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.


but there was nothing inevitable about any of it. anchored in its summer camps. The Habonim Dror youth movement. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success. It all started when the Young . teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else. They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’. generating the passion. The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life. feminist and Middle East peace movements. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience. 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. But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later.” Today we know that they were indeed making history. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. Throughout the decades. civil rights.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. From that initial summer.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. 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. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . * * * 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. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. Aliya and Youth. whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. 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.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. * * * The Chay Commission. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. 1932.

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. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. Chay Commission 15 .the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. * * * 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. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well. Bert Goldstein Chairman. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript.

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

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

The Beginning .


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

There were before us the grandeur of the West. In some homes. 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. its lakes. the stirrings of the vast labor masses . it was important to know the reason. Some homes were "Bundist. the beauty of the Appalachians.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. the breadth of the Hudson. and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores. Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING dignity and freedom. its pioneers. the awe of Niagara." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. art. rivers. 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 life of America was our life: the jazz. We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal. and oceans. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman. the new theater. 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. the new forms of the dance. its mountains and plains. and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. vivid with the hope of the liberation of the Jew. Russian revolu- 21 . the night club in Harlem. the charm of the South. Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts. this tiny group out of the millions of American Jews? Again and again at the Camp Kvutza. and music. Or again. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. the politics of the country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent. 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. 1957 29 . Jacob Lemberger. held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia. history. and problems of the organization. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. to introduce tzofiut. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living.

Growth of an Idea .


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

and the consideration for the welfare of others which years of preaching could never develop. The camp setting provides the opportunity to help the camper increase his range of interests. develop socialized attitudes and patterns of behavior. meet temporarily. 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. cannot be complete without the Kvutza. knowledge and skills. Thus our education. one does not meet with another. Jewish camps conducted under communal or semi-communal auspices have sought. What are meetings? They signify that all present have come from different directions. to provide 33 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING teem of others. The objective is not only to provide a change of physical environment and healthful recreation. and then all return to their respective different places. but from following those paths in common. In the Kvutza. one lives with another. to enrich his personality. 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. does not arise from common outlooks on the paths to be taken. and in general. in addition. 1937 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING Modern educational camping has increasingly emphasized experience in creative group living and learning. which aims at creating an individual who will not only have definite ideals but also realize them. self-reliance. Ben Zion Ilan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparations for Shabbat go on all day.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING of observance which will give meaning and significance to the holidays. tables are covered with white table cloths. the evening closes with folk dancing in the open or in the cleared dining room. The use of the traditional Kiddush has spread in recent years. After the meal the singing normally continues. the dining room is furnished with fresh flowers and ferns. Considerable success has been achieved in this area. symptomatic of the swing back from an earlier rejection in radical Jewish circles of all that smacks of the old and "outworn. The Friday evening at Camp Kvutza is the highlight of the week. being original. sports and swimming for longer periods than usual. Some experiments have been made with developing new forms for Saturday morning and with the Havdala 41 . they have drawn those which lit particularly the spirit of Shabbat. 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. and when this is done the first hint may well appear in the blessing of the candles. and from their extensive repertoire of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. The ceremonies may begin at flag-lowering. and which will be emotionally and aesthetically satisfying. Specific themes may be used as the foci of the program. and continue in the dining room before and after the meal. These ceremonials. There may be also a story or brief talk on a subject related to Shabbat. and a special menu is prepared. all work projects are in abeyance. laundry is done." Groups have prepared special readings from the Bible and the Prophets. discussions of current events. reading circles. Invariably. give to the observance a spontaneity which is so often lacking where the traditional orthodox customs are practiced. with or without choral group to provide direction. At the same time. The day is characterized by more leisure. Camp is cleaned up. On Saturday.

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

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

Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. 1943 44 . rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. 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. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. 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. Abraham Cohen. Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is more powerful than city propaganda. 1944 59 . The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. All these questions must eventually be resolved. lies the road to the establishment of a really alert Labor Zionist youth. That non-members should attend Kvutza. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. is naturally desirable. I. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. for one. 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. Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles. more powerful than Hebrew schools. Murray Weingarten.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim. In general. 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. In the establishment of a network of twice and thrice the number of Kvutzot we now have.

