labor Zionism. We wanted to simulate the life of the Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael as closely as possible. and the problems of the youth movement are an integral part of each camp meeting. were no less concerned about our welfare during the summer than parents today. I well remember the heated discussions which took place among haverim in Philadelphia when Galil contemplated installing an automatic dishwashing machine. But. "The road of the halutz is a long and difficult one and if it isn't. But they were neither shocked nor disturbed by "primitive" conditions. the Kvutza in Israel has also undergone some metamorphoses and the American Kvutza must reflect these changes. It has made its mark in the Philadelphia Jewish community and its prestige is at its highest point. Habonim camping has traveled a long road in the past twenty-five years. But problems have arisen." primitive sites and difficult conditions were almost a matter of principle. those of us now responsible for our camps must take this into account.

MANITOBA Camp Kvutza hit the plains of Manitoba in the summer of 1941 when Canada was already at war and the "United States was still waiting for Pearl Harbor. he went out to organize Habonim at night. who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. The Winnipeg movement was young and vigorous then. He became a military aircraft inspector for the RCAF stationed in Winnipeg. and no one would have suspected that it came about as a sort of by-product of work for the Royal Canadian Air Force. 1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. It was David Biderman who wrought the miracle of Habonim in Winnipeg and set the stage for the first camp. But miner or airman. The only clue to his earth-bound past was slyly concealed in his home address: He lived on Burrows Street in Winnipeg. David Biderman.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. by temperament David Biderman was no one-job man. In one of those strange wartime transmutations. Once Winnipeg Habonim reached mahaneh status they could settle for nothing less than a Camp Kvutza of their own. but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval. Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight. Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. Daniel Isaacman. In cannot be changed without destroying the very basis for which our camps were created. however. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day. Winni- 122 .

was at the outskirts of Gimli. The camp site. The business manager who commuted on weekends was Sully Spector. There were some summer cottages in 1941. Appropriate to the camp site. And the fishing boats that sailed Lake Winnipeg rather than the saltier North Atlantic nevertheless carried salty sailors and bore names taken from the old Norse sagas. The curious campers welcomed the distinguished guests. turned out to greet them. There is a large RCAF airbase nearby. Mrs.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING peg's first Kvutza would be held at Calof's cottage in Gimli on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. When David and Sully arrived-no matter what the time of day-the whole camp. the staff was small and hybrid. blue-eyed sons and daughters of Iceland dominated the village streets. neither in appearance nor in the quarter-acre plot it occupied. a bright-eyed youngster who was under age for camp. Gimli has changed considerably in recent years. but special cheers were always reserved for the venerable Bar Mitzva. It was in no way distinguished from other cottages in the neighborhood. The cottage itself was a one-story wooden building partly enclosed by an L-shaped screened porch. a black. Geulah Green was the registered nurse and lifeguard. special friend of the court. Kasedy was cook-and a good oneand as a special dispensation she was permitted to bring along her son. Calof's cottage. Blond. He used to drive up with David Biderman. Aliyah Kare was dean of arts and crafts and second in command of the kitchen. Shimin. I was imported from New York to be rosh and factotum. high-topped Ford that made the weekly 123 . about two blocks from the lake and close by a public wooded area. forty strong. There was a church of roughhewn stone authentic enough to have been transplanted from the old village back home. but the town had not yet lost the Icelandic character of its original settlers. and the town itself is honeycombed with the cottages of Winnipeg vacationers.

Thors in a garage. The constable sent me to the mayor. That tent was not simply pitched. Even the cook in the kitchen could not escape them. And from the mayor I brought word to the constable-and only then did the pegs go in and the first tent go up. The camp had the usual trials and triumphs: rains that came and tents that fell. while tent-pegs were held in abeyance. The local constable (there was only one constable in Gimli and only one cell in the jail) dropped by to inform the workers that an ordinance forbade the pitching of tents within town limits. and for Winnipeg Habonim it symbolized the indomitable halutz spirit. It is unlikely that campers anywhere lived more closely than the campers at Gimli. the advance crew of three set to work pitching tents on the Calof lawn. quizzing each on his home ground Nielson in a tractor shed. I ran around like Chicken Licken taking a census. The tents could not go up without the mayor's approval. Olafson in the general store. tired kids. parents who were torn between their loyalty to Labor Zionism and their concern for the welfare of their child- 124 . the season got under way. That day I had a job on my hands. camp fires at the beach. most assuredly that would have been its fate. it was pitched according to law . in his shirtsleeves trimming a hedge. The advantages in the setup were priceless: No one could be out of earshot of the discussions.-until the roll call was completed and breathlessly I could report the affirmative vote to the mayor. One day before the opening. With the tents up and the campers covered. So. etc.democratic Icelandic law. I dashed from one councilman to another.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT pilgrimage. A fact not generally known is that the Gimli camp almost died in embryo and had it not been for the great democratic tradition of Iceland. The Ford often faltered but it never failed. the mayor. sent me to garner the opinions of the five councilmen.

1940 125 . In fact. 1957 AFIKIM The opening of Camp Kvutza at Markham. There were earnest daydreams and the stubborn belief that somehow all of this was bringing everyone closer to Eretz Yisrael . And Harry Spoon gave a talk on the meaning of Camp Kvutza to the movement all over the world as he took over the key to Toronto's Camp Kvutza. and Habonim. he stressed the place of America in Labor Zionism in light of the plight of Jewry in Europe. haverim spoke for the Poale Zion. the Farband.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ren. After Tehezakna. . he offered to rent the spot for every Sunday in the summer. Our Kvutza is named "Afikim. Some inspected the eighty percent-finished dining room and kitchen. was blessed with the unfaltering benevolence of King Saul. Pinhas Rimon. just at that point. There were frenched beds and a pillow fight that covered the grounds with feather-snow. . one of the rivers (we are at the junction of two streams) brought fond memories of the beautiful showers of that historic site." Moshe Rubinoff. Strangely enough. others looked around the sleeping quarters. still others were disappointed to find the dam unfinished. Ontario. Moreover. At first everything was disorganized as everybody went out exploring. the Pioneer Women. over 125 haverim and friends packed three trucks and several cars and filled the grounds. The opening was held around the flag poles. Yisrael Kvutza. As a result. the name of an Eretz. somehow it did. and one found a most beautiful nook for discussions. Accord. with the iron cots and brand new mattresses. He hoped the Toronto haverim would choose a name for Kvutza in keeping with our ideals. But the wisest of all went exploring in the forests. In his talk.

About twenty-five attended this first twoweek camp. camp. on Gabriola Island. Vancouver Habonim was first organized by Bert and Marian Waldman in 1948. Because of the primitive conditions. it turned out that we would not be able to rent this camp in the future because the Zionist Organization of B. itself had extended its own camp period. the local C. heavilywooded camp site with water frontage on a beautiful little cove. And so in 1951.C. The first Habonim Camp Kvutza of Vancouver Habonim was held in the summer of 1949 at Camp Wordsworth.F. however. thus precluding our use of the site. Camp Kvutza Miriam was held at Camp Hatikvah. We have been a long time in acquiring it. In the fall of 1951.C. Camp Hatikvah. as rosh. At that time. the site of Camp Miriam moved back again to its primitive Gabriola Island site. lack of adult supervision at that time made the work of the committee 126 . and furthermore.F.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP MIRIAM Camp Miriam was named after Miriam Biderman and is located on Gabriola Island. Moishe Loffman of Winnipeg was rosh Kvutza that year. At present. Doodle Horowitz was rosh Kvutza. This committee spent many pleasant weekends traveling around the scenic local fiords hunting camp sites. which was again rented from the C. thirty miles west of Vancouver. The mahaneh set up a Camp Site Investigation Committee. It was soon realized that as an intensive supplement to the program of the mahaneh in the winter. Although several places were located. This was a two-week camp with the shaliah. Amram Milner. for a period of two weeks.C. It was rented for two weeks. a Camp Kvutza in the summer was necessary. it has a capacity of sixty people. suffered from being too close to civilization. the idea was first brought forward that Habonim should own a camp site. the camp of the Zionist Organization of British Columbia in 1950. It is a nine-acre.

we again crossed the Straits of Georgia to the Gabriola Island camp site. Although we were still unable to purchase a camp. we would have to buy it. This camp ran for three weeks with Asher Wallfish as shaliah and Allen (Geli) Gelfond as rosh. conditions on the Island had improved from terrible to merely bad and it was with optimism that we looked forward to going back again to Gabriola Island in 1956. being fellow Socialists. Yehuda "Sam" Weissbach was our rosh for that year's three-week camp. However.C. at about this time. the problem of its development is up 127 . it was felt that an alternative to Gabriola Island had to be found because of the difficulty in transportation to the Island and the primitive. After much hunting.F. Camp Miriam in 1954 was located at Roberts Creek.. the C. Now that the Gabriola Island camp site is the property of the Habonim Zionist Society. on the site of a former girls' camp. and they were told that if there was no camp that summer. the existence of Vancouver Habonim would be seriously threatened. Some active parents were approached as well as some seniors of the Labor Zionist movement. By this time.F. unhygienic conditions existing there.C. and so in 1955. decided that they would no longer be in the landlord business and that if we wanted to use the camp the following summer. This camp was particularly fortunate in having on the staff three Workshoppers. The seniors then formed an incorporated society for the purpose of buying the camp property. At this time there were about eightyfive camper-weeks and Abbie Haklay was our rosh. In 1953 Camp Miriam was again held on Gabriola Island for two weeks with Al Linden as rosh. The 1956 camp was a three-week season with Nahman Goldwasser as rosh. In the summer of 1952.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING abortive. with the growth of the mahaneh. sold us the camp on very easy terms. The Roberts Creek camp site was even worse than Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island. a threeweek Camp Kvutza was made possible. Fortunately the C.

and then a swim in the North River? Who can forget washing the dishes in that quaint sink and lugging hot water from the old stove. the camp season will extend to four weeks for the first time in our history. those who got many blisters chopping firewood to keep the stove going red hot all summer. and then off to another direction for another pit for another purpose. and sort of forgot to come back. not knowing that one day it was destined to house Habonim. digging a new garbage pit. chasing hornets. There in Prefontaine. those who suffered afterwards from lime burn. there was a stable (and it still stands today) which housed horses. the little creek behind the kitchen that was our ice box. trudging through the swamp connecting the pipeline bringing water to camp. Max Langer. In 1957. which are to have priority in the next few years. Who can forget whitewashing the kitchen (to cover last summer's soot) and dining room until it was sparkling in the sunlight. many haverim spent wonderful summers at Kvutza and at seminars. or the famous soups that we had in those days which couldn't be had in the Waldorf Astoria. 1957 MONTREAL Once upon a time. Agathe to get axes sharpened. The problem of financing this as well as down payments on camp is a problem of magnitude completely beyond anything which the Vancouver mahaneh has previously coped with. the haverim who went to Ste. Plans for the development of the site include especially development of kitchen facilities and playground.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT to us and the local parents and seniors. the great baseball games at the playing field near the tents. the many times the smoke stack shifted a bit and smoke was heavy and thick? Who can forget the overnight 128 .

