This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
Editor DAVID BRESLAU Associate Editors AVRAHAM G. HAKLAY SHIRLEY LASHNER ZELDE KRULEWITZ PINHAS RIMON
© 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.
feminist and Middle East peace movements. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience. Throughout the decades. But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later. They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else.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. but there was nothing inevitable about any of it. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’.” Today we know that they were indeed making history. civil rights. The Habonim Dror youth movement. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home. The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. anchored in its summer camps. From that initial summer. generating the passion. It all started when the Young . 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.
leaders of Young Poale Zion gathered at Accord to discuss the future of their education program. with the help of Young Poale Zion alumna Golda Meir. New York. 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. and the camp’s first advocates faced strong opposition. The founders themselves weren’t entirely sure what they had in mind. they agreed to set aside the radical politics of Poale Zion and build . Chapters were formed here and there. Following days of stormy debate they decided to create a new children’s organization as an autonomous unit within the movement. In the spring of 1933. the young adult wing of the Labor Zionist movement. The new location proved enormously popular. Nothing like it existed anywhere in America. even within their own movement. They hadn’t even settled yet on the name Habonim. and the camp thrived. Many of the senior Labor Zionists were convinced that summer camp meant volley ball and boating. the socialist Zionist pioneers who were rebuilding the land of Israel. for all its uncertainties. The numbers remained small and enthusiasm was low. not living as a commune. They named it Habonim. but the results were dispiriting. That first summer of 1932. The summer camp would eventually provide the missing spark. Painfully. Others argued that the children of working class immigrants. couldn’t afford summer camp. Young Poale Zion had been trying since the 1920s to establish a children’s organization for ten-toeighteen-year-olds. Labor Zionism’s main constituency.Poale Zion Alliance. after a new Labor Zionist scouting organization established in England in 1929. who had settled in Palestine and was now in New York as a shlicha. had been successful enough to merit another round the following year. prosaically named Buds. debating ideology and hauling their own trash. the movement acquired a campsite of its own in Accord. After the 1934 camp season ended.
. The impact of the camp experience could be seen not only on the individual Habonim members. Those bonds and those lessons. but on the movement and everything it did. the Young Poale Zion Alliance dissolved itself and became the senior division of its own offshoot. Habonim. Gordonia. scoutcraft. Two new ones were opened in 1935. And the camp program was unique. 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. yielded for many youngsters a set of lifelong friendships and a powerful movement loyalty. Three more were added in 1939 and more the following summer and the summer after that. devotion to Israel and the ideals of kibbutz pioneering. it was clear that camp was no longer just an adjunct to the year-round Habonim educational program. By 1938 it was strong enough to take over a smaller Labor Zionist youth group. Living for weeks away from their families in a community of their peers. By 1945 Habonim was operating eleven camps across the continent with a total enrollment of some 1. too. Summer might end. By the mid-1940s. The fastest growth was in the summer camps. renewed each summer and deepened over time. many Habonim members showed up—protesting outside British consulates in 1946. The new organization grew quickly. youngsters developed intimate bonds with each other and the group. marching for civil rights in 1957. and so they spent their weekends going to ken meetings and regional seminars to see their friends.600 campers. Camp had become the heart of the movement experience.the Habonim education program around character-building. rallying for Soviet Jews and California farm-workers in 1975. protesting the Vietnam war in 1969. in Michigan and Quebec. And when a few Habonim members showed up for a major public event. Two years after that. but the campers still wanted to be together. that had been struggling for a decade to find its footing.
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 went. Jewish summer camps existed to provide children with exercise and fresh air and to give their parents a breather. The . Today. of course. but that’s always been part of their charm — the old Habonim principle that it’s “chalutzic to be schmutzik. and soon after that by the Reform movement. that founded Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and Kibbutz Urim. They continued going over in garinim in the 1950s and 1960s to join Gesher Haziv and Urim. because they wanted to make a difference and to live out their values. when the kibbutz movement was sunk in crisis and Zionism had become a subject of cynicism or worse. The path that Habonim pioneered in 1932 was trod a decade later by Young Judaea and the Ramah camps of Conservative Judaism. though they had an inkling. And because they wanted to be with their friends from camp. But they are still here. Habonim members continued to move to Israel in garinim. settling in urban communes in slums and development towns. When the first fourteen Labor Zionist teenagers pitched their tent in the Catskills in 1932.When Israel won its independence in 1948 and took to the battlefield to defend it. as big as they were in their heyday in the 1940s. hundreds of Habonim members — nearly the entire senior membership — went there to volunteer. They’re not as shiny or high tech as some of the better known camps.” They’ve been written off many times. The notion of camping as a laboratory for values education and movement building was something new in American Jewish education. It’s not even clear that the Young Poale Zion organizers knew themselves exactly where they were headed. Jewish values camping is high fashion. Hundreds moved to Israel in its early years as members of garinim. Grofit and Ravid. communal settlement groups. Even in the 1990s and beyond. and in the 1970s and 1980s to found the new kibbutzim of Gezer.
J. And still they carry on. three-quarters of a century after they began. Besides. the kids want to be with their friends. 2009 .J. They have to.New York and Los Angeles camps have gone bust and then risen again. resurrected by faithful alumni and determined groups of teenagers. They still have an urgent message to transmit. Goldberg.
................................ 122 AFIKIM ................ 94 KINNERET ............. 90 "KVUTZIE".............................................................................................. WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? ............ 68 HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ....................... 98 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM ..... 115 GIMLI...................................................................................................................................................................................... KVUTZA..................................................................... 125 CAMP MIRIAM...................................................................Contents Foreword ......................................................1933 ............................................................ 134 AMAL IN RETROSPECT ...... 85 TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK ................................................. TEXAS ............ 55 PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY............................................................................................................... 104 THE STORY OF "MOSH"...16 THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING ................................................................................................................................ 82 LISTEN HERE.................................................. 107 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR .................................................. 91 KVUTZA........ 33 THE MEANING OF KVUTZA ....................... 87 KENDALL .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................14 Introduction ...... 131 CAMP AVODA................................................. CREAMRIDGE ....................... 109 GALIL . 126 MONTREAL ...................................................................... 25 GROWTH OF AN IDEA "KVUTZA" AND KVUTZA ...................................................... 129 THE COMING SEASON ..................................................... 32 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... MANITOBA ....................... 137 ............................................................................................. YOUNGSTERS!................................... 100 KVUTZA IN THE WEST ................................ 20 ACCORD ...................................................... 60 THE TURNING POINT ........ 74 CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................6 Foreword from Original Publication ............................................... 49 COMING OF AGE ....................................................................................................................................................... 95 TEL NATAN .................................................................................. 128 CAMP BONIM..................................
.155 NIGTH WATCH ..........165 IN MEMORIUM HAZKARA ...........................................................................................................................................168 MIRIAM BIDERMAN ......................................................................................................................201 ...................................159 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS ......................................................................................143 PEEKING IN WITH OUR SHALIAH ..........................................................................................171 BEN CHERNER ....................................................................................191 IRV STERNBERG ........................................................................................................................................................................187 JOSEPH ROSENBERG ........163 KINNERET SHELI ......................................................................................................................................................................................155 TO KVUTZA ..........................................................177 NATE KANTER ................180 ARI LASHNER .................................................... ACCORD .................................................................................................................................................................................................................156 THE TREE ....................................................KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL NIGHT WATCH .....................................................................................................161 NEED HELP PACKING? ........................................153 VIEW FROM KVUTZA HILL.............................................................................................................................................173 DANNY GINSBURG .............157 SO YOU WANT TO BE A MADRICH ....................................................142 ACCORD DIARY .............181 HAYIM RAMBAM ..............................................189 ENZO SERENI ........................................................................................................................................................................199 JOHANAN TARTAKOWER .......................................................................151 UNTIL NEXT YEAR .........................................................
Aliya and Youth. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. 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. whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal.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. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. * * * 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. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . * * * The Chay Commission.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. 1932.
It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well. Bert Goldstein Chairman. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. 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. 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 .the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering.
The pioneers of Camp Kvutza were imbued with an all-consuming desire for creative Jewish living. much has been written both for Habonim and for the Jewish educational world on this unique form of camping.creating their own society of the future. Today's leaders of Habonim are veterans of Camp Kvutza. working. Many were 16 . as are most of our chalutzim in Israel. studying. close to five generations of youth have participated in the Habonim Camps. It is correct to say that Camp Kvutza is the basic source of strength for the entire Labor Zionist Movement in America. Camp Kvutza enriched the lives of all who participated in its growth and development. Thus. They dedicated themselves to a form of society based on principles of self-labor and mutual cooperation. playing . These pioneers transmitted their zeal and vision to succeeding generations of Jewish youth in Habonim who followed in their footsteps.Introduction During the past twenty-five years. Through these years. The leaders and chalutzim of tomorrow are at Camp Kvutza today.
and internal organizational and educational bulletins. Menahel. Furrows. Most of the material included has been gleaned from the Habonim archives: News and Views. and with varying levels of presentation: from that of a thirteen-year old describing his experiences with childish enthusiasm. Out of these diverse sources. and especially our patrons for making possible the publication of this volume. The Editors Summer. that each reader will find herein something of intimate significance as well as informational value. and content of Camp Kvutza. we have not attempted to create a literary unit. convention reports. Merkaz Habonim.the deliberations within the movement on the development. the office secretaries. But they will find much which may inspire them and will guide them in their movement activities. * * * We want to take this opportunity to thank the Chay Commission. to that of a leader enlarging on the principles by which Camp Kvutza will function. but have presented the material in the differing forms in which it originally appeared. we were confronted with the wealth of material which has been accumulated for a quarter of a century. We hope. our editorial committee. to that of educators and community leaders analyzing and evaluating the significance of this departure in Jewish camping. 1957 17 . In compiling this collection. Many present members of Habonim will no doubt discover herein a world seemingly remote from today's reality. however. Haboneh. expansion. 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. Many were the reactions written by campers while at Kvutza and upon their return to the city.
The Beginning .
Today the conception of "idealist" has acquired a strange interpretation. the economic collapse after 1929. We loved this country with its sense of human 20 . But in truth and most sincerely. We lived in our ideal: a worker's life in Eretz Yisrael. one senses how much importance there was to this beginning. It was very hard for we were going against the stream. Looking backward. one retraces the years and comes to the beginning: the first Camp Kvutza. Some came to the country as young children. our thoughts were molded by the country we lived in. were far away from all that worried Americans. but above all." Many of us were born in the United States. the tiny group of Poale Zion youth. As one looks back twenty-five years. the forms of living there to be based on Socialism. It was the time of the depression. how revolutionary. the camp. So much comes alive: the chaverim. but at that time. how strange it was. we tried by our own living to create a new world: a world in which the Jew would live in his own country. They guided and directed our lives.the beginning. At the Camp Kvutza these ideals were most meaningful. with making a livelihood. Our minds and our hearts were concerned with another land and our problems were foreign and distant to American life. and it may even sound boastful to say that we were an idealistic Jewish youth. there was merely the living together at a Camp Kvutza among the gentle hills of New York State. how "peculiar. Yet we. Suddenly all is focused clearly and is full of an inner glow .THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING An anniversary is a time of reflection. All around us the youth was concerned with jobs. the Kvutza: the living and studying together. American Jewish living surrounded us. Our schooling. our style of life. a mutual investigation of the problems inherent in the ideals which we held in common. the studies. the campfire with its songs.
Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts. Russian revolu- 21 . and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. the stirrings of the vast labor masses . I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal. We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. Some homes were "Bundist. the new theater. and music. There were before us the grandeur of the West. its lakes.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING dignity and freedom. and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores. the politics of the country. vivid with the hope of the liberation of the Jew. the charm of the South. the beauty of the Appalachians. rivers. 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. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman. its pioneers. and oceans. art. it was important to know the reason. this tiny group out of the millions of American Jews? Again and again at the Camp Kvutza. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book. In some homes. the breadth of the Hudson.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. 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. Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. its mountains and plains." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. the night club in Harlem. Or again. The life of America was our life: the jazz. What moved these few to meet for a study of Poale Zionism and ways and methods of bringing this ideal to others? So I asked and found that one's Jewish consciousness was awakened by the haunting sadness of the Kol Nidre melody. the awe of Niagara. the new forms of the dance.
and at times against the wishes of the parents who were aghast at their child's "peculiarities. consciousness grew out of this strange soil. the tense young faces lit by the flame. bright and cheerful. Why Eretz Yisrael? There are two million Jews in New York City alone. exploited by those intent on profits. for in America we were still close to pioneering. the sentiment of rebuilding and heroism.THE BEGINNING tionary songs of freedom and Siberian exile were sung. Much must be done for them. we went to the writings of Borochov and Syrkin. There were problems to be solved here: tender children working beyond their strength." 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. Why not work here at home? In the first Camp Kvutza. For Poale Zion ideology. but not a Jewish folk song. the poetry of the words. In the short span of time spent at Camp Kvutza. We tried to add to the elements already influencing the chaverim. To the Camp Kvutza was brought much out of the American life in which we found ourselves. and American history glorified the pioneer who moved West to build up the great United States. Around us was the camp fire. amidst the dark shadows of the trees. 22 . there was a large mass of workers with no job security. We wanted to know more and more about the ideal we so earnestly believed in. to hold them to some kind of Judaism. The rhythm. they motivated the program of work. all spoke deeply to us. to teach their children about their glorious heritage. all the above elements were ever present. Zionist. We well understood the pioneering life of Eretz Yisrael. Poale Zionist. and young voices filled the air with Hebrew or Yiddish songs of Eretz Yisrael and Jewish revival. there was the singing of the Eretz Yisrael songs which linked us with our unknown comrades.
It aimed to enrich the individual by giving him the tools whereby he could continue his investigations. and audacious. How happy I was that I was privileged to study under John Dewey. The project method was concomitant with these new theories. and E. It was new. he was taught to work and think in a group. were breaking new ground in education. namely. he was motivated. The new education stressed respect and dignity of the individual. T. the chaverim wholeheartedly accepted these new methods which I so enthusiastically advocated. 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. Kilpatrick. Thorndike. his personality was respected. William Kilpatrick. It was a theory of freedom in education and especially John Dewey's philosophy. Adult education was assuming its rightful place. These new me- 23 . I had just received my Bachelor of Science degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING To the Camp Kvutza we also brought the new educational theories just coming into being in the United States. The new methods were so well fitted to our Poale Zionist ideal. and Thorndike! I was fired by the new philosophy of education which they taught and I had learned the new techniques which they advocated. Twenty-five years ago their educational philosophy was a complete departure from what was then prevalent. My special contribution to Camp Kvutza was to bring to our studies the new educational philosophy of John Dewey. These. he studied on his own level. All these methods admirably suited our need. to study our ideology and to pass on our ideals to many American Jewish youths. opposed to all forms of absolutism. challenging. The personality of the learner was stressed. which was to give the Jew inheritance in his land. Both in planning the program of the Camp Kvutza and in carrying it out. my teachers.
It was group living and learning which was deep and lasting in its influence. We sought to draw out every individual to full participation. they fought in the War of Liberation of Israel. Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago was a small pebble thrown into the vast ocean of American Jewish youth. 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.THE BEGINNING thods taught the individual how to motivate a study not by committing to memory many facts. The waves in its wake have reached the Promised Land. Their children are growing up in Israel. I had some years of organizational work behind me. What a new world these fundamental methods of learning opened up for us! We sensed the democracy of these techniques. 1957 24 . And the genesis was that first Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago. So we studied the creative discussion method. but never had I enjoyed a more innerly satisfying experience. Sophie A. By their example they have influenced others to come to Israel. The small ripple it caused has moved farther and farther. Happy are we to have been comrades and partners in that great adventurous undertaking. but to study for the love of the subject .study deeply and creatively. For chaverim from the Camp Kvutza have settled on the soil of the land. The study of Eretz Yisrael problems lent themselves particularly to the new project method. This group work was in complete accord with the cooperative ideals of Labor Eretz Yisrael. They were on so-called "illegal" boats. and they served in Sinai. they were in Cypress. Udin.
Jacob Katzman. But most of the other leading chaverim of the senior organizations were skeptical and some were even opposed. The lingering memories found their expression when in America I became a member of the Central Committee of the Young Poale Zion Alliance. and two. and while all who participated gained considerably in their knowledge of Labor Zionism and techniques of leadership. Sophie Udin assumed the leadership. was lacking. I saw then what such a camping experience can mean in the development of the spirit. It was held in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. the insistence that inasmuch as the movement already has a children's camp. we decided to make an experimental beginning in Unser Camp. strenuous efforts were made to obtain a campsite of our own. the use of a beautiful spot in the Catskills was gotten. Berl Locker.1933 Shortly before I came to America. YPZA should utilize that in every way possible. Kinderwelt.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD . With the help of Golda Meir. ideology. of a place that one built with one's own hands. and leadership of a youth movement. who was then 25 . something other than a mere replica of the senior Poale Zion. Many of us began to think in terms of making of the Labor Zionist youth movement a youth movement in fact. therefore. 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. the lack of funds. I attended a convention of a Zionist scouting organization with which I had been affiliated. In the summer of 1932. enthusiastically accepted the idea. The following winter and spring. it was generally felt that the real spirit of a Kvutza. in which one labored and which was governed by its own members. Other members of the YPZA Central Committee were like-minded. The reasons were: one.
supervise all the camping activities. to most of whom. who 26 . has already related the story of its birth elsewhere in this -volume. New Jersey. including K.P. we also had some newcomers who could not even pronounce the name of the organization. camping and the Young Poale Zion were quite alien as yet. Margolin. keep the grounds clean. our senior chaverim started to look upon the camp as something worthwhile. Among them were some of the best members of the YPZA from several communities. But Katzman had to leave in the middle of the season to help prepare the forthcoming YPZA national convention. and a multitude of other jobs. but we succeeded in instilling the proper spirit of cooperation and a form of self-government. and a fine Jewish background. I found the campers a most heterogeneous group. One of the four tents consisted of ten boys from Orange. a Hebrew teacher. provide wood for the stove. and upon his insistence and that of our Central Committee. who immediately instituted a program of Hebrew. The first few weeks were the hardest. I bad to conduct all the discussion groups and Shabbat programs. with leadership abilities. First of all. to mold a cohesive group. and geography of Eretz Yisrael. I took over for the remaining period. Meyer Brown and Shmuel Siegel. To this day I don't know how it happened. They came because after all. and to institute self-rule and discipline. Jewish history. and assign work for the daily work crews. Little by little.THE BEGINNING National Secretary of the YPZA and directed our first Kvutza at Accord. young people with organizational tradition. whose task it was to bring some modicum of civilization to this wilderness. it was very hard to improvise a program to keep the campers busy. The first substantial help came with the arrival of Mr. However. the tuition was only $7 a week and where could one get such a bargain even during the Depression? Under those circumstances. carry water from the well.
Of inestimable value in this respect were the several days which Golda Meir spent with us. The first Accord Kvutza was also rich in adventures. 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. 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. Work was assigned judiciously and without favoritism. Her discussions on halutziut were inspiring to the campers. help police the cleanliness of the grounds and tents. had to participate in K. the camp found itself without a single tent standing and without a place for the campers to sleep. The age range of the first season in Accord was probab1y older than any of the subsequent seasons.P. The camp reached its maturity when we instituted the forms of "selfgovernment. it was during 27 . If ever the spirit of the camp was manifest. which. a decision arrived at." Representatives to a camp council were elected by all the campers. so it was not surprising when occasionally a tent was blown down. without exception. they were carried out in a responsible fashion. There was quite a large proportion of chaverim who had completed their preparatory training and were awaiting aliya certificates. Everyone. but her report to the senior movement was of even greater importance in bringing Camp Kvutza to its attention. During that time.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING came to visit their families. brought back to the city good reports of what was going on in Accord. The council took its task seriously. a program mapped out. and share in whatever manual labor was required.. under those primitive circumstances (without a heater for hot water). The council proved its effectiveness by seeing to it that once a task was undertaken. But one stormy late afternoon. was quite a chore. This was taken in stride.
were transferred to a nearby hotel. the brook had overflowed its bank and the water covered the bridge. who not only saw to it that the food was adequate and wholesome. The few that remained on the camp grounds tried as best they could to sleep on the tables in the dining room. The taller and older chaverim had to carry the younger ones. 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. and it proved that a camp of this kind lends itself to the pur- 28 .THE BEGINNING this emergency. our clothing was soaked. the tents were put up again. the cots and all the possessions of the campers were put out to dry. The first season of Accord was the proving ground for the concept of a camp run by youth for youth. especially the haverot. In retrospect. However. Many have made their mark in Eretz Yisrael as chalutzim and leaders in the Labor Movement. with the exception of a few. We emerged from the dining room and began a snake dance to the tune of Chopin's Funeral March. the roof leaked. But this did not diminish the spirit of those who remained behind. It pointed the way toward self-discipline and self-government. The advice of the good people around to break up camp was not heeded. this experience became a highlight of that camping season. and we were all sleepy. our cooks. One vividly recalls the morning after-the sky was overcast. lent dignity to the camp and helped to establish the reliability of Camp Kvutza in the minds of our senior haverim. One would like to characterize some of the campers but that would take too much space and would be unfair to those not mentioned. All the campers. but by their presence. Mention should be made of the contribution to the camping experience of Rachel Siegel and Leah Brown. wet. By the time the exodus began. and no matter which way one turned. and cold to the marrow. on their backs to the other side. As soon as the sun came out. he got wet.
history. and problems of the organization. Jacob Lemberger. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season. It was mainly due to their stand and influence that this convention decided upon the reorganization of the Young Poale Zion. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent. held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. The basic idea of the camp was that no member of the staff was paid or received any other special consideration outside of the authority deserved for good leadership. to introduce tzofiut. 1957 29 .
Growth of an Idea .
For what are the great values introduced by and embodied in our Kvutzot in Eretz Yisrael? The mutual relationships between haverim. which makes him place all his ability at the disposal of the group without measuring how much he receives in return. Deeper emotions must be stirred. and no number of meetings in the city can accomplish this. but from a heartfelt recognition of the value of one's haverim. as if final judgment would be pronounced by the words "yes" or "no. study. one's entire personality must be overhauled. All these are expressed through communal living. They cannot put what should be into being. communal labor. They can indoctrinate a theoretical acknowledgment of what should be. therein is contained the keen desire to realize personally. yet one is surprised to what a great extent the essence of Kvutza life is retained. the true equality which arises not from an abstract philosophical belief that all men are equal. from the educational viewpoint. the responsibility which the individual feels to the group. deeper roots must be sought. The differences between a Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael and our summer Kvutzot are quite evident. in as great a measure as possible. and joy. those ideals which motivate our movement. attitudes and states of mind are not created by speeches and lectures and discussions. However. This attitude toward one's fellow men is the essential ethical motif in our educational program and represents the only true socialist mentality. that true self-esteem and es- 32 . though expressed in different forms. play.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. a triumph for our idea. These instrumentalities are limited in scope. One can master the art of living together only by living together." Both the question and the intense anxiety for a positive answer represent. That true comradeship. worry.
