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.


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

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

but the campers still wanted to be together. . Gordonia. Camp had become the heart of the movement experience. the Young Poale Zion Alliance dissolved itself and became the senior division of its own offshoot. Two new ones were opened in 1935. rallying for Soviet Jews and California farm-workers in 1975. yielded for many youngsters a set of lifelong friendships and a powerful movement loyalty. 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. youngsters developed intimate bonds with each other and the group. Those bonds and those lessons. it was clear that camp was no longer just an adjunct to the year-round Habonim educational program. resulting in a powerful brew that was stronger than any of its components. 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. scoutcraft. marching for civil rights in 1957. Living for weeks away from their families in a community of their peers. The new organization grew quickly. Summer might end. too. By the mid-1940s. many Habonim members showed up—protesting outside British consulates in 1946. Habonim. And when a few Habonim members showed up for a major public event. in Michigan and Quebec. Three more were added in 1939 and more the following summer and the summer after that. and so they spent their weekends going to ken meetings and regional seminars to see their friends. And the camp program was unique. but on the movement and everything it did. renewed each summer and deepened over time. devotion to Israel and the ideals of kibbutz pioneering. By 1938 it was strong enough to take over a smaller Labor Zionist youth group. Two years after that.600 campers. that had been struggling for a decade to find its footing.the Habonim education program around character-building.

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

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


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

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

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

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. Chay Commission 15 . We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript. * * * Twenty-five years of Habonim camping will undoubtedly afford mixed feelings of reminiscence and of nostalgia to those who have experienced the pleasure and the vicissitudes of summers within the orbit of these camps. Bert Goldstein Chairman. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering.

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

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

The Beginning .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jacob Katzman and Leo Krown at Accord.

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

Ready for overnight hike, Accord, 1936.

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

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

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

Washday at Accord.

Outdoor discussion, Accord, 1935.

Campers, Accord, 1935.

Waterfalls, Accord, N.Y.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was to be its last chance. and twenty-two scholarships were awarded to Amal by various Hebrew school systems. the camper response was more encouraging. In recognition of Amal's promise. We hoped to create a camp modeled along the lines of our other camps. During the winter of 1949-1950. Hebrew educators from many sections of America visited Amal during the season and were im- 138 . We ended our second season with the realization that Amal had proved itself.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Haverim seriously questioned reopening Amal in 1949. the Merkaz assigned Tel Meir. a performance of Yitzhak Lamdan's Masada was witnessed and applauded by sixty parents and guests. On August 9th. As evidence of our coming of age. Amal's partisans were soon active on all fronts. Several Jewish educational institutions were induced to award scholarships to Amal. to its fledgling Hebrew camp as its permanent site. and the national budget could not again sustain a financial loss such as it had in Amal's first season. They felt that it had failed. And. the number of sponsoring Jewish educational institutions increased from two to six. we succeeded. The season began with forty-five campers who were determined to make it a success. there were but dim hopes of registering an adequate number of campers. to a large extent. Nor did our work go unnoticed in the Jewish community. This time. This past summer we confidently opened the season with sixty haverim. an ambitious program was prepared for the public. It was no longer an experiment. 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. Strong arguments were advanced for giving up Amal-our personnel shortage was acute. Prominent Hebrew educators were solicited to add their names to our list of sponsors. in Connecticut. It was therefore with great trepidation that the Merkaz finally decided in favor of reopening the camp.

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


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.NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall. 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. 1937 142 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. we watch Mutzie present Barry with a diploma from Fibber's College. 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. For Shabbat we snap pictures of our haverim in Habonim shirts and white shorts. while at the top of the hill are horseshoe and deck tennis games. Ready for supper. Now bed and sleep at last. we listen to The Cookooricoo as read by Avram. 150 . After lunch. besides clean-up. Friday. we have arts and crafts and scoutcraft. Back by the tents and joined by the kitchen committee." Today the equipment for all sorts of sports is spread over the camp. and preparation for a debate-" Resolved: That Socialism as such will solve the Jewish problem. Now to our tents after singing and dancing. Reading circles are the only activities this afternoon. we have free time.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL much napping is done under the pine and apple trees by those campers who would catch up on their lost sleep. and the waterfall competes with Dave's voice as he reads to us the past week's diary and news from the other camps. It seems a perfect antidote for insomnia. but-Miriam L. Still gathered on the rocks. our tents and persons spotless. and following supper. Thursday. and Dave R. 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. July 14th There are discussions this morning on the trials in Russia. The stream goes by. Down by the kitchen we have ping-pong.

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


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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