129 . and Yapha (Jennie) Zesmer. at a place called Lac Quenoilles. To everyone's chagrin a polio epidemic made it impossible to open camp in 1940 and necessitated postponement of the program. Maurice Levy. not any more in Prefontaine. selected a site on Lake Dallas for a Habonim Camp Kvutza. should be mentioned. Times have changed and so has Kvutza-not like the old camp. but many miles further in the mountains. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE SOUTHWEST CAMP BONIM. Cocoa Cheifetz. and financial means. Jacob Feldman.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING hikes. TEXAS Ever since the founding of Gordonia in Texas in 1929. Irving Brodsky. and Dr. Habonim groups were functioning. was organized in the course of the year. in addition to the four groups in Dallas. Isaac Goldstein. In the summer of 1939. I. acting as a committee for the Southwest Habonim. Oklahoma. effort. Texas. A Camp Bonim Association. the haverim of the Dallas groups planned for a summer camping program. having the same wonderful time. It was then that Moshe Smith. a group of friends of Habonim dedicated to the precept of Camp Kvutza. but new and sparkling and full of Habonim. It was not until ten years later that such an opportunity presented itself. Zesmer. Among these devoted friends were Harry Sigel. Haverim who were at Kvutza in those days have traveled and settled in various parts of the world. with the writer of this report. Camp Kvutza has changed places. the many cases of poison ivy? Years have come and gone. Several of the Association's members who devoted much time. the day one haver climbed over a fence and stepped into a hornet's nest. in Houston and San Antonio. and Tulsa. New Orleans Louisiana. a madrich of the Dallas movement.

currently of Minneapolis. Yapha Chesnick. Zalman Schneider. Zevi Borofsky. Weiner of Houston. worked with the writer to make this success possible.000 was contributed through the Camp Bonim. Avraham Groner. Some $60.all did a real halutzic job in planning for Camp Bonim and in implementing these plans. Shahna Kahn. then a member of the Dallas Hebrew School faculty. veterans in Habonim. was always considered phenomenal. and in others throughout Texas. A number of Dallas haverim. Forty campers from Dallas and several neighboring towns spent a profitable summer in a Kvutza environment and returned to their respective homes in the fall pledged to work for the growth of Habonim. This was always considered by the founders and madrichim. I. Meir Sigel. and the summer of that year brought two hundred campers to Camp Bonim. Zalman Kahn. Yaakov Ely. The winter of 1945 saw the purchase of a site on Lake Dallas. committees of friends of Camp Bonim were formed for the purpose of making this decade-old dream a reality. Association by friends in the three states for the purchase and improvement of the site. Camp Bonim observed kashrut (as do all Habonim camps). From the very outset. Gerber. In the summer of 1941. Raphael Levin. Subsequent years were periods of real Habonim expansion in the region. M. particularly in the smaller towns where no Jewish education was possible. and Abraham Sinkin. Moshe Smith. and Louisiana. The invaluable assistance of Kalman Shapiro. In each of these communities. and Yitzhak Groner. Bernard Rubenstein. Leah Waltman. David Zesmer. and I. Herman P. and Hannah Wiederman of Houston . The camping program was extended to an ever-growing movement.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT all of Dallas. Bruno Sigel. and Nathan Karin of San Antonio. Oklahoma. called Camp Bonim blessed. and parents in the communities. Nad. Taubman (currently in Tulsa). Camp Bonim opened its first season on a leased site on Lake Dallas. all of Dallas. Ami Levin. as 130 .

kitchen duty. Shabbat at Camp Bonim was. I should not hesitate to give the campers considerable liberty. work. would have cramped our style last year. study. From time to time. and contemplation. I am sure that. We had ideas. the campers will decide to do the right thing at Kvutza meetings. can be discussed at a Kvutza meeting and will undoubtedly be passed with very little opposition. near Detroit. morning exercise. Problems such as bedtime. programs. which no Kvutza should be without. given the opportunity. handicrafts. For example. even such a measure as common fund. if anything. and for this reason. The implementation of this part of the plan was made possible by mothers of haverim who gave of themselves so selflessly in order to provide proper supervision. and we were probably aided by the fact that because of our inexperience we made plans which we might otherwise have rejected as too ambitious. an occasion for perfect rest. senior haverim would visit the camp for Shabbat and sing the praises of the type of education Camp Bonim offered. however. The campers may talk 131 . The entire camp program was geared toward a full and enriching Jewish experience in the spirit of Labor Eretz Yisrael. aided me in formulating and developing certain ideas with regard to the basic principles of Kvutza. from the very inception. can certainly be handled in this manner. 1957 EXPERIMENTS AND TRENDS THE COMING SEASON My experience last summer with Kinneret.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING an integral must in any Jewish educational program. Experience. Those of us who drew up plans for Kinneret last summer were alike in one respect-we were all inexperienced. Yaakov Levin.

Work.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT about staying up late. On the surface this may seem a disadvantage. and the cost and effort expended on such a project will be repaid if plans are carefully laid out and executed. This may be difficult to carry through in some Kvutzot because of unfavorable natural factors. it is necessary to take a trip to Kvutza every week and put in several hours of work. but it means a great deal to about ten boys who had a band in building it. To my knowledge. In the case of a permanent Kvutza. if planned properly. Arm in arm with work goes gardening. will receive much enthusiasm on the part of the campers. The best way to give the camp back to the campers is not by merely giving them a voice in their own government. but by giving them an opportunity to be instrumental in the actual building of the Kvutza. such as poor soil conditions or extreme drought. Both vegetable and flower gardening must be begun in April or May. but if a discussion of the benefits of an earlier day and the harm done by late hours is carefully conducted. and such a principle as the "conquest of labor" should be exploited to its limit. and we should certainly be given an opportunity to build. work and handicrafts are not being neglected in our Kvutzot.vegetable and floral culture. On second thought. even to the extent of killing the idea of a garden. they can be counteracted by artificial means. and in order to carry out this project successfully. of course. Gardening can and should be of two kinds . even at the expense of a more professional job. Our camps present a golden opportunity for us to put some of the concepts of halutziut into practice. The dining room at Kinneret is by no means a professional job. no one will want to stay up past a reasonable hour. it might also be wise to plant trees for ornamental purposes as well as for fruit. should play a major role in Kvutza activities and. However poor these conditions may be. Habonim are builders. this is a decided advantage since the Kvutza with a garden begins not in July but in April 132 . however.

however. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully. Danny Ginsburg. A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim. gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. 1940 133 . but postponing work on the garden spells failure. and there is no reason why it cannot supply a substantial part of the Kvutza's fresh food products during the latter part of the season after a few years of experience. and labor is of little significance if it does not go hand in hand with a desire for beauty and freshness. Flowers and landscaping are also of great significance. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years. In short. and here is a grand opportunity. one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets. Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. Little by little. It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene. Those who work on the garden in the spring will naturally be more interested in Kvutza than those whose first connections with camp begin when the season opens. the garden should develop. Other projects can be postponed from day to day.

chickens. rather than giving them an opportunity to do work which they would find more interesting and which would require a certain degree of skill. New Jersey. within reasonable limits. and so on. gradually began to adopt the outlook and standards of intimate collective groups. the campers. garden. began as an experiment and ended as an established institution. The campers elected their own person to assign the work who. cannery. of course. The campers were given an opportunity to participate in the various branches-barn. not to mention halutziut. most of us were ready to admit that. To our surprise. together with us. CREAMRIDGE Camp Avoda at the Hehalutz farm in Creamridge. High school-age boys and girls came to Creamridge to live and work with an established collective group. The agricultural discussions were conducted by members of the farm and were intended to give a general picture of the various branches of a farm 134 . The life of the camp was. This was partly due to the assignment of routine jobs to the campers.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP AVODA. Fifteen boys and girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen attended the camp. Working six or seven hours a day under the hot sun was a new experience for all of them and it was occasionally difficult to maintain good standards of work for the group. Although we were rather skeptical at the beginning. where they received an education along Reconstructionist lines. a number were students of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. prepared the daily work schedule. The group was a rather heterogeneous one. in the course of the summer. it is possible to expose successfully young American Jews to collective agricultural life. built around work. The campers participated in both cultural and agricultural discussions. by the end of last summer. while several had almost no knowledge of Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. such as picking tomatoes or cleaning chicken coops. we found that almost without any conscious guidance on our part.

ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING economy. During the first few 135 . some difficulties were encountered in presenting these discussions. Camp Avoda in some ways fell short of what it might have been. questions. A good part of the discussions. As mentioned before. an argument ensued as to whether some campers may go to a movie on a day when the others are swimming or whether the whole group must have their recreation together. but the group as a whole was an alert one and there were many lively arguments and debates. Despite the fact that the group was a small one and that camp life followed a rather simple pattern. Five or six times during the summer. of course. One evening a week was devoted to a cultural discussion concerning aspects of modern Jewish life throughout the world with particular emphasis on Zionism. we did not have an adequate library of Zionist and other literature which campers could read at their leisure. and except for a few elementary rules upon which we insisted. These discussions aroused considerable h1terest and proved very worthwhile. there were innumerable small problems. the cultural work was too limited and lacking in intensity-for example. the work program was not organized in a manner that would have been most beneficial to the campers. Several campers wanted a room in the house to be set aside as a recreation and letter-writing room. We naturally tried to have Camp Avoda run as democratically as possible. and so on. Because of the varying backgrounds of the campers. there was a discussion about whether boys have to work in the kitchen and clean house as well as girls. the campers met to discuss and to decide about the problems that arose in the maintenance and the functioning of the camp. the campers were given a good deal of freedom of choice and decision. Because this was our first experience with a camp of this type and because summertime is always a busy and difficult season at the farm. and suggestions brought up at these meetings. was in reference to our own farm economy.

When at the beginning of the summer.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT weeks. After a time. there were also a good many technical shortcomings which should have been avoided. then it was shared among the campers. Purely on the basis of what they saw. we met with almost complete opposition. Yet. The campers went home with a very real appreciation of the farm and at least an acquaintance with halutziut. parents sent boxes of candy and cookies. but it was just the opposite. they began to adopt more and more of our methods. During the year. for instance. they were asked to analyze collective living. we feel that we achieved the basic purposes of Camp Avoda. There was a good deal of disagreement about whether this type of life was possible on a large scale at the present time. better planned. many of them came to visit us for weekends and holidays. Several are returning this summer to participate in a larger. to extol or criticize it. the campers gradually began to realize the advantages of collective living. A few weeks before the end of the season. They liked us and they liked the way we lived. and better organized Camp Avoda. Most of us thought it likely that they would ridicule. As happens in every camp. but everyone who spoke assumed. 1944 136 . that living collectively was better and preferable to any other way of life. Al Weingrod. At first the candy was the private property of the particular tent in which the recipient lived. later the campers themselves again brought up the suggestion and it was accepted. on the basis of their own experience. we proposed a common fund. and felt. and finally it was decided that the boxes were to be shared equally among the campers and members of the farm alike. the idea of keeping clothes collectively. as something that did not need further proof. heard.

it has won national recognition as one of the outstanding Hebrew-speaking camps in America. Bialik. But we felt strongly that we had a mission to fulfill in Hebrew camping. on one occasion. 137 . Amal. has established its own camping patterns and set into motion uncertain forces. Habonim's Hebrew-speaking camp. do not await official decisions. In view of the small registration. The movement greeted this venture with singular indifference. Their educational program bypassed halutziut. But it might also be shown that Amal's successes have not been achieved without prejudicing the halutzic character of our camps. we decided in favor of continuing our efforts on behalf of Amal. the Merkaz. This was hardly an auspicious beginning. We were disturbed by the cloistered atmosphere of many existing camps. After three uncertain years of experimentation. in its three years of existence. Therefore. Few haverim expressed interest in attending Amal. They were fostering a native Hebrew-speaking elite. We have been too concerned with the very survival of Amal to give adequate consideration to its role within the movement. We opened in the summer of 1948 with a handful of campers. Institutions. It was but three years ago that we hesitantly opened Amal on a rented site in Vermont. and gained for Habonim new prestige in the Jewish educational world. The staff had little Hebrew camping experience and was poorly prepared. and chose to ignore the pressing need of Eretz Yisrael: an American halutz aliya. has completed its third season. Habonim has never had an opportunity to determine the future of this nascent institution. despite the initial movement apathy. Amal has realized the dreams of its founders. Even a cursory evaluation would disclose that Amal has fostered the study of Hebrew in our movement.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING AMAL IN RETROSPECT Amal. They glibly spoke of the national poet. has attracted a considerable number of new haverim. nearly decided to abandon the project. however.

And. a performance of Yitzhak Lamdan's Masada was witnessed and applauded by sixty parents and guests. the camper response was more encouraging. to a large extent. They felt that it had failed. there were but dim hopes of registering an adequate number of campers. and the national budget could not again sustain a financial loss such as it had in Amal's first season. and twenty-two scholarships were awarded to Amal by various Hebrew school systems. the number of sponsoring Jewish educational institutions increased from two to six. Many observers claimed that our campers spoke more Hebrew than the campers of any other Hebrew-speaking camp in America. and this we had seemingly accomplished without vitiating our halutzic Zionist program. Prominent Hebrew educators were solicited to add their names to our list of sponsors. It was no longer an experiment. We ended our second season with the realization that Amal had proved itself. Strong arguments were advanced for giving up Amal-our personnel shortage was acute. It was therefore with great trepidation that the Merkaz finally decided in favor of reopening the camp. Several Jewish educational institutions were induced to award scholarships to Amal. On August 9th. the Merkaz assigned Tel Meir. This past summer we confidently opened the season with sixty haverim. This time. In recognition of Amal's promise. During the winter of 1949-1950. The season began with forty-five campers who were determined to make it a success.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Haverim seriously questioned reopening Amal in 1949. in Connecticut. This was to be its last chance. We hoped to create a camp modeled along the lines of our other camps. an ambitious program was prepared for the public. Amal's partisans were soon active on all fronts. we succeeded. Nor did our work go unnoticed in the Jewish community. to its fledgling Hebrew camp as its permanent site. Hebrew educators from many sections of America visited Amal during the season and were im- 138 . As evidence of our coming of age.