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

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

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

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

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


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


The monopoly we once had in the field of creative Jewish living" is no longer ours either. ranging from agency camps. They visited the cities. in an article entitled. . 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. The children were started on this imaginary trip by applying. The cement is ready.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING their children to our camps. for example.. one can find a strikingly familiar description of a day at camp in the March 14. Sankel. . "At a Work Camp of the American Jewish Society for Service. 1954. Two boys and a girl start to saw wood for the flooring of the house they are erecting .. from the point of view of progressive educational techniques and values. our camps are no longer unique. the parents themselves. issue of The Reconstructionist. He must ask for help. Still others are digging a ditch to lay the sewer pipe. For instance. Here.. The camp individualist. This is a key job. Today. 69 . cannot do the job alone. The foundation is about to be laid. " The day's work is beginning . to private camps charging high tuition rates. Emanuel." This could be a description of a very successful work project at a Habonim camp. Now the plumb line and the level go into action. Others are busily mixing mortar and cement for the foundation of the house." by Hyman R. Every year. and shared by. such as the one described above. for visas at the Israel Consul's office.. Cooperation is essential. It is actually a description of a typical "work camp" of which there are many. with its emphasis on the dignity of labor and cooperation among men. 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.

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we still made time for our cultural programs. I guess I haven’t the space to tell about the revolution at Tel Hai. all responded to the emergency. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. the truck–or even midnight swims. 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. Saadia Gelb. We survived the event of course. 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. As one man. 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. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York. 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. Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. 1942 86 . Well. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. Then you’ll see how much spirit and how much program we had in the early days of our Kvutza. Celeritas. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. safe summer resort.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

97 . A madrichim camp was held after the regular season. modern dance. This was the year of the "flexible schedule. the greatest stunt ever at Kinneret. Dvora Frankel was rosh in 1949. with Dave Katz as his right-hand man. Haim Stopak was rosh. Detroit's United Hebrew Schools provided a number of full scholarships and there was a large enrollment. was rosh in 1946. drama. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew. Murray Weingarten. In 1950. art. Joey named his quarters. and the discussion program centered about the False Messiahs. in honor of sixteen-month-old Donny. In 1951. There was an ambitious work program mainly centered about maintenance-there were no new projects. Doodle Horowitz led Kinneret in its first year as a Hebrewspeaking camp. The season gushed with culture. the Detroit United Hebrew Schools said that more Hebrew was learned by their students that year than any other. and Evvy Weingarten made her famous leap from rooftop to Ann Arbor hospital. Abba (Cherniak) Tzuriel was rosh. Of the season.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING annual brick to the storage cellar and spent the rest of the season looking for work. 1947 was the year of Joey Criden. Camp doubled its enrollment on weekends-an ambitious weekend program. Several more cabins were built. Pipeline HaNegev. including many younger children." and also a year of strong emphasis on scoutcraft. 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. There were many midnight "Arab attacks. In 1948. That was the year of Doris Dombey's bouncing bed." and Blue-White Day was distinguished by its blood and gore.

1955 was Kinneret's last year. Chicago and Detroit combined efforts in staff and campers. It was unique in having complete facilities. but things picked up. Jerry Katz. and the last year of Kinneret closed with a Bonim Seminar. In 1954. Detroit had had a very successful year and camp registration was up. managed to make money even on only twenty campers. who was one of the most sincere and dedicated members of the Labor Zionist movement and represented the best that is found in Habonim. baby carriages. Harriet Gelfond. and assorted spouses and progeny. Nathan Kanter. Esther Goldberg. 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. A new truck was purchased. 1957 TEL NATAN Tel Natan was the Camp Kvutza for the St. again including younger children. Tel Natan was named for our dear haver. Dani Kerman returned in 1953. Dani Kerman was rosh and Kinneret was still a Hebrew-speaking camp. Abbie Haklay was rosh. Prior to opening. 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 .HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 1952 opened with a low registration. Seymour Salinger. Tel Natan. and spent a day of labor at Kinneret. 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. Louis and Cincinnati mahanot in 1947 and 1948. but a marvelous business manager. a group of “old-timers” packed box-lunches. There was no big construction projects because of the lack of people. Geli Gelfond was rosh.