In the Kvutza. develop socialized attitudes and patterns of behavior.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING teem of others. The objective is not only to provide a change of physical environment and healthful recreation. The camp setting provides the opportunity to help the camper increase his range of interests. and then all return to their respective different places. self-reliance. 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. knowledge and skills. 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. to provide 33 . to enrich his personality. Thus our education. one lives with another. does not arise from common outlooks on the paths to be taken. and in general. meet temporarily. which aims at creating an individual who will not only have definite ideals but also realize them. one does not meet with another. Ben Zion Ilan. in addition. and the consideration for the welfare of others which years of preaching could never develop. 1937 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING Modern educational camping has increasingly emphasized experience in creative group living and learning. Jewish camps conducted under communal or semi-communal auspices have sought. What are meetings? They signify that all present have come from different directions. cannot be complete without the Kvutza. but from following those paths in common.
is essential to know something about the aims of Habonim. the camps are the extension as well as the annual climax of the Habonim program. as members of the Histadrut Haovdim (General Federation of Jewish Labor of Eretz Yisrael). conceiving their work as an extension of the program of Jewish group work agencies in the city. 3. to create a cooperative Jewish Commonwealth. 2. To train young Jews to become halutzim. and at the same time. based on the principles of economic and political democracy. To strengthen the bonds between American Jewry and Eretz Yisrael. These camps. Modeled after the Eretz Yisrael collective settlements. These aims were formulated at the 1940 convention of Habonim as follows: As an educational youth movement aiming to develop within its ranks haverim who shall in their own lives realize its aims. Habonim. known as Camp Kvutza. 34 . which caters to young people of the age level of 14 to 21. and actively to support the rebuilding of the Jewish National Home. in Eretz Yisrael and. have a ten-year history under the auspices of the Labor Zionist Youth Organization. Habonim has the following purposes: 1.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Jewish educational experiences. This paper describes a type of Jewish camping program which attempts to apply this philosophy and technique of educational camping. Educational Objectives of Habonim In order to properly understand the motivation and character of Camp Kvutza. to provide satisfying and creative Jewish experiences. To prepare young Jews for" participation in the upbuilding of a new social order throughout the world.
reflects the Yiddish school influences under which the campers live during the year. the camps conform within the limits indicated to certain principles and patterns. To educate young Jews toward the revitalization of traditional Jewish values. toward a feeling of identification with the Jewish rights everywhere. Experimentation in methods and program materials varies with the personal predilections of the camp leaders. Habonim members live according to the principles they have been studying and." This is a central concept in the educational program of the movement. "who shall in their own lives realize its aims. The Montreal camp. Differences exist which are based on local circumstances. 35 . in a sense. The vegetable garden is a bigger undertaking in California than in Winnipeg for obvious climatic reasons. test their validity. for the study of Jewish life. The reader must not overlook the importance of the words. it is deemed inadvisable to put too much effort into construction projects. Thus.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING 4. it does not follow that they are identical in character. physical environment. To prepare young Jews for the defense of Jewish rights everywhere. history. At Camp Kvutza. 6. Nevertheless. Principles of Camp Program Although all the camps are the expression of a similar social and educational outlook. and culture. for instance. and personnel. Each camp has developed in time a distinctive character. The camp director enjoys no privileges not available to the youngest camper. In one camp there may be more free choice of activity than in another. Equality of all persons in the camp is a cardinal principle. To prepare young Jews for active participation in American Jewish community life. 5. where a camp is located on rented property.
The executive committee meets often with the director and staff members to act upon various problems. A camp committee is established by the local organization. dramatics. The committees assist in raising funds. and daily routine. and elect various committees which are responsible for specific phases of camp life. and sports. on rare occasions. nature study. and in other ways. the singing.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Neither is he exempt from any of the chores which are a part of the maintenance of the camp. Staff and Organization Before any Camp Kvutza opens for the summer. an effort is made to have no hired labor in camp. Exceptions are made when it is not possible to secure the services of a competent physician or nurse or when. recruiting campers. Disciplinary cases which are not easily adjusted may be brought to the attention of the designated committee. The local Habonim take the initiative in all this 36 . The functions of the staff members and leaders are to direct the educational activities -the discussion and study groups. programs. it is impractical to rely entirely on the campers to build the necessary structures. purchasing food staples. a cook has to be engaged. The staff and leaders are all members of the organization who contribute their services and regard themselves as members of the camp community. considerable preparations have to be made. arts and crafts. In keeping with the practice of the collectives and cooperatives in Eretz Yisrael. Workmen are also hired when. such committees are established in each community and contacts are made by correspondence and personal visits by their members. Representatives of Habonim and the adult Labor Zionist organizations constitute the committees. Self-government is a third basic principle. reading circles. Where several cities in a region cooperate in conducting a camp. The regular camp meetings discuss administrative problems. scoutcraft. particularly at the establishment of a new site.
The year-round program of the Habonim organization provides for the continual preparation of members for or leaders of groups of younger children. the minimum being two weeks. They open the buildings.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING work and carry the burden of responsibility. enlarging the camp. the advance crew spends the evenings outlining plans for the summer. it is necessary to bear in mind that we are considering here individuals generally much younger than their "opposite numbers" in other camps. No attempt is made to do a complete job of renovation. putting up new structures. Prior to the arrival of the first group of campers. clear the grounds. the director or an experienced camper outlines the purposes of Camp Kvutza and indicates some of the specific objectives for the summer. and preparing for the discussions and activities they will conduct. the full program is initiated. and beautifying the grounds. In addition. and get the camp generally ready. Campers may register for varying periods. both in the cities and in the camps. to find. outlining projects. This is a group of members who generally remain as staff members and leaders. At a meeting of the entire camp. These leaders are themselves active members of groups of their own age at the same time that they are leading the younger children. With the arrival of the campers. both communal and private. an advance crew arrives at camp to prepare for the opening of the season. set up the tents. its responsibilities and functions are discussed. The executive committee is elected. It is very general. In speaking of staff and leaders. They determine the fees to be charged and establish the differential in tuition as between members and nonmembers of the organization. 37 . as one of the major activities of camp is to carry forward the program of improving facilities. and the various functional committees are named. boys and girls taking responsibility for the leadership of groups of younger children. then. repair the plumbing.
new tent platforms. the group finished waterproofing the roof of the dining room and kitchen. and in some cases. put up screens and shutters on the doors and windows of the dining room.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. buildings. The campers help prepare meals. some elements of nutrition. dug a tile tunnel for the water pump. who is usually a member of an adult Labor Zionist group. Building projects are planned and executed sometimes within one season. designated daily by the committee in charge of assigning individuals to various tasks. The girls painted the dining room and screens. with the local circumstances. This phase of the program has been one of the most fruitful sources of creative expression. No one at camp is exempt from taking his or her turn at this work. and tents is likewise the responsibility of the campers. In the kitchen work." Using hired workmen only where the tasks made this unavoidable. sheds to cover the pump and washing machine (the 38 . and problems involved in maintaining the camp within budgetary limits. ground cleared and ploughed. as has been suggested. wait on tables. the cook. This has been particularly true where the camp was established on a new site and had to be built "out of nothing. In a four-week period one summer at Kinneret in Michigan. is assisted by campers. The nature of these projects varies. trees have been cut down. Work projects are a consistent feature of every Camp Kvutza. and clean up after meals. In the process they learn menu planning. The maintenance of the grounds. The following year they added a shower house. and buildings erected. over a period of years. built shelves and drawers for kitchen equipment. 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.
In some of the camps. This emphasis on work has several motivations. and the beginning of a storage bin. 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. shower house. infirmary. acquire an enlarged dining room. Girls have taken to this activity particularly. the income being contributed to the Jewish National Fund. During the weeks of camp. 39 . new garbage pits. The campers acquire considerable information and numerous skills. log bridge and dam over a stream which fed the swimming pool. The greatest adventure was that of "bringing light to Kinneret. it serves to inculcate in the campers a positive attitude toward work and collective self-sufficiency. efforts have been made to introduce gardening with varying success.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING campers conducted a cooperative laundry). painted and erected so that electric cables could be drawn from the nearest sources of power. the practice has developed to sell produce to visitors. The advance crew usually prepares the soil and plants a variety of vegetables which mature during July and August. and the beginnings of a small building intended for use by activity groups in bad weather. During the 1942 season. Moreover. and recreation hall with impressive ceremonies." Five trees were cut down. In recent years. Connecticut. It is an end in itself inasmuch as it fills immediate needs and serves to beautify the camp. It is a real-life demonstration of the values inherent in socially useful labor. trimmed. interest in gardening was heightened by associating this activity with the need for maximum food in this country. an outdoor amphitheater dug out of a low hill and furnished with a stage platform. shower house. I have watched the camp at Killingworth. All this was done in addition to clearing two large wooded areas to accommodate the tents.
The topics range from the aims and organizational forms of Habonim. to the causes of war and the prospects for permanent peace. anti-Semitism. Reading of relevant materials goes on simultaneously. Group discussion is the dominant method. long and personalized discussions as to the implications of the war took place in all camps.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 . problems of Jewish adjustment. "famous unknowns. particularly among the younger age groups. the Bible and modern Jewish literature. Groups have discussed and read about Jewish historical subjects. and special occasions. and staff members serve frequently as points of departure for discussions. representatives of the Eretz Yisrael Labor Movement. derived from the basic aims of Habonim. Jewish migrations and refugees. and elements of Socialism. At the end of the 1939 season. The subject matter. Observance of Shabbat Much attention has been focused upon the observance of Shabbat. when war was imminent in Europe. The subjects keep changing as events suggest the timeliness of various problems. covers a wide range of topics of Jewish and general interest. personalities from Jewish and Socialist history." phases and problems of life in Eretz Yisrael. but an atmosphere of purposeful learning permeates the camp at all times. with projects involving related activities being used to a fair degree. Jewish community organization. from vocational problems of American Jewish youth. Talks by visitors from nearby communities. to the effect of rainfall on the economy of Eretz Yisrael. holidays. Definite periods are set aside for this in the daily schedule.
being original. laundry is done. Some experiments have been made with developing new forms for Saturday morning and with the Havdala 41 . tables are covered with white table cloths." Groups have prepared special readings from the Bible and the Prophets. These ceremonials. symptomatic of the swing back from an earlier rejection in radical Jewish circles of all that smacks of the old and "outworn.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING of observance which will give meaning and significance to the holidays. all work projects are in abeyance. The day is characterized by more leisure. There may be also a story or brief talk on a subject related to Shabbat. reading circles. they do not stiffer from that coldness and remoteness which so often characterize the reformist or "non-sectarian" services in vogue in many Jewish camps. Preparations for Shabbat go on all day. and which will be emotionally and aesthetically satisfying. and a special menu is prepared. The ceremonies may begin at flag-lowering. The Friday evening at Camp Kvutza is the highlight of the week. they have drawn those which lit particularly the spirit of Shabbat. sports and swimming for longer periods than usual. with or without choral group to provide direction. and continue in the dining room before and after the meal. At the same time. Invariably. Considerable success has been achieved in this area. the evening closes with folk dancing in the open or in the cleared dining room. give to the observance a spontaneity which is so often lacking where the traditional orthodox customs are practiced. On Saturday. Camp is cleaned up. The use of the traditional Kiddush has spread in recent years. and when this is done the first hint may well appear in the blessing of the candles. and from their extensive repertoire of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. After the meal the singing normally continues. Specific themes may be used as the foci of the program. discussions of current events. the dining room is furnished with fresh flowers and ferns.
group re- 42 . The educational value of the discussions is obvious. This was on Monday. which occur during the summer. and Hayim Nahman Bialik. too. the camps have always emphasized the concept of keeping all campers and staff on an equal basis with respect to money. after the campers had debated the question of having breakfast or not. In all the camps. where the diary of the week is reviewed. are observed regularly with special programs. is observed.GROWTH OF AN IDEA services at sunset." Reflecting their interest in the general struggle for human freedom and civil rights. has become a traditional event. Tisha B'Av (Ninth of Av-date of the destruction of the Temple). it was decided that "only the solelim (the youngest children) were to have some fruit juice. and every year. each camp takes up anew the question as to how to operate the common fund. This has not been achieved without some difficulty. breakfast is foregone on Tisha B'Av. and here the tendency to create new ways of observing old holy days finds expression. The Saturday night campfire. and the money normally spent on the meal is contributed to the Jewish National Fund. On Tuesday the solelim rebelled. Other Celebrations The anniversaries of Theodor Herzl. individual rights. The Common Fund One of the most radical features of Camp Kvutza is the elimination of "private capital." In keeping with the principle of collective living. the founder of political Zionism. the Hebrew poet. They refused to drink their juice. involving as they do questions of equality. it is interesting to note that some camps have observed the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sacco and Vanzetti. The effect of such practices is illustrated in the incident reported from Los Angeles where.
are virtually non-existent. Occasionally. the common fund is not instituted without prior discussion and acceptance. All requests for supplies such as stamps. asked: "If we don't have one. in a discussion as to whether or not there should be a common fund. problems familiar to all camp directors. stationary. at the same time enabling him to defend his request if he wishes to do so. or. the committee advises the camper accordingly. the troublesome problems associated with these gifts. 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. Where a request is considered to be out of line with the budget or unjustifiable for any other reason. tooth brushes. Experience has varied.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING sponsibility for the individual. The common fund generally functions as follows: All money in the possession of the campers and staff members is placed in a common fund administered by a committee. particularly with non-members of Habonim or with new campers. as members of the American Hehalutz. it has been accepted and has worked out very satisfactorily. No accounts are kept of what campers give or get. however. difficulties arise. As indicated. On the whole. means of curbing excessive demands. how will we be able to get stamps and batteries?" After ten years Camp Kvutza has remained true to its original principles. and combs are placed with the committee which fills the orders as the finances permit. and the like. Where it includes the agreement to share among the entire camp all foods and candy sent to individual campers. (A goodly number of former campers are now living in collective settlements in Eretz Yisrael. frequently over the objections of a minority. are being trained in agriculture or trades for settlement there. How well it has been accepted by the campers is illustrated in the anecdote about the boy who. 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.) 43 .
1943 44 . 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. The emphasis continues to be on translating into personal experience the concepts of individual and social living of the movement and on providing a wholesome and stimulating Jewish environment. Abraham Cohen.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be. rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl.
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 are not dreamers after Utopia. When we speak of new society and new values. In specific terms." that concept which makes man struggle to fill his pockets so that he and his small family may enjoy the fruits of the world. we would choose other avenues than Zionism on which to live. but followers after the pattern of life being created now in Eretz Yisrael. In the place of this narrow view of life. But it is because we believe in the value and the necessity for national living that we are Zionists. we would implant a concern for mankind. Were we to believe only in man's right to be a free individual. we try to erase the narrow concept of "me and mine. In other words. 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 that there must evolve a new society of cooperation where mankind will develop new values. takes part in the renaissance of his people. We believe in the right of an entire people to be free as a group. and who creates within himself a force that drives him on to self-realization. His participation in this renaissance becomes the foremost factor in his life as an individual. for all individuals. In the new society that we seek to create. we interpret our present struggle. We believe in the right of man to be free as an individual. he is a young Jew who understands what is happening to his people in an alien world and. We familiarize our haverim with our historical past. this means that we want to develop an individual who is awake and sensitive to his world.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING THE MEANING OF KVUTZA Camp Kvutza is our way of making the ideas we have developed and the ideals in which we believe real for ourselves and for the haverim whom we lead. because of the sensitivity within himself. And 49 . for our people. who dares to participate in every phase of its life.
everyone must be made to have an interest in every phase of the day's activity: work. and only when he is a laborer for the improvement of that society. management of the kitchen. we must educate an entire generation of Jewish youth along new lines of thinking and acting. If he is a responsible boneh. 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. dramatics. he should become a part of Kvutza. social. cultural. In Camp Kvutza we live our ideals. Equality must be expressed in every phase of life economic. and sports. music. Unless the individu- 50 . While still in the city. he should bear witness to all the excitement of preparation. otherwise there is no equality. but living is by far the greater teacher. and educational programs. appearance and cleanliness of the settlement. crafts. Everyone must become interested in the management of Kvutza: the government. study. and social selves. discipline and attitudes of the little community. art.GROWTH OF AN IDEA this concern would be demonstrated in our economic. 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. We seek to take the word equality off the lips of our haverim. help to raise funds. photography. and put it in their hearts and in their way of living. political. food and equipment purchasing. Individual Development at Kvutza Haverim who come to Kvutza must create the Kvutza. Discussion is an important part of education. he should have a part in the actual planning of construction. In order to translate these ideas into human living. Once at Kvutza. scouting. religious. development of creative interests such as. If he is too young for this. prepare himself to go to Kvutza. That is our best way of developing the new individual.
through special programs and in daily living. He will create the atmosphere and the spirit. songs. it is our training ground for the tomorrow 51 . To experience. 5. If his role is important in the city. the madrich sees his haverim only once or twice a week. games. we will fail in our attempt to develop him into the person we want. Our aims for the haver who participates in Kvutza may be summed up as follows: 1. The madrich must come to Kvutza prepared for his duties. 4. 3. To deal with the problems of life in a group through the creation of a society based on equality and cooperation. but at Kvutza he is with them during all their waking and sleeping hours. To understand the significance of being pioneers in a new form of living. 2. he should be ready with his discussion material. For no one in Kvutza is on a vacation.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING al is part of the day's activity. For in the city. The Madrich of Kvutza Upon the madrich rests the Kvutza. Now there are no "company manners" between them. the life-struggle of our people today. and rainy-day activities. it is absolutely vital in the Kvutza. he will develop-or fail to develop-all the individuals who come to Kvutza. To learn to live with a large group of individuals. At the very least. If possible. To know that the future of our people depends on "me. he must be prepared with the proper attitude. Now there is only day-by-day living. the individual" and to be so challenged as to take upon himself the task of realizing that future. through discussion and dramatics.
He sees that they sleep enough. He must be a good pal and know how to have f un with them. He explains Kvutza and people to them. Third. and only one who understands the responsibility should be entrusted with it. "firm" in stating our point of view? The rosh of every Kvutza. be is responsible for their development as individuals.GROWTH OF AN IDEA of our people. The luxury of experiments in edu- 52 . turn them loose. and then. he is responsible for their psychological well-being. The madrich must be wide awake. with notebook in hand. He faces a serious task. The madrich directs the training. he discovers their hidden talents and interests. he makes them aware of the role they play in their group. Exactly what is his responsibility? First. We do not bring together a group of youngsters. keep themselves and their sleeping quarters clean. must know how to put across his way of thinking and the desired way of acting. Freedom with a Pattern Herein lies a real problem for all madrichim. At the same time. He must foresee problems before his youngsters create them so that he can divert energies to other channels. Second. lie. He helps them adjust to their surroundings. at times. and spends many hours in just speaking with them about all the big problems we face together and all their personal problems. write up our scientific observations. promotes friendly relations among them. eat enough. he draws them into every activity. must understand that Kvutza is not merely an educational experiment. together with the madrichim. How far can we go in allowing the haverim of Camp Kvutza to go their own way in managing Kvutza? Will we create any sins against progressive education and against individual freedom if we guide all activities and if we are. he is responsible for the physical well-being of his haverim. wins their confidences.
each thing in its place. There should be clean-up committees of campers. meals. but more is needed to make this orderliness complete. The appearance of Kvutza must be orderly-clean grounds. The program should be full so that haverim know that one activity follows another regularly.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING cation for their own sake we must leave for people more fortunate than we. No amount of "freedom" is real or desirable if it destroys our Kvutza spirit or discolors our Kvutza design. That symbol and its realization are the prime forces behind Kvutza. The rosh and madrichim are entrusted with young lives and young minds. The rosh and madrichim must keep them in mind always. goes far toward creating the orderly society. Let them not be frightened by terms or by name-calling. We are trying to "turn men into a nation and sand into a country. the day's program-all must add up to steady living. Kvutza must be a symbol to us-a symbol that we will eventually make real. A day filled with activity. they are likewise entrusted with a great responsibility to the Labor Zionist movement. Staying awake until all hours of the night is ruinous to health and humor-it is not freedom. other institutions may be created to assist in the order of the Kvutza or in 53 . in work." Camp Kvutza is our instrument for inspiring and remaking individual young Jewish lives. Our only sin can be the failure to make Kvutza what it must be: a pattern of life for our haverim. Rising. Failure to participate in discussions. An Orderly Society Kvutza must be an orderly society. in any group activity. 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. Haverim must live on schedule. neat haverim. clean buildings that are nicely decorated. is not freedom but a weakening of Kvutza spirit. We need this for the education as well as for the spirit of the Kvutza.
it cannot be stressed too much: Prepare your members for Kvutza. our first aim for Kvutza is to integrate these new haverim into the movement. lack of understanding of Kvutza. Before going out to Kvutza. poor participation. Summer Kvutza can do much. but beyond that and greater than that. all these problems should be settled between the madrich and the individual concerned through talks. For example. Kvutza should develop the machaneh. The better the madrich. From these discussions. the machaneh in which I am now living has chosen its Kvutza committee.GROWTH OF AN IDEA the handling of haverim who refuse to be a part of the general orderliness. 2." since each case and the individuals concerned must be considered. lack of discipline. No general rule may be given for "order" or "discipline. Poor enrollment of movement members. should come the specific aims of that Kvutza for the season. Therefore. with this committee I have had one discussion from which we concluded: 1. the fewer problems will arise. Therefore. Our machaneh has a good group of Kvutza "veterans. a broken common fund-these reflect the city activities. Insofar as possible." They are actually the "backbone" of the machaneh. Our second aim of Kvutza is to 54 . Our machaneh has expanded rapidly so that only about half of our haverim have been to Kvutza and have an understanding of the movement. as well as a goal toward which they will work. rosh and madrichim should have discussions oil the weaknesses and strengths of the machaneh and its needs. Setting Goals Each Kvutza is a reflection of the city from which its people come. Thus there will be an understanding among those who will lead the Kvutza. not only for the development of our haverim individually.
our movement faces a serious lack of leadership for our summer Kvutzot. created. 1935 COMING OF AGE The thirteenth consecutive year of Habonim summer camping has rolled around. to my amazement. our haverim must feel that in Kvutza they are undergoing training for their role tomorrow. even before the official beginning of Habonim as an organization. and talkative "Bar Mitzva dinner. that Bar Mitzva is upon us. For although thirteen years is a relatively short period of time in the life of an individual. an institution such as camp is considered old and established.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING prepare these sixteen-year-old “veterans" to assume. so immersed in the every-day workings. 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. This will mean that all who are madrichim must become well acquainted with the objectives of Kvutza before they go. must think a great deal about Kvutza as an educational institution and as a symbol. contributed? The first Habonim Camp Kvutza was started thirteen years ago. like last. entitled to a sedate. Miriam Biderman. We have been so occupied in actually preparing for Kvutza. Therefore. by a small group of stubborn young people who were dissatisfied with Jewish summer camping as 55 . worries. we become more certain that we will face still greater responsibilities in the movement here and abroad. that we have hardly had time to notice the years creeping up on us. It was only when I sat down and began to count that I suddenly realized. This year. thoughtful. wherever necessary. complete leadership within the Kvutza and within the machaneh." What have we accomplished in these thirteen summers? What institutions can we point to? What have we established. at that age.
They felt it was too occupied with trivialities. and are constantly expanding our facilities. and preparing to operate nine next summer." Today. dreams incapable of realizationtoday they are part and parcel. gave too little room for the expression of the creative abilities of campers. in a highly developed form. most alert. We have found no better way to develop youth toward an intelligent understanding of Zionism 56 . They decided to devote some time each day to discussion of Jewish current affairs. They decided that they. as it did last. should work several hours a day in and about the camp. thirteen years later. Jewish problems. of our camping system. we now own all but one of our camps. we now have an average of 1. most Jewish-conscious and responsible Habonim groups. change them for the better. They were determined that the spirit of modern Eretz Yisrael should permeate the camp. They called the camp "Kvutza. They had the impudence to believe that they could operate a camp which could change these things. Habonim is operating eight summer camps throughout the United States and Canada. It is almost a truism that those cities which have a good Camp Kvutza in the vicinity have the strongest. Whereas thirteen years ago the first campers "squatted" on a piece of land loaned to them. and paid too little attention to intelligent discussion and teaching of Jewish attitudes and heritage.GROWTH OF AN IDEA they knew it. Whereas thirteen years ago there was a group of some ten to fifteen campers. Jewish history.400 or more each summer. They felt that the camp should be run democratically with each camper having a choice in decisions affecting programs and work. the campers. It is undoubtedly the strongest educational instrument which we have succeeded in developing. Whereas thirteen years ago all the principles listed above were dreams-according to some. Today Camp Kvutza is integrally bound up with the life blood of Habonim as a movement.
The inner strength of our camps is showing itself in the way this crisis is being met.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING than the twenty-four-hour-a-day. The fifteen. New systems for activity have to be worked out. our 57 . with a certain type of background. like others. and with roots in Habonim. and it is increasingly difficult for even them to devote themselves to camp. We cannot. we are reticent about pointing to our accomplishments. Perhaps it is because younger people all over are becoming accustomed to a greater degree of responsibility. The eighteen. two-month living course presented by Camp Kvutza.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.and nineteen-year-old haverim who would normally assume positions of leadership are to a large extent unavailable. to become vitally concerned with our problems. Whatever the reasons. be concerned simply with supplying a staff for our camps. The nature of our purpose makes for an extremely high rate of change and adaption to circumstance. By their very nature our camps become institutionalized according to a given pattern. perhaps it is because to an increasing extent they are concerning themselves with problems which have hitherto been considered the domain of their elders. that we want him to assume responsibility. The fact that we are interested in retaining a permanent hold on the camper through the year as well as in the summer months. Ways must be found to draw them actively into the cause which circumstance dictates they must fight for though they be unprepared. conditions the type of camp we have. Programs have to be adjusted to their level of preparation. Our staff must consist of a certain type of individual. There are several reasons for this. Despite our realization of these things. Thus we have been hit more than ordinary camps by the current war situation.
Three new permanent sites have been acquired. there exists no Kvutza because the movement there has failed to become enthusiastic enough about it to undertake the establishment of one. On the other band. new ideas are being contributed. In others. so good. We have encountered many problems along these lines and to this day. In some cities Kvutza is the summer camp of our entire movement. the advisability of younger people being entrusted with financial and physical responsibility for what in some cases is a big business. in those places where the senior movement has become interested. We have continued to develop during the last two difficult summers. camps are being expanded. plans for new camps are under serious consideration. So far. The extent to which Habonim should actually run the camp. comes into question.GROWTH OF AN IDEA younger haverim have reacted in a way which leaves no doubt as to the future of Habonim camping. other ticklish problems arise. receiving enthusiastic backing of all its segments. Given the conviction that Camp Kvutza is a good instrument for the advancement of our approach to Jewish life. But there is another angle from which the whole picture can be viewed. All that I have mentioned can definitely be considered on the credit side of the Camp Kvutza ledger. We have always felt that an important element in shaping the character and initiative of the campers would be lost were 58 . In others. have we exploited as fully as we could have and should have? Have we succeeded in getting the Labor Zionist movement as a whole to recognize it and actively support it? Have we succeeded in bringing it to the attention of the Jewish public as a whole? The answers to these questions are doubtful. the Labor Zionist movement as a whole has failed to recognize its value and gives it no more than perfunctory backing. we have not succeeded in completely solving them.
Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. 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. more powerful than Hebrew schools. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. 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. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. It is more powerful than city propaganda. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles. That non-members should attend Kvutza. lies the road to the establishment of a really alert Labor Zionist youth. 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. The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. 1944 59 . In the establishment of a network of twice and thrice the number of Kvutzot we now have.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim. I. In general. for one. is naturally desirable. All these questions must eventually be resolved.
and at the same time.that a man must not be exploited and that he. cleaning. and ways of meeting these needs. there is never hired labor except where necessary-the cook and the nurse). to each individual. No individual accounts are kept. Cooperative Living . Self-Labor . B. We have. and where necessary and possible. 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. perhaps for the first time. program. Each person at Kvutza puts in as much money as he can and whatever food he may bring or receive from home. And we elect our committees and our officers. to each according to his need. our common fund of money and food from home. Each person receives what he needs from the common fund. C. the haver becomes a full-fledged member of a community with duties. even construction of buildings. Self-Government . 60 . The maintenance work is done by the camper: kitchen duty. Social Justice A. We have a meeting of the entire camp community to discuss its philosophy.In Kvutza.Here. needs. The food is distributed equally. for example. in turn. and interests of the campers in regard to the Kvutza program. This is in keeping with our belief in the dignity of labor and with the ideal and policy of the Histadrut .In Kvutza. responsibilities. We discuss the desires.GROWTH OF AN IDEA PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY I. This is in keeping with our cooperative ideal: from each according to his ability. sanitation. and privileges that carry consequences affecting him directly. suggestions. exploit no one.
to be able to make decisions. carry responsibility. and in our haverim through Kvutza. We want to develop in Kvutza. Into this spirit goes the appreciation of the culture and tradition. the identification with the people and its struggle. Camp Kvutza and the Movement I. comfortable feeling of being Jewish. We desire to aid each individual to become self-sufficient. C. to have a healthy self-respect.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING II. to give the haver an intellectual understanding of Zionism and an emotional feeling of healthy nationalism. dancing. We approach this through our Shabbat and holiday celebrations. We want to develop the desire to participate personally in the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael. III. Hebrew study. We want to develop or intensify an appreciation of the Jewish tradition and a desire for participation in and perpetuation of this culture. is perhaps the most important part of Kvutza life. and use privileges well. We want to develop in our people a feeling of belonging to all that ever was and is Jewish. are experiencing these things. singing. We strive to develop a historical sense and an identification with the past and present struggle of the Jewish people. personally. The Haggada says that as we read at the Seder Pesach of the Exodus from Egypt. 61 . We want to make him realize his own worth. we must regard it as if we. in our lives. B. though it is hardest to define in -words. and a positive. Zionism It is our purpose in Kvutza. reading circles. as in our machanot. This. Judaism A. that intangible Jewish spirit-the folkways of our people. The Individual A.
stimulating. to conform without losing his individuality. C. The Group A. discussions with other haverim and with madrichim. When people have a place in the social setup of the movement. III. and enjoyable summer. reading circles. In the course of such participation. and hav- 62 . He develops loyalties. We expect the haver to develop intellectually during the course of the summer. All of the foregoing is important to the machaneh. having had a full. and standards. Habonim becomes the social group. become an integral and pleasant part of their lives because it is so for their friends also. We strive to develop within him a community mindedness: the ability to live within a group. and to be able to influence without becoming domineering. Every person needs a sense of belonging. Meetings." An individual gains significance. The Machaneh A. they are more willing to devote time and energy to the movement.GROWTH OF AN IDEA B. There are satisfactions which an individual cannot obtain alone. Through self-study. one has a real opportunity to increase his knowledge. group attitudes. his personality develops and a socializing takes place. D. "In unity there is strength. For many of our people. We want to develop within the individual a respect and regard for his haverim in the group and a successful method of cooperating with them for the general good. and stimulation in a group. KM. II. B. a haver is more willing and able to be active in the movement during the course of the organizational year. general and Jewish. The individual and the group are closely interrelated. discussion groups. courage. This is especially important for us because it makes for strong ties among members of Habonim and for cohesive groups. and the hanhaga. Through the achievement of all the above. Kvutza is a stimulant to movement work -When haverim come from Kvutza.
"The whole is greater than its parts." Kvutza Is a Living Community I. We come together and have an opportunity to live a portion of our lives as we believe and desire. is a vital part of the community. IV. Their function is within the group and not above and outside of it. Kvutza offers an excellent opportunity to attract. Leadership qualities are developed . The Movement A.Through opportunities for leadership. they are usually anxious to get started on machaneh activities and have a lot to offer intellectually and spiritually. The movement is strengthened by the activities and stimulation of Camp Kvutza. and rosh are integral parts of this group. like the madrichim. Kvutza is a democratic. They have been assigned their roles by virtue of their wider experience and greater insight and understanding. madrichim. This gives them a greater responsibility to the group. many return from Kvutza in a position to influence and lead others. Kvutza Is a Living Community A. The madrichim are perhaps the equivalent to elected officers in a democratic society. committee work. It is not a vacation from our "real" lives. educate and induct new members. B. to make a quick decision where necessary-in other words. B. C. to feel and understand the tempo of the camp. The campers. He is responsible for Kvutza as a whole and for each of its facets. 63 . It is his responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of the Kvutza and its people.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ing formed strong group ties. C. cooperative community. He can influence the entire atmosphere of a Camp Kvutza. or simply through the group experience. The rosh.
The madrichim must exert every effort to make the campers feel at home and must be with the campers every minute of the day to aid in their personal adjustment and orientation to new faces and new surroundings. The rosh and madrichim must work closely together in order to achieve the best possible results for the group. There we put into practice our theory that Kvutza is a "living community. The Meeting . Future relationships between madrichim and campers can stem from impressions received on the first day. has veto power over decisions of madrichim and campers in matters of health and safety. The first day of camp sets the tone for the entire period. Relationships in Camp Kvutza A. however. He stimulates the group and. the group stimulates him. He also has the job of making decisions necessary for the best functioning of the Kvutza. The First Day I.” We want the haverim to understand that. It is in all of the madrich's behavior as a social being. There is a definite carry-over of attitudes. If we are successful. This is the first community expression of the campers. socially. because of his particular position. It is also one of the biggest factors in the tone and atmosphere of the camps. we enrich our lives through this relationship. The madrich that works with a group must be part of that group. and in a creative manner. The rosh. There we will determine the policy and principles of Kvutza.GROWTH OF AN IDEA II. in turn. They are not technicians functioning in the limited sphere of their specialties. The relationship between rosh and madrichim is important in forming attitudes and understanding in madrich-camper relations. in relation to all others madrichim and campers alike-that he influences people. B. The madrichim in a Kvutza are not counselors in the usual sense.The first meeting is the most important one of the season. though it is natural that the rosh and the youngest tzofeh are not 64 . intellectually. A.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
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.
GROWTH OF AN IDEA
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-
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
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
GROWTH OF AN IDEA
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
and shared by. with its emphasis on the dignity of labor and cooperation among men.. for example. For instance. Here. The children were started on this imaginary trip by applying. Two boys and a girl start to saw wood for the flooring of the house they are erecting . ranging from agency camps. They visited the cities.. is a description of a B'nai B'rith camp: "The most popular of the subjects studied was the imaginary trip to Israel . Every year. This is a key job. in an article entitled. Sankel. from the point of view of progressive educational techniques and values." by Hyman R.. Cooperation is essential. the parents themselves.. one can find a strikingly familiar description of a day at camp in the March 14.. to private camps charging high tuition rates. The monopoly we once had in the field of creative Jewish living" is no longer ours either. He must ask for help. Today." This could be a description of a very successful work project at a Habonim camp. for visas at the Israel Consul's office. Emanuel. issue of The Reconstructionist. our camps are no longer unique. The foundation is about to be laid. 1954. " The day's work is beginning .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING their children to our camps. "At a Work Camp of the American Jewish Society for Service. The cement is ready. . 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. such as the one described above. The camp individualist. cannot do the job alone. It is actually a description of a typical "work camp" of which there are many. realistically enough. Now the plumb line and the level go into action. 69 . new camps come into being which stress similar approaches to the very ideals in camping which were once almost exclusively ours. He begins to see the value of working together with his fellow camper for a common goal. . Still others are digging a ditch to lay the sewer pipe. Others are busily mixing mortar and cement for the foundation of the house..
well-operated camp. an even more important conclusion. in terms of our movement's needs. in a modern. which is on the Gilboa. we want to create halutzim. A good madrich should be able to educate towards the aims of Habonim in a modern. . So now. " While we may take pride in the fact that a B'nai B'rith camp here employs so successfully a technique long known to Habonim. on the contrary. they could sense the immense drama which has taken place and is taking place around this famous mountain . or among the few. the madrich has more tools and materials at his disposal 70 . The physical setup and technical functioning of the camp finally chosen may well be the deciding factors. Each site was investigated for its ancient and modern significance. technically we have failed to keep pace with the other camps. For in Habonim. Habonim camping is as necessary and important to us as it ever was. and landmarks of the country. on the contrary. which can be drawn from this and other examples. well-equipped. more than ever before. On the other hand. ill-managed camp in order to educate towards that goal. unlike other Jewish organizations. When they entered the kibbutz Yizr'el. there are so many Jewish camps from which to choose that he may well be particular as to the one he finally decides upon. the Jewish parent pays increasing attention to the physical setup of the camp to which lie sends his child. in 1954. well-run camp as well as. we find that we are not the only progressive Jewish camp on the scene. if not better than. and only our camps can educate towards that aim. is that we are no longer alone. And today. Let no one conclude from my foregoing remarks that our particular type of camping has outlived its usefulness. . But one need not have a technically primitive. in a primitive one. using the approach to Jewish camping which such an activity typifies.GROWTH OF AN IDEA famous settlements. though educationally Jewish camping has caught up to us. f acing the Arab Triangle.
1954 71 . as we have set out to do. technical. a time will come when our camps will be empty. If we do advance. whose first concern is with his child's health and safety. The need then is to bring our camps up to date in the physical. we may once again find ourselves in a leading position in the field of Jewish camping in America. If we do not advance technically. and administrative spheres so that we can once again compete with other Jewish camps and be acceptable to the modern Jewish parent. Dex Srauss. Habonim camping is now at a crucial turning point. We must face up to the realities of the situation and solve the problems confronting us in a responsible and mature manner. To defend the primitive camp on ideological terms is to distort the entire meaning of our ideology.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING to aid him in his job.
History and Development .
and in Chicago at Camp Tel Hai. began to work on the first Kvutza Manual. The following year. two more Kvutzot were opened in 1935-in Montreal. with fourteen haverim in a tent. Moshava (Baltimore) and Kinneret (Detroit) were founded. In many cases permission was secured to use the site for an indefinite period of time. living and studying together for a month. During that first summer. Inspired by Accord. Accord stands out in the memories of all the old-timers for its sheer physical beauty and difficult pioneering conditions. 2) a full Jewish life. In 1936. 74 . In educational methodology. Close to 1500 haverim attended the camps in 1940. called for the organization of a Habonim Kvutza Committee. they ran the gamut from experiments in Lieberman's Creative Camping to semi-military discipline. 3) self-labor. This by no means meant that our camps were becoming standardized. Los Angeles had its first camp. new camps were projected for Texas and Winnipeg. and in preparation for the 1941 season. With the development and expansion of the camps came a need for better planning and direction of both their educational and administrative aspects. the fundamentals of Camp Kvutza were developed: 1) collective-democratic living. 1940. and set up a systematic program for selecting the volunteers to staff the camps. By 1939. New York.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS It all began in 1932. but there was already a feeling that means must be found of assuring permanency and continuity in the operation of our camps. the Cincinnati Habonim convention in December. Habonim established its first Camp Kvutza at Accord. As a result. This committee established a series of minimum requirements. The summer Kvutza had become Habonim's most powerful and most effective educational weapon and had also become a "big business" operation. Only a few of the camps were on permanent sites. most sites were rented.
a number of highly successful Camp Avoda seasons were conducted at the farms with groups drawn from within the movement. Chicago. Influenced and sparked by Amal alumni. Later. Connecticut (for New York). At Amenia (1949) and Killingworth (1950). Amal itself was at Creamridge. In 1945. The objective of this experiment was to create a positive attitude toward collective living and halutziut among non-affiliated American Jewish youth. fairly large numbers of non- 75 . St. Its first season in 1948 opened on a rented site in Vermont with 26 campers. Toronto. the camp accommodated fifty campers. in 1951. 1600 youngsters spent the summer at eleven camps. and became established as one of the foremost Hebrew camps in the country. Detroit. Baltimore. Philadelphia founded its own camp (Galil). Los Angeles. 1946 saw perhaps one of the peak years in Habonim camping when over two thousand campers attended Kvutza. One of the significant results of Amal has been the proof that under proper conditions. a number of interesting and important Hebrew programs were planned at Kinneret and Moshava. there have been a number of significant experiments in Habonim camping. For several seasons this was a work camp in the process of construction. for several years. Tel Natan. Foremost among these was the national Hebrew camp.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING In 1943. Dallas. but the collapse of the movement in the city brought about the demise of the camp as well. New York. In later years. Camp Avoda was operated for the first time at the Hehalutz training farm in Creamridge. gained the backing of six bureaus of education in various cities which sent scholarship students. Montreal. Ottawa. New York bought a new camp site at Amenia. The primary educational factor in Camp Avoda was its proximity to the collective group and the farm. and at Creamridge. in Killingworth. During the years. Amal. Winnipeg. New Jersey. Habonim was the only Zionist organization to sponsor a Hebrew camp. Louis had its Kvutza.
too. In 1952. bonim. carrying full supplies and equipment and camping nights at previously selected sites. Many more camps are on permanent sites into which large investments have been put by the local Labor Zionist movements and Merkaz Habonim. have seen a number of interesting variations and experiments in the Habonim camping picture. the sports and cultural festival. and noar. two madrichim camps were held. In 1948. and during the summer of 1953. There has been a trend to put the administration of our camps on a semi-commercial basis. most camps have conducted training programs for prospective madrichim. There has been an awareness that existing Habonim camps must be put on a more efficient and permanent basis." A number of haverim made a long trip by truck. one national madrichim camp was conducted at Kinneret. Mahaneh madrichim is an experiment in the realm of leadership training rather than strictly camping. and pre-embarkation seminars for the Habonim Youth Workshop in Israel. The national Habonim Camping Association has been showing steady but slow improvement in the handling of national aspects of 76 . The past few years. Toronto conducted a "rambling camp. The three camps in the East have conducted an annual Maccabia. Amal was conducted at Moshava. Louis. 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. In addition. it was decided to discontinue Amal as a separate institution and to stress Hebrew at all Habonim camps. at Galil. This pattern was followed the next year at Montreal and St. At the 1953 convention of Habonim. In 1950. in which all the campers participate. 1950 also saw another experiment long under consideration. one in Vermont for the East and one in Detroit for the West. Each subsequent summer has witnessed large seminars of madrichim.
New York. St. Red Hook. During 1957. Camp Moshava. all on permanent sites. California. Michigan. Ottsville. was purchased in 1953. Camp Kvutza Galil. and increasingly aware of its potentiality as an instrument for expansion. We are aware that Camp Kvutza is our most effective educational instrument. Gabriola Island. Quebec. Faustin. the following seven Kvutzot. Maryland. New camp sites were purchased for the Midwest in 1956 and for Camp Miriam in Vancouver in 1956. New York. The permanent New York Kvutza at Red Hook. Camp Naame. Saugus. Midwest Camp Habonim.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING camp. 1957 77 . Pennsylvania. Camp Kvutza. Kvutza Manual. Annapolis. will be conducted: Camp Habonim. Camp Miriam. British Columbia. Three Rivers.
. at Kendall. Accord. Joev Criden and friends. A lecture at Accord. New York. "Brocky".The Kitchen at Accord.
1939. Enzo Sereni and friends ponder a problem. 1938. Accord. Accord. Carl Allentuck working on "sanitation". . Kieve Skidell. Rosh at Accord.David Breslau. Accord. Discussion under "tree of knowledge". 1937.
Y. The Dining Room and Kitchen at Accord. Building at Accord. N.Work at Accord. Tent Area. . N.Y. Accord. Campers. Accord. 1935. 1935.
Kinneret. 1941. 1941. Montreal. 1940. Campers.Dining Room at Camp Kvutza. Kinneret. Kinneret. Abe Meadow installing electricity. Youth Day. "All aboard for the noar seminar". Kinneret. . 1941. 1942. Kinneret. Building the Migdal.
. 1932 . yet everyone feels that something was missing . farmers' dirt road into a wilderness. Suddenly. spirits flag. Summer is knocking at the door and still no Kvutza site. The first Young Poale Zion Kvutza is winding up its four-week session at Unser Camp. . efforts. We are getting panicky. four hours.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KVUTSA IN THE NEW YORK AREA CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN The last days of August. Soon there is no highway at all.. we accept this bid as meaning us. The fourteen pioneers have been together for a full month and have valiantly tried to imbibe three lecture and discussion periods a day. an undreamed of opportunity. dusty.. ... Unser Camp offered too many comforts and too many distractions. We were guests and not creators . and from an unexpected quarter. it wasn't our own. Somehow. Next year we must have a real Kvutza. we have lost our way a half-dozen times. but the country gets more and more beautiful as the road becomes steeper and the hairpin curves sharper. Granite. New York. too. and ingenuity.. A series of interviews. 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. with two or three lectures in each period. enthusiasm waxes high.. Farband summer colony at Highland Mills. 1933. Life in the big tent has been most congenial.. it was a camp and not a Kvutza. Three hours." For lack of a more specific address. The sister would like to do something for "the Jewish people. the product of our own labors. 82 . The closing hours are devoted to evaluation and self-criticism. Kerhonkson-never beard of the places. and the more primitive the better! Next year we must learn not only theory but also how to provide for ourselves. Finally one morning we are off to the Catskills: Accord. no matter what the difficulties. only a deep-rutted. Our hearts sink. Mid-June. The haverim have learned much and have had a lot of fun.
We need a car . This is the place. . . All right now. Buy tents.. Far? What of it? Wild? We've got a job to do. a ring of mountains that seems to change color before your eyes. . Ten haverim want to build a dining room and platforms for the tents . but also with sadness when we see how the land lies waste and neglected-grass and weeds waisthigh. . . There is only an indescribable shack occupied by our benefactress and her partner in the summer . Raise money. And how about discussion leaders? . a glorious tingle in the blood we are building our own Kvutza! Yes. the answer to our prayers. . So much to do . No money? We'll beg. . Here. What will they eat? Who will cook for them? . . . no house (it burned down when the place was abandoned seven years before). . . . . . get lumber .. Two coming from Rochester ." . Feverish days and nights . back in the city. . . Persuade some Pioneer Women to come out as "cookies. a beautiful valley below. Take advantage as much as we can of the cement floor of the 83 . the earth is parched. a meeting of the National Executive is hastily convened. we'll owe . . . 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. No shelter? We'll build our own. How are registrations coming? . . Clear the site on top of the hill. . ... lay it out cross-wise so that the kitchen part will come right over the spring. Who can forget the day when the big truck came rumbling across the wooden bridge to unload the first $400 worth of lumber . we'll borrow. . . cots . here is what we have to do.. Time is short-so short! A matter of days now… And through it all.. Can you borrow dishes. The next day.. . . really building! . and in the near distance. silverware? . Haven't heard from Buffalo . . And how about the program? . .. .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING A few more minutes and we find ourselves on the summit of a hill.
Thursday noon." sit down to break bread together. The Shabbat. Nerves are on edge . Everyone is working against time . In the meantime. The long tables in the dining room are scrubbed clean. The cookies become more and more exasperated as the number of mouths to feed increases. In the deepening twilight. . we will build platforms for the tents . twenty-four of us. .. Here. ready for the first Shabbat in our own Kvutza. Jacob Katzman. our sages tell us. the outhouse. We fulfilled the mitzva with overflowing hearts. should be received with rejoicing. 1942 84 . scrubbed clean at the brook and dressed in our "best.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT burnt-down barn. down below. Every hour brings one or two more haverim. We've got to finish the kitchen first. and it seems as if everything is still to be done. . . Friday all day they come trekking in. . and the old farmer's stove bought for $4 refuses to get fired. The seven-year growth of grass and weeds has been cut. Every newcomer is pressed into service as soon as he has a bite to eat . and decked with flowers. set with dishes and silverware.. the original number of the work group is more than doubled. There. They form a thrilling silhouette against the sky. miracles have been happening. By nightfall. The single pyramid tent that had housed the work crew is now joined by three others. The Kvutza is scheduled to open Sunday. But the cookies work hardest of all. . Over the dining room we can stretch canvas if necessary.
for instance. over dangerous cliffs and precipices to get to the “sink and washtubs”–a swirling. Take Accord. YOUNGSTERS! You know. made the plans. how to stack the wood so as to direct the heat towards the pots and away from the cook. When you realize that we had to take the same hike for washing clothes. how to make that stove cook the food the right way at the right time. We had to support the doddering building. sometimes it makes me mad! You who go to Kvutza these days have a way of saying: “Well – of course. 85 . One of our own members. we really had work to do. It took a genius to know how to line the stove with fire brick. how to keep the flames from climbing the wooden walls.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING LISTEN HERE. but did you have any programs?” Why. brushing teeth. you had lots of spirit back in 1934-35. No sooner was the shack or dining hall constructed than we had a real project on our hands. None of those new-fangled ideas like faucets for us pioneers! In the old days we trekked down from the hill to the creek. or any time we wanted to wash our hands – you have an idea of the tremendous work involved in keeping clean. Keeping ourselves and our clothes clean was another constant work project. how to keep the sickly stove from falling apart. Soon after we braced it. and how to extinguish them quickly once they started up–and last but not least. for taking swims or showers. We decided to construct a brand new dining hall. 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. we had a program of activities you’ll find it mighty hard to match! Just making it possible to live was program enough. estimated the materials. and constructed the new building. how to replace a broken grate. Zalman. swishing torrent of icy brook water. under the expert direction of the Philadelphia engineers.