1950 139 . and great emphasis in the discussion program was placed upon Jewish history. The 1950 season was most successful. Moshe Margalit.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING pressed with the serious educational work that we attempted. Daily formal class work had been introduced.

Kvutza and the Individual .


Soft winds rock The trees.NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall. 1937 142 . o'er all Is quiet Three o'clock The whippoorwills Softly mock From yonder hills In the quiet Four o'clock The sky is red. A promise of The day ahead Of quiet Five o'clock A sun so bright Has replaced The dim of night In quiet Six o'clock The day is come But at Kvutza Till day is done No quiet! Rita Greenberg.

July 4th Today the regular daily program begins: Rise and shine – exercise – washing – breakfast . is it swell to be back!" echoes and reechoes to the bewilderment of the newcomers. Sleep now. there is great rejoicing over the new outhouse.and one of the many evening activities possible in Kvutza.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD DIARY Sunday. Amid much excitement. we finally reach home. and singing for all. Block. July 5th The regular program again today. no less. under the direction of Benny.clean-up . July 3rd Campers arrive. Washing is over. in comfortable camp clothes. Among last year's haverim. Tuesday. and the exclamation. This evening we have a hike to Accord via the new route discovered by Benny and Yehiel. Tonight we have an amateur hour. and everyone. "Oh boy. tired but happy. Tiptoeing through the metropolis so as not to wake the immense population.discussion groups – activities – dip – lunch rest and correspondence – sports – swimming – supper . to drop right off to dreamland. and quiet. Here we are refreshed by popsicles and exactly $. tents and madrichim are assigned. to find talent for the Drama Circle-to-be. with dancing for those who are not too tired after the long train ride. First and last stop is the place of business of Mr. 143 . leans back (on his neighbor) after a muchneeded supper and listens to Dave's welcoming speech. And so to bed. Monday. Then a camp fire.01 worth of candy-no more. Stan and Sol are prize kibitzers. to say nothing of Avram.

1957. 1957. Three Rivers. Michigan.Midwest Camp Habonim. Flag Raising at Midwest Camp Habonim. Michigan. Attacking the Weeds. Kinneret. Volleyball at Kinneret. Chelsea. 1957. Scout-craft Competition at Maccabia. 1954. Campers at Midwest Camp Habonim. 1953. . Basketball at Maccabia. 1957. 1957. Galil.

Friday afternoon lunch on the patio. Habonim Camp Kvutza Naame. Green Valley Station. Midwest Camp Habonim. Camp Kvutza Naame. 1957. Campfire at Midwest Camp Habonim. California. 1957.In the tradition at Kinneret: Building the Migdal. 1956. Saugus. .

1957. 1957. Dedicating the new Arts and Crafts Pavilion.Hora around the Campfire. and Camp Habonim. Midwest Camp Habonim. Campers from Moshava. 1957. 1957. Camp Kvutza Naame. arriving at Galil for Maccabia. . Camp Habonim.

Yemenite Dance. . Camp Kvutza Naame. British Columbia. Waiting for the Ferry to Camp Miriam. 1956. Galil. 1957. Joint Flag Raising of the three camps at Maccabia. Gabriola Island. Visitors Day.The Swimming Pool at Camp Kvutza Naame. Canada.

July 7th Looking about this morning. and we march down the hill singing happily. 148 ." Thursday. we sleep an extra half hour this morning. We do our laundry in the creek. Struck by the magnificent beauty of the sky and surrounding mountains.Off Ferns Forever. it begins to rain. The library is open. we gather together on the grass to sing. July 9th Ah. Gathered on the hill. and clean up. July 6th It is agreed that "Harishona" is a suitable name for our Accord Kvutza since we were literally "the first. . As the haverim tear themselves away to begun under the expert direction of Judy G. Their motto is: O. one sees a veritable hive of industry. they feel that the stars sparkling in the velvet heavens have come nearer to earth and are watching over Kvutza.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL Wednesday.The Cookooricoo . luxury. and the boys are working on an aquarium in which to keep material for Sammy's dissection mania. Two haverim volunteer to wash the dining room and kitchen floors. We have free time tonight. At the table the candles are lit and the prayer sung by Edna before we sit down to eat. Saturday. to the great delight of our intelligentsia. The camp paper . discussion. July 8th All day today is given over to preparation for Shabbat. As the Bible circles in Hebrew and English begin this afternoon. Everyone is dressed in white shorts and blue Habonim shirts for Friday night.F. We have a leisurely breakfast. Friday. At lunch the Celibates Club is organized at a special table which excludes haverot. Sammy and Marvin (who declares that at least he is a confirmed bachelor) are the unworthy specimens of humanity who lead this ridiculous movement. we hear The Cookooricoo read by Stan and then sing songs of Shabbat.

And then to bed. Parents begin to arrive. it's off to Minewaska we go!" And amid the cheers of the remaining campers. Yehiel's determination is of some avail because the shower suddenly stops. A new batch of haverim come from the city and there is much excitement during the meeting of old friends and new. Finally the sun breaks through the clouds just in time to set. All the haverim are back for a delayed lunch. with one or two people doubling up because some trunks have not yet arrived. July 11th Today we are settled again. stunt night. Tonight we have a camp fire with singing. praise be to Allah! The younger people go on a short hike immediately after breakfast while those that remained for various reasons help in the kitchen. No morning exercises. we gather in the dining room for songs and games. however. July 13th Kvutza seems empty this morning with only half the haverim here. Wednesday. "Heigh ho. begging Dave for an extra hour of sleep tomorrow.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sunday. So the younger haverim go to bed. This afternoon it rains and. as on previous days. Monday. July 10th This morning there is a talk and discussion conducted by Shlomo on the present situation in Eretz Yisrael. Later. the group sets out. The elements. seem to regard this with disfavor for it starts to rain. Each tent presents a skit or a like exhibition. heigh ho. after which 149 . July 12th We are awakened this morning by reveille blown by Harriet on her trumpet. The grass is very wet as we walk up the hill to bed. Tuesday. It is decided that haverim of fifteen and over will take an overnight hike tonight after supper.

and Dave R. Ready for supper. and preparation for a debate-" Resolved: That Socialism as such will solve the Jewish problem. Now to our tents after singing and dancing. And watch the Schwartzes at the badminton net! The haverim with musical talent are in the limelight tonight as we all gather near Dubby's tent to hear them and occasionally join in the chorus. but-Miriam L. besides clean-up. we have free time.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL much napping is done under the pine and apple trees by those campers who would catch up on their lost sleep. we watch Mutzie present Barry with a diploma from Fibber's College. and the waterfall competes with Dave's voice as he reads to us the past week's diary and news from the other camps. It seems a perfect antidote for insomnia. we listen to The Cookooricoo as read by Avram. July 15th This morning we again approach the serious problem of laundry and hie ourselves down to Ye Olde Creeke where we spend the morning washing clothes. Down by the kitchen we have ping-pong. we have arts and crafts and scoutcraft. are on guard duty so all hopes for a peaceful night are futile. The stream goes by. our tents and persons spotless. July 14th There are discussions this morning on the trials in Russia. Still gathered on the rocks. 150 . Friday. Back by the tents and joined by the kitchen committee. Thursday. After lunch. and following supper." Today the equipment for all sorts of sports is spread over the camp. Now bed and sleep at last. For Shabbat we snap pictures of our haverim in Habonim shirts and white shorts. A "Candid Camera Fiend" or two stay behind to record on film our march down the hill. while at the top of the hill are horseshoe and deck tennis games. Reading circles are the only activities this afternoon.

the same bylaws. and the author. the top floor used as a handicrafts and cultural room -that is the entire camp. Just as all settlements in Eretz Yisrael differ. New York. What triumph! What humiliation! The drama group presents an anti-war play at the camp fire tonight. One expects them all to be a like . homes. Five wigwam tents in a straight line and a large and spacious two-story barn. Swimming is naturally one of the main activi- 151 . the bottom floor used as a dining room and kitchen.for are they not organized and managed the same way. one from the other. My first stop this year was at Kendall. Afterwards. because the people who live there are differentcoming from various countries. Amid much excitement and conflicting emotions in the cheering section. 1938 PEEKING IN WITH OUR SHALIAH Traveling around the camps of our movement is an experience akin to that of visiting our settlements in Eretz Yisrael. Accord Diary. Farm land stretches out on all sides.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Saturday. Situated on a plain on the shore of Lake Ontario-no mountains or bills . the campers beat the madrichim 17-7. of course. the same institutions. civilizations-so do the varying backgrounds of our haverim place an individual stamp upon each Camp Kvutza. the Kvutza which serves our upstate New York movements.a few trees mark the spot. July 16th Today is the final conflict: let each stand in his place-the campers play a baseball game of chills and thrills. And so the second week of camp ends. Most of the farmers are Norwegians and the relations between the camp and the farmers are excellent. written by Benny Lappin and produced by Ruth L. there is dancing and singing. schools. the same program and activities-yet each Kvutza represents a unique world of its own.


ties as Lake Ontario with its clear blue waters is only fifty yards away. The haverim there built a long wooden jetty of water which gradually gets deeper and deeper as you go on. Only this year, millions of little fish had been dumped into the lake from the Canadian side, and they had floated over to the American shores. Thus, during the first weeks in camp, their bodies littered the beach, kept you company while you swam, and frequently went into your mouth if you were not careful. From Rochester, I climbed up and up to the Laurentian Mountains in Prefontaine, Quebec, where our Montreal camp is situated. Physically, the camp there is a very poor one, an old building with various compartments used as cabins, dining room and kitchen, an office, and two tents. In general, our haverim from Montreal come from very poor districts - most of them forced to begin working in factories at the ages of fourteen to fifteen. From many points of view, Montreal is like an East European city with the Jews living almost in a ghetto and the population, mostly French Catholics, very anti-Semitic. Most of our haverim there speak Yiddish very well as they attend Yiddish parochial schools. Singing and dramatics is the specialty of Montreal. Every year they give a concert attended by 1200 people which is a highlight of the Jewish artistic season there. No monotones in Montreal-almost all have choir voices and most of the songs are sung in three voices. Two dramatic' presentations were carried through successfully the week I was there-one describing the life of Bialik; the other portraying the history of the Jewish Hagana in Eretz Yisrael, from the founding of the Hashomer until the occupation of Hanita. From there, southward to Camp Galil. The singing there; the manner in which J.N.F. projects were carried out; the exciting baseball games between the Varsity and the Scrubs; the ingenious costumes invented for the masquerade; the adventures of Ferdinand, the truck; the hike in the park near



the spot where Washington crossed the Delaware; the spirit of the oldest bonot - the famous LeHagshama group of Philadelphia - who though they found in camp only boys under thirteen and over twenty, expended their energy in leading groups and building up a healthy camp spirit-these are all unforgettable parts of Galil. Ben Zion Ilan, 1938 UNTIL NEXT YEAR And so it was the last day of Kvutza. We packed, we ran around camp looking for wrapping paper and twine, and we envied those fortunates who were staying for the seminar. Busy as we were, however, we could feel something strange in the air; a small committee had been picked by Dave with much secrecy and we wondered about its mysterious I duties. We ate, saying to ourselves and to each other, "This is the last lunch at Kvutza this year." The gods shared our disappointment, perhaps, for they sent down a flood of heavenly tears that transformed the camp into a mudhole. Through the downpour, our trunks and bags were carried to the truck and transported to Accord. A small band of brave halutzot rushed down the hill with a burden of "civilized clothes" which had to be ironed before they could be worn home on the morrow. And now loud lamentations could be heard from Kvutza. The secret had escaped; the cat was out of the bag. A gay farewell party had been planned for this last evening, a campfire, then a march to the pine trees decorated with Japanese lanterns under which was to have been set a feast fit for a king and also for us. Sobbing, we planned a substitute affair and sadly went about making preparations. At last, gathered at the top of the hill and dressed mostly in borrowed clothes, we were ready for supper. Suddenly a bombshell landed in our midst: an evening paper from Ellenville. War, it seemed, was near-the Soviet-Reich



pact a reality, not just a fantastic nightmare. Thinking of the three-and-a-half million Jews in Poland, many our own relations, wondering whether Britain would indeed stand firm by her pledges to Poland, we were in no mood to appreciate the meal that was set before us. After supper everyone was chased back to the tents while preparations went on in the kitchen. Soon the whistle blew and we tramped into the dining room again. What a transformation! The room was decorated with crepe paper and balloons strung from the ceiling, candles of blue and white giving off the light by which we saw the tables spread with cake, candy, and fruit. We sat down together and sang at the tables all the songs we had sung during the full summer. When the tea had been served and cleared away, Dave rose to speak to us. Because of the news from abroad we were not having the festive evening that had been planned, but still we could look back with satisfaction on a summer of working, playing, and living together. He hoped that the time we had spent in Kvutza would provide a stimulus for more and better work in our various cities during the coming winter. As we left to go to bed, the sky was not yet clear, but the moon shone among the clouds. We took a good look around; this might be our last night at Accord for Dave had said Kvutza might be moved next year. People went to bed quietly-there wasn't as much noise as is usual on the last night at camp. Soon the hushed giggling and singing died down and we fell asleep. Evy Schwartz, 1939