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

HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT duct and sustain its own camp. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. It was a concept of a place where young Labor Zionists would build their own camp with their own hands from the ground up. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael. some photographs. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. was probably the main cause of failure. 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. and left a void.the Labor Zionist Youth. and a feeling of deep regret that the monument we began to erect in memory of Nate Kanter in 1947 was never finished. went on aliya. a bold. Yad Ari. 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 . thrilling one for our haverim of those early 100 . Kinneret. of exciting days and romantic nights. 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. This void. Wil Schoomer. or moved on to other personal activity. 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. These are names that really bring back memories of our youth. And yet this name holds for us twenty-five years of memories-memories of other camps with other names. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. of work and love and devotion. of singing and dancing. memories of a glorious. This was a new idea. which was mainly older. to other movement assignments. innocuous name.

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

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

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

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

Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages. and the arts. 105 . games. as well as some that were specifically camp activities. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history. literary trials. During the entire period. 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. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. Situated.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen." Through lectures. models. on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate. was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. discussions. Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. the several activities directly associated with it. 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. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. as the camp is. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

forty strong.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING peg's first Kvutza would be held at Calof's cottage in Gimli on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. was at the outskirts of Gimli. There was a church of roughhewn stone authentic enough to have been transplanted from the old village back home. There is a large RCAF airbase nearby. When David and Sully arrived-no matter what the time of day-the whole camp. about two blocks from the lake and close by a public wooded area. The camp site. high-topped Ford that made the weekly 123 . the staff was small and hybrid. but special cheers were always reserved for the venerable Bar Mitzva. Gimli has changed considerably in recent years. Calof's cottage. The cottage itself was a one-story wooden building partly enclosed by an L-shaped screened porch. Mrs. Appropriate to the camp site. neither in appearance nor in the quarter-acre plot it occupied. Shimin. He used to drive up with David Biderman. The curious campers welcomed the distinguished guests. 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. There were some summer cottages in 1941. Aliyah Kare was dean of arts and crafts and second in command of the kitchen. The business manager who commuted on weekends was Sully Spector. and the town itself is honeycombed with the cottages of Winnipeg vacationers. I was imported from New York to be rosh and factotum. special friend of the court. blue-eyed sons and daughters of Iceland dominated the village streets. Blond. a black. a bright-eyed youngster who was under age for camp. Kasedy was cook-and a good oneand as a special dispensation she was permitted to bring along her son. but the town had not yet lost the Icelandic character of its original settlers. Geulah Green was the registered nurse and lifeguard. It was in no way distinguished from other cottages in the neighborhood. turned out to greet 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. quizzing each on his home ground Nielson in a tractor shed. The tents could not go up without the mayor's approval. I ran around like Chicken Licken taking a census. I dashed from one councilman to another. in his shirtsleeves trimming a hedge. That tent was not simply pitched. The camp had the usual trials and triumphs: rains that came and tents that fell. Thors in a garage. and for Winnipeg Habonim it symbolized the indomitable halutz spirit. The Ford often faltered but it never failed.-until the roll call was completed and breathlessly I could report the affirmative vote to the mayor. So. With the tents up and the campers covered. The constable sent me to the mayor. That day I had a job on my hands. the mayor. The advantages in the setup were priceless: No one could be out of earshot of the discussions.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT pilgrimage. it was pitched according to law .democratic Icelandic law. the advance crew of three set to work pitching tents on the Calof lawn. It is unlikely that campers anywhere lived more closely than the campers at Gimli. One day before the opening. etc. the season got under way. Even the cook in the kitchen could not escape them. Olafson in the general store. 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. 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. camp fires at the beach. most assuredly that would have been its fate. parents who were torn between their loyalty to Labor Zionism and their concern for the welfare of their child- 124 . sent me to garner the opinions of the five councilmen. tired kids.