One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. 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. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. 1942 86 . A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. we still made time for our cultural programs. As one man. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York. the truck–or even midnight swims. Well. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. I guess I haven’t the space to tell about the revolution at Tel Hai. but that is one discussion few of us will ever forget! Talking about catastrophes reminds me of the forest fire which came to within half a mile of the Kvutza. Saadia Gelb. Then you’ll see how much spirit and how much program we had in the early days of our Kvutza. 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. Celeritas. all responded to the emergency. safe summer resort. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. 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. We survived the event of course. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do.
I'd say that many of us did not know at the time who Yohanan was. New York was determined to build a Kvutza of its own once again. spending my first year in Camp Kvutza. but we lived in such a way that he continued to exist in us. we went to Galil. the great tales of "adventure" found willing ears. the division between the two groups was extremely sharp. New York. did not help the situation at all. and the registration of Tel Yohanan promised to expand enormously. When we returned to the city. not a memorial. but Mahaneh Tel Yohanan was a living thing. it often seemed as if we New Yorkers were marking time. The fact that the Galil campers were living in the cabins and most of the New Yorkers in a separate tent-camp. faced its first meeting with Habonim during a spring session in 1953. the many friendships and traditions which developed during the course of eight short weeks were to have an important effect on the future of the New York movement. The name of Yohanan Tartakower was completely unknown to me. In June. the shock of hearing that Tel Yohanan had been wrecked by vandals was numbing. During the summer of 1952. and the majority of the Galilniks were of solelim-tzofim age. Despite this attitude. the news was announced: New York Habonim had a new home-at the (then stupendous) cost of almost fifty thousand dollars.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK That summer. The mahaneh in Red Hook. I was a still-wet-behind-the-ears tzofa. The first reaction: We were ap- 87 . in the early spring of 1953. Finally. That summer of 1951 in Tel Yohanan was a six-week honeymoon with the movement for all of us. The Merkaz wore out tempers and tires in everlasting jaunts around New York State looking for a new camp site. Since the majority of the New Yorkers were of bonim age. Who wanted to go anywhere but to our own Tel Yohanan for the summer? Nonetheless.
The campers responded. 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. 1954 was the "honeymoon" season at Red Hook. and (we thought) no halutziut. Camp Hatzofeh. no electricity. but were also faced with a previously unknown problem of incorporating a large percentage of nonmembers. It will be remembered as the year of the Habonim Maccabia with the summer camp of Hanoar Hatzioni. outhouses. It was felt in the unfolding of the daily program and in the Shabbat celebrations which were real "productions" complete with interpretive dance and special effects. the number of Habonim campers from the New York region was under fifty. There was a Habonim atmosphere. It was felt. active Habonim within the camp did not exceed forty percent of the total population. The first summer in Camp Habonim. 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. It was a wonderful experience for both camps. At the same time. Red Hook. The population at Red Hook climbed to more than double that number. served to dispel a few illusions. too. In Tel Yohanan and again in Galil. In accepting the "luxury" of our new home. Gone were the days of cold water only. in the activities run by the campers themselves.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT palled! It was all too civilized for our tastes. a separate shower-house. This perhaps was the more serious of the two. A comradely atmosphere from the outset . while the Habonim population remained at roughly the same level. we could not afford to let our ideals go by the board.even cheers were care- 88 . It became as natural for some madrichim to converse in Hebrew as for the campers to try to emulate the actions of the staff.
with people from all three camps cheering the competitors impartially? Each camp had a theme . 1956 saw the revival of the Habonim Inter-Kvutza Maccabia. 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. and songs were based." 1955 saw a new venture in Habonim camping-that of a successful Leaders' Training program. Ziffy Entin. 1957 89 . Each summer has seen the development of the concept of Habonim camping-from the tents. a new dimension of education had been added to the Maccabia which made its meaning even fuller for the participants. As usual. Remember the afternoon spent in track events. evening program presentation. and Negev for Moshava . Galil for Galil. it was the high point of the season.upon which the cheers. though not until a contest had been waged in which every point was in doubt. with a large number of participants.cold-water stage to the cabins-hot water stage.both wanted to "rip up the score sheets.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fully censored to exclude any derogatory material about the opposing camp. Once again held at Galil. The spirit of the entire competition may be imagined from the unanimous protest of the two camps directly before the close of the Maccabia . the New Yorkers won. at camp. In addition to the spirit of comradeship which grew up in the three days. What is to happen to New York camping in the future? That is in the hands of the haverim themselves.Yehuda for Red Hook.
I cannot comment on the feverish activity involved in trying to set up the camp for the first time. However. From my experience on pre-registration camp committees in later years. and Syracuse. Havera Atlas. one-eyed Pete. Permanent fixtures at the camp. aside from many of the Habonim members. 1941 was the last year of Camp Kvutza. our departed haver and teacher. The woods behind the tents and the hay loft behind the barn served as "rooms" for discussions and Hebrew lessons. the Habonim camping experience would have been denied to most of the Habonim in this region. A large two story barn served as the kitchen and recreation hall.I. were the cook. Buffalo. I can fully appreciate the time and effort expended by the "older haverim. and the empty "haunted house" down the road gave the camp additional atmosphere. Hanopolsky. The burned-out remains of a house nearby. It handled thirty to fifty-five children per week. the loyalties it helped cement bore fruit after the war years in 1946. New York. 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. It is not difficult to measure the importance of Camp Kvutza to upstate New York. however. thirty miles west of Rochester. I was only thirteen in 1937 when I spent one week at Camp Kvutza." Camp Kvutza catered to the Habonim of Rochester. Our camp was not a large-one. inhabited by the ghost of two-fingered. and was responsible for many lasting friendships. Had it not been for the camp.'s (and ex-Habonim) formed the Enzo Sereni Labor Zionist group in Rochester. Several ex-G. and as a result.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KENDALL Camp Kvutza at Kendall. It was situated on farm land along Lake Ontario. and Mark B. Many new Habonim members were obtained through the camp. Some of the haverim who were campers are now in 90 .
and so we pushed her slowly to the garage and told the mechanic to get her in running condition for that evening. to realize that the three were none other than Nahum Guttman. 91 . He looked at us and grinned. and down Douglas Boulevard in Chicago. Danny Owerbach. The fire had left a desolate spot. 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. The previous week. Only three weeks remained before the opening of Kvutza. and myself. The advance crew would have three weeks of unceasing work to get the place in shape for the opening. the super truck driver-to-be. It was hard. and we were pushing that truck to a garage to get her running. rosh Kvutza. 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. for upon her depended all the transportation of haverim and materials for this crucial period and for the Kvutza season itself. dilapidated. we had received our first application with $1 deposit. we had to revive a place which was once a beautiful Farband camp. She had been given to us for nothing. and said he'd see what he could do. three "big shots" were pushing an old. even for members of Habonim. rusty-looking. business manager. Michigan. Tel Hai. But we knew she would run again.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Israel. Julius Cohen. 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. In these three weeks. shook his head. tiredeflated 1926 Dodge truck. now overgrown with weeds and grass and ruins all about. but which had been ravaged by fire.
Here we picked up fourteen brave souls and were on our way. We decided to continue.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In the evening when we returned. got into the seat next to me. Then on the way. when she began sputtering over a little hill. What should we do? Turning back would mean another precious day wasted. we finally reached Tel Hai. Trembling. when the battery went completely dead. but all the way. those in front roasted from the heat of the motor. I urged her on by calling out. we got the Dodge started on her way back to Chicago-just Julie and I. Julie and Nahum. Before we left. The Dodge was old. she was indeed able to run-but no telling how. 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. One of the haverim climbed up on top of the cab and shone his flashlight down on the road in front of the truck. The streets of Chicago are renowned for their holes and bumps and I didn't miss one of them. Cries of "ouch" rang out and the people along Western Avenue stared. fearlessly risking their lives. It was now about midnight and the traffic was not very heavy. but he wouldn't advise it. Kvutzie!" and thus she was named. We started her up. "Come on. Those in the back were frozen from the cold night air. We looked up at the sky and saw that the moon was full. We decided to take the chance. I got into the driver's seat. She needed a new generator and new battery. and through the grace of an inefficient police force. After a harrowing hour and a half we were finally out of the city. 92 . With the aid of that flashlight and the full moon. We had no lights. and then somehow managed to drive to the center. We could take the chance of using her that night if we wanted. there was spirited singing and joking. After a few hours' sleep and a little more pushing. the driver completely new.
the mountains. her every departure. We had her gear fixed so it would stay in high. Frightened parents trembled as Kvutzie pulled out of the dirt road onto the highway at three in the morning. They dismantled her and used her parts on other trucks. we sold Kvutzie to the Hehalutz farm at Creamridge. But we survived the trip. But Kvutzie had been running on love and sympathy. and the sixty hours of traveling. for who could tell when or if she would return? The most spirited singing of the summer and the most gleeful laughter took place aboard her on trips to the beach and back. Her every arrival was the source of the greatest excitement. and whom and what she would bring back with her. We arrived at Accord amid great celebrating (and without a single flat tire on the entire trip). who had inherited the junk yard from her father and who was sitting among old rims and tires and spare parts writing a book. the source of the greatest fear.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Kvutzie was the cause of most of the joy and sorrow of that first season. We played guessing games as to what time she would return from a trip. how many flats she would have. 93 . she soon died. aided by a Jewish girl of about twenty. There. Kvutzie became a legend. Songs were written about her. New Jersey. What a night that was! We packed eighteen haverim into the back of Kvutzie and started the trip! It thundered and rained. we'd see. Then we went to buy her new shoes at an old junk yard about two miles from Michigan City. we found four almost new tires for Kvutzie. Miraculously. the rain. our New York Kvutza. Without them. and everything was against our getting there. There. "What? With Kvutzie? Never!" Well. she served us through the entire summer. at Accord. Then we decided to take a number of haverim 1000 miles to the seminar at Accord.
Again I went through the same procedure. 1942 KVUTZA. R-Radiators-Radios-ah. I remember Kvutzie for she was the creator of that spirit. 94 . the overnight hikes." said the man on the other side of the line. I supply the blasting powder. Only in the wonderful life that is ours at Kvutza could such a spirit come to be. It was decided that Wisconsin would be the lucky state containing the new Habonim Kvutza.762 1/2 miles from Milwaukee. the wonderful spirit. "I have just what you want. None other like it in the whole state. We took out the trusty telephone book and began paging through it. And it's only 9. When at the winter seminar it was decided to leave Tel Hai and look for a new site for the Midwest Kvutza." I thanked the gentleman for his kind offer and consideration and hung up. little did we expect that it would be our last summer there. "Sure enough. KVUTZA. I spun around three times and placed my finger on the page. With eyes closed." I hung up. the Meshugoyim (mad ones). and an official title was given the committee. a spirit which could take a dead object and give it the soul that Kvutzie had. WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? When we left Tel Hai at the close of the Kvutza season last summer. "Yes. the discussion. the comradeship. none of us were too sad. I phoned that number. A committee was elected to look for a site. "I have just the place for you. see? Nothing to worry about.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Others may remember the camp fires. Moshe Goldberg. How should we go about it? Where should we start? Whom should we contact? The method we used was quite simple. But it was. that first season of Kvutzat Tel Hai. Real Estate." said a bass voice. All you have to do is put a dozen steam shovels to work for two years and you've got it.
under the leadership of Ben Kaminker. their neighbors across the road and owners of their camp site. after calling for enough times to have lost count. Mordecai Salinger. erected platforms for the tents.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Well. 1944 KINNERET In the summer of 1938. we will probably be building for the 1944 Kvutza season. high land. and with the assistance of a professional carpenter. Nevertheless. This they immediately staked out as the perfect spot for their future ventures. That winter. they enlisted the moral and financial assistance of active seniors who helped plan construction of the new Habonim camp to be known as Kinneret. by the time you'll be reading this article. hilly. During the summer of 1939. but for all other facilities. the hardy group turned to Farband Camp. and Danny Ginsburg. It meets all the requirements and we are awaiting word as to the possibilities of our developing the lake into a swimming pool. heavy woods. pooled their resources to purchase a couple of tents which they pitched on the side of a hill overlooking Waterloo Road near Chelsea. A patch of grass surrounded by a D-shaped trench formed the open-air dining table. our haverim cleared a road through the swamp. Armon Kamesar. among them Ben Kaminker. a place with real possibilities turned up. Kinneret was a success and ready for further expansion when Mordecai Salinger took over as rosh Kvutza in 1940. Michigan. While exploring the area south of their encampment. a small group of Detroit Habonim. A large group of Cincinnati 95 . a few members of the group waded through a swamp to find a large tract of unused ground. twenty acres of which belonged to the Farband. built a dining hall and kitchen. and level. and sank a shallow well. only thirty-five miles from Milwaukee.
Harry Spoon. 1944 also saw the end of the beloved tower-the termites and old age finally beat the creosote and supports. and dug another distribution field for the modern improved shower house. the rosh. separate outhouses were under way. The hospital was nominally finished and we began our eternal project. In 1944. Electricity was installed. with Ettie Skidell in charge of camp and the boys hard at work moving mountains of dirt to lay the sanitation distribution field. The washing facilities were enclosed and work began on a real outhouse. 1941 was a quiet year.at Kinneret. and the hills around Kinneret resounded with labor songs. but the campers carried on valiantly under the expert whistle blowing of Esty Carson. In 1943. a migdal. raising the number of campers to an average of sixty during that summer. under the tutelage of Yosef Israeli. and last but not least. We built a cabin. In 1945. which was dedicated to Donny Lee of Cleveland. We added our 96 . 1942 was another year of big construction . and the arrival of four girls from Cleveland marked the beginning of Kinneret as a regional camp. We began work on the hospital. Leon Adler became rosh. Artie Goldberg was rosh Kvutza. work was again the watchword.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT haverim joined the Detroiters. the storage cellar. arrived late. The rosh was Paul Milgrom (Pinhas Rimon). and all became sweetness and light at Kinneret-for once we were genteel. New tent platforms. the Ashkenazy building. while Aharon Remez was the fair-haired boy whose experience and muscle were relied on to continue with the building program. enlarged the dining room by moving the kitchen to a new addition. with Shirley Milgrom who came along for the honeymoon. Shalom Wurm set the pattern for cultural activities at camp.
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. drama. Several more cabins were built." and also a year of strong emphasis on scoutcraft. Haim Stopak was rosh. In 1950. in honor of sixteen-month-old Donny. was rosh in 1946. In 1951. the greatest stunt ever at Kinneret. There was an ambitious work program mainly centered about maintenance-there were no new projects. Murray Weingarten. Pipeline HaNegev. That was the year of Doris Dombey's bouncing bed.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING annual brick to the storage cellar and spent the rest of the season looking for work." and Blue-White Day was distinguished by its blood and gore. Detroit's United Hebrew Schools provided a number of full scholarships and there was a large enrollment. art. 97 . A madrichim camp was held after the regular season. including many younger children. There were many midnight "Arab attacks. Of the season. Joey named his quarters. In 1948. and the discussion program centered about the False Messiahs. with Dave Katz as his right-hand man. This was the year of the "flexible schedule. Abba (Cherniak) Tzuriel was rosh. the Detroit United Hebrew Schools said that more Hebrew was learned by their students that year than any other. Camp doubled its enrollment on weekends-an ambitious weekend program. The season gushed with culture. Doodle Horowitz led Kinneret in its first year as a Hebrewspeaking camp. and Evvy Weingarten made her famous leap from rooftop to Ann Arbor hospital. Dvora Frankel was rosh in 1949. modern dance. 1947 was the year of Joey Criden. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew.
1955 was Kinneret's last year. Nathan Kanter. 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. Detroit had had a very successful year and camp registration was up. and the last year of Kinneret closed with a Bonim Seminar. who was one of the most sincere and dedicated members of the Labor Zionist movement and represented the best that is found in Habonim. again including younger children. but things picked up. 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 . a group of “old-timers” packed box-lunches. baby carriages. Dani Kerman returned in 1953. Louis and Cincinnati mahanot in 1947 and 1948. Esther Goldberg. and assorted spouses and progeny. Tel Natan was named for our dear haver. In 1954. and spent a day of labor at Kinneret. 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. Abbie Haklay was rosh. Jerry Katz. Harriet Gelfond. Prior to opening. Geli Gelfond was rosh. managed to make money even on only twenty campers. Dani Kerman was rosh and Kinneret was still a Hebrew-speaking camp. Chicago and Detroit combined efforts in staff and campers. Seymour Salinger. 1957 TEL NATAN Tel Natan was the Camp Kvutza for the St. Tel Natan. It was unique in having complete facilities. There was no big construction projects because of the lack of people.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 1952 opened with a low registration. but a marvelous business manager. A new truck was purchased.
a large dining room. Louis. office. examined and leased the camp site sixty miles west of St. ten large cabins. who was our cook).ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING there would be no camp in the Chicago area to serve the St.000 acre park. known to the Missouri State Park Commission as Camp C1. the camp discontinued operation. The cabins were warm. and after one more season. Nate's mother. Perhaps it was too easy. a walk-in icebox. We returned to Tel Natan for a winter conference. plenty of hot and cold water. the food was good. and the activities and discussions excellent. and since the swimming at Cheetham Pond was not too good anyway. was located on a high hill in the heart of a 6. Missouri. Louis was just not ready to con- 99 . guest house. we were convinced that we had made a wonderful beginning as the first year-round Camp Kvutza in history. Forty haverim spent four satisfying weeks at Tel Natan. The camp. no one complained. After we shut down the camp for the winter. two tons of dishes and pots. I'm not sure why the camp failed or what lesson other camps can learn from Tel Natan. hospital. This was even more successful than the summer session. We did not have to struggle and fight to establish our camp. four sinks. bought a truck. All that we missed was the swimming. In a matter of days. Perhaps St. We broke even. and printed application blanks. and the two tons of dishes and pots did not arrive till fall. Louis mahaneh. The camp and the setting were beautiful and the facilities excellent (two stoves. We were wrong. The first season was a success. Quiure River State Park. a recreation hall. no one lost any weight (thanks to Havera Kanter. and several buildings we never used. we contacted the movement in Cincinnati. Troy. an electric refrigerator. shower house. formed the Habonim Camping Association of Missouri.
Kinneret. Yad Ari. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. which was mainly older. For Midwest Camp Habonim is today the culmination of our work and our dreams of twenty-five years ago when the concept of Camp Kvutza first took shape in the minds of a few young people who were to be the nucleus a few years later of Habonim . I believe that Tel Natan failed because the leadership in the mahaneh. a bold. carefree period in our lives where we learned and lived the principles of Labor Zionism upon which we today base our lives and our work for Israel. and left a void.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT duct and sustain its own camp. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. some photographs. thrilling one for our haverim of those early 100 . or moved on to other personal activity. of work and love and devotion. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael. was probably the main cause of failure. and a feeling of deep regret that the monument we began to erect in memory of Nate Kanter in 1947 was never finished. created by a slowdown in activity during the war.the Labor Zionist Youth. of singing and dancing. This void. names such Tel Hai. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. It was a concept of a place where young Labor Zionists would build their own camp with their own hands from the ground up. to other movement assignments. innocuous name. memories of a glorious. of exciting days and romantic nights. Wil Schoomer. This was a new idea. 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. These are names that really bring back memories of our youth. went on aliya. And yet this name holds for us twenty-five years of memories-memories of other camps with other names.
Tel. Its tenure came to an abrupt end. 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 .but nothing. in northcentral Wisconsin. was the fact that the campers and the staff were satisfied and happy. were built. and the camp itself was always clean and well kept. Hai. which doubled as a recreation room. and so it remained a tent camp. No other buildings. two of which were spent at a rented camp near Savannah. today stirs beautiful memories among many of our senior haverim. Michigan. except for a dispensary. 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. The tents. In 1948. The name. 160 acres of land were purchased near Waupaca. and a modern shower house. which has since proven to be the most memorable part of the whole camp. were spacious and comfortable. Here the ideals of Camp Kvutza could really flourish. beautiful dining room. containing all the necessary facilities. however. They planted a pine forest. Many fine and beautiful traditions were built here. when it was destroyed by fire. not even the fin- 101 . who recall those days with love and tenderness. Here was the opportunity for Habonim to truly build its own camp. so we had to travel ten miles to go swimming. This was camp Yad Ari. Most important of all. which served the ChicagoMilwaukee-Minneapolis area. 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. many years. Then followed an interim period of three years. Illinois.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING years. however. however. It was a good idea. near New Buffalo. and will continue to go on for many. The first Habonim camp in the Midwest (and the second to be established in the United States) was Tel Hai. and they did! They built a big. occasionally someone would get wet at night when he forgot to close the tent flaps.
a more modern one. 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. Yad Ari was abandoned. this also came to an end. At the end of the 1954 season. Kinneret was never meant to be the permanent new home of the large. could ever be a substitute for the most wonderful of intangibles. But.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT est of facilities or the most beautiful buildings and grounds. modern Camp Habonim. The combined areas would now extend as far east as Pittsburgh and as far south and west as St. Kinneret was the choice. Why choose Kinneret over Yad Ari? Mainly because of the location. can never forget. haverim. central Michigan was much nearer the center of this region than northern Wisconsin-therefore. the combining of the two small camps into one large camp at Kinneret. this was Camp Habonim. wherever or whenever it might have been. that resiliency which can change disaster to triumph. the feeling of real group living. the dignity of the flag raising. and 1955 saw Camp Yad Ari and Camp Kinneret combined at Camp Kinneret near Chelsea. as all good things do. This was the idea that the very small. more intimate type of camp was no longer feasible. or the simple beauty of a Friday evening meal by candlelight. This was Yad Ari. turn tears into laughter. A good concept. We had to have fewer but much larger and better (physically speaking) camps. A new concept of camping had been born in the minds of the leadership of Habonim. Can you remember. Louis and Minneapolis. and one that has proven itself. the true Habonim spirit. It was too small and lacked the proper facilities for a large number of campers. Obviously. Michigan. with everyone in white. Thus. of a closeness and oneness that could be achieved nowhere else-the indomitable spirit of Habonim. with the singing and the dancing afterwards? Those of you who ever attended Camp Habonim. It was to serve merely for the transition period until 102 .
All toilet facilities are indoors . The cabins are all equipped with electric lights and even the grounds are illuminated at night. that we are giving up the old idea of Camp Kvutza? Not at all. Does this mean. With the new buildings we can now house seventy-five campers comfortably and we have enough room to expand to a hundred and fifty. The purchase itself marked a new phase of Habonim camping in the Midwest because this was the first time that Habonim had used its own resources to purchase a camp site in this region. de- 103 . were purchased by Habonim. We now come to the current chapter. In short. The dining hall is probably one of the most ideally situated spots in camp. a combination of the best of the old and of the new. Michigan. In the spring of 1956. with which all Habonim campers are so familiar. The good old flashlight. however. we believe. We have not lost sight of the unique Habonim camping program and we retain that spirit that typifies Habonim.in fact. The most important features remain . 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). all the modern conveniences that one associates with the best in modern camps are present at our new Midwest Camp Habonim. This camp had been a farm resort and was situated on beautiful Kaiser Lake. Midwest Camp Habonim today is. Negotiations were completed early in May and two additional cabins were begun.self-labor. self-government. the new Midwest Camp Habonim. Its many high windows overlook the lake and present a truly scenic picture for the diners. But to go along with more modern practices. we have improved upon many of the primitive physical facilities. It did just that. The next season found us in the new camp.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING a new site would be found. is now almost a thing of the past. eighty acres of beautiful grounds near Three Rivers. the new cabins come equipped with these appurtenances. and did it well.
the determination indomitable. that the idea of Habonim camping ripened and the first camp was established. Lenny Zurakov. and Ben Cherner. For the first time. Old-timers remember the C. and water had to be brought by car from about a mile away. It was during that summer. We feel that we now have a camp. 104 . these were the ingredients of the first Camp Kvutza in the West in the year 1936. twenty sprightly youngsters.C. In looking back upon twenty-five years of Habonim camping. that feeling of kinship and real comradely spirit. This is a record that speaks for itself.C. and the results were a full camping season which was followed uninterruptedly for the next twenty-one years.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT mocracy. and a program superior to most. with Ben's arrival in Los Angeles. But spirits were high. that can compare favorably with any in the area. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE WEST A goat farm. cooking in an abandoned shack. moshavim. Many graduates of Habonim camp have gone to live in Israel. the permanent camp in the Angeles National Forest. the physical plant of the camp. but in all parts of the American Jewish community. the concept of a common fund. Swimming was in a public pool. In 1939. and of course. in kibbutzim. and many others have remained here to become leaders not only in the Labor Zionist movement. and cities. and once a child has had a positive camping experience at camp. 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. becomes an attraction for newcomers to our movement. camping experience in 1937 and Azusa in 1938. his chances of remaining in Habonim are excellent. as well as the program.
on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen. 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. Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. and the arts. models. 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. 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. the several activities directly associated with it. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. During the entire period. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks. 105 . as well as some that were specifically camp activities." Through lectures. as the camp is. Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles. was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. discussions. literary trials. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks. Situated. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it.
the discussion of Jewish problems and of Jewish achievements. singing. the following camp activities were open to all campers: swimming. and for many campers for the first time. We anticipate doubling our registration this summer. and other camp diversions which took place regularly. including showers. scouting. Camp accomplished in a very few weeks what efforts by parents could not achieve for years. Much new equipment was purchased. Here. The Shabbat celebration. hiking. The sports facilities were improved. toilets and wash basins. the Israel and Zionist spirit of all our activities. the Shabbat morning Tanach circle. the daily Hebrew classes. 106 . dancing. all this left an indelible impression upon the campers. Camp Spirit We would be greatly remiss in our factual report of camp activities and program if we were not to stress the spirit of the camp. We also extended our camp season to eight weeks. arts and crafts. we felt it in the one hundred percent attendance at the first camp reunion. we felt it even more in the conversations with the parents of the campers.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In addition. We felt it in the expressions of the children at camp. sports. Four large new cabins were built. We are beginning to receive campers from other cities on the West Coast and are rapidly becoming an all-Western camp. Future Plans All this progress was made possible through a building expansion program undertaken last spring. they were in a thoroughly children's atmosphere as well as in a thoroughly Jewish one. photography.
to improve the present shower building. The first month of the summer season. while Gordonia would have the camp in August. David Yaroslovsky. 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. And so Moshava began its first season! Needless to say. Mosh has changed from a small camp sponsored by Gordoniawhose tents were pitched on the bare ground. to enlarge and improve our dining and kitchen facilities. The two groups were the Hashomer Hatzair and the Gordonia organization of Baltimore. an arts and crafts pavilion. whose dining room had a canvas top. for not only do we spend some of the happiest weeks of the year there. 1935. many changes have occurred since that memorable year. July. to build several new concrete platforms. 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. but the setting is so perfect and the scenery so beautiful that we never want to forget it. and whose campers came from Baltimore only-to a large camp sponsored by Habonim following the amalgamation of Habonim with Gordonia. In 1935 Mr. And it is no wonder that we all love it.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Our plans for this summer are to build a staff building. Sigfrid Sonniborn of Baltimore gave 162 acres of land near Annapolis to two Zionist groups to be used for a camp site. where there was no electricity whatsoever. The capacity is now seventy-five to eighty campers from all over the Atlantic seaboard. with seven tents pitch- 107 ." Such is the effect "Mosh" has on its campers. Hashomer would use the camp.
can one see it completely. an outdoor stage. and electrical connections. four large airy cabins. The center of this circle is the center field. horseshoe. gazing at the stars. From there. Only from the water tower. 108 . But this is not all. The picture Moshava presents is truly a beautiful one. a newly reinforced dining room. 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. spreading below. a modern hospital with up-to-date equipment. Following the path further. a well-filled library. a piano. tantalizing monkey vines swing just above your reach. one sees the side road leading from the water tower to the hospital opposite. and far on the distant side of the river. we come to the long uneven trail that leads back to the central field. a popular place for rehearsals or for a nocturnal group wishing to read Edgar Allen Poe in just the proper atmosphere. These two cabins begin the camp proper. This trail is the most popular of all. 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. It is lined with clinging vines draped around the trees. One can relax in the mildly cool river water. wide and level. a large roomy kitchen. volleyball and basketball courts. this scene is dimly repeated. get an invigorating swim in the deeper cold water further from shore. for flanking them. Past interesting coves and the beach. basketball. and listening to the waves lap on the beach.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT ed on platforms. and here and there. and track events take place during sports periods. In all directions there is green foliage that beckons to you with its coolness in the heat of the day. the tents and stage are arranged in an almost perfect circle. one arrives at last at the old cliff that overlooks the Severn River. Scrambling down the side of the cliff. or go to sleep on the sandy beach while taking a sun bath. where baseball. however.
contacted sympathizers. hot and cold water. They formed committees. worked with characteristic irregularity. Far and wide they traveled. The manor house after being scrubbed from top to bottom revealed an immense dining room. brooms.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING It is also on this trail that we find the path leading to the new cliff. and soap. 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. It was a crime to travel hundreds of miles for the inspiration and learning we could achieve on our own grounds. and a rosh Kvutza set foot on forty acres of poison ivy studded with two outhouses. In May. So the determined Quakers set to work. Through mosquito-ridden New Jersey to mosquito-ridden Pennsylvania until they came upon Camp Germinal . They transformed a chicken coop into a habitable shack. three kitchens. And now. a site for camp. Then came the eventful day when fourteen haverim.former anarchist hangout and spiders' hideout. Camp Tax became the byword. and ten stall showers which. But soon the cash thermometer rose and $250 became a realization. and nagged the National Executive. influenced by their anarchist background. The central field is not far ahead and soon one can be in the midst of activity again. They slept and ate and grew gray hair over pledges. buckets. The scrubbed and rubbed. the Sunday of the 23rd. printed stationary. They screened and painted. one of which leaked from the luxurious 109 . the first expedition set out armed to the hilt with mops. "Mosh" Diary.
And their famous idiosyncrasies. who often stopped to admire the flowers by the wayside? He carried our haverim down to the swimming hole in the Shamony. Clara's operetta.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT bath upstairs every time one of the girls decided to miss a discussion. could be persuaded only by Schmeer up to the hill again to camp. Cookie and the chocolate pudding. Galil Diary. The six master bedrooms did come in handy when the fourteen pioneers increased to sixty. named for his predecessor. Sossy from Chicago. music room. Edi and Brown Betty. Ernst who drowned you trying to teach life saving. Leslie and his hair washing. Tzip and her hatred of kitchen duty. and the other which had a natural waterfall coming from the center roof every time the dishes fell. 1938 110 . The office served as a lounge. Aba Kibbile's drama group. Yak and his travels in Ferdy. Who of us can ever forget Sir Ferdinand. Yona and her trying girls. Or can we forget our staff-rising and falling like the stock market? One week ten and the next week four. the bull. and Shlomo and his hat. or on a line to the Delaware. Leo and his driving mania. and then after a sojourn with the flowers. and dance studio.
. 1941.N. Etty Skidell. Montreal. Chana Reitman. All proceeds to the J. Kinneret. 1957. 1941. Corn for sale at Camp Habonim. Aviva Gootman. 1956. Gaby Stalzenberg at work. 1956. Shirley Goldberg. "The Women". Overnight hike at Montreal. Kinneret. Montreal. Rose Breslau.The "Ten Lost Tribes" prepare to return. 1957.F. Laizer Blitt. Moshe Goldberg.
The Lake at Tel Yochanan. The Dining Room at Camp Habonim. Dining Room at Tel Yochanan.Y. 1957. Camp Habonim. N.Visiting Day. 1957. Montreal. . N. "B'tayavon". Solelim Dance at Red Hook.Y. Amenia. Red Hook. 1957.
Galil Choir performs for Visitors Day. 1948. The Waterfront at Moshava. N.Y. . Camp Habonim. 1957. Red Hook.Flag Raising at Moshava. Bridging the Creek at Galil. 1957. Ottsville. Annapolis. Maryland. Pennsylvania.
"Chalil and Drum Corps. 1957. 1957. Harvesting Corn at Camp Habonim. Moshava. . my people". 1957. Moshava. 1955. Moshava.A discussion under the trees. Tisha B’Av. "Comfort ye. Taking a dip in the enlarged "L" shaped pool at Camp Habonim.
a magnificent barn. and the first Camp Galil came into existence. a very successful summer program was carried out. Fortunately. plans were made for finding. During the summer of 1939. A county highway divided the cabins from the rest of the site. had two unfortunate deficiencies. It included a well-constructed farm house. Our appetites were whetted. After much searching. The White Paper was soon to be issued and the horror of Hitler-Europe was soon to be upon us. and staffed mainly by older haverim of Habonim. 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. for the summer. at the height of the depression and with much trepidation because of the lack of finances. Pennsylvania (for the then large sum of $1. Yak Rycus was imported from the Midwest to act as rosh Kvutza. however. Upon returning from Moshava at the end of the 1939 summer season. The site. Pennsylvania. One must recall the times in which this thinking took place. we were determined to have a camp of our own. and the swimming facilities were reached by climbing a very steep hill at a considerable distance from the 115 . as many of our members as possible spent the summer at Moshava near Baltimore.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING GALIL In 1938. we were able to convince enough members of the senior movement of the importance of a local camp for them to organize a camp committee to seek a site. and a number of cabins which at one time had beeii4 chicken coops. a site was found near Pipersville. which could be rented for the summer. In 1939. and immediately upon the close of the summer. let alone talk in terms of developing a permanent camp. War clouds were gathering.500). the Philadelphia haverim rented the old anarchist Camp Germinal near Jamison. a permanent site for a Philadelphia camp.
however. however. a principal of a Philadelphia Talmud Torah. Guard duty became an important job. one recalls a most interesting and unusual Hebrew program. In retrospect. Word was passed around and fortunately. the haverim of Habonim. Edie. The rampant anti-Semitism which existed and which was manifested so clearly made a deep impression upon our younger haverim. was the first national mahaneh madrichim. no further incidents took place. Irv approached the local sheriff and received a permit to carry guns. and frequently more. began intensive construction projects to make the site as serviceable as possible for the summer. One remembers nostalgically the first contact with shlihim.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT cabins. To counteract these activities. At that particular period. Dr. This unpleasantness. with the help of some adults. Undaunted. they managed to deface and almost destroy the dock we had built at the creek. Haverim came from all over the country and friendships were created which were to last to this very day. did not detract from a very fine summer. and daily Hebrew sessions were a part of the program. was a member of the staff. Construction went well. at the younger haverim. The most striking memory of this summer. The summer itself was full of interesting and varied experiences. had to do with the last three weeks of camp which was devoted to what. the German American Bund was active in the area. The group was small-I doubt if there were more than fifty at any one time-but the spirit was high. In addition. So much so that at the beginning of the summer. I believe. The effectiveness of this endeavor 116 . Irv Sternberg and his wife. notwithstanding the broken arm of one of our haverim who managed to fall off a roof while shingling it. were the roshim. The purpose of this particular mahaneh madrichim was to train madrichei tzofim. Meyer Cohen. it became a nightly occurrence for a truckload of these hooligans to drive slowly through the camp hurling epithets.
this dream of having a camp of our own. The impetus of the Camp Kvutza. whether as a culmination of a year's work. From 1941 through 1945. that the young Labor Zionist movement of Philadelphia grew and was strengthened because of a program which revolved around the camp. 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. Happily for Habonim. or returned to Moshava. without whom there would have been no Camp Galil today. Almost singlehandedly. The camp was quite primitive-there was no electricity.000 from the YWCA. Conditions brought about by the imminence of war 'unfortunately dictated against a camp of our own in 1941. supplied the necessary labor and technical knowledge to begin im- 117 . this dedication to the importance of the summer Kvutza soon manifested itself. Connecticut. it became clear that the local mahaneh could not really grow. the kitchen had an old wood-burning stove. was shared by one haver of the senior movement of Philadelphia. Most of our haverim spent that summer either at Killingworth. The movement suffered accordingly. or as inspiration for a new year's activities cannot be minimized. Abe Segal. this pattern was repeated. The young branches. Abe Segal spurred on the efforts of the movement to raise the necessary funds to purchase a most beautiful site at a relatively small cost. It can truthfully be said. and the water supply was dependent upon an old gasoline engine which worked on occasion. for without a camp. whose membership came from ex-Habonim members. returned from the service. The camp was purchased for the sum of $30. All efforts were bent toward getting a camp for Philadelphia and vicinity.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.
the New York mahaneh was having its camp difficulties. and the general membership supplied the muscle-power to dig the ditches so that all electric wires would be underground. 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. which would in turn provide children for the summer season. despite the fact that campers came from as far as Wilmington and the Vineland-Toms River areas. The experience for Philadelphia. they were somewhat overwhelmed by the influx of the New Yorkers. consequently. the civil engineers in the group directed the building of the necessary footbridge to cross the stream. The electrical engineers in the group planned. While eighty children could be accommodated. Killingworth could no longer be used and the Amenia site was not adequate. however. serviced that number-this. was somewhat unnerving. We are all part of one movement. The idea as finally formulated called for the establishment of two camps on the Galil site. during the struggle for Statehood. but there are many local differences and loyalties which can be positive. Few children came to camp-the camp leadership was not from Philadelphia and. In 1953. it was at first difficult to utilize the camp to its fullest extent. In 1952. camp rarely.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT proving the camp site. Aside from the fact that Philadelphia haverim acquired Brooklyn accents. designed. The cycle was rather vicious. To solve this dilemma an arrangement was made whereby the New York haverim registered at Galil for the summer. if ever. The lessons learned that summer were to be utilized during the following year. The next few years were filled with gradual growth and improvement. Because of the weakness of Habonim in the city. Interest in the camp was further heightened by the events of 1947-48. and installed electricity. Interesting results followed. there was no leadership for the winter mahaneh. one would retain the name Galil and 118 .
however. The idea now evolved to include. at the same time. Being on the approved list of the Council brought help 119 . The best that can be said of that summer was that. During our camping history. a great deal of Hebrew was always used. The future of Habonim in Philadelphia was therefore dependent upon those unaffiliated children who could be brought to spend a summer at camp. But this was not enough. Camp terminology was almost exclusively Hebrew. This meant that the facilities of Galil were to be used to their maximum. and could register up to sixty children. Registration would be limited to forty campers. they should become Hebrew centered. Camp Amal would register children ages thirteen through sixteen who met the Hebraic requirements. in addition to the everyday terminology. make use of its facilities by improving the physical plant so as to be able to attract more children.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING would accept campers from ages nine through twelve only. The Camp Committee of Galil wholeheartedly endorsed this approach and determined upon a course which would make Galil a truly Hebrew-centered camp and. despite all the handicaps. quite clear at the end of the summer that such an arrangement could never be repeated. quite a bit was accomplished in both camps. It was agreed that every Habonim camp should have as much Hebrew as possible in its program. the Council on Jewish Education of Philadelphia approved Camp Galil as one of three Hebrew camps for which it provided scholarships. The idea of two separate camps with separate staffs and differing orientation was too difficult an undertaking to be of any real success. 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. It was. actual classes for study of the language. It was during this year that the movement crystallized its thinking with regard to a central Hebrew-speaking camp.
for the first time.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT from other quarters. Not only will this be avoided in the future. In previous years. The swimming pool was completely rebuilt. if not directly connected with our movement. In most cases. A second well was dug primarily to provide water for the pool and to act as a supplementary water supply for general use. but the well water will be purer and free of algae so that the pool need not be emptied and cleaned as frequently as heretofore. During the past few summers. a number of staff members of Galil were employed from the student body of Gratz College. camp was full. the water level of the creek continued to fall so that there were times when the pool could not be properly filled. In addition. 120 . the Gratz College students were. The Hebrew program at Galil is flexible enough to be able to provide for these individual needs. Supplementing the Habonim staff were Gratz College students working to our mutual advantage. and in 1957. the Hebrew teachers' training institution of Philadelphia. It should be noted that the national office was never able to supply the total staff needs of Galil. In 1956. In some cases. especially in the case of boys. During the past three summers many of the campers at Galil have made considerable progress in their Hebraic studies. Galil depended on the creek for water for the swimming pool. Several of the largest congregations in the city also announced to its membership that it would grant scholarships to children desirous of attending Galil. at least sympathetic to our program and completely cooperative in carrying it out. A Hebrew Educators Advisory Committee was organized and the Hebrew program of Galil approved. if necessary. Many of the youngsters bring with them specific requests from their teachers and principals as to material to be covered. they have covered the equivalent of a full year's work in the city. registration was closed by the end of March. Improvements to camp continue.
But. and every meeting has on its agenda a report from the rosh mahaneh of Philadelphia Habonim. But problems have arisen. It has made its mark in the Philadelphia Jewish community and its prestige is at its highest point. the Kvutza in Israel has also undergone some metamorphoses and the American Kvutza must reflect these changes. All members of the Camp Committee are dedicated to this purpose. deeply committed to Labor Zionism. however. those of us now responsible for our camps must take this into account. is to no avail unless it leads to an invigorated and expanded youth movement in the city. Parents today seem more concerned for the material aspects of camp life and. immigrants themselves. "The road of the halutz is a long and difficult one and if it isn't. The Camp Committee has assumed all of the responsibility of a Chay Commission." primitive sites and difficult conditions were almost a matter of principle. Haverim cried that this would violate the principle of self-labor. were no less concerned about our welfare during the summer than parents today. All of this. But they were neither shocked nor disturbed by "primitive" conditions. In the "old days. make it. We are raising a new generation of children and a new generation of parents. and the problems of the youth movement are an integral part of each camp meeting. 121 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The future of Galil seems assured. Habonim camping has traveled a long road in the past twenty-five years. We wanted to simulate the life of the Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael as closely as possible.” This in a sense represented our thinking. Our parents. They are not interested in running a camp just for the sake of a summer business. I well remember the heated discussions which took place among haverim in Philadelphia when Galil contemplated installing an automatic dishwashing machine. like it or not.
Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. however. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. Winni- 122 . Once Winnipeg Habonim reached mahaneh status they could settle for nothing less than a Camp Kvutza of their own. 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. Daniel Isaacman. he went out to organize Habonim at night. and no one would have suspected that it came about as a sort of by-product of work for the Royal Canadian Air Force. 1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. The Winnipeg movement was young and vigorous then. Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. by temperament David Biderman was no one-job man. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal. But miner or airman. In cannot be changed without destroying the very basis for which our camps were created. 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. The only clue to his earth-bound past was slyly concealed in his home address: He lived on Burrows Street in Winnipeg. but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval. David Biderman. In one of those strange wartime transmutations.
neither in appearance nor in the quarter-acre plot it occupied. Mrs. turned out to greet them. was at the outskirts of Gimli. Blond. special friend of the court. but special cheers were always reserved for the venerable Bar Mitzva. There were some summer cottages in 1941. The curious campers welcomed the distinguished guests. Kasedy was cook-and a good oneand as a special dispensation she was permitted to bring along her son. a black. Aliyah Kare was dean of arts and crafts and second in command of the kitchen. Geulah Green was the registered nurse and lifeguard. The cottage itself was a one-story wooden building partly enclosed by an L-shaped screened porch. When David and Sully arrived-no matter what the time of day-the whole camp. the staff was small and hybrid. a bright-eyed youngster who was under age for camp.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING peg's first Kvutza would be held at Calof's cottage in Gimli on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. blue-eyed sons and daughters of Iceland dominated the village streets. but the town had not yet lost the Icelandic character of its original settlers. high-topped Ford that made the weekly 123 . forty strong. Calof's cottage. There was a church of roughhewn stone authentic enough to have been transplanted from the old village back home. The camp site. It was in no way distinguished from other cottages in the neighborhood. I was imported from New York to be rosh and factotum. Shimin. He used to drive up with David Biderman. Gimli has changed considerably in recent years. The business manager who commuted on weekends was Sully Spector. Appropriate to the camp site. And the fishing boats that sailed Lake Winnipeg rather than the saltier North Atlantic nevertheless carried salty sailors and bore names taken from the old Norse sagas. and the town itself is honeycombed with the cottages of Winnipeg vacationers. There is a large RCAF airbase nearby. about two blocks from the lake and close by a public wooded area.
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. So. it was pitched according to law . I dashed from one councilman to another. the mayor. the season got under way. With the tents up and the campers covered. Thors in a garage. The constable sent me to the mayor. The tents could not go up without the mayor's approval. most assuredly that would have been its fate.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT pilgrimage. sent me to garner the opinions of the five councilmen. One day before the opening. quizzing each on his home ground Nielson in a tractor shed. That tent was not simply pitched. tired kids. The camp had the usual trials and triumphs: rains that came and tents that fell. etc. in his shirtsleeves trimming a hedge. The Ford often faltered but it never failed.-until the roll call was completed and breathlessly I could report the affirmative vote to the mayor. camp fires at the beach.democratic Icelandic law. It is unlikely that campers anywhere lived more closely than the campers at Gimli. That day I had a job on my hands. 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. parents who were torn between their loyalty to Labor Zionism and their concern for the welfare of their child- 124 . and for Winnipeg Habonim it symbolized the indomitable halutz spirit. I ran around like Chicken Licken taking a census. while tent-pegs were held in abeyance. the advance crew of three set to work pitching tents on the Calof lawn. 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 advantages in the setup were priceless: No one could be out of earshot of the discussions. Olafson in the general store. Even the cook in the kitchen could not escape them.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ren. . over 125 haverim and friends packed three trucks and several cars and filled the grounds. the Farband. one of the rivers (we are at the junction of two streams) brought fond memories of the beautiful showers of that historic site. There were frenched beds and a pillow fight that covered the grounds with feather-snow. Strangely enough. he offered to rent the spot for every Sunday in the summer. still others were disappointed to find the dam unfinished. . Some inspected the eighty percent-finished dining room and kitchen. and one found a most beautiful nook for discussions. Yisrael Kvutza. There were earnest daydreams and the stubborn belief that somehow all of this was bringing everyone closer to Eretz Yisrael . others looked around the sleeping quarters. and Habonim. the Pioneer Women. Accord. After Tehezakna. 1940 125 . Our Kvutza is named "Afikim. In fact. Moreover. just at that point. he stressed the place of America in Labor Zionism in light of the plight of Jewry in Europe. As a result. But the wisest of all went exploring in the forests. was blessed with the unfaltering benevolence of King Saul. The opening was held around the flag poles. Ontario." Moshe Rubinoff. He hoped the Toronto haverim would choose a name for Kvutza in keeping with our ideals. Pinhas Rimon. with the iron cots and brand new mattresses. the name of an Eretz. 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. haverim spoke for the Poale Zion. In his talk. 1957 AFIKIM The opening of Camp Kvutza at Markham. somehow it did. At first everything was disorganized as everybody went out exploring.
It was soon realized that as an intensive supplement to the program of the mahaneh in the winter. which was again rented from the C. the site of Camp Miriam moved back again to its primitive Gabriola Island site. itself had extended its own camp period. suffered from being too close to civilization. Doodle Horowitz was rosh Kvutza. Moishe Loffman of Winnipeg was rosh Kvutza that year. it turned out that we would not be able to rent this camp in the future because the Zionist Organization of B. It was rented for two weeks. About twenty-five attended this first twoweek camp. however.F. The mahaneh set up a Camp Site Investigation Committee. lack of adult supervision at that time made the work of the committee 126 . We have been a long time in acquiring it. Amram Milner. It is a nine-acre. At that time. Camp Hatikvah. The first Habonim Camp Kvutza of Vancouver Habonim was held in the summer of 1949 at Camp Wordsworth. camp. thirty miles west of Vancouver. Camp Kvutza Miriam was held at Camp Hatikvah. as rosh. the idea was first brought forward that Habonim should own a camp site.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP MIRIAM Camp Miriam was named after Miriam Biderman and is located on Gabriola Island. for a period of two weeks. In the fall of 1951. This committee spent many pleasant weekends traveling around the scenic local fiords hunting camp sites. At present.C. it has a capacity of sixty people. the local C. and furthermore.C. on Gabriola Island. Because of the primitive conditions.F. heavilywooded camp site with water frontage on a beautiful little cove. This was a two-week camp with the shaliah. a Camp Kvutza in the summer was necessary.C. Vancouver Habonim was first organized by Bert and Marian Waldman in 1948. And so in 1951. thus precluding our use of the site. the camp of the Zionist Organization of British Columbia in 1950. Although several places were located.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING abortive. This camp was particularly fortunate in having on the staff three Workshoppers. 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. a threeweek Camp Kvutza was made possible.F. unhygienic conditions existing there. The seniors then formed an incorporated society for the purpose of buying the camp property. decided that they would no longer be in the landlord business and that if we wanted to use the camp the following summer.. The Roberts Creek camp site was even worse than Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island. This camp ran for three weeks with Asher Wallfish as shaliah and Allen (Geli) Gelfond as rosh.C. and so in 1955. In the summer of 1952. we would have to buy it. 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. Although we were still unable to purchase a camp. In 1953 Camp Miriam was again held on Gabriola Island for two weeks with Al Linden as rosh. Camp Miriam in 1954 was located at Roberts Creek. the existence of Vancouver Habonim would be seriously threatened. being fellow Socialists. The 1956 camp was a three-week season with Nahman Goldwasser as rosh.F. Yehuda "Sam" Weissbach was our rosh for that year's three-week camp. After much hunting. Some active parents were approached as well as some seniors of the Labor Zionist movement. and they were told that if there was no camp that summer. Now that the Gabriola Island camp site is the property of the Habonim Zionist Society. sold us the camp on very easy terms.C. the C. we again crossed the Straits of Georgia to the Gabriola Island camp site. at about this time. At this time there were about eightyfive camper-weeks and Abbie Haklay was our rosh. the problem of its development is up 127 . However. By this time. on the site of a former girls' camp. with the growth of the mahaneh. Fortunately the C.
Plans for the development of the site include especially development of kitchen facilities and playground. Agathe to get axes sharpened. 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.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT to us and the local parents and seniors. not knowing that one day it was destined to house Habonim. those who got many blisters chopping firewood to keep the stove going red hot all summer. Who can forget whitewashing the kitchen (to cover last summer's soot) and dining room until it was sparkling in the sunlight. there was a stable (and it still stands today) which housed horses. or the famous soups that we had in those days which couldn't be had in the Waldorf Astoria. the great baseball games at the playing field near the tents. Max Langer. which are to have priority in the next few years. There in Prefontaine. In 1957. and then off to another direction for another pit for another purpose. 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 many times the smoke stack shifted a bit and smoke was heavy and thick? Who can forget the overnight 128 . the haverim who went to Ste. those who suffered afterwards from lime burn. chasing hornets. 1957 MONTREAL Once upon a time. many haverim spent wonderful summers at Kvutza and at seminars. and sort of forgot to come back. the little creek behind the kitchen that was our ice box. digging a new garbage pit. the camp season will extend to four weeks for the first time in our history. trudging through the swamp connecting the pipeline bringing water to camp.
Texas. Jacob Feldman. 129 . should be mentioned. a madrich of the Dallas movement. a group of friends of Habonim dedicated to the precept of Camp Kvutza. was organized in the course of the year. and Tulsa. Oklahoma. in Houston and San Antonio. having the same wonderful time. Zesmer. selected a site on Lake Dallas for a Habonim Camp Kvutza. the many cases of poison ivy? Years have come and gone. Irving Brodsky.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING hikes. In the summer of 1939. To everyone's chagrin a polio epidemic made it impossible to open camp in 1940 and necessitated postponement of the program. Several of the Association's members who devoted much time. the haverim of the Dallas groups planned for a summer camping program. Camp Kvutza has changed places. but new and sparkling and full of Habonim. acting as a committee for the Southwest Habonim. It was then that Moshe Smith. Habonim groups were functioning. and Dr. Cocoa Cheifetz. Times have changed and so has Kvutza-not like the old camp. Among these devoted friends were Harry Sigel. A Camp Bonim Association. in addition to the four groups in Dallas. New Orleans Louisiana. Haverim who were at Kvutza in those days have traveled and settled in various parts of the world. the day one haver climbed over a fence and stepped into a hornet's nest. I. not any more in Prefontaine. at a place called Lac Quenoilles. and financial means. effort. with the writer of this report. Isaac Goldstein. Maurice Levy. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE SOUTHWEST CAMP BONIM. but many miles further in the mountains. It was not until ten years later that such an opportunity presented itself. and Yapha (Jennie) Zesmer. TEXAS Ever since the founding of Gordonia in Texas in 1929.
In each of these communities. and Hannah Wiederman of Houston . The camping program was extended to an ever-growing movement. Moshe Smith. From the very outset. all of Dallas. Gerber. Camp Bonim observed kashrut (as do all Habonim camps). Zevi Borofsky. committees of friends of Camp Bonim were formed for the purpose of making this decade-old dream a reality. as 130 . and Yitzhak Groner. worked with the writer to make this success possible. and the summer of that year brought two hundred campers to Camp Bonim.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT all of Dallas. and Louisiana. Zalman Schneider. Avraham Groner. currently of Minneapolis. and in others throughout Texas. In the summer of 1941. I. Zalman Kahn. Some $60. called Camp Bonim blessed.000 was contributed through the Camp Bonim. Camp Bonim opened its first season on a leased site on Lake Dallas. was always considered phenomenal. Ami Levin. then a member of the Dallas Hebrew School faculty. Yaakov Ely. Yapha Chesnick. The winter of 1945 saw the purchase of a site on Lake Dallas. M. Raphael Levin. Subsequent years were periods of real Habonim expansion in the region. A number of Dallas haverim. Weiner of Houston. This was always considered by the founders and madrichim. The invaluable assistance of Kalman Shapiro. Association by friends in the three states for the purchase and improvement of the site. Bruno Sigel. particularly in the smaller towns where no Jewish education was possible. Leah Waltman.all did a real halutzic job in planning for Camp Bonim and in implementing these plans. Shahna Kahn. veterans in Habonim. Meir Sigel. Taubman (currently in Tulsa). and I. Nad. and Abraham Sinkin. Bernard Rubenstein. and Nathan Karin of San Antonio. and parents in the communities. Oklahoma. Herman P. David Zesmer. 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.
1957 EXPERIMENTS AND TRENDS THE COMING SEASON My experience last summer with Kinneret. The campers may talk 131 . given the opportunity. and contemplation. Shabbat at Camp Bonim was. which no Kvutza should be without. however. from the very inception. would have cramped our style last year. programs. if anything. an occasion for perfect rest. Yaakov Levin. The entire camp program was geared toward a full and enriching Jewish experience in the spirit of Labor Eretz Yisrael. near Detroit. Experience. and we were probably aided by the fact that because of our inexperience we made plans which we might otherwise have rejected as too ambitious. aided me in formulating and developing certain ideas with regard to the basic principles of Kvutza. From time to time.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING an integral must in any Jewish educational program. the campers will decide to do the right thing at Kvutza meetings. can certainly be handled in this manner. even such a measure as common fund. Problems such as bedtime. I should not hesitate to give the campers considerable liberty. For example. I am sure that. We had ideas. can be discussed at a Kvutza meeting and will undoubtedly be passed with very little opposition. study. work. morning exercise. and for this reason. handicrafts. kitchen duty. Those of us who drew up plans for Kinneret last summer were alike in one respect-we were all inexperienced. 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. senior haverim would visit the camp for Shabbat and sing the praises of the type of education Camp Bonim offered.
To my knowledge. but by giving them an opportunity to be instrumental in the actual building of the Kvutza. they can be counteracted by artificial means.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT about staying up late. work and handicrafts are not being neglected in our Kvutzot. Arm in arm with work goes gardening. and in order to carry out this project successfully. The dining room at Kinneret is by no means a professional job. but if a discussion of the benefits of an earlier day and the harm done by late hours is carefully conducted. and the cost and effort expended on such a project will be repaid if plans are carefully laid out and executed. and such a principle as the "conquest of labor" should be exploited to its limit. it might also be wise to plant trees for ornamental purposes as well as for fruit. if planned properly. will receive much enthusiasm on the part of the campers. Habonim are builders. In the case of a permanent Kvutza. Both vegetable and flower gardening must be begun in April or May. even at the expense of a more professional job. This may be difficult to carry through in some Kvutzot because of unfavorable natural factors.vegetable and floral culture. Gardening can and should be of two kinds . and we should certainly be given an opportunity to build. should play a major role in Kvutza activities and. of course. but it means a great deal to about ten boys who had a band in building it. this is a decided advantage since the Kvutza with a garden begins not in July but in April 132 . On the surface this may seem a disadvantage. Our camps present a golden opportunity for us to put some of the concepts of halutziut into practice. Work. even to the extent of killing the idea of a garden. However poor these conditions may be. no one will want to stay up past a reasonable hour. it is necessary to take a trip to Kvutza every week and put in several hours of work. such as poor soil conditions or extreme drought. On second thought. The best way to give the camp back to the campers is not by merely giving them a voice in their own government. however.
Little by little. Other projects can be postponed from day to day. gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. In short. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years. and labor is of little significance if it does not go hand in hand with a desire for beauty and freshness. Those who work on the garden in the spring will naturally be more interested in Kvutza than those whose first connections with camp begin when the season opens. 1940 133 . It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. but postponing work on the garden spells failure. and here is a grand opportunity. Danny Ginsburg. 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. however. the garden should develop. Flowers and landscaping are also of great significance. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully. A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim. Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets.
and so on. began as an experiment and ended as an established institution. where they received an education along Reconstructionist lines. The campers elected their own person to assign the work who. the campers. rather than giving them an opportunity to do work which they would find more interesting and which would require a certain degree of skill. This was partly due to the assignment of routine jobs to the campers. of course. garden. it is possible to expose successfully young American Jews to collective agricultural life. while several had almost no knowledge of Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. we found that almost without any conscious guidance on our part. together with us. The campers participated in both cultural and agricultural discussions. a number were students of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. built around work. Although we were rather skeptical at the beginning. The group was a rather heterogeneous one. Fifteen boys and girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen attended the camp. 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 . within reasonable limits. The campers were given an opportunity to participate in the various branches-barn. in the course of the summer. chickens. not to mention halutziut. New Jersey. most of us were ready to admit that. CREAMRIDGE Camp Avoda at the Hehalutz farm in Creamridge. The life of the camp was. cannery.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP AVODA. To our surprise. gradually began to adopt the outlook and standards of intimate collective groups. by the end of last summer. High school-age boys and girls came to Creamridge to live and work with an established collective group. prepared the daily work schedule. such as picking tomatoes or cleaning chicken coops. 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.
Five or six times during the summer. an argument ensued as to whether some campers may go to a movie on a day when the others are swimming or whether the whole group must have their recreation together. but the group as a whole was an alert one and there were many lively arguments and debates. there were innumerable small problems. the cultural work was too limited and lacking in intensity-for example. One evening a week was devoted to a cultural discussion concerning aspects of modern Jewish life throughout the world with particular emphasis on Zionism. questions. and suggestions brought up at these meetings. Several campers wanted a room in the house to be set aside as a recreation and letter-writing room. 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. there was a discussion about whether boys have to work in the kitchen and clean house as well as girls. Because of the varying backgrounds of the campers. the campers were given a good deal of freedom of choice and decision. and except for a few elementary rules upon which we insisted. some difficulties were encountered in presenting these discussions. As mentioned before. 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. During the first few 135 . the work program was not organized in a manner that would have been most beneficial to the campers. and so on. A good part of the discussions. we did not have an adequate library of Zionist and other literature which campers could read at their leisure. Camp Avoda in some ways fell short of what it might have been. of course.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING economy. Despite the fact that the group was a small one and that camp life followed a rather simple pattern. We naturally tried to have Camp Avoda run as democratically as possible. was in reference to our own farm economy.
1944 136 . but it was just the opposite. parents sent boxes of candy and cookies. and felt. At first the candy was the private property of the particular tent in which the recipient lived. later the campers themselves again brought up the suggestion and it was accepted. 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. and better organized Camp Avoda. there were also a good many technical shortcomings which should have been avoided. During the year. for instance. we proposed a common fund. heard. the campers gradually began to realize the advantages of collective living. Yet. they began to adopt more and more of our methods. we feel that we achieved the basic purposes of Camp Avoda. better planned. Most of us thought it likely that they would ridicule. As happens in every camp. many of them came to visit us for weekends and holidays. on the basis of their own experience. They liked us and they liked the way we lived. the idea of keeping clothes collectively. that living collectively was better and preferable to any other way of life. Several are returning this summer to participate in a larger. to extol or criticize it. A few weeks before the end of the season.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT weeks. 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. we met with almost complete opposition. as something that did not need further proof. When at the beginning of the summer. Al Weingrod. but everyone who spoke assumed. 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.
however. Institutions. Few haverim expressed interest in attending Amal. But it might also be shown that Amal's successes have not been achieved without prejudicing the halutzic character of our camps. on one occasion. In view of the small registration. Bialik. They were fostering a native Hebrew-speaking elite. The staff had little Hebrew camping experience and was poorly prepared. we decided in favor of continuing our efforts on behalf of Amal. The movement greeted this venture with singular indifference. nearly decided to abandon the project. Habonim's Hebrew-speaking camp. Habonim has never had an opportunity to determine the future of this nascent institution. 137 . in its three years of existence. But we felt strongly that we had a mission to fulfill in Hebrew camping. has attracted a considerable number of new haverim. It was but three years ago that we hesitantly opened Amal on a rented site in Vermont. After three uncertain years of experimentation. has completed its third season. Their educational program bypassed halutziut. despite the initial movement apathy. and gained for Habonim new prestige in the Jewish educational world. Therefore. Amal.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING AMAL IN RETROSPECT Amal. and chose to ignore the pressing need of Eretz Yisrael: an American halutz aliya. it has won national recognition as one of the outstanding Hebrew-speaking camps in America. the Merkaz. They glibly spoke of the national poet. We were disturbed by the cloistered atmosphere of many existing camps. do not await official decisions. We have been too concerned with the very survival of Amal to give adequate consideration to its role within the movement. This was hardly an auspicious beginning. Amal has realized the dreams of its founders. Even a cursory evaluation would disclose that Amal has fostered the study of Hebrew in our movement. has established its own camping patterns and set into motion uncertain forces. We opened in the summer of 1948 with a handful of campers.
to a large extent. In recognition of Amal's promise. Amal's partisans were soon active on all fronts. in Connecticut. This was to be its last chance. we succeeded. the number of sponsoring Jewish educational institutions increased from two to six.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Haverim seriously questioned reopening Amal in 1949. the camper response was more encouraging. The season began with forty-five campers who were determined to make it a success. This time. It was no longer an experiment. We ended our second season with the realization that Amal had proved itself. an ambitious program was prepared for the public. and twenty-two scholarships were awarded to Amal by various Hebrew school systems. This past summer we confidently opened the season with sixty haverim. Strong arguments were advanced for giving up Amal-our personnel shortage was acute. As evidence of our coming of age. a performance of Yitzhak Lamdan's Masada was witnessed and applauded by sixty parents and guests. and the national budget could not again sustain a financial loss such as it had in Amal's first season. We hoped to create a camp modeled along the lines of our other camps. and this we had seemingly accomplished without vitiating our halutzic Zionist program. Many observers claimed that our campers spoke more Hebrew than the campers of any other Hebrew-speaking camp in America. to its fledgling Hebrew camp as its permanent site. On August 9th. They felt that it had failed. Several Jewish educational institutions were induced to award scholarships to Amal. Prominent Hebrew educators were solicited to add their names to our list of sponsors. there were but dim hopes of registering an adequate number of campers. the Merkaz assigned Tel Meir. Hebrew educators from many sections of America visited Amal during the season and were im- 138 . Nor did our work go unnoticed in the Jewish community. And. It was therefore with great trepidation that the Merkaz finally decided in favor of reopening the camp. During the winter of 1949-1950.
The 1950 season was most successful. Daily formal class work had been introduced.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING pressed with the serious educational work that we attempted. and great emphasis in the discussion program was placed upon Jewish history. Moshe Margalit. 1950 139 .
Kvutza and the Individual .
1937 142 . 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. Soft winds rock The trees. 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.NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall.
to find talent for the Drama Circle-to-be. leans back (on his neighbor) after a muchneeded supper and listens to Dave's welcoming speech. Then a camp fire. tired but happy. "Oh boy. and quiet.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD DIARY Sunday. First and last stop is the place of business of Mr. in comfortable camp clothes. Tiptoeing through the metropolis so as not to wake the immense population. there is great rejoicing over the new outhouse. This evening we have a hike to Accord via the new route discovered by Benny and Yehiel.and one of the many evening activities possible in Kvutza. to say nothing of Avram. And so to bed.discussion groups – activities – dip – lunch rest and correspondence – sports – swimming – supper . Block. Here we are refreshed by popsicles and exactly $. tents and madrichim are assigned. Monday. Amid much excitement.clean-up . under the direction of Benny. July 4th Today the regular daily program begins: Rise and shine – exercise – washing – breakfast . Among last year's haverim. July 5th The regular program again today. and singing for all. we finally reach home. to drop right off to dreamland. no less. July 3rd Campers arrive. 143 . and the exclamation. is it swell to be back!" echoes and reechoes to the bewilderment of the newcomers. Stan and Sol are prize kibitzers. Tuesday. Tonight we have an amateur hour. Sleep now. and everyone.01 worth of candy-no more. with dancing for those who are not too tired after the long train ride. Washing is over.
Galil. Kinneret. . 1957. Michigan. 1954. 1957. Michigan. Basketball at Maccabia. Scout-craft Competition at Maccabia. 1957. Volleyball at Kinneret. Flag Raising at Midwest Camp Habonim. Campers at Midwest Camp Habonim. 1957. 1957. Attacking the Weeds. Three Rivers.Midwest Camp Habonim. 1953. Chelsea.
Saugus. 1957. Camp Kvutza Naame. California. 1956. 1957. Green Valley Station. .In the tradition at Kinneret: Building the Migdal. Midwest Camp Habonim. Campfire at Midwest Camp Habonim. Friday afternoon lunch on the patio. Habonim Camp Kvutza Naame.
Dedicating the new Arts and Crafts Pavilion.Hora around the Campfire. Campers from Moshava. 1957. Camp Habonim. 1957. and Camp Habonim. arriving at Galil for Maccabia. Camp Kvutza Naame. 1957. 1957. Midwest Camp Habonim. .
Gabriola Island. 1957. Visitors Day. 1956. Waiting for the Ferry to Camp Miriam. Camp Kvutza Naame. Canada. . British Columbia. Yemenite Dance.The Swimming Pool at Camp Kvutza Naame. Joint Flag Raising of the three camps at Maccabia. Galil.
The library is open.F.Off Ferns Forever. At lunch the Celibates Club is organized at a special table which excludes haverot. Friday. discussion. As the haverim tear themselves away to bed. July 9th Ah. Two haverim volunteer to wash the dining room and kitchen floors. We have a leisurely breakfast. We have free time tonight. they feel that the stars sparkling in the velvet heavens have come nearer to earth and are watching over Kvutza. one sees a veritable hive of industry. and the boys are working on an aquarium in which to keep material for Sammy's dissection mania.F. July 6th It is agreed that "Harishona" is a suitable name for our Accord Kvutza since we were literally "the first. July 8th All day today is given over to preparation for Shabbat. and clean up. Gathered on the hill. As the Bible circles in Hebrew and English begin this afternoon. to the great delight of our intelligentsia. Saturday.is begun under the expert direction of Judy G. and we march down the hill singing happily." Thursday. Sammy and Marvin (who declares that at least he is a confirmed bachelor) are the unworthy specimens of humanity who lead this ridiculous movement. . it begins to rain. Their motto is: O. luxury. we gather together on the grass to sing. The camp paper . we sleep an extra half hour this morning. Struck by the magnificent beauty of the sky and surrounding mountains.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL Wednesday. We do our laundry in the creek. At the table the candles are lit and the prayer sung by Edna before we sit down to eat. Everyone is dressed in white shorts and blue Habonim shirts for Friday night. 148 . July 7th Looking about this morning.The Cookooricoo . we hear The Cookooricoo read by Stan and then sing songs of Shabbat.
begging Dave for an extra hour of sleep tomorrow. July 11th Today we are settled again. July 12th We are awakened this morning by reveille blown by Harriet on her trumpet. Tuesday. as on previous days. So the younger haverim go to bed. Finally the sun breaks through the clouds just in time to set. heigh ho. Monday. No morning exercises. it's off to Minewaska we go!" And amid the cheers of the remaining campers. Tonight we have a camp fire with singing. seem to regard this with disfavor for it starts to rain. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sunday. the group sets out. All the haverim are back for a delayed lunch. Each tent presents a skit or a like exhibition. with one or two people doubling up because some trunks have not yet arrived. stunt night. And then to bed. "Heigh ho. however. after which 149 . The grass is very wet as we walk up the hill to bed. July 13th Kvutza seems empty this morning with only half the haverim here. A new batch of haverim come from the city and there is much excitement during the meeting of old friends and new. Yehiel's determination is of some avail because the shower suddenly stops. Wednesday. we gather in the dining room for songs and games. 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 is decided that haverim of fifteen and over will take an overnight hike tonight after supper. Parents begin to arrive. Later. The elements.
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. Thursday. For Shabbat we snap pictures of our haverim in Habonim shirts and white shorts. we listen to The Cookooricoo as read by Avram. 150 . 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. A "Candid Camera Fiend" or two stay behind to record on film our march down the hill. are on guard duty so all hopes for a peaceful night are futile. we have arts and crafts and scoutcraft. Friday. July 14th There are discussions this morning on the trials in Russia. Reading circles are the only activities this afternoon. Now to our tents after singing and dancing. 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. Back by the tents and joined by the kitchen committee. Down by the kitchen we have ping-pong. but-Miriam L. we watch Mutzie present Barry with a diploma from Fibber's College. and Dave R. After lunch." Today the equipment for all sorts of sports is spread over the camp. The stream goes by. our tents and persons spotless. Still gathered on the rocks. while at the top of the hill are horseshoe and deck tennis games.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. besides clean-up. and preparation for a debate-" Resolved: That Socialism as such will solve the Jewish problem. Now bed and sleep at last. and following supper. Ready for supper. we have free time.
a few trees mark the spot. homes. the same bylaws.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Saturday. One expects them all to be a like . Five wigwam tents in a straight line and a large and spacious two-story barn. because the people who live there are differentcoming from various countries. Most of the farmers are Norwegians and the relations between the camp and the farmers are excellent. Just as all settlements in Eretz Yisrael differ. and the author. New York. Accord Diary. Amid much excitement and conflicting emotions in the cheering section. Farm land stretches out on all sides. What triumph! What humiliation! The drama group presents an anti-war play at the camp fire tonight. 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. civilizations-so do the varying backgrounds of our haverim place an individual stamp upon each Camp Kvutza. My first stop this year was at Kendall. Situated on a plain on the shore of Lake Ontario-no mountains or bills . the Kvutza which serves our upstate New York movements. of course. written by Benny Lappin and produced by Ruth L. the bottom floor used as a dining room and kitchen. schools. the same institutions. the top floor used as a handicrafts and cultural room -that is the entire camp. Swimming is naturally one of the main activi- 151 . the campers beat the madrichim 17-7. the same program and activities-yet each Kvutza represents a unique world of its own. July 16th Today is the final conflict: let each stand in his place-the campers play a baseball game of chills and thrills. And so the second week of camp ends. Afterwards. there is dancing and singing. one from the other.for are they not organized and managed the same way.
KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL
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
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
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
KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL
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
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
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-
KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL
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
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
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-
KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL
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
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
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
while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. that is. to attend a staff meeting. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur. there are the bonim. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation. Yes. and go on night watch. you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. On the whole. And finally. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. you will be required. gossip. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. Likewise. And so. if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. 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. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. sleep. You will be 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. dear prospective madrich. and if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. 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. For example.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. however. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. And now. after everyone else is in bed. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich.
Jeannie Reisapfel. Two persons are appointed. got no more than half way up. in two-hour shifts. You'll keep wondering if the cabin that's doing all the yelling is yours. Jerry.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING case of insomnia. As we started out. one needs little convincing that a post-midnight snack is in order. I once tried it. Jupiter-and here the story lies. I decided to try it again." Well. to rotate about the room pricking the madrichim with pins. you won't be able to keep your mind on the meeting anyway. 1942 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS Dear Mom: You know that right across the way from the camp there is a high mountain called Mt. We hiked two miles in the nice summer sun and began to climb the mountain single file. someone found out that I had the only knapsack in Kvutza. We were to be guided by the forest ranger. If you do not fall prey to the sandman's charms. who is pretty good looking so we had no trouble getting several girls to go. and when you're going to prepare the discussion you have to lead tomorrow morning. and they do quite a bit of hurrying about in an effort to keep at least three people awake at all times. in back of 161 . so they let me carry all the lunches plus a first aid kit and camera. Sandy. Finally it does break up. but having become a fine physical specimen at Kvutza. but being out of condition. but only on the condition that it be continued tomorrow when everyone will be fresh as a daisy. loudly shhh-ing each other although it's quite obvious that the whole camp is still awake. That was three years ago. and all troop over to the dining room. and when the darn meeting is going to end. After such a fatiguing meeting. 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.
took pictures (my film). How sorry I was. Also it is quite uncomfortable to find that you cannot stop at the edge of a cliff. and made me sick. bad been eating garlic all morning and whenever we stopped. I shall explain: A firebreak is a long. Love. sang songs which the ranger liked though he didn't know what they were all about (nor did we). Well. I am sure that this tractor found the steepest part of the whole range of mountains. We went down a firebreak. I played soldier all the way down and it was very realistic. Mom. send me $7 and a snake-bite kit. There was of course no turning back. Norman 1942 162 . and ate lunch (sandwiches and fruit from the knapsack I was carrying). he would put his head over my shoulder to see what was doing. Your dear son. we arrived at the top. After fighting our way through the brush (the ranger and I wore short pants and my legs are disfigured for life). goodbye now. too.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL me. designed to stop a forest or brush fire. Dave Bleviss was at the rear and no one could squeeze by. I want to stay longer. we found a rattlesnake had been killed a few minutes before we got there. I stopped. It is not true that it is easier to come down than to go up. Once you begin going down it is very difficult to stop. Just as we got near camp. If you don't know what a firebreak is. We sat around. and then began to go down. Don't worry. We finally got to the bottom drawn out over a half mile or so of ground. After waiting until we all gathered-including the loose parts-we began to hike home. I felt just like killing a rattlesnake. cleared strip through the mountain. Oh yes. I almost became a casualty when I tripped. It is made by big tractors which try to find the steepest part of the mountain they can go up without turning over.
and you will have a great part of your Kvutza wardrobe. too. then comes the time of the year that every Habonim member has been waiting for impatiently-the opening of Kvutza and the glorious days that will follow! All we have to do is pack our duds and hop a train or bus. clothes. And once the Kvutza has been awakened from its winter's sleep. Our parents 163 . let me-a veteran-give you a few hints as to what to pack and what not to pack. Drag out all your old clothes. very little will remain of them anyway. some of us don't feel so easy about this packing business. Have your wardrobe include work shirts (for we all work). play shirts. You are going to wash them yourself. Also make sure that they are washable. Nothing is too bad for Kvutza when it comes to clothes. Therefore. and presto. First. But your clothes must have one important virtue . we are very active in Kvutza. School will follow soon after. because by the time you go home.they must be able to endure rough treatment. and just between us. and dress shirts for Shabbat and Sundays. we know what kind of a laundry man you are. clothes that are too dilapidated for city wear. antiquated clothes that you have long ago forgotten about.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING NEED HELP PACKING? Spring is well along. we are in Kvutza! Yet. 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. You see. because we play.
and FUN! But in order to get around in presentable shape.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. we go to it (in the form of a swimming pool). a warm jacket. And don't forget the shoe polish. because I'm warning you. I almost forgot to mention the pants that go with the shirts. When it doesn't come to us (in the form of rain). 164 . Perhaps you'll feel like sleeping for some strange reason one night. Besides. Have a pair of hard-soled shoes for hiking and a pair of soft-soled ones for play and work. and warm pajamas. Oh. By all means. I'm sure to forget to bring some. You'll need a sweater. That's just to remind you that you'll need a bathing suit. don't forget your pants. in which case. I'm not going to lend you mine. Shorts or slacks or anything that goes under that general heading by a stretch of the imagination will do. Mind you. we don't always hide from water. 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?"). So you might as well take along some sheets and warm blankets. But we don't let that interfere with our activities. Yet. bless me. I'll have to use yours. Brrr! Nights are sometimes cold in Kvutza. yet you can never tell. 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. a cap. and a bathrobe. it can rain even in Kvutza. So don't forget these important items. We have indoor games in the dining hall. haverim. One item that should be carefully chosen is shoes.
As we watched the torches for the last time. We remembered discussing leadership problems. About filling in the details. We remembered the arduous trek to the lake. We bade farewell to Kvutzat Kinneret. Birdie Dekelbaum. The scouts remembered how we had hiked through the swamps of Kinneret. knotting the ropes. constructing the frame. Our feet remembered all-day hikes. That last night. Then our hands remembered the semaphore code: K-i-n-n-e-r-e-t s-he-l-i. We had slept under its benevolent shadow that summer of 1955. Our toes could feel again the sand rippling as we walked through the Farband camp on the way to 165 . haverim remembered the discussions we had had.. 1944 KINNERET SHELI We stood quietly meditating in the gathering twilight of the field of Kinneret.. tactics. thought-provoking periods. my advice is that you comply with your mother's demands. We recalled nights of Hagana.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING That's the general idea. We remembered sleeping through them. you will have use for the extra pairs on masquerade nights. We remembered lively. The builders remember the watchtower-chopping the trees. If she is unreasonable in the amount of underwear she makes you take. And the memories engulfed us. we remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us. Our eyes remembered watching for the answering flags flashing in the sun. The haverim who had built Kinneret gathered on the last night of the last season. The soles of our feet recollected our nature walks.. raising the watchtower that would guard Kinneret. The message was received! We had talked to each other from afar.
The beauty of the Shabbat celebration haunted us. We remembered the mosquitoes only too well. comfortable feeling of Shabbat. We remembered Shabbat as dusk fell the last time at Kvutzat Kinneret. 1957 166 . Avraham Bass. The cooling relief of the ointments soothed us. The clammy feel of seaweed lingered in our minds. We swam. We stood quietly in the gathering twilight. We remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us. The raft seemed to beckon to us anew. We had built it-Kinneret. We danced again to the familiar tunes. to the rhythms of Eretz Yisrael. Kvutzat Kinneret. We relived the glorious.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL swim. We swatted away at the infernal pests. This was our camp. we floated in a dream of memories. We recalled how we had danced the hora hour upon hour. In our memories we sang. Once again we swayed and swerved to the sound of the shepherd's flute. We bade farewell to a friend.
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. resting in many lands. this is called peace. The mighty of the earth decreed it so.In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still. there is no peace and your battle is not done. But brothers resting in many lands. The aeroplanes overhead wing their way with peaceful cargoes. Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. the rifles are stacked. the bombracks off. The last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire. 168 . the uniform of their captors only changed. the sound of firing still is heard And the dazed survivors of your people flee before the same pursuing mob. Brothers. comrades.
the gaps that never can be filled. for the remnant of the exile does not stop. Brothers resting in the distant lands. we pause to consider a fitting monument and to tell our losses. Bialystok. the hard-contested hills of Italy. Auschwitz and Stryj. The familiar faces missing from our ranks. The distant isles and seas engulf us with the magnitude of our loss. From the bitter hedgerow battles of Normandy. The record of the graves. even from the waters of the seas. And what avail soon crumbling stone carved in our sacred script to puzzle future archaeologists. From every forest haunt and cave where desperate guerilla bands struck at the foe. yet calls afresh each loved one gone. the roster of our dead commands memorial. Only in a brief moment of council. From beachheads and from far Pacific Isles with strange exotic names like Iwo Jima. the voices of the Nazi foe still echo and repeat the ancient vicious lies.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Even in this western land of liberty. From ghetto and from concentration camp. From the Rhineland plains and woods. Majdanek. Lublin. the roll call of the resting places from continent to continent. cry for memorial. from Warsaw. the battle. The hundreds upon thousands upon millions. Where in the same wide war fell our sons defending Kfar Giladi. 169 .
will they live? Will this your people. shivering limbs of the wasted few who somehow did not die. oh brothers. a line of valiant battles dearly won. shrunken. The records of an extinct folk. December. And in the valley. The mounds and graves of the ending of our seed We pause as on a mountain top and see. behind. let us dedicate the memorial to our dead scattered through many lands. from your graves look out! Look out upon your people! Look into the ghetto. And the monument we dedicate is their own people. these dried bones yet live? With loving hands and humbled spirits. the weary.G. Worn and weary but imbued with the flame which kindled them at the foot of Sinai's peak. Ahead. Habonim Convention. still further struggle. 1945 170 . Look and say.E.IN MEMORIAM Shall your memorial be the silence of forgotten history. in graves of honor and in lime pits of shame. Rest. strewn before our feet. Brothers. Lying in fields throughout the earth. for we dedicate to you a monument eternalWe are your memorial. D. to the camp. into the ship that bears illegal freight out of the graveyard of Europe. O Brothers.
but as one guiding the individual. We are at a loss as to what to say or do. Each time it seems impossible. she had a great capacity for hard work. Miriam was a school teacher by profession. she served as rosh of the New York region. Sometimes it seemed as if she carried the whole burden of our movement and our people on her slight shoulders. She was a madricha in the true sense of the term. She was one of the few people who was ours completely. 171 . upon him she centered all her efforts. The small group discussions. During one of the war years. Each time it seems that our best is taken. even the old timers were able to learn a great deal from her. how to react. the mahaneh activities. and as editor of Alot (the national publication specifically for our halutzim)-all these at the same time. their purpose and justification being to instill values and attitudes within the haverim. She joined us when she was already in her twenties. The number of haverim that we have lost is mounting too quickly. And she exerted a tremendous amount of influence upon those with whom she worked. as rosh of one of the mahanot. She came to us because she had decided upon the path of selfrealization. Nevertheless. when we were suffering from a critical shortage of leadership personnel. Camp Kvutza-these she considered as means to an end. Thus she worked closely with the individual haver. as rosh of our national funds work. She brought a real understanding of the meaning of education into our movement. She strove for selffulfillment in our movement even before she went on aliya. She understood her educational function not as one of directing the group. as rosh of several madrichim groups. she threw herself entirely into our work. Her primary concern was always the development of the individual. Miriam came to us late. unbelievable.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING MIRIAM BIDERMAN We are a movement of young people. Immediately. She was among our most devoted. all of us.
Wherever she went. Her sense of complete identification with Jewishness and her acute sensitivity to the tragedies of the Jewish people are a reflection of her traditional background.IN MEMORIAM Her aim was to prepare younger haverim. 172 . indicate to us the creative being whose "life song" was "suddenly cut off. understanding.. or Tisha B'Av program in which Miriam had a hand always made a powerful impression. sensitive. she left her heritage: a corps of responsible haverim. she came to us with a deep appreciation for Jewish tradition. a Third Seder. Thus. with ability. in New York. troubled havera who "before her time . Miriam was brought up in an Orthodox religious home. with. Shabbat celebration. of her articles in our various publications. She continually championed traditional practices in our movement.. The volume of her Shabbat and other program material. the lack of traditional observance caused her a great deal of discontent. she sought out young haverim with devotion. in Winnipeg. and worked with them. Miriam wrote prolifically and she has left us a rich legacy of her written word. for the tasks of movement leadership and self-realization. And wherever she worked." Her many letters to haverim gave us an insight into this devoted. Both in our movement here and later in the kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. She was able to put meaning into Jewish tradition. in Baltimore. to synthesize the old and the new. passed away.
and was supposed to receive permission for aliya. We were very modest. who toured the New England region in 1933. but he knew how to train people to follow in his footsteps so that there was a second and third and fourth. It was in 1934. all told) decided that he must remain for another year to help in the transition from Young Poale Zion Alliance to Habonim. as we subsequently have been to every organizer and shaliah. 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. I am certain that he took no courses in leadership technique. It was at that time that we decided to be heartless toward Ben. But the National Executive (four people we were. He had done his duty. By 1934. he was a veteran. 173 . By 1934.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING BEN CHERNER Many of you know Ben Cherner. His task was to go into a community. shortly after Habonim was established. contact parents and prospective madrichim. . The stories of organizers struggling and living on peanuts refer to Ben Cherner. 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. Many usages prevailing in the movement to this day are traditions which had their inception with him. that we felt that one way of its taking root in America was to send out emissaries. We didn't think of shlihim from Eretz Yisrael. he had had his fill of peanuts and of traveling for the movement. get together the remnants of the YPZA. By 1934. and transform them into a mahaneh of Habonim. though you may not know his name or you may not realize that you know him. We wanted organizers to establish our new system of education. Ben Cherner had not only served his apprenticeship in the movement but had already acted as an organizer for the Young Poale Zion Alliance.
It was a dynasty: from Ben Cherner to Joey Criden. from Joey to Moshe Goldberg. of a Far West in which Folk Shulen graduates knew Hebrew. The visitor was the warm link representing the movement. To understand the significance of Ben's organizational tours. The movement was kept alive by personal contact. his home town. He knew how to sing and he knew how to gather people around him. When Moshe was called to New York. Hence a good deal depended on whom was sent. the stream of organizers. 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. Then Ben went to Chicago. He went into a city without benefit of publicity notices or mass meetings. 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. soft-spoken boy. That trip in 1935 was the first link in the chain which ultimately led to the development of the Los Angeles mahaneh. The mail was inadequate. There existed a loose connection between the New York center and the groups. Ben was a simple. His first stop was Buffalo. He set up several mahanot. We were getting news of a growing community in Los Angeles. After negotiations.IN MEMORIAM Ben was not much of an orator. we obtained $75 from several Los Angeles haverim. He went to private homes and got 174 . the summer Kvutza. Naturally. There was not too much money for printing. He spoke quietly and intimately. the Buffalo movement waned. The organizer for whom Ben paved the way made Chicago the center of our movement for many years. one must visualize the years in which these were made. There is a "first" in connection with Ben which relates to the Pacific Coast. we called on Ben to make the trip.
A large percentage of the "halutzim" were malcontents who could not earn a living. The repercussions of the action of the Detroit group. to go to Eretz Yisrael was a feat. a useful service. unsanitary farms struggling under extremely difficult conditions. He loved people. For a/person who is normal. We felt that we were committing a crime against Ben by holding him back but there was no alternative. approachability. The fact that Ben failed is not a reflection on him. were serious. He liked young people. and to introduce a new atmosphere. It was more than a one-man job. At that time. there was a nucleus which somehow carried on. They were small. Of Ben's many qualities. Perhaps this accounted for his ability to gather young people around him. There was no other candidate who could have done the organizational work. We had held him back two years beyond his time. When he left. Ben's was a permanent influence because he did not talk only of Eretz Yisrael. No course in leadership or technical training or knowledge could have made 175 . who returned from Eretz Yisrael and spread stories to justify themselves. He tried to maintain the agricultural training center in Illinois. There was one specific job Ben tried to do which ultimately resulted in failure. That too was a service. to live in it. He was young himself. and one in Illinois. his primary one was his humanity. his. we consolidated all of these farms into the one at Creamridge. When Enzo Sereni came. in Minneapolis. inadequate. there were training farms in Baltimore. Even his leaving was. American halutzim who could not adjust to the rigors of pioneering did not help the atmosphere by returning home. which was paradise by contrast. It was in 1936 that he finally left. The senior leaders of the Labor Zionist movement set a disheartening example by not permitting their children to remain in Eretz Yisrael. adjusted. and refined. in a sense.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING people around him to sing with him and talk with him. It was into such conditions that Ben plunged to try to clean up the place. he set an example. poor.
When he went to do organizational work. 176 . when he went to Eretz Yisrael. so solid that perhaps they account for one of the tragedies of his life. His singing possessed an enchanting. Ben never thought of himself as a leader. we appreciated his enthusiasm. or anyone to refer to. Yet when he sat with a group of people around a camp fire.IN MEMORIAM up for that basic human element. himself as a leader. Our attitude was changed by the realities of life. quality. Ben had very solid convictions. he held them for hours. He was by no means a professional singer. In that period. He had stuck to Naan no matter how strongly he was urged to join the American kibbutz. That was one of the reasons why he did not return to America as a shaliah. He never permitted himself to think of. Many of our songs are versions which he taught to the first groups of Habonim. it was in the line of duty. They sat and sang without moving or talking. it was realization. the rest of us did not believe in it either. We did not want an American landsmanshaft in Eretz Yisrael. In our relationship to Ben. but Ben was stubborn. For good or for ill. His singing had a good deal to do with his influence in the movement. Ben did not believe in the concentration of Americans in Eretz Yisrael. 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. He showed his enthusiasm by explaining his idea and then setting about carrying it out so well that the job seemed easily done. He considered himself a soldier. He would not get excited or rush off to his work. Only during the last two years did he begin to waver and to talk of transferring to Kfar Blum. it was in the line of duty. some camp fire traditions and some of the stories reprinted by us in Haboneh have their origin in Ben's fertile mind. when he helped to organize the Union of Jewish World Combatants.
he would talk of simple and prosaic tasks. in the long run. "one must see his life in terms of a personality that was unfolding. At first he saw one important objective ahead -that was the establishment of a real Jewish institution in the heart of the American scene.. 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. The knowledge of his irrevocable loss to us is difficult to comprehend. He would talk of the needs for another Kvutza and another mahaneh and of dogged perseverance in organizational work. 177 . of the trials and tribulations of training and of self-realization in Eretz Yisrael. and ever expanding . He had become widely known and loved-he was no longer Danny Ginsburg of Detroit. he was Danny Ginsburg of Habonim. If there is meaning in the memory of our haverim and of their services. His role in Habonim for more than eight years is invaluable. where he made his most specific contributions to the life of Habonim.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING If Ben were here and could talk to us. That. impossible to console. and he would finish by saying that.. that we carry forward that struggle today. 1947 DANNY GINSBURG Once again the battlefront has claimed the life of one of our haverim. developing. this kind of obstinacy would succeed. his future was inextricably bound up with the highest hopes of the movement. "To understand Danny. it is the realization that they represented a continuation of the Jewish struggle for survival which began before them. is the fitting memorial to Ben Cherner. it seems to me. January. and that those after us will not falter. Saadia Gelb Furrows." wrote one of his friends from the Midwest.
of hard work. He continued. find it difficult to separate the two. a determination that held out until he convinced or was convinced. near Detroit. His influence was felt as well among the haverim in the neighboring cities. When he went into active service more than twenty months ago. the movement there flourished remarkably. nothing could stop him. Kinneret.IN MEMORIAM This goal was the establishment of a summer Kvutza. All who came in contact with him were imbued with his spirit of idealism. Sometime later. and his place and importance within Habonim grew as he did. lie arrived at the personal decision to join Kibbutz Aliya and prepare himself for a true realization of his burning idealism. There was always a glow about him as he worked. " The many members of Habonim throughout the country who remember him at conventions as chairman at sessions. through going to Eretz Yisrael. well remember that it was not only physically that he worked hard. he became rosh of the Detroit Habonim. Danny's was truly a constantly developing personality. and under his energetic leadership. Danny continued to participate in Habonim life. to contribute to Kibbutz Aliya discussions. He was one of those exceptional individuals who throws himself into every activity with the completeness of a passionate spirit. as a leader in discussions. strong determination. Yes. who have known him at seminars and other movement gatherings. and above all. through the mails. it was with the determination born of his intense sincerity. to take part in the solution of prob- 178 . "Those who saw Danny at work in Kinneret. sincerity. that would be built by and for Habonim. When Danny danced. when he participated in a discussion. His personal influence over others was so strong that many who might not have taken the same road followed it upon his leadership. After his initiation of the work for a summer Kvutza near Detroit.
through embodying his spirit in our work in Habonim." He has not been granted the chance he hoped for. not the little cogs. one of the leading members of Habonim. then I think my life so far has been worthwhile. I only hope I'll get a chance to make it more so in the future. perhaps the leading member of the future. After all. But in case I don't. I haven't learned very much-just enough to realize that I still have a great deal to learn. "I guess I haven't done much in my short life so far. to bring some good into the world.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING lems of the local groups he had led as well as those of national Habonim. but we who are carrying on. it's the machine that counts. in the minds of all of us. Furrows. 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. May. 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. He continued to be. When Danny learned that he and his men were to take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima. But if I've served as a stimulus to even a few kids to try to reach higher. he wrote to his Detroit haverim in these words: "Naturally. can prove the true worth of his short life. it's all right too. 1945 179 .
He was killed in an automobile accident on his way home from a meeting of Habonim. New Jersey. hard-working boy who became so close to them. to him it was the natural way of life. even those who had never met him. Halutziut came easily for Nate. because he personified the ideals of our movement. he threw himself into movement work more vigorously than ever. He was preparing for life in Eretz Yisrael at an age when most haverim are just beginning to consider halutziut. he entered the Navy and served two and a half years. unselfish. unassuming. 1947 180 . He has left a gap which cannot be filled. he was a frequent visitor at the Hehalutz Training Farm at Creamridge. One of his first activities was a visit to the training farm at Creamridge. February. At the time of his death he was making plans to leave for Eretz Yisrael in the spring. largely in the Pacific. Furrows. At sixteen. He came to be one of the most active and respected haverim in the machaneh.IN MEMORIAM NATE KANTER Every haver in Habonim knew Nate Kanter. 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. Louis. he left home and began training at the National Farm School. His loss is a tremendous blow for all of us. Those haverim now in Eretz Yisrael will remember the quiet. working ceaselessly. both in his work in the movement and in his relations with his haverim. When he reached eighteen. On his days off. He was a complete halutz-devoted. On his return to St.
various pictures of Ari flashed through my mind. young and vital. Kieve said a few words before the coffin was lowered into the ground. While he was working. It is still incredible. Kieve spoke about his years in the movement. The entire kibbutz was shocked and stricken by his death. . carried and driven to the little cemetery near the garden. a trigger happy Arab from Salchia shot him in the back. There was an escort of men with guns to protect us. People gathered and stood together in small groups for comfort. 1948 181 . He spoke about the conflict in Ari's nature: How he loved beautiful things a good book. music. I cannot really describe the great feeling of despair that took hold of us at his going and the manner of his going. Only the clump-clump of hundreds of boots walking through the mud could be heard. and his work with the ships He spoke simply and beautifully. his years at sea. will always remain with me. The quietness and stillness were uncanny. and from there. April. The people followed near and behind the coffin. art. . Rose Breslau Furrows. His body was taken to the Mazkirut building. That picture of Ari. the desire to come to Eretz Yisrael and take part in its upbuilding. 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 . No one said anything. 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. a glass of wine-and how he had.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ARI LASHNER It happened yesterday between 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning. on the other hand.
an inexhaustible source of reminiscence and humor. and the movement produced. and a springtime era of the movement. but left such deep impressions on all whom he met. A cohesive group that grew up in the movement and had planted firm roots in Eretz Yisrael feels shattered. But always before. for just as he was a leader of the most complete modesty and honesty . Everyone who knew him would agree to this. a ship that ran the blockade and then returned to Europe for a second load. bringing in thousands on his Hagana ship. 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. good-humored greeting again. 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. The ignorant Arab sniper's bullet that cut short his life at Kfar Blum on March 16th caused far more than a personal loss. For he was a central figure. He went away many times before-to distant cities for the movement. With him went a whole period in the youth of those who grew up with him. He had 182 . From all parts of the world.just because of these qualities . You would never have guessed from Ari's quiet work-day. to war as a marine. someone on whom we all leaned. to express their sense of loss. to Europe and to Eretz Yisrael. diverse individuals have felt impelled to communicate with others who knew him. unchanged.he inspired in others a sincere and warm recognition of his own capabilities. the pleasurable interludes of gentle conversation.IN MEMORIAM ARI LASHNER Ari Lashner has left us. of 'music. We feel more alone in a darker world. of drives into the country. of strolling about the city. He went through life so unassumingly. there was his smiling. For Ari exemplified the best that the combination of Judaism. America. His wife and child had gone to Eretz Yisrael before him.
by the development of universal theories which solved all problems. there was a definite mellowing in him. attaching at least as much weight to his feelings as to his reason. it is his insistence that the individual search for his own truth and act in consequence. But he longed for the day of peace when he could realize himself in some way in the Jewish Land. He was never heard by anyone to shout in anger. yet not your own. which all who experienced him felt. And there was frequent cause for anger and impatience in those years. excusing oneself." unless "gentleman" is redefined to be what he was. for which he was too naturally gifted). He did not enjoy the conscious role of "organizer" or even of halutz. But in recent years.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING not known when or how he would see them again and he wanted to be with them desperately. this realistic tendency intervened even in his enjoyment of abstract beauty in painting and poetry (never in music. Principles divorced from circumstances and action did not exist for him except as scholastic exercises with which he was -very impatient. If a keynote is to be sought in his pervasive influence. tolerant and receptive 183 . For a time. and under the pressure of very wide experience. or to descend to the vulgar or unseemly in any way. What he could not tolerate in himself and others was covering up the problem. In this connection. He had strong passions. Ghandi could not have abhorred violence more than Ari Lashner. He assumed you were wrestling honestly with your problems as he was with his. to gossip in malice. Not that he was a "gentleman. tempering the feelings. Thus he could not consider the fate of the Jewish people without including himself in the solution. he gave full credence to the role of the irrational in life. or seeking a way out by processes of rationalization. He died in war. and respecting feeling in others. who hated even the raised voice. anger. and impatience. But he never drove others.
parks. into formal molds with neat tags was foreign to his mind. He once told of hearing a musical work on the radio while working on something. whether in art or in farming. of people. While he understood and admired a Vronsky and an Anna Karenina. I associate him with trips into the green countryside and 1 recall his avid appreciation of it. He knew it well to California. He felt humble and inferior to the point of discomfort before anyone with special talent. after our Young Poale Zion Alliance meetings. stores. 184 . too. He loved honesty and simplicity. He enjoyed greatly the scene of the “visit to the uncle” in War and Peace. He saw the evils of America. but without the slightest trace of the envy that stems from vanity and leads to pretenses and false emulation. we went driving out on Long Island until dawn. but he weighed things relatively and he knew the enormous importance of the measure of basic civil liberties enjoyed here. concert balls. The very casting of whole societies. walk in cities. He loved to stop at roadside inns. until almost the last full day together. his favorite was Levin. visit galleries. The man with a "reputation" as a music lover doesn't tell such stories about himself with detached enjoyment. His greatest pleasure was to drive through its countryside. Any account of Ari would be incomplete without mentioning his love for America. He was a Socialist. The piece went on interminably. the enjoyment of beautiful things in many forms became a welcome release for him. 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.IN MEMORIAM by nature. when we drove into New England. From the earliest days when. He muttered to himself: "What on earth is this endless hodgepodge?" It was announced as the Kreutzer Sonata.
There never were any dramatic announcements or obvious soul struggle. The concept of doubt in the sense of debating one's path by purely mental processes cannot rightly be used for him. He was unaware of the courage it took to drift with the tide of one's being.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The 1930's were a difficult test for radical youth. These have been called his "doubts" and his "conflict. Impossible. 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. without some trustworthy reference point in reality. We Labor Zionists participated in all radical activities but as a collateral thing. He spoke nostalgically about the interesting careers others were following. Ari Lashner's reference point was his emotional Jewishness and Labor Zionism to which he attached significant weight. another essential characteristic is illustrated. Socialists and Communists drove the black and white stereotypes of doctrinaire radicalism to absolute extremes. and every week saw demonstrations. and thought uneasily himself that he was. Here. It was the Frederick B. He was always ready to admit that the paths others were following were right. actually. In the rarefied atmosphere of college. His life was the result of an evolutionary process. Ari admired the courage and the intellectual acumen of the radical leaders and even admitted that their panaceas might be right. Robinson era at City College. He felt like a victim of himself." But he spoke about the other things that were nice to do with a certain detachment. What it was and what had gone into it was flowing irrevocably in a certain 185 . But they were a little above him. expulsions. 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. He seemed to be. just drifting. and it was difficult to perceive at what stage this process actually became a form of reduction ad absurdum.
Every soul is precious. in the conventional sense. It is futile to try to recreate by words the vital essence of a complicated personality like Ari. It is probably reserved only to those who knew him to feel the true loss. No hero picture. nobly. And so for every one of those who are dying in Eretz Yisrael. for my part. all these have come about through the vision. I do not think of Ari as having died. But the Yishuv has always commemorated its dead lovingly. And he did it as usual-well. of thoughts. as every individual was in life. desires. and energy of the small group of which Ari was a central figure. emphasis on Hebrew. 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. is true. courage. I am rendering a faint duty inadequately because I knew Ari. Every one of those good Hebrew names we read is only a symbol of a face smiling to someone. There is a whole generation of young people who remember how Ari led them in song and dance. It is not possible to believe and. the expanded hachshara farms. by virtue of his great truth to himself. how he spoke at camps and conferences-vital and human. I merely consider that he has crossed another boundary before us as he did so often before. working. and acts known and beloved somewhere. So he followed the path of the halutz. Furrows. Labor Eretz Yisrael and the ideals of halutziut proudly became the central educational idea of the movement. 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. April. no analogy with anyone else. there are those to whom the loss is a terrible reality. increased aliya. Harry Levtow. one of us. 1948 186 . Camp Kvutza. Ari would not want to be singled out or separated from his comrades. but the epitome of us. faithfully.
We saw a different world. you learned that a few warm friendly words could easily quell the storm raging in him. people who were tired of civilization and routine. and the old Ford that we were barely able to purchase for $10. He was drawn to the broad. We also found some boards for the future kitchen. and the discipline of a school. the walls of his home. 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. salvaged from Unser Camp for whose guests they were not deemed worthy. They felt free as birds and so did Hayim. He was an adventurer. On closer acquaintance. Once he admitted to me that only because of the deep love for his father. We knew then that he was moody and ready to tell stories of his adventures throughout the United States. old farmer's stove. a few boxes of cups (without handles). even in early childhood. open fieldsthe sort of boy that can develop into a hero or an adventurer. He had a leader's qualities and could influence people either for better or worse.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. We were met by the advance crew of a few boys. had proved too stifling. and dishes (slightly cracked)." One of the advance crew was Hayim Rambam. Tired after a day of hard work. The camp consisted of a hilltop cluttered with tents which had obviously seen better days in the army. For the stormy nature of this boy. We were most impressed with the big. always seeking new thrills and experiences. I well remember the delightful evenings and sunsets in the camp which were so inspiring. And 187 . He used to spend many days and nights with hoboes and his stories were remarkable. he gave up that kind of life and returned home. Hayim could be found on one of the cots in the tent.
because of whose caprices we always had to bring along a couple of "footmen" to help push when the inevitable need arose. so we decided for safety's sake to make our way to a nearby boarding house. 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. I am sure that it was solely to Hayim's credit that we came away that summer sound in limb. that constantly refused to get back to camp on time. without a path to follow. riding in the Ford. a hurricane suddenly pounced upon us. Hayim and I. Here we are. How well I remember that procession in the thick blackness. Towards the end of the summer. He was also our "life saver. destroying many houses in the neighborhood and flooding all the valleys. knee-deep in water." to whom many campers literally owed their lives. Incidents of that summer keep coming to mind. 188 . was an obedient. The Ford that had not the least desire to climb the smallest hill. when a person may forget about and sacrifice himself for the general welfare." squatting on the tables with only a roof overhead while the torrent of rain drenched us through the open sides. lashed by the wind! It was one of those moments when old and young display all their shortcomings and weaknesses and. We felt that the very foundation of our camp would not survive that night. Hayim showed himself to be the second sort of person. Hayim was the driver of the Ford on which we depended for supplies from the nearby town and water from the well. Our ancient army tents.IN MEMORIAM many a time I thought that perhaps Hayim may turn out to be another Jack London. willing servant in Hayim's skillful hands. on the other hand. We all gathered in our one "building.
I met Joey for the first time when I was sent to Detroit to represent the Young Poale Zion-Habonim at the National Convention of the Farband. I also went to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Jerusalem with my husband. When he did not receive a certificate. But a month later he was dead. One died flying in this country.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The work in Camp Kvutza became a form of training for Hayim. I was impressed with his youthfulness. He dreamed of participating in the defense of the country . a second was lost in a mission over Germany. The fourth of our haverim is gone. I did not see him for a long time after that but heard he was employed as a tractor driver in Mikveh Yisrael. 1942 JOSEPH ROSENBERG There will be many vacant places in our ranks when this war is over. his zeal. Hayim showed up in Jerusalem during a holiday. In the meantime. his enthusiasm. It did not occur to him that tiny microbes would conquer his powerful body and quiet his stormy nature for eternity. a third while performing his duty in the Near East. While working in the fields. more serious in outlook. less restless. and he hoped to obtain a certificate to go to Eretz Yisrael. Suddenly. It was clear that Eretz Yisrael had had a marked effect upon him. and now Joseph Rosenberg is reported missing in action at sea. he went on his own. his devotion. Leak Brown Haboneh June. he drank from a spring he did not know was contaminated. . . He was much changed-more mature. under the hot sun. He was about to become rosh mahaneh of Detroit and he spent hours 189 . I really learned to appreciate his character at the Leaders' Seminar in Pipersville in 1940.
he led us through one of the strongest years of our existence. 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.IN MEMORIAM with me discussing his plans. when we grow older. It is an irreparable loss for the movement here and for Kfar Blum in Eretz Yisrael. B. he was certain that he would be able to organize a Habonim group. 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. June. But those who stayed with the group remember that while others were spouting high-sounding phrases about becoming halutzim. his plans. G. * * * * * Joey joined Habonim in 1935 at the age of eleven. 1944 190 . he would do more work than others had done all week. Joey joined the local union and made himself heard there. We remember that when a Kibbutz Aliya was formed in Detroit. we talked about his doubts and his ambitions. You may not know. D. Joey entered a trade school to prepare himself for the life of a halutz... We remember that while others were delving into deep discussion about the problems of labor. his ideas. Furrows. Joey was one of the first to join and carry out its program. We remember that when Joey came out to camp weekends. We remember how as rosh mahaneh of Detroit Habonim. D. he spent every spare moment making contacts and speaking to people.that during the period that he was stationed at San Diego in training. I read his outlines.
but traces of him. A letter from Kieve Skidell tells the following story which ends all hope that Enzo. and together with American haverim. and now a sergeant in the Second Battalion of the Jewish Brigade.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. Together with Ben Zion Ilan of Afikim who was then an Eretz Yisrael delegate to the youth movement. 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. about whom relatives in the Allied countries had made inquiries. as you may know. missing in action for over a year. it was primarily Enzo Sereni. might still be alive: “On the streets of Paris I ran into Sgt. Yet that is what has occurred to Habonim through the murder of Enzo Sereni in Dachau on November 17-18. through a search conducted by Ben Zion (now a sergeant in the Jewish Brigade). engaged in the search for prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates in Germany. Eretz Yisrael delegate to the American Habonim. Sereni. The details of his capture are not known. 1944. when the best part of his contribution to Zionism surely lay ahead of him. after his capture by the Germans. Together with another member of the team. led to the concentration camp at Dachau. as Hehalutz delegate. whose energy and imagination made Habonim possible. Today. we are finally beyond any question of doubt certain that Enzo is dead-dead at the age of thirty-nine. 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. His mission was to work with Italian partisans behind the German lines. 191 . one-time halutz from America. Ben Zion Ilan. I obtained permission from the British army bureau in charge of these searches to institute a search for Enzo Sereni.
we turned immediately to the card index of all those who had ever been in the place. V3 (code for member of the British forces). all of whom have disappeared without a trace. Entered 9 October 1944. Barda. Shmuel. He remembered that he was usually together with one French and two other British officers. “ ‘When we came to Dachau. It turned out that he had been the secretary of the block Sereni was in and he remembered him well. 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. " 'Before leaving Dachau. Resident at Tel Aviv. who had been in the same block with him in Dachau. When the projected memorial to the Gola is erected in Jerusalem.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. his own tormentors no doubt among them. His body was cremated at the local crematorium. Block 23. we filled an urn with ashes from the crematorium. those ashes will be placed there together with those of our other martyrs. 113160. and there we found a card with the following information on it: “ ‘Prisoner No. He remembered well the long discussions they used to have on philosophical as well as world political and Jewish topics. Taken to Special Punishment Cell for interrogation. Of his end he knew nothing since he had been taken away from Dachau before it came. “ ‘We then looked up the pastor. 17 November 1944. Those were not his ashes alone but they were sacred. Born 22 June 1905 at Jerusalem. “ ‘One can only surmise from this information that he was brought to his death by torture. he was bubbling with energy and intellectual curiosity. Sereni impressed him as a man of extremely high intellectual acumen. and he couldn't forget how even in the environment of Dachau. Died 18 November 1944. 192 .
as far as that goes. We were skeptical because some Brigade boys had been there around that time and had said nothing about it. I had been rather vain of my speed in reading but Sereni was insufferably superior. when a report reached us that Sereni had been seen alive in the concentration camp at Mauthausen. he. but to make sure. to find Sereni sitting opposite me at his desk. it became a current story that Sereni spoke the best broken English anyone had ever heard. I woke up. he would sail through texts like a swift Italian breeze.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING " 'For us the search seemed ended. going through the Eretz Yisrael press. Soon after his earliest appearance in America. and there was no trace of him whatsoever. We all 193 . In this way I hoped to find out when Enzo did come in. One day. Everywhere he went. I remember.M. Apparently he never slept except for forty winks occasionally on buses and on railroad coaches-and every morning when he was in New York. we went out there and got permission from the Russian commandant of nearby Linz to visit the place. only a few months ago.' " To those who knew Enzo there is no need to define our loss. There is no longer any doubt. But there is no one there today but a number of Russian troops who are billeted there. I never did find out when he arrived. as I recall. I determined not to go home to clean up but to get the rest of my sleep on a bench in the office. Whatever the language. would appear at the office bright and early to greet the first-comers and shame the others. Austria. I came back from a trip out of town in the wee hours of the morning. between 7:30 and 8:00 A. Another blow to my own pride was the way he went through the Hebrew press-or any other reading matter. We who worked with him in the office of Hehalutz were consumed with envy and despair at his incredible energy and tirelessness. Even those who lived with him at that famous Bet Hehalutz on Riverside Drive probably never knew when he awoke. he left an indelible impression.
Sereni would be able to deposit it all on my desk. of course. but after a halfhour with a huge batch of literature. in all his dangerous missions for the Histadrut. he had less need than they to count costs. A scion of a rather wealthy. but one might even say a daredevil. In fact. according to repute. I noted in the comments on Sereni's death. efficiently marked to indicate the essential items for digesting or writing up. 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. Sereni was so clever that slower minds distrusted him. his paradoxes and rapid-fire patter. 194 . perhaps. They were inclined to worry about his most innocent proposal for fear of some ingenious trap. Sereni enjoyed many elements of ultimate security which enabled him to be not only daring. I was a witness to the same phenomenon here. Sereni was. in conversation. which have recently appeared in the Eretz Yisrael press.IN MEMORIAM harbored dark suspicions about how thoroughly he had read. 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. which set him apart from many comrades was that in certain things. It was not only the Germans with their gruendlichkeit who were uneasy at his mental athletics. and with assured status in the academic and professional society of contemporary Rome. with roots in Italy as far back as 70 A. prominent Roman Jewish family. a fighter in a certain sense. He never counted costs-one of the things. He had a firm viewpoint. 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. He threw himself with unlimited devotion-perhaps the proper word is abandoninto the cause he wished to serve. and a strong sense of the direction in which he wished to go. Then afterwards. the flashing play of his wit and thought. even made them rather suspicious.D.
Sereni remained detached and capable of appreciating an opposing view. They found him in the midst of a lively discussion with his guards. In the utmost heat of contention. indeed. In spite of a frantic search they could not find Sereni until midnight. In the most furious argument. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The same lusty combativeness marked his fights for his ideas within the Histadrut. Rabbi Joachim Prinz tells this story of Sereni. After a while she found Prinz and he was released. It is true that he used his opponents' lower resistance to fire deliberately. Prinz's wife learned of the affair and tore the town apart trying to locate the two and obtain their release. He was capable of the most astounding self-contradictions and mental flexibility. because in the most opposing statements he could appreciate the grains of truth. I can well believe that he sustained an intense mental activity in his last days at Dachau. covering the theory and practice of both German Nazism and Italian fascism. Opponents often mistook his vehemence for vindictiveness. Sereni was basically cool. gave him another formidable advantage in debate which only increased the confusion and unfounded suspicions of many opponents. At last they discovered the prison where he was kept and were permitted to see him. He boiled rapidly but only on the surface. the product of a scientifically-trained mind. Sereni's fundamental open-mindedness. He was indeed a man whom an opponent had to know to love. This. 195 . never were they more wrong. He was also capable of using an argument largely for its effect. was almost fantastically reflected in his volatile whims and witticisms. and they could not get him to leave until he had made a few last points.
and often went to practically fantastic lengths of logic in this matter. experimental hypotheses. What particularly upset the assurance of some of us was that 196 . I'm a first-rate expert at arguing Zionism from a Marxist basis." Said Grodzensky: "Do you believe in Marxism. Practically rubbing his hands with glee. were in reality tentative statements. Reluctantly. raise the standard of living by cooperative methods of consumption and mutual aid. then?" Outraged. But he was an extreme realist as well. Enzo shot back: "What do you think I am. so to speak. 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. just off the boat. of course. I remember when he was in this country. Shlomo admitted that this was the case. 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. Enzo was always a strong adherent of the idea of a Jewish-Arab collaboration. 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.IN MEMORIAM Shlomo Grodzensky tells this of his first encounter with Enzo: He met a sturdy little Italian. who at once asked whether it were true that there was a current vogue for Marxism in America. meant either deferring such solidarity to an indefinite future if one took the Mapai view. of course. on the theory that the Arab's must be raised to the Jewish level. and we never knew how seriously to take them. 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. Sereni said: "Excellent! You know. All these. in Sereni's mind. or simple selfdelusion if one took the Hashomer Hatzair view. a simpleton.
he acted. Sereni argued that the disturbances of 1936-38 were a good thing in the history of Arab-Jewish relations. I remember an instance by which I was particularly impressed: In America. during the period of my own stay in Eretz Yisrael (1939). He would never wait for a bus to take him home and he scoffed at the danger from Arab 197 . When I came to Givat Brenner. It was brought up in discussion that bloodshed between groups had historically tended to implant mutual hatred that long outlasted the fighting. notably the British-Boer case. But this was no final stand for Sereni. one might even say heuristic. though the kibbutz would not assign him to stand watch. entailed serious consequences in action for Sereni. 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. But these hypotheses were also formative elements in his own thoughts. I was astonished to hear that Enzo was not allowed to stand his turn at guard duty because. even to a notion of provisional. suffered its casualties like any other rural settlement. if only in order to make them think on their own.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sereni delighted in the forceful paradox as a method of presentation and loved to shock his youthful audiences out of their received doctrines. Sereni knew very well what the costs were of Arab terrorism to the Jews. Sereni had obviously considered that factor already for he promptly replied that there were also instances. However. Even the most fleeting adherence to an idea. and what he thought. As a member of a kibbutz which. value in his life-course. the first few times he had gone out without a rifle. where peace and mutual forbearance had ensued between groups after a decisive measuring of strength. it could not stop him from breaking the rule against walking through certain officially designated dangerous areas between Rehovot and Givat Brenner. as I learned.
We saw him as the "happy warrior" child. confronting unforeseen and portentous immensities. I remember Sereni loved to propound this question: "Tell me. He was completely aware of it. Sereni presents an altogether different aspect from what was familiar to us. bravely but with solemnity. he had swung towards pacifism. if I may abuse a phrase. This was the man who. moving mountains of apathy and mental torpor with a logical witticism. He told me that having had long conversations in America with Hayim Greenberg. In the recent picture. volunteered for sabotage and underground work behind the lines in Italy. ~ he looks like a lost child. childlike. In a late picture taken in Eretz Yisrael and published in the memorial issue of Hapoel Hatzair. and another claimed her-her husband. But he took his bearings by love. I learned the basic intellectual reasons for these new meshugassen of Sereni's. Solemnity was a look I often saw in him at Givat Brenner. he would acclaim you a Zionist. 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. full of fire and sparkle. outstanding and phenomenally smooth. 198 . approaching forty. if you loved a woman. taking delight in the explosive effects of his intellectual gunfire. Products of fascism. deracinated Jews-yet under Sereni's ministrations their success as kibbutz members was. But what was it which put those omens of fear into Sereni's eyes in his latest pictures? We can only guess. He always had a childlike look. romantic strain of love in Sereni. Later. No. Far deeper than his intellectual constructions was a deep. and I can attest to it. when I spoke to him. let us say-would you give her up? " If you answered.IN MEMORIAM neighbors whom he had known. for this reason he would often mock us by declaring himself nearer a Christian than a Jew in religious sensibility.
Irv. the Yiddish language. and never had he failed to realize what he risked. which he barely knew. Givat Brenner. Italian philosophy. Jews-Eastern European Jews. but to take new strength from the spirit he displayed. he contributed inestimably to the formulation of the program and policies of Habonim. As a movement grows up. his metaphysical moorings. was one of those who contributed to the conception and development of Habonim. Lithuanians and Germans alike. and later the Merkaz. he had invested his love. He had invested far more than a lifetime of labor. German Jews. are shaped and influenced by those few who conceive and develop the ideas which give it birth. 199 . From his latest picture. the Histadrut. 1945 IRV STERNBERG The early days in the life of a movement. was a veteran in Habonim and its predecessor. One of the first organizers. his own home and family. to learn to meet the inevitable situations of adult life. December. to Germany. We know from writings that reach us from Eretz Yisrael how deeply the split in the Mapai affected Sereni. his own kibbutz. it must begin to accept the responsibilities of maturity. as in the life of an individual. his friends. though only thirty-one when he died.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING These things he loved: Italy-Italian art. the Kibbutz Hameuhad. to America-he invested his money in the Histadrut. Irv Sternberg. Mapai. and the Italian people. we see that it was able to put a reflection of fear even into those eyes. to learn to mourn the death of a comrade. who died early in June. the Young Poale Zion Alliance. even Italian historiography. a member of the National Executive. He used to say that everywhere he went-to Eretz Yisrael. Ben Halpern Furrows.
and long be grateful for the share he contributed to Habonim. the type of material he assembled when he served as editor of Haboneh last year. 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. 1944 200 . At the founding convention of Habonim in Buffalo. Habonim will remember Irv. his passion for the unique. and all of these he applied in his work for Habonim. His love of literature and art. when he was elected on the Poale Zion list as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress. Irv was a haver with diverse and intense interests. His knowledge of the essence of the movement led him to create programs. July. the background that molded all his discussions of our problems. were reflected in those things he wrote.IN MEMORIAM A halutz who knew that because of his serious illness he could never realize life in Eretz Yisrael. long regret his untimely loss to us. conceive new ideas. 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. In 1939 Irv received some measure of reward for the work he had done so devotedly for so long. His exceptional ability in artistic handwork led him to organize Habonim crafts groups. seek new methods of educating others in it. Irv nevertheless translated his Socialist Zionism into his personal life. Furrows.
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. I shall endeavor to do what my friend Johanan wanted to do-I will try to realize his dreams. so that the vision of which Johanan was symbolic shall find new strength and fervor. of the dreams we had together of Eretz Yisrael and "our" kibbutz. I can only wonder at the empty space that is left in my life and try to fill it with memories of Johanan and of the days we spent at Kvutza." He was my friend. That is the best tribute I can give him. and I call to all those others who believe as Johanan did to rouse themselves. November. too-that is why these words are meaningless to me. lest the Jewish people never find their future. He was one of our best haverim. to accept the task of the halutz. Harry Brumberger Furrows. We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them. 1944 201 . of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh. We must fill the gap. Freedom and peace are meaningless if we are not conscious of their worth and do not accept their responsibilities-and freedom and peace must prevail lest future Johanans shall die. I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences. 1944.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.