VIEW FROM KVUTZA HILL, ACCORD Around the hill on which we stand are ringed the woods, Deep, deep into the valley far below, And stretch until in fringing green encroach Upon the fields which roll beyond The utmost margin of our view to where The ranks of toothed hills stand row on row, Green blueing into gray until the last Is but a cloud. David E. Goldberg, 1939 TO KVUTZA In 1933, as we were preparing for Kvutza, the Nazi power was sweeping through Germany. As we packed our trunks in 1939, our thoughts turned back to the fall of Czechoslovakia. Another nation had crumbled because it believed in truth and decency. As we returned home from Kvutza that season, civilization was being crushed. War had come to a world that had not known peace. Last year we came to Kvutza with heavy hearts. France, the symbol of man's hope, had been defeated by the Nazi military machine, and Italy was in the war. The Mediterranean was a war zone and the first bombs had fallen on Eretz Yisrael. Now a Nazi band of steel is stretching into the Near East and is tightening about Eretz Yisrael-a band of steel which reaches about our hearts. We are again preparing to go to Kvutza. To us, Kvutza never has been an ordinary camp. To us, Kvutza has been a place where the things we be-



lieved could be practiced. It is in Kvutza that there is democracy. It is in Kvutza that all are equal. Our Kvutza is a place where we might learn and plan for the day when we could return to Eretz; Yisrael. In our Kvutza, we could dream and hope together for a day when there would be no war, when men might live a happier life in peace and security. This is no ordinary season for a far-from-ordinary Kvutza. During this season, we must win new faith in our beliefs. We have not yet had to fight for these beliefs of ours. But others are fighting. The British and their allies are fighting for the same things. The Jews and all others of Europe who believed in freedom have long endured the oppression of the swastika because of their belief in the principles of decency. The halutzim of Eretz Yisrael are standing to their guns to defend what they have built and their dreams for the future. We in Kvutza must grow strong in our beliefs and let those who now stand in the front lines know that they can count on us for whatever lies within our power to give in this fight for the future. Artie Goldberg, 1941 NIGTH WATCH The night was cold and dark, the moon passed silently overhead, and still she slept. Suddenly a tap on the shoulder, a yank of the little pigtails, and she was awakened by an obliging, sleepy-eyed haver. Hand in hand they walked to their first destination-the dining room. And there they found more than just an empty place, mosquitoes about the lights, and dirty dishes on the table; there was a building of which they were a part-they recently had carried logs to repair it, and now it was theirs. Dirty dishes did not matter, the mosquito bites did not itch quite so much - the place was theirs. Faithfully through the night they guarded it, and



when the early hours of the morn began to break, they woke two other haverim. Yes, the girl with the pigtails and the sleepy-eyed haver were on guard duty. The dining room was theirs-all theirs! Haboneh, 1941 THE TREE Limp and lonely and lifeless, it hangs down the side of its cliff. Its naked roots clutch at the earth like fingers' that have lost their power to grasp at life. Around it we stand and we look down on it. And it seems strange to look down on something to which we had always looked up. It is The Tree. If you have ever been in Moshava, you know The Tree. Just across the grounds and follow the path to the water. You pass the ravine and the road to the New Cliff. And then you find The Tree. Or maybe it is that The Tree finds you. You stop to look at The Tree. It sits on its own cliff and it looks over the Severn River. It guards the haverim. on the beach and in the water. It sees the sailboats glide past. It watches the sunsets and the night skies. But when you stop to look at it, it turns. And it looks at you. Then you notice its arms are held out to you and you understand it is your first haver at Moshava. So you climb out on its strong roots and you settle yourself in its lap. For a while, you sit in silence-you and The Tree. And when at last you decide to leave, you go knowing that you will return. Many times you visit it. Sometimes you come with your haverim. Then all of you sit on its arms and around it and you lose yourself in discus-



sion. Momentarily you forget where you are. Yet, when you look upward, you see The Tree and you know it listens sympathetically. Sometimes you bring your new group to The Tree. You are a madrich and you want to impress your haverim. And hardly a week passes now but that one of them recalls, "Remember that time we sat at The Tree?" Sometimes you come with a Certain One. For The Tree, alone, may know your secrets. But most times you come alone to The Tree. Early in the morning you come to it. Late at night when you cannot sleep. After Moshava has closed and you are back in the city, suddenly you have such a longing to leave your routine. And you take the first lift you can get. And you come back to Moshava. Like a mad one, you run down the path to The Tree. And you sit upon its roots and rest against its trunk. For a long time we knew it had to come down. Let the truth be known: There is no time in our memory when The Tree did not "have to come down." Knowing full well we would not. Each year its roots protruded more and more above the ground. Each year it extended farther over the Cliff. If we stood on the beach below it and looked up, we could see its every vein straining at the earth around it. In March it snowed. A heavy, unkind, bitter storm that seemed to seek revenge on the coming spring with which it struggled. Limp and lonely and lifeless, it hangs down the side of its cliff. Its naked roots clutch at the earth like fingers that have lost their power to grasp at life. Around it we stand and we look down on it. And it seems strange to look down on something to which we had always looked up. It is The Tree. Miriam Biderman, 1942



SO YOU WANT TO BE A MADRICH Perhaps you are one who wants to do more than his share at Tel Hai this summer, that is, become a madrich. Well, if you are new at this game, let me give you some timely advice. First of all, you must take into consideration your age. If you want to work with solelim whose ages range from ten to twelve, we suggest that you yourself should be at least thirteen so that they can look up to you to some extent. The same goes for the tzofim who are usually thirteen and fourteen. That means that you should be about fifteen, or if you wish to give a sage-like appearance, sixteen. The bonim, as our beloved rosh Kvutza, Harry, once said, are anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five. But for them it does not matter how old you are because the bonim never pay any attention to madrichim anyway. They consider them a mere formality. So you think you are old enough for one of these age groups. We shall therefore proceed to tell you just what will be expected of you in each age group. We'll start out with the solelim. and get them off our minds (as though that's even vaguely possible. To work with these little rascals, you must have a strong constitution and a stronger left hook, the endurance of a cross-country track star, and the patience of a saint. You must have the fleetness of a greyhound each evening to join the merry chase that occurs when it is time to put them to bed. A liberal education is a handy thing to have, too, for you must know everything from the latest processes of making apple butter to the social status of the Jew in Zululand. These little intellectual fiends can ask more brain-teasers in a day than Dr. I. Q. does in a year. Also, you bad better stock up on vitamin pills, for these charming youngsters have their own ideas of how to spend a restful afternoon. Now for the tzofim. These animals are slightly less energetic, all their vitality having been exhausted in their solelim days, though they are still more


you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. after everyone else is in bed. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich. and go on night watch. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. that is. there are the bonim. You will be subject to nightly outpourings of their hearts and will be forced to promise them you will try to get the work committee to put them on guard or kitchen duty with their current crushes. Oh no! The bonim are of the opinion that work was created to give the solelim and tzofim a chance to work off some of their excess vim and vigor. however. while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. and if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. to attend a staff meeting. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur. dear prospective madrich. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . On the whole. And finally. sleep. And now. you will be required. if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology. Yes. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. gossip. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. madrichim will find the bonim a group of sophisticates who have reached the stage in their development when they come to camp merely from force of habit. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. For example. Likewise.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. And so. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation.

Finally it does break up. We were to be guided by the forest ranger. Jeannie Reisapfel. and they do quite a bit of hurrying about in an effort to keep at least three people awake at all times. I once tried it. who is pretty good looking so we had no trouble getting several girls to go. but being out of condition. We hiked two miles in the nice summer sun and began to climb the mountain single file. in back of 161 . but having become a fine physical specimen at Kvutza. one needs little convincing that a post-midnight snack is in order. in two-hour shifts. As we started out." Well. someone found out that I had the only knapsack in Kvutza. Jupiter-and here the story lies. Two persons are appointed. got no more than half way up. to rotate about the room pricking the madrichim with pins. If you do not fall prey to the sandman's charms. and when you're going to prepare the discussion you have to lead tomorrow morning. I decided to try it again. 1942 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS Dear Mom: You know that right across the way from the camp there is a high mountain called Mt. and all troop over to the dining room. Sandy. After such a fatiguing meeting. you won't be able to keep your mind on the meeting anyway. You'll keep wondering if the cabin that's doing all the yelling is yours. It is a custom that every summer some campers decide to do the nearest thing to suicide and climb the mountain for what they call a "good time. That was three years ago.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING case of insomnia. so they let me carry all the lunches plus a first aid kit and camera. loudly shhh-ing each other although it's quite obvious that the whole camp is still awake. but only on the condition that it be continued tomorrow when everyone will be fresh as a daisy. and when the darn meeting is going to end. Jerry.

After fighting our way through the brush (the ranger and I wore short pants and my legs are disfigured for life). I am sure that this tractor found the steepest part of the whole range of mountains. Your dear son. took pictures (my film). We sat around. we arrived at the top. and then began to go down. How sorry I was.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL me. We went down a firebreak. I almost became a casualty when I tripped. I felt just like killing a rattlesnake. Once you begin going down it is very difficult to stop. Also it is quite uncomfortable to find that you cannot stop at the edge of a cliff. It is made by big tractors which try to find the steepest part of the mountain they can go up without turning over. I stopped. goodbye now. Well. too. Oh yes. After waiting until we all gathered-including the loose parts-we began to hike home. send me $7 and a snake-bite kit. Dave Bleviss was at the rear and no one could squeeze by. There was of course no turning back. Just as we got near camp. he would put his head over my shoulder to see what was doing. I played soldier all the way down and it was very realistic. If you don't know what a firebreak is. and made me sick. Mom. Love. We finally got to the bottom drawn out over a half mile or so of ground. I shall explain: A firebreak is a long. and ate lunch (sandwiches and fruit from the knapsack I was carrying). sang songs which the ranger liked though he didn't know what they were all about (nor did we). we found a rattlesnake had been killed a few minutes before we got there. It is not true that it is easier to come down than to go up. cleared strip through the mountain. designed to stop a forest or brush fire. Don't worry. Norman 1942 162 . I want to stay longer. bad been eating garlic all morning and whenever we stopped.

clothes that are too dilapidated for city wear. some of us don't feel so easy about this packing business.they must be able to endure rough treatment. Our parents 163 . antiquated clothes that you have long ago forgotten about. And once the Kvutza has been awakened from its winter's sleep. very little will remain of them anyway. and presto. You see. we are in Kvutza! Yet. Nothing is too bad for Kvutza when it comes to clothes. You are going to wash them yourself. play shirts. Also make sure that they are washable. because by the time you go home. Have your wardrobe include work shirts (for we all work). And then Kvutza! Imagine! It's just a matter of days before construction crews will appear at Kvutza sites all over the country and put into effect the planning they've been doing all winter. and dress shirts for Shabbat and Sundays. because we play. Therefore. First. and just between us. School will follow soon after. let me-a veteran-give you a few hints as to what to pack and what not to pack. clothes. we are very active in Kvutza. and you will have a great part of your Kvutza wardrobe. we know what kind of a laundry man you are. then comes the time of the year that every Habonim member has been waiting for impatiently-the opening of Kvutza and the glorious days that will follow! All we have to do is pack our duds and hop a train or bus. But your clothes must have one important virtue . too.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING NEED HELP PACKING? Spring is well along. Drag out all your old clothes.

