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.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. * * * 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. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. Habonim started an important chapter in its youthful story–youthful and on behalf of youth–that was destined to play a significant role in the psychological struggle which confronted Jewish youth in the fearsome years of hatred and violence that were to follow. 1932. Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world.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. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. * * * The Chay Commission. Aliya and Youth.

Chay Commission 15 .the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. 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. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript. 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. * * * 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.

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

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

The Beginning .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

he got wet.THE BEGINNING this emergency. this experience became a highlight of that camping season. and cold to the marrow. the tents were put up again. The first season of Accord was the proving ground for the concept of a camp run by youth for youth. with the exception of a few. As soon as the sun came out. but by their presence. We emerged from the dining room and began a snake dance to the tune of Chopin's Funeral March. Many have made their mark in Eretz Yisrael as chalutzim and leaders in the Labor Movement. and we were all sleepy. All the campers. One vividly recalls the morning after-the sky was overcast. and it proved that a camp of this kind lends itself to the pur- 28 . 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. But this did not diminish the spirit of those who remained behind. especially the haverot. the brook had overflowed its bank and the water covered the bridge. 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. 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. By the time the exodus began. The advice of the good people around to break up camp was not heeded. wet. In retrospect. were transferred to a nearby hotel. Mention should be made of the contribution to the camping experience of Rachel Siegel and Leah Brown. who not only saw to it that the food was adequate and wholesome. However. the cots and all the possessions of the campers were put out to dry. The few that remained on the camp grounds tried as best they could to sleep on the tables in the dining room. on their backs to the other side. It pointed the way toward self-discipline and self-government. The taller and older chaverim had to carry the younger ones. our clothing was soaked.

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

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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


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

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

of exciting days and romantic nights.the Labor Zionist Youth. of work and love and devotion. 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.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT duct and sustain its own camp. which was mainly older. 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 . 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. to other movement assignments. I believe that Tel Natan failed because the leadership in the mahaneh. memories of a glorious. Kinneret. and left a void. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. and a feeling of deep regret that the monument we began to erect in memory of Nate Kanter in 1947 was never finished. Wil Schoomer. This was a new idea. names such Tel Hai. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael. of singing and dancing. It was a concept of a place where young Labor Zionists would build their own camp with their own hands from the ground up. some photographs. This void. 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. Yad Ari. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. a bold. or moved on to other personal activity. innocuous name. created by a slowdown in activity during the war. was probably the main cause of failure. went on aliya.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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. Soft winds rock The trees. 1937 142 .NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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