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

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

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

which are to have priority in the next few years. the haverim who went to Ste. there was a stable (and it still stands today) which housed horses. the little creek behind the kitchen that was our ice box. many haverim spent wonderful summers at Kvutza and at seminars. the camp season will extend to four weeks for the first time in our history. In 1957. not knowing that one day it was destined to house Habonim. chasing hornets. the many times the smoke stack shifted a bit and smoke was heavy and thick? Who can forget the overnight 128 . 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. digging a new garbage pit. Max Langer. There in Prefontaine. Plans for the development of the site include especially development of kitchen facilities and playground. and sort of forgot to come back. those who got many blisters chopping firewood to keep the stove going red hot all summer. Agathe to get axes sharpened. the great baseball games at the playing field near the tents. Who can forget whitewashing the kitchen (to cover last summer's soot) and dining room until it was sparkling in the sunlight. and then off to another direction for another pit for another purpose. trudging through the swamp connecting the pipeline bringing water to camp. 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.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT to us and the local parents and seniors. 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. those who suffered afterwards from lime burn.

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

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

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

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

1940 133 . the garden should develop. A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim. and here is a grand opportunity. 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. Other projects can be postponed from day to day.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. Little by little. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene. and labor is of little significance if it does not go hand in hand with a desire for beauty and freshness. Danny Ginsburg. In short. It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years. one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets. Flowers and landscaping are also of great significance. 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. gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully. but postponing work on the garden spells failure. however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


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.NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall. Soft winds rock The trees. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Down by the kitchen we have ping-pong. Now bed and sleep at last. The stream goes by. we have free time. and following supper. and the waterfall competes with Dave's voice as he reads to us the past week's diary and news from the other camps. A "Candid Camera Fiend" or two stay behind to record on film our march down the hill. Thursday. For Shabbat we snap pictures of our haverim in Habonim shirts and white shorts. 150 . Now to our tents after singing and dancing. and Dave R. we listen to The Cookooricoo as read by Avram. Reading circles are the only activities this afternoon. Back by the tents and joined by the kitchen committee. are on guard duty so all hopes for a peaceful night are futile.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. 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. Still gathered on the rocks. Ready for supper. Friday. but-Miriam L. we watch Mutzie present Barry with a diploma from Fibber's College. besides clean-up. our tents and persons spotless. we have arts and crafts and scoutcraft. and preparation for a debate-" Resolved: That Socialism as such will solve the Jewish problem. 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." Today the equipment for all sorts of sports is spread over the camp. July 14th There are discussions this morning on the trials in Russia. After lunch. It seems a perfect antidote for insomnia. while at the top of the hill are horseshoe and deck tennis games.

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


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 will be required. however. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. Yes. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur. 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. And so. 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. 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. For example. And now. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. after everyone else is in bed. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation. gossip. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich. dear prospective madrich. And finally. you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. On the whole. there are the bonim. Likewise. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. and if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. sleep. to attend a staff meeting.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. that is. if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology. and go on night watch.