So you might as well take along some sheets and warm blankets. in which case. we don't always hide from water.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL are always fussy about the way we look when they come to visit us so we might as well look our best. 164 . So don't forget these important items. we go to it (in the form of a swimming pool). By all means. One item that should be carefully chosen is shoes. Perhaps you'll feel like sleeping for some strange reason one night. yet you can never tell. a cap. Mind you. and FUN! But in order to get around in presentable shape. I almost forgot to mention the pants that go with the shirts. because I'm warning you. you'll need a raincoat and boots. We have indoor games in the dining hall. haverim. That's just to remind you that you'll need a bathing suit. and warm pajamas. Have a pair of hard-soled shoes for hiking and a pair of soft-soled ones for play and work. Yet. I'm not going to lend you mine. Your pajamas must not be too nice though because your neighbor might mistake them for fancy slacks and borrow them for use on some important occasion. But we don't let that interfere with our activities. You'll need a sweater. don't forget your pants. a warm jacket. I'll have to use yours. Besides. it can rain even in Kvutza. I'm sure to forget to bring some. Although I know that you are not intending to do much sleeping (how often I've heard a haver shout into the face of his madrich: "Do you think I came all this way to go to sleep?"). When it doesn't come to us (in the form of rain). And don't forget the shoe polish. Shorts or slacks or anything that goes under that general heading by a stretch of the imagination will do. reading and study groups. Brrr! Nights are sometimes cold in Kvutza. and a bathrobe. Oh. bless me.

The message was received! We had talked to each other from afar. thought-provoking periods. About filling in the details. We recalled nights of Hagana. That last night. We had slept under its benevolent shadow that summer of 1955. We remembered discussing leadership problems. constructing the frame. Our toes could feel again the sand rippling as we walked through the Farband camp on the way to 165 ..ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING That's the general idea. We remembered the arduous trek to the lake. you will have use for the extra pairs on masquerade nights. We remembered lively. The scouts remembered how we had hiked through the swamps of Kinneret. tactics. We remembered sleeping through them. Then our hands remembered the semaphore code: K-i-n-n-e-r-e-t s-he-l-i. we remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us. knotting the ropes. The builders remember the watchtower-chopping the trees. 1944 KINNERET SHELI We stood quietly meditating in the gathering twilight of the field of Kinneret. And the memories engulfed us. The haverim who had built Kinneret gathered on the last night of the last season.. Birdie Dekelbaum. We bade farewell to Kvutzat Kinneret. Our feet remembered all-day hikes. raising the watchtower that would guard Kinneret.. Our eyes remembered watching for the answering flags flashing in the sun. As we watched the torches for the last time. If she is unreasonable in the amount of underwear she makes you take. haverim remembered the discussions we had had. The soles of our feet recollected our nature walks. my advice is that you comply with your mother's demands.

This was our camp. Once again we swayed and swerved to the sound of the shepherd's flute. We recalled how we had danced the hora hour upon hour. to the rhythms of Eretz Yisrael. We had built it-Kinneret. We relived the glorious. In our memories we sang. Avraham Bass. Kvutzat Kinneret. The beauty of the Shabbat celebration haunted us. We swatted away at the infernal pests. comfortable feeling of Shabbat. We danced again to the familiar tunes. We remembered Shabbat as dusk fell the last time at Kvutzat Kinneret. We remembered the mosquitoes only too well. We stood quietly in the gathering twilight. The cooling relief of the ointments soothed us. 1957 166 . The clammy feel of seaweed lingered in our minds. We swam. The raft seemed to beckon to us anew.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL swim. we floated in a dream of memories. We remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us. We bade farewell to a friend.


the uniform of their captors only changed. the bombracks off. The aeroplanes overhead wing their way with peaceful cargoes. On the coast and in the valleys of our promised land battle-girt intruders bar the way to wander-weary brothers seeking to come home. there is no peace and your battle is not done. resting in many lands. Brothers. the rifles are stacked. But brothers resting in many lands. comrades.In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still. the sound of firing still is heard And the dazed survivors of your people flee before the same pursuing mob. Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. The last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire. 168 . this is called peace. The mighty of the earth decreed it so.

From the bitter hedgerow battles of Normandy. Bialystok. Majdanek. Only in a brief moment of council. Brothers resting in the distant lands. From beachheads and from far Pacific Isles with strange exotic names like Iwo Jima. the voices of the Nazi foe still echo and repeat the ancient vicious lies. cry for memorial. the roster of our dead commands memorial. The record of the graves. the hard-contested hills of Italy. the gaps that never can be filled. From the Rhineland plains and woods. The familiar faces missing from our ranks. we pause to consider a fitting monument and to tell our losses.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Even in this western land of liberty. from Warsaw. the battle. even from the waters of the seas. The hundreds upon thousands upon millions. Lublin. From every forest haunt and cave where desperate guerilla bands struck at the foe. Where in the same wide war fell our sons defending Kfar Giladi. for the remnant of the exile does not stop. From ghetto and from concentration camp. And what avail soon crumbling stone carved in our sacred script to puzzle future archaeologists. The distant isles and seas engulf us with the magnitude of our loss. Auschwitz and Stryj. 169 . the roll call of the resting places from continent to continent. yet calls afresh each loved one gone.

E. a line of valiant battles dearly won. still further struggle. shrunken. oh brothers. for we dedicate to you a monument eternalWe are your memorial.G. Worn and weary but imbued with the flame which kindled them at the foot of Sinai's peak. shivering limbs of the wasted few who somehow did not die. these dried bones yet live? With loving hands and humbled spirits. Habonim Convention. The records of an extinct folk. And the monument we dedicate is their own people. Ahead. December. in graves of honor and in lime pits of shame. D. from your graves look out! Look out upon your people! Look into the ghetto. behind. Rest. O Brothers. let us dedicate the memorial to our dead scattered through many lands.IN MEMORIAM Shall your memorial be the silence of forgotten history. strewn before our feet. to the camp. And in the valley. Brothers. Lying in fields throughout the earth. Look and say. 1945 170 . the weary. into the ship that bears illegal freight out of the graveyard of Europe. will they live? Will this your people. The mounds and graves of the ending of our seed We pause as on a mountain top and see.

She was one of the few people who was ours completely. when we were suffering from a critical shortage of leadership personnel. She was among our most devoted. Each time it seems that our best is taken. all of us. Her primary concern was always the development of the individual. as rosh of several madrichim groups. Each time it seems impossible. The number of haverim that we have lost is mounting too quickly. Nevertheless. She brought a real understanding of the meaning of education into our movement. She understood her educational function not as one of directing the group. their purpose and justification being to instill values and attitudes within the haverim. the mahaneh activities. Immediately. but as one guiding the individual. she threw herself entirely into our work. And she exerted a tremendous amount of influence upon those with whom she worked. She came to us because she had decided upon the path of selfrealization. We are at a loss as to what to say or do. During one of the war years. unbelievable. Camp Kvutza-these she considered as means to an end. she had a great capacity for hard work. She joined us when she was already in her twenties. 171 . Thus she worked closely with the individual haver. Sometimes it seemed as if she carried the whole burden of our movement and our people on her slight shoulders. She was a madricha in the true sense of the term. even the old timers were able to learn a great deal from her. as rosh of our national funds work. she served as rosh of the New York region. and as editor of Alot (the national publication specifically for our halutzim)-all these at the same time. The small group discussions.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING MIRIAM BIDERMAN We are a movement of young people. how to react. She strove for selffulfillment in our movement even before she went on aliya. upon him she centered all her efforts. Miriam was a school teacher by profession. Miriam came to us late. as rosh of one of the mahanot.

to synthesize the old and the new. and worked with them. for the tasks of movement leadership and self-realization. And wherever she worked. Miriam was brought up in an Orthodox religious home. in New York. the lack of traditional observance caused her a great deal of discontent. Both in our movement here and later in the kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. in Winnipeg. with ability. understanding. a Third Seder. Wherever she went. The volume of her Shabbat and other program material. Thus." Her many letters to haverim gave us an insight into this devoted. she came to us with a deep appreciation for Jewish tradition.. Shabbat celebration. Miriam wrote prolifically and she has left us a rich legacy of her written word. with. in Baltimore. or Tisha B'Av program in which Miriam had a hand always made a powerful impression.. sensitive. she sought out young haverim with devotion. she left her heritage: a corps of responsible haverim. She was able to put meaning into Jewish tradition. Her sense of complete identification with Jewishness and her acute sensitivity to the tragedies of the Jewish people are a reflection of her traditional background. passed away. indicate to us the creative being whose "life song" was "suddenly cut off.IN MEMORIAM Her aim was to prepare younger haverim. 172 . of her articles in our various publications. troubled havera who "before her time . She continually championed traditional practices in our movement.

I do not think that Ben went to college or had much formal training. By 1934.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING BEN CHERNER Many of you know Ben Cherner. We wanted organizers to establish our new system of education. It was at that time that we decided to be heartless toward Ben. but he knew how to train people to follow in his footsteps so that there was a second and third and fourth. who toured the New England region in 1933. contact parents and prospective madrichim. Ben Cherner had not only served his apprenticeship in the movement but had already acted as an organizer for the Young Poale Zion Alliance. get together the remnants of the YPZA. and was supposed to receive permission for aliya. But the National Executive (four people we were. By 1934. He had done his duty. . It was in 1934. We were very modest. Many usages prevailing in the movement to this day are traditions which had their inception with him. His task was to go into a community. and transform them into a mahaneh of Habonim. I am certain that he took no courses in leadership technique. though you may not know his name or you may not realize that you know him. he had had his fill of peanuts and of traveling for the movement. that we felt that one way of its taking root in America was to send out emissaries. By 1934. There is always an aura about the figure of a man who carries the title of "first" but who we do not remember. as we subsequently have been to every organizer and shaliah. The outstanding "first" in relation to Ben was that lie was the first organizer of Habonim. We didn't think of shlihim from Eretz Yisrael. The adjective stuck to Ben because he had the faculty of attracting people to himself to carry on. shortly after Habonim was established. The stories of organizers struggling and living on peanuts refer to Ben Cherner. all told) decided that he must remain for another year to help in the transition from Young Poale Zion Alliance to Habonim. he was a veteran. 173 .

In Chicago his accomplishment was that he convinced the haverim of the movement that it was necessary to have a permanent organizer who would set up the organization. After negotiations. It was a dynasty: from Ben Cherner to Joey Criden. The organizer for whom Ben paved the way made Chicago the center of our movement for many years. He knew how to sing and he knew how to gather people around him. one must visualize the years in which these were made. There is a "first" in connection with Ben which relates to the Pacific Coast. soft-spoken boy. Naturally. the summer Kvutza. He set up several mahanot. Ben was a simple. He went into a city without benefit of publicity notices or mass meetings. the Buffalo movement waned. There was not too much money for printing. Hence a good deal depended on whom was sent.IN MEMORIAM Ben was not much of an orator. The movement was kept alive by personal contact. we called on Ben to make the trip. Then Ben went to Chicago. from Joey to Moshe Goldberg. He established a mahaneh in Buffalo so well that not only did Buffalo become the original stronghold of Habonim but gave us two organizers in succession. of a Far West in which Folk Shulen graduates knew Hebrew. To understand the significance of Ben's organizational tours. The visitor was the warm link representing the movement. He spoke quietly and intimately. His first stop was Buffalo. There existed a loose connection between the New York center and the groups. When Moshe was called to New York. We were getting news of a growing community in Los Angeles. the stream of organizers. The mail was inadequate. his home town. He went to private homes and got 174 . That trip in 1935 was the first link in the chain which ultimately led to the development of the Los Angeles mahaneh. we obtained $75 from several Los Angeles haverim.

adjusted. in a sense. Perhaps this accounted for his ability to gather young people around him. There was no other candidate who could have done the organizational work. The fact that Ben failed is not a reflection on him. there was a nucleus which somehow carried on. and refined. He tried to maintain the agricultural training center in Illinois. There was one specific job Ben tried to do which ultimately resulted in failure. That too was a service. his primary one was his humanity. We had held him back two years beyond his time. Of Ben's many qualities. and one in Illinois. which was paradise by contrast. When he left. and to introduce a new atmosphere. American halutzim who could not adjust to the rigors of pioneering did not help the atmosphere by returning home. were serious. in Minneapolis. a useful service. No course in leadership or technical training or knowledge could have made 175 . he set an example. When Enzo Sereni came. we consolidated all of these farms into the one at Creamridge. At that time. It was more than a one-man job. inadequate. They were small. poor. He loved people. to live in it. The repercussions of the action of the Detroit group. approachability. We felt that we were committing a crime against Ben by holding him back but there was no alternative. It was into such conditions that Ben plunged to try to clean up the place. Even his leaving was. For a/person who is normal. He was young himself. who returned from Eretz Yisrael and spread stories to justify themselves. unsanitary farms struggling under extremely difficult conditions.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING people around him to sing with him and talk with him. Ben's was a permanent influence because he did not talk only of Eretz Yisrael. there were training farms in Baltimore. The senior leaders of the Labor Zionist movement set a disheartening example by not permitting their children to remain in Eretz Yisrael. to go to Eretz Yisrael was a feat. He liked young people. It was in 1936 that he finally left. his. A large percentage of the "halutzim" were malcontents who could not earn a living.

quality. Ben had very solid convictions. it was in the line of duty. He would not get excited or rush off to his work. He showed his enthusiasm by explaining his idea and then setting about carrying it out so well that the job seemed easily done. it was in the line of duty. himself as a leader. when he went to Eretz Yisrael. Our attitude was changed by the realities of life. He knew that shlihut carried with it a connotation of leadership which he did not believe held for himself although he had always been in a position of leadership. Yet when he sat with a group of people around a camp fire. When he went to do organizational work. He considered himself a soldier. His singing possessed an enchanting. Ben never thought of himself as a leader. He never permitted himself to think of. or anyone to refer to. In our relationship to Ben. but Ben was stubborn. we appreciated his enthusiasm. They sat and sang without moving or talking. 176 . the rest of us did not believe in it either. That was one of the reasons why he did not return to America as a shaliah. when he helped to organize the Union of Jewish World Combatants. In that period. some camp fire traditions and some of the stories reprinted by us in Haboneh have their origin in Ben's fertile mind. Similarly. Only during the last two years did he begin to waver and to talk of transferring to Kfar Blum. it was realization.IN MEMORIAM up for that basic human element. For good or for ill. so solid that perhaps they account for one of the tragedies of his life. We did not want an American landsmanshaft in Eretz Yisrael. Ben did not believe in the concentration of Americans in Eretz Yisrael. He had stuck to Naan no matter how strongly he was urged to join the American kibbutz. He was by no means a professional singer. His singing had a good deal to do with his influence in the movement. he held them for hours. Many of our songs are versions which he taught to the first groups of Habonim.

"To understand Danny. 177 . in the long run. this kind of obstinacy would succeed. his future was inextricably bound up with the highest hopes of the movement. that we carry forward that struggle today. He would talk of the needs for another Kvutza and another mahaneh and of dogged perseverance in organizational work. If there is meaning in the memory of our haverim and of their services. of the trials and tribulations of training and of self-realization in Eretz Yisrael. it is the realization that they represented a continuation of the Jewish struggle for survival which began before them. The knowledge of his irrevocable loss to us is difficult to comprehend. "one must see his life in terms of a personality that was unfolding. and he would finish by saying that. He had become widely known and loved-he was no longer Danny Ginsburg of Detroit. and ever expanding . 1947 DANNY GINSBURG Once again the battlefront has claimed the life of one of our haverim. developing. Saadia Gelb Furrows. and that those after us will not falter. impossible to console.. His role in Habonim for more than eight years is invaluable. January. where he made his most specific contributions to the life of Habonim. he was Danny Ginsburg of Habonim. That.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING If Ben were here and could talk to us.. it seems to me. he would talk of simple and prosaic tasks. is the fitting memorial to Ben Cherner. The knowledge that Danny Ginsburg has been killed in action on Iwo Jima has brought sorrow to Habonim from one end of the country to the other. At first he saw one important objective ahead -that was the establishment of a real Jewish institution in the heart of the American scene." wrote one of his friends from the Midwest.

Danny's was truly a constantly developing personality. His personal influence over others was so strong that many who might not have taken the same road followed it upon his leadership. to contribute to Kibbutz Aliya discussions. sincerity. Danny continued to participate in Habonim life. through going to Eretz Yisrael. a determination that held out until he convinced or was convinced. He continued. and above all. as a leader in discussions. it was with the determination born of his intense sincerity. He was one of those exceptional individuals who throws himself into every activity with the completeness of a passionate spirit. and his place and importance within Habonim grew as he did. of hard work. When he went into active service more than twenty months ago. find it difficult to separate the two. His influence was felt as well among the haverim in the neighboring cities. There was always a glow about him as he worked. Sometime later. " The many members of Habonim throughout the country who remember him at conventions as chairman at sessions. near Detroit. he became rosh of the Detroit Habonim. strong determination. and under his energetic leadership. All who came in contact with him were imbued with his spirit of idealism. Yes. to take part in the solution of prob- 178 .IN MEMORIAM This goal was the establishment of a summer Kvutza. After his initiation of the work for a summer Kvutza near Detroit. well remember that it was not only physically that he worked hard. nothing could stop him. Kinneret. that would be built by and for Habonim. "Those who saw Danny at work in Kinneret. When Danny danced. the movement there flourished remarkably. lie arrived at the personal decision to join Kibbutz Aliya and prepare himself for a true realization of his burning idealism. through the mails. when he participated in a discussion. who have known him at seminars and other movement gatherings.

to bring some good into the world. After all. in the minds of all of us. 1945 179 . perhaps the leading member of the future. I haven't learned very much-just enough to realize that I still have a great deal to learn. Furrows. not the little cogs." He has not been granted the chance he hoped for. When Danny learned that he and his men were to take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING lems of the local groups he had led as well as those of national Habonim. we're all only little coos in a machine and if some of us have to fall by the wayside in order that the machine should continue to run smoothly. can prove the true worth of his short life. through embodying his spirit in our work in Habonim. one of the leading members of Habonim. it's the machine that counts. he wrote to his Detroit haverim in these words: "Naturally. then I think my life so far has been worthwhile. But if I've served as a stimulus to even a few kids to try to reach higher. But in case I don't. but we who are carrying on. May. "I guess I haven't done much in my short life so far. He continued to be. it's all right too. I hope that I'll be able to come back safely and put into practice those things in which I believe and about which I've written to you and the others so much. I only hope I'll get a chance to make it more so in the future.

He came to be one of the most active and respected haverim in the machaneh. He has left a gap which cannot be filled. even those who had never met him. He was preparing for life in Eretz Yisrael at an age when most haverim are just beginning to consider halutziut. to him it was the natural way of life. working ceaselessly. One of his first activities was a visit to the training farm at Creamridge. Furrows. On his days off. He was a complete halutz-devoted. The things he wanted for himself will never be realized-but the fulfillment of the things he wanted for his haverim and for his people lies in our hands. both in his work in the movement and in his relations with his haverim. Halutziut came easily for Nate. Those haverim now in Eretz Yisrael will remember the quiet.IN MEMORIAM NATE KANTER Every haver in Habonim knew Nate Kanter. hard-working boy who became so close to them. At the time of his death he was making plans to leave for Eretz Yisrael in the spring. largely in the Pacific. On his return to St. he threw himself into movement work more vigorously than ever. When he reached eighteen. Louis. He was killed in an automobile accident on his way home from a meeting of Habonim. he left home and began training at the National Farm School. At sixteen. unassuming. 1947 180 . unselfish. because he personified the ideals of our movement. he entered the Navy and served two and a half years. New Jersey. February. His loss is a tremendous blow for all of us. he was a frequent visitor at the Hehalutz Training Farm at Creamridge.

The quietness and stillness were uncanny. The people followed near and behind the coffin. It is still incredible. various pictures of Ari flashed through my mind. carried and driven to the little cemetery near the garden. a trigger happy Arab from Salchia shot him in the back.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ARI LASHNER It happened yesterday between 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning. That picture of Ari. art. 1948 181 . April. His body was taken to the Mazkirut building. He spoke about the conflict in Ari's nature: How he loved beautiful things a good book. young and vital. Only the clump-clump of hundreds of boots walking through the mud could be heard. music. a glass of wine-and how he had. No one said anything. There was an escort of men with guns to protect us. and from there. Kieve said a few words before the coffin was lowered into the ground. on the other hand. The entire kibbutz was shocked and stricken by his death. And all the time. I cannot really describe the great feeling of despair that took hold of us at his going and the manner of his going. . . will always remain with me. the desire to come to Eretz Yisrael and take part in its upbuilding. Kieve spoke about his years in the movement. Rose Breslau Furrows. and his work with the ships He spoke simply and beautifully. While he was working. People gathered and stood together in small groups for comfort. but the one that was the clearest -was that of Ari standing on a flat stone near the stage of the amphitheater in Killingworth lecturing at the seminar . his years at sea. He was helping to set up electricity for some of the houses and so strapped himself to a pole in the fashion that such work is done.

IN MEMORIAM ARI LASHNER Ari Lashner has left us. to express their sense of loss. The ignorant Arab sniper's bullet that cut short his life at Kfar Blum on March 16th caused far more than a personal loss. to Europe and to Eretz Yisrael. diverse individuals have felt impelled to communicate with others who knew him. an inexhaustible source of reminiscence and humor. unchanged.just because of these qualities . and a springtime era of the movement. Everyone who knew him would agree to this. For Ari exemplified the best that the combination of Judaism. a ship that ran the blockade and then returned to Europe for a second load. America. For he was a central figure. but left such deep impressions on all whom he met. and unself-conscious manner during his last weeks in America that he was recruiting the crew and arranging the sailing of the first Hagana ship from America. He went away many times before-to distant cities for the movement. His wife and child had gone to Eretz Yisrael before him. But always before. there was his smiling. From all parts of the world. the pleasurable interludes of gentle conversation. someone on whom we all leaned. to war as a marine. for just as he was a leader of the most complete modesty and honesty . and he was destined to contribute in important measure to the Jewish State in the future. of strolling about the city. We feel more alone in a darker world. With him went a whole period in the youth of those who grew up with him. and the movement produced. of drives into the country.he inspired in others a sincere and warm recognition of his own capabilities. There will never take place that meeting in Eretz Yisrael to which I looked forward so greatly. He had 182 . He went through life so unassumingly. A cohesive group that grew up in the movement and had planted firm roots in Eretz Yisrael feels shattered. good-humored greeting again. bringing in thousands on his Hagana ship. You would never have guessed from Ari's quiet work-day. of 'music.

attaching at least as much weight to his feelings as to his reason. he gave full credence to the role of the irrational in life. it is his insistence that the individual search for his own truth and act in consequence. Thus he could not consider the fate of the Jewish people without including himself in the solution. Not that he was a "gentleman. For a time. who hated even the raised voice. and respecting feeling in others. anger. or to descend to the vulgar or unseemly in any way. for which he was too naturally gifted). But he longed for the day of peace when he could realize himself in some way in the Jewish Land. this realistic tendency intervened even in his enjoyment of abstract beauty in painting and poetry (never in music. which all who experienced him felt. tempering the feelings. In this connection. excusing oneself. to gossip in malice. And there was frequent cause for anger and impatience in those years. and impatience. and under the pressure of very wide experience. If a keynote is to be sought in his pervasive influence. there was a definite mellowing in him. tolerant and receptive 183 . But in recent years. He assumed you were wrestling honestly with your problems as he was with his." unless "gentleman" is redefined to be what he was. He died in war. But he never drove others.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING not known when or how he would see them again and he wanted to be with them desperately. yet not your own. He did not enjoy the conscious role of "organizer" or even of halutz. He was never heard by anyone to shout in anger. He had strong passions. by the development of universal theories which solved all problems. or seeking a way out by processes of rationalization. Ghandi could not have abhorred violence more than Ari Lashner. What he could not tolerate in himself and others was covering up the problem. Principles divorced from circumstances and action did not exist for him except as scholastic exercises with which he was -very impatient.

visit galleries. when we drove into New England. While he understood and admired a Vronsky and an Anna Karenina. but he would take any capitalism over a Socialism that gave a whit less of individual liberty. He muttered to himself: "What on earth is this endless hodgepodge?" It was announced as the Kreutzer Sonata. but he weighed things relatively and he knew the enormous importance of the measure of basic civil liberties enjoyed here. 184 . we went driving out on Long Island until dawn. The man with a "reputation" as a music lover doesn't tell such stories about himself with detached enjoyment. concert balls. and of complex ways of life. but without the slightest trace of the envy that stems from vanity and leads to pretenses and false emulation. From the earliest days when. I associate him with trips into the green countryside and 1 recall his avid appreciation of it. parks. He was a Socialist. He enjoyed greatly the scene of the “visit to the uncle” in War and Peace. He knew it well to California. Any account of Ari would be incomplete without mentioning his love for America. observe people. The very casting of whole societies.IN MEMORIAM by nature. whether in art or in farming. He felt humble and inferior to the point of discomfort before anyone with special talent. too. The piece went on interminably. the enjoyment of beautiful things in many forms became a welcome release for him. He loved honesty and simplicity. his favorite was Levin. stores. after our Young Poale Zion Alliance meetings. into formal molds with neat tags was foreign to his mind. His greatest pleasure was to drive through its countryside. walk in cities. of people. He once told of hearing a musical work on the radio while working on something. He saw the evils of America. until almost the last full day together. He loved to stop at roadside inns.

actually. and counterdemonstrations. just drifting. Here. He was always ready to admit that the paths others were following were right. and it was difficult to perceive at what stage this process actually became a form of reduction ad absurdum. and every week saw demonstrations. He was unaware of the courage it took to drift with the tide of one's being. and thought uneasily himself that he was. expulsions. another essential characteristic is illustrated. He saw the Jewish people again singled out for persecution and he felt that concrete' special efforts by Jews themselves were demanded. without some trustworthy reference point in reality. Ari Lashner's reference point was his emotional Jewishness and Labor Zionism to which he attached significant weight. Socialists and Communists drove the black and white stereotypes of doctrinaire radicalism to absolute extremes. He seemed to be.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The 1930's were a difficult test for radical youth. But they were a little above him. Impossible. What it was and what had gone into it was flowing irrevocably in a certain 185 . He spoke nostalgically about the interesting careers others were following. He felt like a victim of himself. He dropped his teacher-training course when it gradually became apparent to him that his future lay with the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael. His life was the result of an evolutionary process. There never were any dramatic announcements or obvious soul struggle. Robinson era at City College. We Labor Zionists participated in all radical activities but as a collateral thing. Ari admired the courage and the intellectual acumen of the radical leaders and even admitted that their panaceas might be right. It was the Frederick B. These have been called his "doubts" and his "conflict. In the rarefied atmosphere of college." But he spoke about the other things that were nice to do with a certain detachment. The concept of doubt in the sense of debating one's path by purely mental processes cannot rightly be used for him. Their solutions for the whole world still left him uncomfortable as an individual.

Every one of those good Hebrew names we read is only a symbol of a face smiling to someone. But the Yishuv has always commemorated its dead lovingly. is true. increased aliya. one of us. Labor Eretz Yisrael and the ideals of halutziut proudly became the central educational idea of the movement. Camp Kvutza. by virtue of his great truth to himself. there are those to whom the loss is a terrible reality. the expanded hachshara farms. A great deal more will be written by those who worked with him of Ari's influence in the formation and development of Habonim and in the Labor Zionist movement generally. And he did it as usual-well. of thoughts. and acts known and beloved somewhere. faithfully. It is futile to try to recreate by words the vital essence of a complicated personality like Ari. for my part. There is a whole generation of young people who remember how Ari led them in song and dance. So he followed the path of the halutz. how he spoke at camps and conferences-vital and human. It is probably reserved only to those who knew him to feel the true loss. Furrows. Ari would not want to be singled out or separated from his comrades. No hero picture. April. courage.IN MEMORIAM direction and be would have thought it absurd that some sudden idea should be able to change it. and energy of the small group of which Ari was a central figure. as every individual was in life. It is not possible to believe and. I do not think of Ari as having died. Every soul is precious. nobly. I am rendering a faint duty inadequately because I knew Ari. all these have come about through the vision. emphasis on Hebrew. I merely consider that he has crossed another boundary before us as he did so often before. 1948 186 . And so for every one of those who are dying in Eretz Yisrael. sometimes looking wistfully back at the green fields of America. no analogy with anyone else. Harry Levtow. in the conventional sense. but the epitome of us. desires. working.

The camp consisted of a hilltop cluttered with tents which had obviously seen better days in the army. always seeking new thrills and experiences. Tired after a day of hard work. had proved too stifling. We were met by the advance crew of a few boys. old farmer's stove. I well remember the delightful evenings and sunsets in the camp which were so inspiring. salvaged from Unser Camp for whose guests they were not deemed worthy. Once he admitted to me that only because of the deep love for his father. he gave up that kind of life and returned home.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING HAYIM RAMBAM On a beautiful evening-it must have been about ten years ago-Rachel Siegel and I arrived by car at Camp Kvutza. and the old Ford that we were barely able to purchase for $10. We knew then that he was moody and ready to tell stories of his adventures throughout the United States." One of the advance crew was Hayim Rambam. He was an adventurer. On closer acquaintance. They felt free as birds and so did Hayim. And 187 . and the discipline of a school. even in early childhood. Our status as property owners was made complete when we obtained from a friendly storekeeper a prehistoric ice cream container that was to serve as our "refrigerator. For the stormy nature of this boy. and dishes (slightly cracked). Hayim could be found on one of the cots in the tent. We also found some boards for the future kitchen. He had a leader's qualities and could influence people either for better or worse. people who were tired of civilization and routine. We saw a different world. a few boxes of cups (without handles). open fieldsthe sort of boy that can develop into a hero or an adventurer. the walls of his home. you learned that a few warm friendly words could easily quell the storm raging in him. He used to spend many days and nights with hoboes and his stories were remarkable. We were most impressed with the big. He was drawn to the broad.

IN MEMORIAM many a time I thought that perhaps Hayim may turn out to be another Jack London. Here we are. lashed by the wind! It was one of those moments when old and young display all their shortcomings and weaknesses and. so we decided for safety's sake to make our way to a nearby boarding house. on the other hand. without a path to follow." to whom many campers literally owed their lives. 188 ." squatting on the tables with only a roof overhead while the torrent of rain drenched us through the open sides. I am sure that it was solely to Hayim's credit that we came away that summer sound in limb. Incidents of that summer keep coming to mind. destroying many houses in the neighborhood and flooding all the valleys. because of whose caprices we always had to bring along a couple of "footmen" to help push when the inevitable need arose. willing servant in Hayim's skillful hands. knee-deep in water. that constantly refused to get back to camp on time. The Ford that had not the least desire to climb the smallest hill. We felt that the very foundation of our camp would not survive that night. a hurricane suddenly pounced upon us. whose mission in life should long since have ended-in which we have to cover ourselves with raincoats even during a light downpour-bowed meekly before the wrath of the storm and finally surrendered completely. Hayim showed himself to be the second sort of person. was an obedient. He was also our "life saver. We all gathered in our one "building. when a person may forget about and sacrifice himself for the general welfare. Our ancient army tents. Towards the end of the summer. riding in the Ford. How well I remember that procession in the thick blackness. Hayim was the driver of the Ford on which we depended for supplies from the nearby town and water from the well. Hayim and I.

He dreamed of participating in the defense of the country . I met Joey for the first time when I was sent to Detroit to represent the Young Poale Zion-Habonim at the National Convention of the Farband. . I really learned to appreciate his character at the Leaders' Seminar in Pipersville in 1940. Leak Brown Haboneh June. 1942 JOSEPH ROSENBERG There will be many vacant places in our ranks when this war is over. under the hot sun. less restless. his enthusiasm. I did not see him for a long time after that but heard he was employed as a tractor driver in Mikveh Yisrael. a second was lost in a mission over Germany. he drank from a spring he did not know was contaminated. It was clear that Eretz Yisrael had had a marked effect upon him. The fourth of our haverim is gone. his devotion. Hayim showed up in Jerusalem during a holiday. his zeal. When he did not receive a certificate. I was impressed with his youthfulness.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The work in Camp Kvutza became a form of training for Hayim. While working in the fields. he went on his own. In the meantime. and he hoped to obtain a certificate to go to Eretz Yisrael. One died flying in this country. a third while performing his duty in the Near East. and now Joseph Rosenberg is reported missing in action at sea. He was about to become rosh mahaneh of Detroit and he spent hours 189 . Suddenly. more serious in outlook. It did not occur to him that tiny microbes would conquer his powerful body and quiet his stormy nature for eternity. I also went to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Jerusalem with my husband. He was much changed-more mature. But a month later he was dead. .

We remember that when Joey came out to camp weekends. He lived his life in search of a better world and gave his life in the struggle for it. * * * * * Joey joined Habonim in 1935 at the age of eleven. his ideas. when we grow older.that during the period that he was stationed at San Diego in training. D. he spent every spare moment making contacts and speaking to people. Joey entered a trade school to prepare himself for the life of a halutz. 1944 190 . we talked about his doubts and his ambitions. Joey was one of the first to join and carry out its program. Those who belonged to our group at that time will perhaps not remember him as well as they do others who talked more at meetings and were generally more assertive. We remember how as rosh mahaneh of Detroit Habonim. his plans. he would do more work than others had done all week. He showed me his neat notebook.IN MEMORIAM with me discussing his plans.. June.. Furrows. We remember that when a Kibbutz Aliya was formed in Detroit. D. I read his outlines. he led us through one of the strongest years of our existence. G. We remember that while others were delving into deep discussion about the problems of labor. But those who stayed with the group remember that while others were spouting high-sounding phrases about becoming halutzim. It is an irreparable loss for the movement here and for Kfar Blum in Eretz Yisrael. You may not know. he was certain that he would be able to organize a Habonim group. B. Joey joined the local union and made himself heard there.

Together with Ben Zion Ilan of Afikim who was then an Eretz Yisrael delegate to the youth movement. one-time halutz from America. through a search conducted by Ben Zion (now a sergeant in the Jewish Brigade). Today. when the best part of his contribution to Zionism surely lay ahead of him. and he told me the story of his search for Enzo Sereni by whose side he had once worked in America: “ ‘I was a member of one of the Jewish Brigade's search teams. we are finally beyond any question of doubt certain that Enzo is dead-dead at the age of thirty-nine. after his capture by the Germans. it was primarily Enzo Sereni. but traces of him. The details of his capture are not known. A letter from Kieve Skidell tells the following story which ends all hope that Enzo. missing in action for over a year. Sereni. might still be alive: “On the streets of Paris I ran into Sgt. Together with another member of the team. I obtained permission from the British army bureau in charge of these searches to institute a search for Enzo Sereni. His mission was to work with Italian partisans behind the German lines. Yet that is what has occurred to Habonim through the murder of Enzo Sereni in Dachau on November 17-18. as you may know. was dropped by parachute into northern Italy in the late spring of 1944 in the uniform of a British captain under the name of Shmuel Barda. about whom relatives in the Allied countries had made inquiries. whose energy and imagination made Habonim possible. Eretz Yisrael delegate to the American Habonim. Ben Zion Ilan. and together with American haverim. and now a sergeant in the Second Battalion of the Jewish Brigade. 191 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ENZO SERENI It is not often that a youth movement has to mourn its founder's death within the space of eight short years. engaged in the search for prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates in Germany. as Hehalutz delegate. led to the concentration camp at Dachau. 1944.

all of whom have disappeared without a trace. Block 23. Sereni impressed him as a man of extremely high intellectual acumen. Born 22 June 1905 at Jerusalem. When the projected memorial to the Gola is erected in Jerusalem. Of his end he knew nothing since he had been taken away from Dachau before it came. Taken to Special Punishment Cell for interrogation. we turned immediately to the card index of all those who had ever been in the place. 192 . V3 (code for member of the British forces). He remembered well the long discussions they used to have on philosophical as well as world political and Jewish topics. 17 November 1944. Shmuel. and he couldn't forget how even in the environment of Dachau. Entered 9 October 1944. and there we found a card with the following information on it: “ ‘Prisoner No. his own tormentors no doubt among them.IN MEMORIAM We had heard that he was at one time known to have been together with a Dominican pastor by the name of Roth. Died 18 November 1944. His body was cremated at the local crematorium. we filled an urn with ashes from the crematorium. “ ‘We then looked up the pastor. Barda. who had been in the same block with him in Dachau. It turned out that he had been the secretary of the block Sereni was in and he remembered him well. " 'Before leaving Dachau. Resident at Tel Aviv. We started to look for the pastor in the monasteries in Cologne and Munich and learned that he had gone back to Dachau to help the inmates there and become the confessor of the SS troopers who are now imprisoned there. those ashes will be placed there together with those of our other martyrs. he was bubbling with energy and intellectual curiosity. “ ‘One can only surmise from this information that he was brought to his death by torture. “ ‘When we came to Dachau. 113160. Those were not his ashes alone but they were sacred. He remembered that he was usually together with one French and two other British officers.

ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING " 'For us the search seemed ended. when a report reached us that Sereni had been seen alive in the concentration camp at Mauthausen. would appear at the office bright and early to greet the first-comers and shame the others. Soon after his earliest appearance in America. I determined not to go home to clean up but to get the rest of my sleep on a bench in the office. Austria. Even those who lived with him at that famous Bet Hehalutz on Riverside Drive probably never knew when he awoke. We all 193 . he would sail through texts like a swift Italian breeze. as I recall. I never did find out when he arrived. I came back from a trip out of town in the wee hours of the morning. he. it became a current story that Sereni spoke the best broken English anyone had ever heard.M. as far as that goes. but to make sure. only a few months ago. and there was no trace of him whatsoever. Whatever the language. Another blow to my own pride was the way he went through the Hebrew press-or any other reading matter. I woke up. There is no longer any doubt. I had been rather vain of my speed in reading but Sereni was insufferably superior. going through the Eretz Yisrael press. We who worked with him in the office of Hehalutz were consumed with envy and despair at his incredible energy and tirelessness. One day. he left an indelible impression. Apparently he never slept except for forty winks occasionally on buses and on railroad coaches-and every morning when he was in New York. we went out there and got permission from the Russian commandant of nearby Linz to visit the place. In this way I hoped to find out when Enzo did come in.' " To those who knew Enzo there is no need to define our loss. But there is no one there today but a number of Russian troops who are billeted there. to find Sereni sitting opposite me at his desk. between 7:30 and 8:00 A. We were skeptical because some Brigade boys had been there around that time and had said nothing about it. Everywhere he went. I remember.

and a strong sense of the direction in which he wished to go. but one might even say a daredevil. perhaps. in conversation. which set him apart from many comrades was that in certain things. according to repute. Others smuggled Jewish money out of Nazi Germany but I am sure no one ever did it with as much assurance and enjoyment as Sereni. of course. a fighter in a certain sense. Sereni enjoyed many elements of ultimate security which enabled him to be not only daring. Then afterwards. In fact. He threw himself with unlimited devotion-perhaps the proper word is abandoninto the cause he wished to serve. I was a witness to the same phenomenon here. prominent Roman Jewish family. He never counted costs-one of the things. 194 . I noted in the comments on Sereni's death. he always knew something about the material we had just covered which had escaped our more plodding attention-and never could we find anything he had missed. He had a firm viewpoint. efficiently marked to indicate the essential items for digesting or writing up. They were inclined to worry about his most innocent proposal for fear of some ingenious trap. It was not only the Germans with their gruendlichkeit who were uneasy at his mental athletics. in all his dangerous missions for the Histadrut. Sereni was. which have recently appeared in the Eretz Yisrael press. but after a halfhour with a huge batch of literature. that the German youth-Enzo had a great share in the creation of Hehalutz in Hitler Germany during the early years-were equally flabbergasted at Sereni's mental speed. he had less need than they to count costs.IN MEMORIAM harbored dark suspicions about how thoroughly he had read. the flashing play of his wit and thought. A scion of a rather wealthy. his paradoxes and rapid-fire patter. with roots in Italy as far back as 70 A. and with assured status in the academic and professional society of contemporary Rome. Sereni would be able to deposit it all on my desk. Sereni was so clever that slower minds distrusted him. even made them rather suspicious.D.

It is true that he used his opponents' lower resistance to fire deliberately. Opponents often mistook his vehemence for vindictiveness. At last they discovered the prison where he was kept and were permitted to see him. gave him another formidable advantage in debate which only increased the confusion and unfounded suspicions of many opponents. In spite of a frantic search they could not find Sereni until midnight. was almost fantastically reflected in his volatile whims and witticisms. and they could not get him to leave until he had made a few last points. After a while she found Prinz and he was released. They found him in the midst of a lively discussion with his guards. Prinz's wife learned of the affair and tore the town apart trying to locate the two and obtain their release. In the most furious argument. the product of a scientifically-trained mind. He was also capable of using an argument largely for its effect. Sereni remained detached and capable of appreciating an opposing view.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The same lusty combativeness marked his fights for his ideas within the Histadrut. never were they more wrong. This. He was indeed a man whom an opponent had to know to love. Rabbi Joachim Prinz tells this story of Sereni. which it seems to me must represent an unsurpassed peak in Sereniana: Prinz and Sereni one day were both pulled in by the Gestapo in the course of a routine raid on Hehalutz quarters. because in the most opposing statements he could appreciate the grains of truth. Sereni was basically cool. He boiled rapidly but only on the surface. 195 . I can well believe that he sustained an intense mental activity in his last days at Dachau. indeed. He was capable of the most astounding self-contradictions and mental flexibility. In the utmost heat of contention. covering the theory and practice of both German Nazism and Italian fascism. Sereni's fundamental open-mindedness.

" Said Grodzensky: "Do you believe in Marxism. I'm a first-rate expert at arguing Zionism from a Marxist basis. and we never knew how seriously to take them. meant either deferring such solidarity to an indefinite future if one took the Mapai view. He also noted the basic and obvious fact that one element in Arab-Jewish conflict was the great difference in the economic level of the two communities. a simpleton. He felt that talking of economic solidarity between the Arab and Jewish worker while keeping the Jewish economic sector at a price and wage level far higher than the Arab's. raise the standard of living by cooperative methods of consumption and mutual aid. so to speak. Sereni said: "Excellent! You know. Practically rubbing his hands with glee. Shlomo admitted that this was the case. or simple selfdelusion if one took the Hashomer Hatzair view. then?" Outraged.IN MEMORIAM Shlomo Grodzensky tells this of his first encounter with Enzo: He met a sturdy little Italian. of course. He therefore argued that the Jewish worker must have the idealism to come down to the Arab level in order to meet him and. of course. Enzo shot back: "What do you think I am. Reluctantly. Enzo was always a strong adherent of the idea of a Jewish-Arab collaboration. But he was an extreme realist as well. experimental hypotheses. and often went to practically fantastic lengths of logic in this matter. on the theory that the Arab's must be raised to the Jewish level. What particularly upset the assurance of some of us was that 196 . just off the boat. were in reality tentative statements. I remember when he was in this country. to believe in such vulgar banalities?" But there are other instances I remember of Enzo's elasticity of ideas which cast quite a different light on the whole matter. who at once asked whether it were true that there was a current vogue for Marxism in America. in Sereni's mind. he used to argue that only in the framework of the Arab Federation would it be possible to come to an understanding with the Arab on Eretz Yisrael. All these.

as I learned. But this was no final stand for Sereni. and what he thought. it could not stop him from breaking the rule against walking through certain officially designated dangerous areas between Rehovot and Givat Brenner. he acted. value in his life-course. suffered its casualties like any other rural settlement.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sereni delighted in the forceful paradox as a method of presentation and loved to shock his youthful audiences out of their received doctrines. Sereni knew very well what the costs were of Arab terrorism to the Jews. It was brought up in discussion that bloodshed between groups had historically tended to implant mutual hatred that long outlasted the fighting. Even the most fleeting adherence to an idea. the first few times he had gone out without a rifle. Sereni argued that the disturbances of 1936-38 were a good thing in the history of Arab-Jewish relations. even to a notion of provisional. during the period of my own stay in Eretz Yisrael (1939). As a member of a kibbutz which. When I came to Givat Brenner. though the kibbutz would not assign him to stand watch. He would never wait for a bus to take him home and he scoffed at the danger from Arab 197 . Be he was considering the hypothesis that no basic change in Arab-Jewish relations was possible until the Arabs were convinced that the Jews were unalterably bent upon establishing themselves in Eretz Yisrael and that their will was a factor to be reckoned with. entailed serious consequences in action for Sereni. But these hypotheses were also formative elements in his own thoughts. However. I was astonished to hear that Enzo was not allowed to stand his turn at guard duty because. if only in order to make them think on their own. notably the British-Boer case. Sereni had obviously considered that factor already for he promptly replied that there were also instances. I remember an instance by which I was particularly impressed: In America. one might even say heuristic. where peace and mutual forbearance had ensued between groups after a decisive measuring of strength.

I remember Sereni loved to propound this question: "Tell me. Later. confronting unforeseen and portentous immensities. But he took his bearings by love. bravely but with solemnity. he would acclaim you a Zionist. moving mountains of apathy and mental torpor with a logical witticism. Products of fascism. In the recent picture. deracinated Jews-yet under Sereni's ministrations their success as kibbutz members was. and another claimed her-her husband. for this reason he would often mock us by declaring himself nearer a Christian than a Jew in religious sensibility. and I can attest to it. He always had a childlike look. 198 . approaching forty. romantic strain of love in Sereni. This was the man who.IN MEMORIAM neighbors whom he had known. He told me that having had long conversations in America with Hayim Greenberg. There was high seriousness in the devotion with which he cared for the small group of Italian halutzim whom he had assembled there in 1939. In a late picture taken in Eretz Yisrael and published in the memorial issue of Hapoel Hatzair. No. volunteered for sabotage and underground work behind the lines in Italy. childlike. full of fire and sparkle. taking delight in the explosive effects of his intellectual gunfire. We saw him as the "happy warrior" child. ~ he looks like a lost child. outstanding and phenomenally smooth. when I spoke to him. Far deeper than his intellectual constructions was a deep. let us say-would you give her up? " If you answered. Sereni presents an altogether different aspect from what was familiar to us. he had swung towards pacifism. But what was it which put those omens of fear into Sereni's eyes in his latest pictures? We can only guess. Solemnity was a look I often saw in him at Givat Brenner. He was completely aware of it. I learned the basic intellectual reasons for these new meshugassen of Sereni's. if I may abuse a phrase. if you loved a woman.

to America-he invested his money in the Histadrut. German Jews. was a veteran in Habonim and its predecessor. his own kibbutz. He had invested far more than a lifetime of labor. his friends. he contributed inestimably to the formulation of the program and policies of Habonim. was one of those who contributed to the conception and development of Habonim. though only thirty-one when he died. the Kibbutz Hameuhad. a member of the National Executive. which he barely knew. even Italian historiography. and the Italian people. Lithuanians and Germans alike. the Yiddish language. his metaphysical moorings. and never had he failed to realize what he risked. but to take new strength from the spirit he displayed. He used to say that everywhere he went-to Eretz Yisrael. we see that it was able to put a reflection of fear even into those eyes. he had invested his love. Mapai. the Young Poale Zion Alliance. to learn to mourn the death of a comrade. December. Irv. to learn to meet the inevitable situations of adult life. and later the Merkaz. his own home and family.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING These things he loved: Italy-Italian art. Jews-Eastern European Jews. Givat Brenner. Ben Halpern Furrows. are shaped and influenced by those few who conceive and develop the ideas which give it birth. From his latest picture. to Germany. 199 . We know from writings that reach us from Eretz Yisrael how deeply the split in the Mapai affected Sereni. Irv Sternberg. it must begin to accept the responsibilities of maturity. As a movement grows up. as in the life of an individual. One of the first organizers. the Histadrut. who died early in June. Italian philosophy. 1945 IRV STERNBERG The early days in the life of a movement.

long regret his untimely loss to us. At the founding convention of Habonim in Buffalo. when he was elected on the Poale Zion list as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress. Irv nevertheless translated his Socialist Zionism into his personal life. seek new methods of educating others in it. and all of these he applied in his work for Habonim. conceive new ideas. Irv was a haver with diverse and intense interests. were reflected in those things he wrote. Habonim will remember Irv. the background that molded all his discussions of our problems. He combined his deep love for the printed word and the cooperative way of life in the establishment of a cooperative printing shop for Habonim in Philadelphia. In 1939 Irv received some measure of reward for the work he had done so devotedly for so long. His exceptional ability in artistic handwork led him to organize Habonim crafts groups. the type of material he assembled when he served as editor of Haboneh last year. his passion for the unique. His knowledge of the essence of the movement led him to create programs. and long be grateful for the share he contributed to Habonim.IN MEMORIAM A halutz who knew that because of his serious illness he could never realize life in Eretz Yisrael. July. 1944 200 . Furrows. His love of literature and art. those who were with him will remember Irv's insistence that we not water down the ideas of the Young Poale Zion Alliance but make them the basis for Habonim and devise the methods by which this new movement of younger people might be taught the ideas of the Poale Zion: Self-realization as halutzim in their homeland and the eventual achievement of Socialism and a more productive Jewish life throughout the world.

We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them. to accept the task of the halutz. And I can say with a determination which I have never felt before that we must not let the chain of halutzim be broken. 1944 201 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING JOHANAN TARTAKOWER "Johanan Tartakower was killed in action in the European Theater of Operations on September 29th. He was one of our best haverim. lest the Jewish people never find their future. I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences. so that the vision of which Johanan was symbolic shall find new strength and fervor. I can only wonder at the empty space that is left in my life and try to fill it with memories of Johanan and of the days we spent at Kvutza. too-that is why these words are meaningless to me. Harry Brumberger Furrows. I shall endeavor to do what my friend Johanan wanted to do-I will try to realize his dreams. 1944. of the dreams we had together of Eretz Yisrael and "our" kibbutz. That is the best tribute I can give him. and I call to all those others who believe as Johanan did to rouse themselves. We must fill the gap." He was my friend. Freedom and peace are meaningless if we are not conscious of their worth and do not accept their responsibilities-and freedom and peace must prevail lest future Johanans shall die. of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh. November.

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