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

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

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

When it doesn't come to us (in the form of rain). I'll have to use yours. I almost forgot to mention the pants that go with the shirts. a cap. 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. we don't always hide from water. Have a pair of hard-soled shoes for hiking and a pair of soft-soled ones for play and work. yet you can never tell. because I'm warning you. One item that should be carefully chosen is shoes. 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?"). So don't forget these important items. bless me. and a bathrobe. You'll need a sweater. and warm pajamas. a warm jacket. we go to it (in the form of a swimming pool). 164 . Mind you. Besides. don't forget your pants. you'll need a raincoat and boots. I'm not going to lend you mine. and FUN! But in order to get around in presentable shape. But we don't let that interfere with our activities. That's just to remind you that you'll need a bathing suit. Yet. We have indoor games in the dining hall. Brrr! Nights are sometimes cold in Kvutza. Shorts or slacks or anything that goes under that general heading by a stretch of the imagination will do. Oh. it can rain even in Kvutza. And don't forget the shoe polish. By all means. in which case. haverim. So you might as well take along some sheets and warm blankets. Perhaps you'll feel like sleeping for some strange reason one night.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. reading and study groups.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it seems to me. impossible to console. If there is meaning in the memory of our haverim and of their services. where he made his most specific contributions to the life of Habonim. January. 177 . his future was inextricably bound up with the highest hopes of the movement. he would talk of simple and prosaic tasks. At first he saw one important objective ahead -that was the establishment of a real Jewish institution in the heart of the American scene. That." wrote one of his friends from the Midwest. Saadia Gelb Furrows. and he would finish by saying that.. He would talk of the needs for another Kvutza and another mahaneh and of dogged perseverance in organizational work. this kind of obstinacy would succeed. developing. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING If Ben were here and could talk to us. He had become widely known and loved-he was no longer Danny Ginsburg of Detroit. His role in Habonim for more than eight years is invaluable. and ever expanding . 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. in the long run. and that those after us will not falter. that we carry forward that struggle today. "To understand Danny. 1947 DANNY GINSBURG Once again the battlefront has claimed the life of one of our haverim. 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. is the fitting memorial to Ben Cherner. he was Danny Ginsburg of Habonim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in conversation. efficiently marked to indicate the essential items for digesting or writing up. 194 . prominent Roman Jewish family. Sereni enjoyed many elements of ultimate security which enabled him to be not only daring. Sereni would be able to deposit it all on my desk. He had a firm viewpoint. he had less need than they to count costs. I noted in the comments on Sereni's death. They were inclined to worry about his most innocent proposal for fear of some ingenious trap. with roots in Italy as far back as 70 A. of course. a fighter in a certain sense. according to repute. the flashing play of his wit and thought. his paradoxes and rapid-fire patter. even made them rather suspicious. He threw himself with unlimited devotion-perhaps the proper word is abandoninto the cause he wished to serve. and with assured status in the academic and professional society of contemporary Rome. 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 never counted costs-one of the things. which have recently appeared in the Eretz Yisrael press. It was not only the Germans with their gruendlichkeit who were uneasy at his mental athletics. Sereni was so clever that slower minds distrusted him. Sereni was. In fact. but after a halfhour with a huge batch of literature. A scion of a rather wealthy.IN MEMORIAM harbored dark suspicions about how thoroughly he had read.D. in all his dangerous missions for the Histadrut. perhaps. but one might even say a daredevil. and a strong sense of the direction in which he wished to go. 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. 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. I was a witness to the same phenomenon here. Then afterwards. which set him apart from many comrades was that in certain things.

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

in Sereni's mind. raise the standard of living by cooperative methods of consumption and mutual aid. and we never knew how seriously to take them. or simple selfdelusion if one took the Hashomer Hatzair view. I remember when he was in this country." Said Grodzensky: "Do you believe in Marxism. of course. I'm a first-rate expert at arguing Zionism from a Marxist basis. meant either deferring such solidarity to an indefinite future if one took the Mapai view. Enzo was always a strong adherent of the idea of a Jewish-Arab collaboration. What particularly upset the assurance of some of us was that 196 . and often went to practically fantastic lengths of logic in this matter.IN MEMORIAM Shlomo Grodzensky tells this of his first encounter with Enzo: He met a sturdy little Italian. were in reality tentative statements. Shlomo admitted that this was the case. just off the boat. 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. experimental hypotheses. Enzo shot back: "What do you think I am. Reluctantly. All these. of course. then?" Outraged. 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. But he was an extreme realist as well. who at once asked whether it were true that there was a current vogue for Marxism in America. Sereni said: "Excellent! You know. 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. so to speak. 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. Practically rubbing his hands with glee. a simpleton. He therefore argued that the Jewish worker must have the idealism to come down to the Arab level in order to meet him and. on the theory that the Arab's must be raised to the Jewish level.

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

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

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

were reflected in those things he wrote. His love of literature and art. At the founding convention of Habonim in Buffalo.IN MEMORIAM A halutz who knew that because of his serious illness he could never realize life in Eretz Yisrael. Irv nevertheless translated his Socialist Zionism into his personal life. In 1939 Irv received some measure of reward for the work he had done so devotedly for so long. when he was elected on the Poale Zion list as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress. July. Habonim will remember Irv. His exceptional ability in artistic handwork led him to organize Habonim crafts groups. 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. his passion for the unique. 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. conceive new ideas. and all of these he applied in his work for Habonim. the background that molded all his discussions of our problems. His knowledge of the essence of the movement led him to create programs. 1944 200 . long regret his untimely loss to us. Irv was a haver with diverse and intense interests. Furrows. the type of material he assembled when he served as editor of Haboneh last year. and long be grateful for the share he contributed to Habonim. seek new methods of educating others in it.

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful