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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.
generating the passion. teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else. They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. From that initial summer. Throughout the decades. The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home. 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. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’. civil rights. But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later.” Today we know that they were indeed making history. feminist and Middle East peace movements. but there was nothing inevitable about any of it.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. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. anchored in its summer camps. The Habonim Dror youth movement.
Nothing like it existed anywhere in America. the young adult wing of the Labor Zionist movement. They named it Habonim. Chapters were formed here and there. In the spring of 1933. 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. but the results were dispiriting. they agreed to set aside the radical politics of Poale Zion and build . the movement acquired a campsite of its own in Accord. Painfully. prosaically named Buds. had been successful enough to merit another round the following year. the socialist Zionist pioneers who were rebuilding the land of Israel. The summer camp would eventually provide the missing spark. That first summer of 1932. The founders themselves weren’t entirely sure what they had in mind. for all its uncertainties. debating ideology and hauling their own trash. not living as a commune. leaders of Young Poale Zion gathered at Accord to discuss the future of their education program. After the 1934 camp season ended. Labor Zionism’s main constituency. even within their own movement. couldn’t afford summer camp. Others argued that the children of working class immigrants. New York. Following days of stormy debate they decided to create a new children’s organization as an autonomous unit within the movement. The new location proved enormously popular. who had settled in Palestine and was now in New York as a shlicha. The numbers remained small and enthusiasm was low. and the camp thrived.Poale Zion Alliance. and the camp’s first advocates faced strong opposition. after a new Labor Zionist scouting organization established in England in 1929. Young Poale Zion had been trying since the 1920s to establish a children’s organization for ten-toeighteen-year-olds. Many of the senior Labor Zionists were convinced that summer camp meant volley ball and boating. They hadn’t even settled yet on the name Habonim. with the help of Young Poale Zion alumna Golda Meir.
that had been struggling for a decade to find its footing. protesting the Vietnam war in 1969. And the camp program was unique. it was clear that camp was no longer just an adjunct to the year-round Habonim educational program. youngsters developed intimate bonds with each other and the group.600 campers. Gordonia. marching for civil rights in 1957. scoutcraft. but on the movement and everything it did. in Michigan and Quebec. rallying for Soviet Jews and California farm-workers in 1975. Habonim. The fastest growth was in the summer camps. 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. devotion to Israel and the ideals of kibbutz pioneering. Living for weeks away from their families in a community of their peers. Two years after that. By the mid-1940s. By 1945 Habonim was operating eleven camps across the continent with a total enrollment of some 1. too. The impact of the camp experience could be seen not only on the individual Habonim members. renewed each summer and deepened over time. many Habonim members showed up—protesting outside British consulates in 1946. Two new ones were opened in 1935. resulting in a powerful brew that was stronger than any of its components. And when a few Habonim members showed up for a major public event. By 1938 it was strong enough to take over a smaller Labor Zionist youth group. Summer might end. but the campers still wanted to be together. .the Habonim education program around character-building. Three more were added in 1939 and more the following summer and the summer after that. the Young Poale Zion Alliance dissolved itself and became the senior division of its own offshoot. Those bonds and those lessons. Camp had become the heart of the movement experience. The new organization grew quickly. and so they spent their weekends going to ken meetings and regional seminars to see their friends.
that founded Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and Kibbutz Urim.” They’ve been written off many times. Jewish summer camps existed to provide children with exercise and fresh air and to give their parents a breather. The path that Habonim pioneered in 1932 was trod a decade later by Young Judaea and the Ramah camps of Conservative Judaism. When the first fourteen Labor Zionist teenagers pitched their tent in the Catskills in 1932. and in the 1970s and 1980s to found the new kibbutzim of Gezer. because they wanted to make a difference and to live out their values. settling in urban communes in slums and development towns. And because they wanted to be with their friends from camp. though they had an inkling. Habonim members continued to move to Israel in garinim. Jewish values camping is high fashion. Grofit and Ravid. and soon after that by the Reform movement. as big as they were in their heyday in the 1940s. of course. Today. but that’s always been part of their charm — the old Habonim principle that it’s “chalutzic to be schmutzik. communal settlement groups. The . Hundreds moved to Israel in its early years as members of garinim. But they are still here. when the kibbutz movement was sunk in crisis and Zionism had become a subject of cynicism or worse. Even in the 1990s and beyond. 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’re not as shiny or high tech as some of the better known camps. hundreds of Habonim members — nearly the entire senior membership — went there to volunteer. It’s not even clear that the Young Poale Zion organizers knew themselves exactly where they were headed. They went.When Israel won its independence in 1948 and took to the battlefield to defend it. They continued going over in garinim in the 1950s and 1960s to join Gesher Haziv and Urim. The notion of camping as a laboratory for values education and movement building was something new in American Jewish education.
2009 . J.J. Besides. They still have an urgent message to transmit. the kids want to be with their friends. They have to.New York and Los Angeles camps have gone bust and then risen again. And still they carry on. Goldberg. resurrected by faithful alumni and determined groups of teenagers. three-quarters of a century after they began.
.................................................. 91 KVUTZA................................................................................................. 128 CAMP BONIM............ 55 PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY....................................................................... 115 GIMLI................................................. 98 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 126 MONTREAL .................................................................................................................................................................................16 THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING ...................................................................................... YOUNGSTERS!........................... 49 COMING OF AGE .............. 87 KENDALL ................................................. 137 ................ TEXAS ............1933 ........................................................................................................... 104 THE STORY OF "MOSH"................................................................................. 74 CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN .... 100 KVUTZA IN THE WEST .............................................. 129 THE COMING SEASON ............................................................................................................................................14 Introduction ........ 25 GROWTH OF AN IDEA "KVUTZA" AND KVUTZA ............. 94 KINNERET .. 122 AFIKIM ........... 134 AMAL IN RETROSPECT ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? ................................... 95 TEL NATAN ............... 20 ACCORD ............ MANITOBA ...........................................................6 Foreword from Original Publication . 68 HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ................................................................................................................. KVUTZA........................................................................................................................... 82 LISTEN HERE....................................................................................................................................... 85 TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK ..................................................................................................... 131 CAMP AVODA................................................................................................................. 107 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR ............................................................. 90 "KVUTZIE".................................................................... 60 THE TURNING POINT ..................................................................... 109 GALIL ...................................................... 33 THE MEANING OF KVUTZA ................. 32 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING .......................................................................................................................... 125 CAMP MIRIAM.....................Contents Foreword ..... CREAMRIDGE .......................
....................................................................................................................................................................................................157 SO YOU WANT TO BE A MADRICH ...........................155 NIGTH WATCH ......189 ENZO SERENI ....................................................................181 HAYIM RAMBAM ...................191 IRV STERNBERG ............................................................................ ACCORD ...........159 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS .....................171 BEN CHERNER ................199 JOHANAN TARTAKOWER ...........................................................................................................................................143 PEEKING IN WITH OUR SHALIAH ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................156 THE TREE ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................161 NEED HELP PACKING? ...155 TO KVUTZA ..............................................163 KINNERET SHELI ...............................................................................................................................................................................173 DANNY GINSBURG .....................................................................................................................................................................177 NATE KANTER ......................................................................................142 ACCORD DIARY ........................................................180 ARI LASHNER ...........153 VIEW FROM KVUTZA HILL..................KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL NIGHT WATCH ......168 MIRIAM BIDERMAN .....151 UNTIL NEXT YEAR ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................201 ................187 JOSEPH ROSENBERG ........................165 IN MEMORIUM HAZKARA ................................
and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. 1932. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. * * * The Chay Commission. Habonim started an important chapter in its youthful story–youthful and on behalf of youth–that was destined to play a significant role in the psychological struggle which confronted Jewish youth in the fearsome years of hatred and violence that were to follow. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. Aliya and Youth.Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in. Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. * * * It is good to participate in the celebration of twenty-five years of Habonim Camping and to help make possible the historic task of “keeping the record.
It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well. Bert Goldstein Chairman. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript. Chay Commission 15 . * * * 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. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering.
Today's leaders of Habonim are veterans of Camp Kvutza. These pioneers transmitted their zeal and vision to succeeding generations of Jewish youth in Habonim who followed in their footsteps. Through these years. working.creating their own society of the future. The pioneers of Camp Kvutza were imbued with an all-consuming desire for creative Jewish living. playing . much has been written both for Habonim and for the Jewish educational world on this unique form of camping. They dedicated themselves to a form of society based on principles of self-labor and mutual cooperation. It is correct to say that Camp Kvutza is the basic source of strength for the entire Labor Zionist Movement in America.Introduction During the past twenty-five years. Thus. The leaders and chalutzim of tomorrow are at Camp Kvutza today. close to five generations of youth have participated in the Habonim Camps. studying. Camp Kvutza enriched the lives of all who participated in its growth and development. as are most of our chalutzim in Israel. Many were 16 .
Out of these diverse sources. Furrows. however. convention reports. Merkaz Habonim. We hope. our editorial committee. Many adult readers who experienced the birth pangs and gradual development of Camp Kvutza in the United States and Canada will no doubt find nostalgia mixed with smiles upon the perusal of the articles. 1957 17 . Many were the reactions written by campers while at Kvutza and upon their return to the city. and especially our patrons for making possible the publication of this volume. and with varying levels of presentation: from that of a thirteen-year old describing his experiences with childish enthusiasm. Haboneh. to that of educators and community leaders analyzing and evaluating the significance of this departure in Jewish camping. But they will find much which may inspire them and will guide them in their movement activities. and internal organizational and educational bulletins. The Editors Summer. Menahel. In compiling this collection. to that of a leader enlarging on the principles by which Camp Kvutza will function. and content of Camp Kvutza. * * * We want to take this opportunity to thank the Chay Commission. we were confronted with the wealth of material which has been accumulated for a quarter of a century. Many present members of Habonim will no doubt discover herein a world seemingly remote from today's reality. but have presented the material in the differing forms in which it originally appeared. we have not attempted to create a literary unit. Most of the material included has been gleaned from the Habonim archives: News and Views. that each reader will find herein something of intimate significance as well as informational value. the office secretaries.the deliberations within the movement on the development. expansion.
The Beginning .
how "peculiar. there was merely the living together at a Camp Kvutza among the gentle hills of New York State. with making a livelihood. how revolutionary. All around us the youth was concerned with jobs. how strange it was. It was the time of the depression. They guided and directed our lives. So much comes alive: the chaverim. our thoughts were molded by the country we lived in. At the Camp Kvutza these ideals were most meaningful. American Jewish living surrounded us. As one looks back twenty-five years. We loved this country with its sense of human 20 . were far away from all that worried Americans. but above all. one senses how much importance there was to this beginning. but at that time. the tiny group of Poale Zion youth. Yet we. one retraces the years and comes to the beginning: the first Camp Kvutza. Some came to the country as young children. the campfire with its songs. Our schooling. Suddenly all is focused clearly and is full of an inner glow . a mutual investigation of the problems inherent in the ideals which we held in common. It was very hard for we were going against the stream. we tried by our own living to create a new world: a world in which the Jew would live in his own country. the forms of living there to be based on Socialism. and it may even sound boastful to say that we were an idealistic Jewish youth.the beginning." Many of us were born in the United States. the economic collapse after 1929. Looking backward. We lived in our ideal: a worker's life in Eretz Yisrael. our style of life. the studies. the Kvutza: the living and studying together. the camp.THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING An anniversary is a time of reflection. But in truth and most sincerely. Our minds and our hearts were concerned with another land and our problems were foreign and distant to American life. Today the conception of "idealist" has acquired a strange interpretation.
it was important to know the reason. rivers. and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores. the politics of the country. We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. the new theater. 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. I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal. 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 charm of the South. Russian revolu- 21 . vivid with the hope of the liberation of the Jew.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING dignity and freedom. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman. art. the new forms of the dance. and music. this tiny group out of the millions of American Jews? Again and again at the Camp Kvutza. its mountains and plains. There were before us the grandeur of the West. the night club in Harlem. In some homes. 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. Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. The life of America was our life: the jazz. its pioneers. and oceans.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. the beauty of the Appalachians. the breadth of the Hudson. Some homes were "Bundist. the stirrings of the vast labor masses . the awe of Niagara. and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. Or again. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. its lakes.
Around us was the camp fire. Much must be done for them. the sentiment of rebuilding and heroism. Poale Zionist. the tense young faces lit by the flame. 22 . and young voices filled the air with Hebrew or Yiddish songs of Eretz Yisrael and Jewish revival. but not a Jewish folk song. The rhythm. to teach their children about their glorious heritage." 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. For Poale Zion ideology. bright and cheerful. to hold them to some kind of Judaism. consciousness grew out of this strange soil. they motivated the program of work. Why Eretz Yisrael? There are two million Jews in New York City alone. for in America we were still close to pioneering. We wanted to know more and more about the ideal we so earnestly believed in. Why not work here at home? In the first Camp Kvutza. amidst the dark shadows of the trees. there was a large mass of workers with no job security. all spoke deeply to us. and at times against the wishes of the parents who were aghast at their child's "peculiarities. all the above elements were ever present.THE BEGINNING tionary songs of freedom and Siberian exile were sung. We well understood the pioneering life of Eretz Yisrael. There were problems to be solved here: tender children working beyond their strength. To the Camp Kvutza was brought much out of the American life in which we found ourselves. Zionist. exploited by those intent on profits. and American history glorified the pioneer who moved West to build up the great United States. there was the singing of the Eretz Yisrael songs which linked us with our unknown comrades. In the short span of time spent at Camp Kvutza. we went to the writings of Borochov and Syrkin. We tried to add to the elements already influencing the chaverim. the poetry of the words.
Thorndike. and audacious. were breaking new ground in education. he studied on his own level. he was taught to work and think in a group. and Thorndike! I was fired by the new philosophy of education which they taught and I had learned the new techniques which they advocated. challenging. It was a theory of freedom in education and especially John Dewey's philosophy. My special contribution to Camp Kvutza was to bring to our studies the new educational philosophy of John Dewey. William Kilpatrick.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING To the Camp Kvutza we also brought the new educational theories just coming into being in the United States. How happy I was that I was privileged to study under John Dewey. The project method was concomitant with these new theories. T. he was motivated. These. which was to give the Jew inheritance in his land. his personality was respected. Kilpatrick. Twenty-five years ago their educational philosophy was a complete departure from what was then prevalent. All these methods admirably suited our need. Both in planning the program of the Camp Kvutza and in carrying it out. 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. I had just received my Bachelor of Science degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University. It aimed to enrich the individual by giving him the tools whereby he could continue his investigations. The new methods were so well fitted to our Poale Zionist ideal. and E. Adult education was assuming its rightful place. The personality of the learner was stressed. namely. The new education stressed respect and dignity of the individual. to study our ideology and to pass on our ideals to many American Jewish youths. These new me- 23 . It was new. the chaverim wholeheartedly accepted these new methods which I so enthusiastically advocated. my teachers. opposed to all forms of absolutism.
I had some years of organizational work behind me. they fought in the War of Liberation of Israel. The waves in its wake have reached the Promised Land. Sophie A. Udin. 1957 24 .THE BEGINNING thods taught the individual how to motivate a study not by committing to memory many facts. This group work was in complete accord with the cooperative ideals of Labor Eretz Yisrael. 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. We sought to draw out every individual to full participation. and they served in Sinai. Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago was a small pebble thrown into the vast ocean of American Jewish youth. Happy are we to have been comrades and partners in that great adventurous undertaking. What a new world these fundamental methods of learning opened up for us! We sensed the democracy of these techniques. So we studied the creative discussion method. Their children are growing up in Israel. they were in Cypress. but never had I enjoyed a more innerly satisfying experience. The small ripple it caused has moved farther and farther. And the genesis was that first Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago. For chaverim from the Camp Kvutza have settled on the soil of the land. By their example they have influenced others to come to Israel. The study of Eretz Yisrael problems lent themselves particularly to the new project method. but to study for the love of the subject . It was group living and learning which was deep and lasting in its influence. They were on so-called "illegal" boats.study deeply and creatively.
enthusiastically accepted the idea. then National Secretary of the Poale Zion. therefore. the lack of funds. in which one labored and which was governed by its own members. something other than a mere replica of the senior Poale Zion. Berl Locker. With the help of Golda Meir. and two. Jacob Katzman. strenuous efforts were made to obtain a campsite of our own. it was generally felt that the real spirit of a Kvutza. the use of a beautiful spot in the Catskills was gotten. the insistence that inasmuch as the movement already has a children's camp. was lacking. Other members of the YPZA Central Committee were like-minded. One of the first media that came to mind was the establishment of a YPZA summer camp similar to the one I had seen in Galicia. and leadership of a youth movement. I attended a convention of a Zionist scouting organization with which I had been affiliated. It was held in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. of a place that one built with one's own hands. we decided to make an experimental beginning in Unser Camp.1933 Shortly before I came to America.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD . I saw then what such a camping experience can mean in the development of the spirit. The reasons were: one. ideology. and while all who participated gained considerably in their knowledge of Labor Zionism and techniques of leadership. In the summer of 1932. Sophie Udin assumed the leadership. who was then 25 . The following winter and spring. YPZA should utilize that in every way possible. Kinderwelt. Many of us began to think in terms of making of the Labor Zionist youth movement a youth movement in fact. But most of the other leading chaverim of the senior organizations were skeptical and some were even opposed. The lingering memories found their expression when in America I became a member of the Central Committee of the Young Poale Zion Alliance.
young people with organizational tradition. The first few weeks were the hardest. The first substantial help came with the arrival of Mr. and to institute self-rule and discipline. whose task it was to bring some modicum of civilization to this wilderness. but we succeeded in instilling the proper spirit of cooperation and a form of self-government. They came because after all. it was very hard to improvise a program to keep the campers busy.P. to most of whom. our senior chaverim started to look upon the camp as something worthwhile. I found the campers a most heterogeneous group. and upon his insistence and that of our Central Committee. First of all. and geography of Eretz Yisrael. a Hebrew teacher. supervise all the camping activities. with leadership abilities. I took over for the remaining period. keep the grounds clean. the tuition was only $7 a week and where could one get such a bargain even during the Depression? Under those circumstances. Meyer Brown and Shmuel Siegel. has already related the story of its birth elsewhere in this -volume. and assign work for the daily work crews. and a fine Jewish background. Jewish history. New Jersey.THE BEGINNING National Secretary of the YPZA and directed our first Kvutza at Accord. Among them were some of the best members of the YPZA from several communities. One of the four tents consisted of ten boys from Orange. To this day I don't know how it happened. to mold a cohesive group. carry water from the well. and a multitude of other jobs. However. 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. provide wood for the stove. Little by little. including K. who 26 . I bad to conduct all the discussion groups and Shabbat programs. Margolin. who immediately instituted a program of Hebrew. But Katzman had to leave in the middle of the season to help prepare the forthcoming YPZA national convention.
The council took its task seriously. There was quite a large proportion of chaverim who had completed their preparatory training and were awaiting aliya certificates. brought back to the city good reports of what was going on in Accord.. During that time. which. and share in whatever manual labor was required. Of inestimable value in this respect were the several days which Golda Meir spent with us. a program mapped out. without exception. The camp reached its maturity when we instituted the forms of "selfgovernment. Everyone. it was during 27 . had to participate in K. help police the cleanliness of the grounds and tents. when the velocity of the wind was of hurricane proportion and the rain came down in sheets. But one stormy late afternoon. 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. Work was assigned judiciously and without favoritism. Her discussions on halutziut were inspiring to the campers." Representatives to a camp council were elected by all the campers. we even had the whole camp sit in judgment of a camper who broke discipline and left camp without permission to go to a dance in a nearby hotel. This was taken in stride. they were carried out in a responsible fashion. If ever the spirit of the camp was manifest.P. but her report to the senior movement was of even greater importance in bringing Camp Kvutza to its attention. was quite a chore. The age range of the first season in Accord was probab1y older than any of the subsequent seasons. There is a limit to the punishment which even a secondhand army tent can take from the elements. so it was not surprising when occasionally a tent was blown down. a decision arrived at. the camp found itself without a single tent standing and without a place for the campers to sleep. The first Accord Kvutza was also rich in adventures.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING came to visit their families.
The few that remained on the camp grounds tried as best they could to sleep on the tables in the dining room. were transferred to a nearby hotel. especially the haverot. our clothing was soaked. Many have made their mark in Eretz Yisrael as chalutzim and leaders in the Labor Movement. However. All the campers. and it proved that a camp of this kind lends itself to the pur- 28 . but by their presence. lent dignity to the camp and helped to establish the reliability of Camp Kvutza in the minds of our senior haverim. the brook had overflowed its bank and the water covered the bridge. Mention should be made of the contribution to the camping experience of Rachel Siegel and Leah Brown. this experience became a highlight of that camping season. We emerged from the dining room and began a snake dance to the tune of Chopin's Funeral March. But this did not diminish the spirit of those who remained behind.THE BEGINNING this emergency. The first season of Accord was the proving ground for the concept of a camp run by youth for youth. One would like to characterize some of the campers but that would take too much space and would be unfair to those not mentioned. our cooks. In retrospect. and no matter which way one turned. the cots and all the possessions of the campers were put out to dry. The taller and older chaverim had to carry the younger ones. and cold to the marrow. the tents were put up again. and we were all sleepy. wet. the roof leaked. 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. on their backs to the other side. who not only saw to it that the food was adequate and wholesome. One vividly recalls the morning after-the sky was overcast. The advice of the good people around to break up camp was not heeded. As soon as the sun came out. with the exception of a few. By the time the exodus began. It pointed the way toward self-discipline and self-government. he got wet.
Jacob Lemberger. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. 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. history. 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 . participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season. and problems of the organization.
Growth of an Idea .
though expressed in different forms.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. one's entire personality must be overhauled. However. They cannot put what should be into being. and no number of meetings in the city can accomplish this. the responsibility which the individual feels to the group. play. worry. communal labor." Both the question and the intense anxiety for a positive answer represent. The differences between a Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael and our summer Kvutzot are quite evident. Deeper emotions must be stirred. those ideals which motivate our movement. This attitude toward one's fellow men is the essential ethical motif in our educational program and represents the only true socialist mentality. study. and joy. in as great a measure as possible. That true comradeship. They can indoctrinate a theoretical acknowledgment of what should be. that true self-esteem and es- 32 . These instrumentalities are limited in scope. One can master the art of living together only by living together. yet one is surprised to what a great extent the essence of Kvutza life is retained. attitudes and states of mind are not created by speeches and lectures and discussions. as if final judgment would be pronounced by the words "yes" or "no. from the educational viewpoint. which makes him place all his ability at the disposal of the group without measuring how much he receives in return. but from a heartfelt recognition of the value of one's haverim. the true equality which arises not from an abstract philosophical belief that all men are equal. deeper roots must be sought. therein is contained the keen desire to realize personally. For what are the great values introduced by and embodied in our Kvutzot in Eretz Yisrael? The mutual relationships between haverim. All these are expressed through communal living. a triumph for our idea.
and then all return to their respective different places. but from following those paths in common. which aims at creating an individual who will not only have definite ideals but also realize them. develop socialized attitudes and patterns of behavior. In the Kvutza. 1937 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING Modern educational camping has increasingly emphasized experience in creative group living and learning. What are meetings? They signify that all present have come from different directions. does not arise from common outlooks on the paths to be taken. to provide 33 . 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. one does not meet with another. Ben Zion Ilan. self-reliance. to enrich his personality. meet temporarily. Sleeping with one's comrades in tents pitched with one's own hands-eating food prepared and served through one's own labor-learning some important fact about Jewish life one hour and the next chopping wood or playing ball with the same comrades-spending rainy nights on night watch. Jewish camps conducted under communal or semi-communal auspices have sought. Thus our education. in addition. and in general. The objective is not only to provide a change of physical environment and healthful recreation. cannot be complete without the Kvutza. and the consideration for the welfare of others which years of preaching could never develop. The camp setting provides the opportunity to help the camper increase his range of interests. one lives with another. knowledge and skills.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING teem of others.
Habonim. conceiving their work as an extension of the program of Jewish group work agencies in the city. based on the principles of economic and political democracy. 3. These camps. to provide satisfying and creative Jewish experiences. 2. the camps are the extension as well as the annual climax of the Habonim program. Habonim has the following purposes: 1. Modeled after the Eretz Yisrael collective settlements. To strengthen the bonds between American Jewry and Eretz Yisrael. which caters to young people of the age level of 14 to 21. To train young Jews to become halutzim. to create a cooperative Jewish Commonwealth. 34 . have a ten-year history under the auspices of the Labor Zionist Youth Organization. Educational Objectives of Habonim In order to properly understand the motivation and character of Camp Kvutza. known as Camp Kvutza. To prepare young Jews for" participation in the upbuilding of a new social order throughout the world. in Eretz Yisrael and. This paper describes a type of Jewish camping program which attempts to apply this philosophy and technique of educational camping.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Jewish educational experiences. and at the same time. 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. as members of the Histadrut Haovdim (General Federation of Jewish Labor of Eretz Yisrael). and actively to support the rebuilding of the Jewish National Home. is essential to know something about the aims of Habonim.
Each camp has developed in time a distinctive character. 35 . where a camp is located on rented property. To educate young Jews toward the revitalization of traditional Jewish values. history. it does not follow that they are identical in character. and personnel. The reader must not overlook the importance of the words. it is deemed inadvisable to put too much effort into construction projects. Differences exist which are based on local circumstances. The Montreal camp. "who shall in their own lives realize its aims. for the study of Jewish life. The vegetable garden is a bigger undertaking in California than in Winnipeg for obvious climatic reasons. toward a feeling of identification with the Jewish rights everywhere. test their validity. To prepare young Jews for the defense of Jewish rights everywhere. Thus. At Camp Kvutza. reflects the Yiddish school influences under which the campers live during the year. physical environment. Principles of Camp Program Although all the camps are the expression of a similar social and educational outlook." This is a central concept in the educational program of the movement. To prepare young Jews for active participation in American Jewish community life. Nevertheless. in a sense. Experimentation in methods and program materials varies with the personal predilections of the camp leaders.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING 4. 6. the camps conform within the limits indicated to certain principles and patterns. In one camp there may be more free choice of activity than in another. Equality of all persons in the camp is a cardinal principle. Habonim members live according to the principles they have been studying and. and culture. 5. for instance. The camp director enjoys no privileges not available to the youngest camper.
Staff and Organization Before any Camp Kvutza opens for the summer. a cook has to be engaged. Representatives of Habonim and the adult Labor Zionist organizations constitute the committees. reading circles. The staff and leaders are all members of the organization who contribute their services and regard themselves as members of the camp community. recruiting campers. The functions of the staff members and leaders are to direct the educational activities -the discussion and study groups. and in other ways. the singing. particularly at the establishment of a new site. it is impractical to rely entirely on the campers to build the necessary structures. and elect various committees which are responsible for specific phases of camp life. In keeping with the practice of the collectives and cooperatives in Eretz Yisrael. and sports. Disciplinary cases which are not easily adjusted may be brought to the attention of the designated committee. programs.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Neither is he exempt from any of the chores which are a part of the maintenance of the camp. The executive committee meets often with the director and staff members to act upon various problems. Self-government is a third basic principle. considerable preparations have to be made. nature study. The regular camp meetings discuss administrative problems. Workmen are also hired when. an effort is made to have no hired labor in camp. The local Habonim take the initiative in all this 36 . arts and crafts. such committees are established in each community and contacts are made by correspondence and personal visits by their members. and daily routine. A camp committee is established by the local organization. Where several cities in a region cooperate in conducting a camp. on rare occasions. The committees assist in raising funds. scoutcraft. Exceptions are made when it is not possible to secure the services of a competent physician or nurse or when. purchasing food staples. dramatics.
repair the plumbing. it is necessary to bear in mind that we are considering here individuals generally much younger than their "opposite numbers" in other camps. They determine the fees to be charged and establish the differential in tuition as between members and nonmembers of the organization. its responsibilities and functions are discussed. Prior to the arrival of the first group of campers. With the arrival of the campers. At a meeting of the entire camp. They open the buildings. No attempt is made to do a complete job of renovation. both communal and private.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING work and carry the burden of responsibility. This is a group of members who generally remain as staff members and leaders. the director or an experienced camper outlines the purposes of Camp Kvutza and indicates some of the specific objectives for the summer. clear the grounds. It is very general. The executive committee is elected. an advance crew arrives at camp to prepare for the opening of the season. then. as one of the major activities of camp is to carry forward the program of improving facilities. putting up new structures. boys and girls taking responsibility for the leadership of groups of younger children. In addition. both in the cities and in the camps. enlarging the camp. In speaking of staff and leaders. 37 . and the various functional committees are named. and get the camp generally ready. and preparing for the discussions and activities they will conduct. the full program is initiated. These leaders are themselves active members of groups of their own age at the same time that they are leading the younger children. set up the tents. the advance crew spends the evenings outlining plans for the summer. and beautifying the grounds. the minimum being two weeks. outlining projects. to find. Campers may register for varying periods. The year-round program of the Habonim organization provides for the continual preparation of members for or leaders of groups of younger children.
sheds to cover the pump and washing machine (the 38 . built shelves and drawers for kitchen equipment. who is usually a member of an adult Labor Zionist group. trees have been cut down. and in some cases. Work projects are a consistent feature of every Camp Kvutza. This phase of the program has been one of the most fruitful sources of creative expression. the cook. and buildings erected. The girls painted the dining room and screens. dug a tile tunnel for the water pump. is assisted by campers. and tents is likewise the responsibility of the campers. This has been particularly true where the camp was established on a new site and had to be built "out of nothing. and problems involved in maintaining the camp within budgetary limits. In the process they learn menu planning. The nature of these projects varies. There have been instances where it was necessary to curb the eagerness of the campers to devote themselves to work projects to the virtual exclusion of other activities. The maintenance of the grounds. over a period of years." Using hired workmen only where the tasks made this unavoidable. In a four-week period one summer at Kinneret in Michigan. In the kitchen work. new tent platforms. designated daily by the committee in charge of assigning individuals to various tasks. the group finished waterproofing the roof of the dining room and kitchen. put up screens and shutters on the doors and windows of the dining room. The following year they added a shower house. ground cleared and ploughed. with the local circumstances. wait on tables. buildings. as has been suggested. some elements of nutrition. No one at camp is exempt from taking his or her turn at this work. and clean up after meals.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. Building projects are planned and executed sometimes within one season. The campers help prepare meals.
the practice has developed to sell produce to visitors. During the 1942 season. painted and erected so that electric cables could be drawn from the nearest sources of power. All this was done in addition to clearing two large wooded areas to accommodate the tents. trimmed. acquire an enlarged dining room. shower house. Moreover. It is a real-life demonstration of the values inherent in socially useful labor. I have watched the camp at Killingworth.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING campers conducted a cooperative laundry). Connecticut." Five trees were cut down. infirmary. it serves to inculcate in the campers a positive attitude toward work and collective self-sufficiency. the income being contributed to the Jewish National Fund. log bridge and dam over a stream which fed the swimming pool. The complete electrification job was done and celebrated late in the summer when the lights were turned on in the dining room. It is an end in itself inasmuch as it fills immediate needs and serves to beautify the camp. shower house. and recreation hall with impressive ceremonies. an outdoor amphitheater dug out of a low hill and furnished with a stage platform. 39 . and the beginning of a storage bin. the produce from the garden is used in the kitchen. In recent years. interest in gardening was heightened by associating this activity with the need for maximum food in this country. In some of the camps. Girls have taken to this activity particularly. During the weeks of camp. The campers acquire considerable information and numerous skills. new garbage pits. The advance crew usually prepares the soil and plants a variety of vegetables which mature during July and August. This emphasis on work has several motivations. and the beginnings of a small building intended for use by activity groups in bad weather. The greatest adventure was that of "bringing light to Kinneret. efforts have been made to introduce gardening with varying success.
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. and special occasions. problems of Jewish adjustment. Definite periods are set aside for this in the daily schedule. long and personalized discussions as to the implications of the war took place in all camps. Here the emphasis is on creating new forms 40 . covers a wide range of topics of Jewish and general interest. but an atmosphere of purposeful learning permeates the camp at all times. Jewish community organization. and elements of Socialism. Group discussion is the dominant method. Groups have discussed and read about Jewish historical subjects. holidays. the Bible and modern Jewish literature. with projects involving related activities being used to a fair degree. from vocational problems of American Jewish youth. when war was imminent in Europe. derived from the basic aims of Habonim." phases and problems of life in Eretz Yisrael. to the effect of rainfall on the economy of Eretz Yisrael. Talks by visitors from nearby communities. and staff members serve frequently as points of departure for discussions. The topics range from the aims and organizational forms of Habonim. particularly among the younger age groups. representatives of the Eretz Yisrael Labor Movement. The subjects keep changing as events suggest the timeliness of various problems. Jewish migrations and refugees. At the end of the 1939 season. "famous unknowns. personalities from Jewish and Socialist history. The subject matter. Observance of Shabbat Much attention has been focused upon the observance of Shabbat. anti-Semitism. Reading of relevant materials goes on simultaneously. to the causes of war and the prospects for permanent peace.
These ceremonials. On Saturday. reading circles. Camp is cleaned up. and when this is done the first hint may well appear in the blessing of the candles. Some experiments have been made with developing new forms for Saturday morning and with the Havdala 41 . laundry is done." Groups have prepared special readings from the Bible and the Prophets. The Friday evening at Camp Kvutza is the highlight of the week. Invariably. There may be also a story or brief talk on a subject related to Shabbat. Preparations for Shabbat go on all day. tables are covered with white table cloths. At the same time. being original. with or without choral group to provide direction. sports and swimming for longer periods than usual. The ceremonies may begin at flag-lowering. Considerable success has been achieved in this area. the dining room is furnished with fresh flowers and ferns. the evening closes with folk dancing in the open or in the cleared dining room. Specific themes may be used as the foci of the program. give to the observance a spontaneity which is so often lacking where the traditional orthodox customs are practiced. and continue in the dining room before and after the meal. all work projects are in abeyance. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING of observance which will give meaning and significance to the holidays. The day is characterized by more leisure. The use of the traditional Kiddush has spread in recent years. and a special menu is prepared. symptomatic of the swing back from an earlier rejection in radical Jewish circles of all that smacks of the old and "outworn. and from their extensive repertoire of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. After the meal the singing normally continues. and which will be emotionally and aesthetically satisfying. discussions of current events. they have drawn those which lit particularly the spirit of Shabbat.
has become a traditional event. The effect of such practices is illustrated in the incident reported from Los Angeles where. In all the camps. the founder of political Zionism. Other Celebrations The anniversaries of Theodor Herzl.GROWTH OF AN IDEA services at sunset. This has not been achieved without some difficulty. it is interesting to note that some camps have observed the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sacco and Vanzetti. which occur during the summer. and Hayim Nahman Bialik. is observed. the camps have always emphasized the concept of keeping all campers and staff on an equal basis with respect to money. The educational value of the discussions is obvious. and here the tendency to create new ways of observing old holy days finds expression. Tisha B'Av (Ninth of Av-date of the destruction of the Temple). breakfast is foregone on Tisha B'Av. the Hebrew poet. On Tuesday the solelim rebelled. after the campers had debated the question of having breakfast or not. and the money normally spent on the meal is contributed to the Jewish National Fund. They refused to drink their juice. involving as they do questions of equality. it was decided that "only the solelim (the youngest children) were to have some fruit juice." In keeping with the principle of collective living. The Saturday night campfire." Reflecting their interest in the general struggle for human freedom and civil rights. are observed regularly with special programs. individual rights. where the diary of the week is reviewed. too. This was on Monday. each camp takes up anew the question as to how to operate the common fund. The Common Fund One of the most radical features of Camp Kvutza is the elimination of "private capital. and every year. group re- 42 .
particularly with non-members of Habonim or with new campers. All requests for supplies such as stamps. stationary. 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. and the like. On the whole. at the same time enabling him to defend his request if he wishes to do so. 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. problems familiar to all camp directors. Occasionally. the common fund is not instituted without prior discussion and acceptance. the troublesome problems associated with these gifts.) 43 . it has been accepted and has worked out very satisfactorily. or. and combs are placed with the committee which fills the orders as the finances permit. are being trained in agriculture or trades for settlement there. Where a request is considered to be out of line with the budget or unjustifiable for any other reason. As indicated. No accounts are kept of what campers give or get. asked: "If we don't have one. however. Where it includes the agreement to share among the entire camp all foods and candy sent to individual campers. as members of the American Hehalutz. frequently over the objections of a minority. difficulties arise.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING sponsibility for the individual. How well it has been accepted by the campers is illustrated in the anecdote about the boy who. in a discussion as to whether or not there should be a common fund. means of curbing excessive demands. the committee advises the camper accordingly. (A goodly number of former campers are now living in collective settlements in Eretz Yisrael. 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. tooth brushes. how will we be able to get stamps and batteries?" After ten years Camp Kvutza has remained true to its original principles. Experience has varied. are virtually non-existent.
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. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. The emphasis continues to be on translating into personal experience the concepts of individual and social living of the movement and on providing a wholesome and stimulating Jewish environment. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. 1943 44 . Abraham Cohen.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. Concurrently they acquire information and emotional attitudes toward their Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life which help to make of them healthy mid creative Jewish personalities.
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.
His participation in this renaissance becomes the foremost factor in his life as an individual. In the new society that we seek to create. we are not dreamers after Utopia. And 49 . But it is because we believe in the value and the necessity for national living that we are Zionists. We believe in the right of man to be free as an individual. and we point the way to return to nationhood as our only means of survival and our way of participating in the further development of our people and of society. We believe in the right of an entire people to be free as a group. Were we to believe only in man's right to be a free individual. because of the sensitivity within himself. for our people. but followers after the pattern of life being created now in Eretz Yisrael. In specific terms. takes part in the renaissance of his people. and who creates within himself a force that drives him on to self-realization. When we speak of new society and new values. we would implant a concern for mankind. this means that we want to develop an individual who is awake and sensitive to his world. We familiarize our haverim with our historical past. for all individuals." that concept which makes man struggle to fill his pockets so that he and his small family may enjoy the fruits of the world. In other words. we try to erase the narrow concept of "me and mine. We believe that there must evolve a new society of cooperation where mankind will develop new values. we interpret our present struggle. In the place of this narrow view of life.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING THE MEANING OF KVUTZA Camp Kvutza is our way of making the ideas we have developed and the ideals in which we believe real for ourselves and for the haverim whom we lead. we would choose other avenues than Zionism on which to live. who dares to participate in every phase of its life. he is a young Jew who understands what is happening to his people in an alien world and.
help to raise funds. food and equipment purchasing. In order to translate these ideas into human living. We seek to take the word equality off the lips of our haverim. he should have a part in the actual planning of construction. and educational programs. scouting. prepare himself to go to Kvutza. and social selves. art. and only when he is a laborer for the improvement of that society. music. Everyone must become interested in the management of Kvutza: the government. If he is a responsible boneh. political. discipline and attitudes of the little community. but living is by far the greater teacher. he should become a part of Kvutza. management of the kitchen. In Camp Kvutza we live our ideals. otherwise there is no equality. Unless the individu- 50 . and sports. appearance and cleanliness of the settlement. everyone must be made to have an interest in every phase of the day's activity: work. social. he should bear witness to all the excitement of preparation. cultural. While still in the city. and put it in their hearts and in their way of living. If he is too young for this. religious. development of creative interests such as. study. Individual Development at Kvutza Haverim who come to Kvutza must create the Kvutza. Once at Kvutza. crafts. That is our best way of developing the new individual. Discussion is an important part of education. dramatics.GROWTH OF AN IDEA this concern would be demonstrated in our economic. Even before he sees the site. Equality must be expressed in every phase of life economic. This equality and this concern for mankind will become real only when man is judged by his selfless contribution to society. photography. we must educate an entire generation of Jewish youth along new lines of thinking and acting. 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.
2. through discussion and dramatics. At the very least. 5. For in the city. 3. the individual" and to be so challenged as to take upon himself the task of realizing that future. it is absolutely vital in the Kvutza. For no one in Kvutza is on a vacation. To learn to live with a large group of individuals. he should be ready with his discussion material. and rainy-day activities. the life-struggle of our people today. through special programs and in daily living. we will fail in our attempt to develop him into the person we want. To experience. 4. The madrich must come to Kvutza prepared for his duties. Now there are no "company manners" between them. If his role is important in the city. Our aims for the haver who participates in Kvutza may be summed up as follows: 1.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING al is part of the day's activity. it is our training ground for the tomorrow 51 . He will create the atmosphere and the spirit. The Madrich of Kvutza Upon the madrich rests the Kvutza. Now there is only day-by-day living. To know that the future of our people depends on "me. songs. To deal with the problems of life in a group through the creation of a society based on equality and cooperation. he will develop-or fail to develop-all the individuals who come to Kvutza. To understand the significance of being pioneers in a new form of living. he must be prepared with the proper attitude. If possible. games. but at Kvutza he is with them during all their waking and sleeping hours. the madrich sees his haverim only once or twice a week.
He must be a good pal and know how to have f un with them. He sees that they sleep enough. he discovers their hidden talents and interests. The luxury of experiments in edu- 52 . together with the madrichim. he makes them aware of the role they play in their group. At the same time. with notebook in hand. He explains Kvutza and people to them.GROWTH OF AN IDEA of our people. he is responsible for their psychological well-being. write up our scientific observations. eat enough. at times. He helps them adjust to their surroundings. He must foresee problems before his youngsters create them so that he can divert energies to other channels. 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 draws them into every activity. "firm" in stating our point of view? The rosh of every Kvutza. be is responsible for their development as individuals. Freedom with a Pattern Herein lies a real problem for all madrichim. and only one who understands the responsibility should be entrusted with it. must know how to put across his way of thinking and the desired way of acting. lie. He faces a serious task. Second. must understand that Kvutza is not merely an educational experiment. Third. he is responsible for the physical well-being of his haverim. We do not bring together a group of youngsters. promotes friendly relations among them. and then. turn them loose. keep themselves and their sleeping quarters clean. Exactly what is his responsibility? First. wins their confidences. The madrich must be wide awake. The madrich directs the training. and spends many hours in just speaking with them about all the big problems we face together and all their personal problems.
There should be clean-up committees of campers. A day filled with activity. We need this for the education as well as for the spirit of the Kvutza. Rising. Let them not be frightened by terms or by name-calling. Our only sin can be the failure to make Kvutza what it must be: a pattern of life for our haverim. goes far toward creating the orderly society." Camp Kvutza is our instrument for inspiring and remaking individual young Jewish lives. The rosh and madrichim are entrusted with young lives and young minds. We are trying to "turn men into a nation and sand into a country. We want our youngsters to create their summer Kvutza because that is the way to teach them that they must build the real Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael. the day's program-all must add up to steady living. The program should be full so that haverim know that one activity follows another regularly. they are likewise entrusted with a great responsibility to the Labor Zionist movement. Haverim must live on schedule. in work. clean buildings that are nicely decorated. neat haverim. but more is needed to make this orderliness complete. Kvutza must be a symbol to us-a symbol that we will eventually make real. Staying awake until all hours of the night is ruinous to health and humor-it is not freedom. Failure to participate in discussions. The appearance of Kvutza must be orderly-clean grounds. each thing in its place. is not freedom but a weakening of Kvutza spirit. That symbol and its realization are the prime forces behind Kvutza. An Orderly Society Kvutza must be an orderly society. other institutions may be created to assist in the order of the Kvutza or in 53 . The rosh and madrichim must keep them in mind always. in any group activity.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. meals.
Our machaneh has expanded rapidly so that only about half of our haverim have been to Kvutza and have an understanding of the movement. it cannot be stressed too much: Prepare your members for Kvutza. 2. Setting Goals Each Kvutza is a reflection of the city from which its people come. with this committee I have had one discussion from which we concluded: 1. No general rule may be given for "order" or "discipline. a broken common fund-these reflect the city activities. the fewer problems will arise. Before going out to Kvutza. but beyond that and greater than that. From these discussions. The better the madrich. For example. as well as a goal toward which they will work.GROWTH OF AN IDEA the handling of haverim who refuse to be a part of the general orderliness. not only for the development of our haverim individually. all these problems should be settled between the madrich and the individual concerned through talks. Therefore. our first aim for Kvutza is to integrate these new haverim into the movement. Therefore." since each case and the individuals concerned must be considered. rosh and madrichim should have discussions oil the weaknesses and strengths of the machaneh and its needs. should come the specific aims of that Kvutza for the season. Insofar as possible. Poor enrollment of movement members. poor participation. the machaneh in which I am now living has chosen its Kvutza committee. Thus there will be an understanding among those who will lead the Kvutza. lack of discipline. Our machaneh has a good group of Kvutza "veterans. Kvutza should develop the machaneh. Summer Kvutza can do much. lack of understanding of Kvutza. Our second aim of Kvutza is to 54 ." They are actually the "backbone" of the machaneh.
and talkative "Bar Mitzva dinner. our movement faces a serious lack of leadership for our summer Kvutzot. and business of the camp. With our awareness of what is happening to our people in Europe and in Eretz Yisrael. so immersed in the every-day workings.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING prepare these sixteen-year-old “veterans" to assume. complete leadership within the Kvutza and within the machaneh. It was only when I sat down and began to count that I suddenly realized. at that age. wherever necessary. thoughtful. to my amazement. We have been so occupied in actually preparing for Kvutza. contributed? The first Habonim Camp Kvutza was started thirteen years ago. Miriam Biderman. created. For although thirteen years is a relatively short period of time in the life of an individual. 1935 COMING OF AGE The thirteenth consecutive year of Habonim summer camping has rolled around. must think a great deal about Kvutza as an educational institution and as a symbol. that Bar Mitzva is upon us." What have we accomplished in these thirteen summers? What institutions can we point to? What have we established. an institution such as camp is considered old and established. by a small group of stubborn young people who were dissatisfied with Jewish summer camping as 55 . entitled to a sedate. we become more certain that we will face still greater responsibilities in the movement here and abroad. This will mean that all who are madrichim must become well acquainted with the objectives of Kvutza before they go. our haverim must feel that in Kvutza they are undergoing training for their role tomorrow. and must prepare as much as possible for the season. that we have hardly had time to notice the years creeping up on us. worries. even before the official beginning of Habonim as an organization. This year. like last. Therefore.
dreams incapable of realizationtoday they are part and parcel. gave too little room for the expression of the creative abilities of campers. and preparing to operate nine next summer. change them for the better. Habonim is operating eight summer camps throughout the United States and Canada. in a highly developed form. Whereas thirteen years ago all the principles listed above were dreams-according to some.GROWTH OF AN IDEA they knew it. and paid too little attention to intelligent discussion and teaching of Jewish attitudes and heritage. Whereas thirteen years ago the first campers "squatted" on a piece of land loaned to them. as it did last. Today Camp Kvutza is integrally bound up with the life blood of Habonim as a movement. and are constantly expanding our facilities. They felt it was too occupied with trivialities. They decided to devote some time each day to discussion of Jewish current affairs. Jewish history.400 or more each summer. we now have an average of 1. They called the camp "Kvutza. most Jewish-conscious and responsible Habonim groups. Jewish problems. They were determined that the spirit of modern Eretz Yisrael should permeate the camp. They had the impudence to believe that they could operate a camp which could change these things. It is undoubtedly the strongest educational instrument which we have succeeded in developing. most alert." Today. It is almost a truism that those cities which have a good Camp Kvutza in the vicinity have the strongest. thirteen years later. We have found no better way to develop youth toward an intelligent understanding of Zionism 56 . the campers. They felt that the camp should be run democratically with each camper having a choice in decisions affecting programs and work. should work several hours a day in and about the camp. of our camping system. They decided that they. we now own all but one of our camps. Whereas thirteen years ago there was a group of some ten to fifteen campers.
we are reticent about pointing to our accomplishments.and nineteen-year-old haverim who would normally assume positions of leadership are to a large extent unavailable. Whatever the reasons. We cannot. with a certain type of background. The fact that we are interested in retaining a permanent hold on the camper through the year as well as in the summer months.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING than the twenty-four-hour-a-day. The eighteen. Programs have to be adjusted to their level of preparation. be concerned simply with supplying a staff for our camps.and sixteen-year-olds who in the normal course of events would not be groomed for leadership and responsibility have been forced to become the physical and intellectual core of Kvutza. The nature of our purpose makes for an extremely high rate of change and adaption to circumstance. Ways must be found to draw them actively into the cause which circumstance dictates they must fight for though they be unprepared. two-month living course presented by Camp Kvutza. There are several reasons for this. The inner strength of our camps is showing itself in the way this crisis is being met. perhaps it is because to an increasing extent they are concerning themselves with problems which have hitherto been considered the domain of their elders. The fifteen. conditions the type of camp we have. and it is increasingly difficult for even them to devote themselves to camp. Despite our realization of these things. Thus we have been hit more than ordinary camps by the current war situation. Our staff must consist of a certain type of individual. By their very nature our camps become institutionalized according to a given pattern. Perhaps it is because younger people all over are becoming accustomed to a greater degree of responsibility. New systems for activity have to be worked out. like others. to become vitally concerned with our problems. that we want him to assume responsibility. and with roots in Habonim. our 57 .
plans for new camps are under serious consideration. camps are being expanded. But there is another angle from which the whole picture can be viewed. new ideas are being contributed. So far. the advisability of younger people being entrusted with financial and physical responsibility for what in some cases is a big business. In others. 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. We have continued to develop during the last two difficult summers. so good. 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. On the other band. In others. In some cities Kvutza is the summer camp of our entire movement. we have not succeeded in completely solving them. We have encountered many problems along these lines and to this day. 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 . The extent to which Habonim should actually run the camp.GROWTH OF AN IDEA younger haverim have reacted in a way which leaves no doubt as to the future of Habonim camping. in those places where the senior movement has become interested. the Labor Zionist movement as a whole has failed to recognize its value and gives it no more than perfunctory backing. 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. comes into question. other ticklish problems arise.
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. It is more powerful than city propaganda. for one. Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. 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. I. and its preservation and strengthening is perhaps the greatest contribution Habonim can make to the cause of Labor Zionist youth in this country. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. lies the road to the establishment of a really alert Labor Zionist youth. more powerful than Hebrew schools. That non-members should attend Kvutza. All these questions must eventually be resolved. The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. is naturally desirable. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. In general. Murray Weingarten.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles. 1944 59 . In the establishment of a network of twice and thrice the number of Kvutzot we now have.
Cooperative Living . our common fund of money and food from home. suggestions. B. and privileges that carry consequences affecting him directly. C. We discuss the desires. This is in keeping with our belief in the dignity of labor and with the ideal and policy of the Histadrut . there is never hired labor except where necessary-the cook and the nurse).Here. Social Justice A. Self-Labor . to each according to his need. perhaps for the first time. program. Each person receives what he needs from the common fund. needs. This is in keeping with our cooperative ideal: from each according to his ability. for example. sanitation. the haver becomes a full-fledged member of a community with duties. Each person at Kvutza puts in as much money as he can and whatever food he may bring or receive from home. 60 .GROWTH OF AN IDEA PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY I. and where necessary and possible.that a man must not be exploited and that he. each camper learns to live with a large group of individuals and to handle the problems of such a life together with the others in a way most efficient and beneficial to the group.In Kvutza. in turn. and ways of meeting these needs. cleaning. We have a meeting of the entire camp community to discuss its philosophy. to each individual. No individual accounts are kept. and at the same time. We have. The food is distributed equally. The maintenance work is done by the camper: kitchen duty. and interests of the campers in regard to the Kvutza program. even construction of buildings. Self-Government . exploit no one. responsibilities. And we elect our committees and our officers.In Kvutza.
to give the haver an intellectual understanding of Zionism and an emotional feeling of healthy nationalism. and use privileges well. Hebrew study. reading circles. and a positive. Into this spirit goes the appreciation of the culture and tradition. Judaism A. personally. We want to develop in Kvutza. We desire to aid each individual to become self-sufficient. We strive to develop a historical sense and an identification with the past and present struggle of the Jewish people. We want to develop in our people a feeling of belonging to all that ever was and is Jewish. that intangible Jewish spirit-the folkways of our people. III. to have a healthy self-respect. dancing. is perhaps the most important part of Kvutza life. B. This. are experiencing these things. The Individual A. We want to develop the desire to participate personally in the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael. the identification with the people and its struggle. 61 . comfortable feeling of being Jewish. C. We want to develop or intensify an appreciation of the Jewish tradition and a desire for participation in and perpetuation of this culture. Zionism It is our purpose in Kvutza. to be able to make decisions. and in our haverim through Kvutza. in our lives. though it is hardest to define in -words. Camp Kvutza and the Movement I. singing.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING II. The Haggada says that as we read at the Seder Pesach of the Exodus from Egypt. We want to make him realize his own worth. carry responsibility. We approach this through our Shabbat and holiday celebrations. as in our machanot. we must regard it as if we.
they are more willing to devote time and energy to the movement. He develops loyalties. discussions with other haverim and with madrichim. The Machaneh A. "In unity there is strength. to conform without losing his individuality. Kvutza is a stimulant to movement work -When haverim come from Kvutza. a haver is more willing and able to be active in the movement during the course of the organizational year. his personality develops and a socializing takes place. We strive to develop within him a community mindedness: the ability to live within a group. and enjoyable summer. KM. II. For many of our people. The Group A. group attitudes. and to be able to influence without becoming domineering. discussion groups. Habonim becomes the social group. and the hanhaga. The individual and the group are closely interrelated. Meetings. having had a full. We expect the haver to develop intellectually during the course of the summer." An individual gains significance. In the course of such participation. become an integral and pleasant part of their lives because it is so for their friends also. one has a real opportunity to increase his knowledge. There are satisfactions which an individual cannot obtain alone. courage. B. C. and hav- 62 . reading circles.GROWTH OF AN IDEA B. stimulating. general and Jewish. D. and stimulation in a group. We want to develop within the individual a respect and regard for his haverim in the group and a successful method of cooperating with them for the general good. Through self-study. and standards. III. Every person needs a sense of belonging. All of the foregoing is important to the machaneh. Through the achievement of all the above. This is especially important for us because it makes for strong ties among members of Habonim and for cohesive groups. When people have a place in the social setup of the movement.
Their function is within the group and not above and outside of it. "The whole is greater than its parts. The Movement A." Kvutza Is a Living Community I. Kvutza is a democratic. and rosh are integral parts of this group. many return from Kvutza in a position to influence and lead others. Kvutza offers an excellent opportunity to attract. The movement is strengthened by the activities and stimulation of Camp Kvutza. committee work. He can influence the entire atmosphere of a Camp Kvutza. B. This gives them a greater responsibility to the group. B. The campers. to make a quick decision where necessary-in other words. IV. cooperative community. The rosh. they are usually anxious to get started on machaneh activities and have a lot to offer intellectually and spiritually.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ing formed strong group ties. He is responsible for Kvutza as a whole and for each of its facets. They have been assigned their roles by virtue of their wider experience and greater insight and understanding. C. to feel and understand the tempo of the camp. It is not a vacation from our "real" lives. like the madrichim. madrichim. It is his responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of the Kvutza and its people.Through opportunities for leadership. educate and induct new members. or simply through the group experience. Kvutza Is a Living Community A. Leadership qualities are developed . 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. C. 63 . The madrichim are perhaps the equivalent to elected officers in a democratic society.
the group stimulates him. The relationship between rosh and madrichim is important in forming attitudes and understanding in madrich-camper relations.” We want the haverim to understand that. socially. This is the first community expression of the campers. intellectually. has veto power over decisions of madrichim and campers in matters of health and safety. we enrich our lives through this relationship.GROWTH OF AN IDEA II. in relation to all others madrichim and campers alike-that he influences people. The madrich that works with a group must be part of that group. Future relationships between madrichim and campers can stem from impressions received on the first day. It is also one of the biggest factors in the tone and atmosphere of the camps. The Meeting . Relationships in Camp Kvutza A. He stimulates the group and. The madrichim in a Kvutza are not counselors in the usual sense. because of his particular position. It is in all of the madrich's behavior as a social being.The first meeting is the most important one of the season. He also has the job of making decisions necessary for the best functioning of the Kvutza. though it is natural that the rosh and the youngest tzofeh are not 64 . If we are successful. There we will determine the policy and principles of Kvutza. The first day of camp sets the tone for the entire period. They are not technicians functioning in the limited sphere of their specialties. The First Day I. A. The rosh. The rosh and madrichim must work closely together in order to achieve the best possible results for the group. B. The madrichim must exert every effort to make the campers feel at home and must be with the campers every minute of the day to aid in their personal adjustment and orientation to new faces and new surroundings. in turn. and in a creative manner. There we put into practice our theory that Kvutza is a "living community. however. There is a definite carry-over of attitudes.
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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-
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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
He begins to see the value of working together with his fellow camper for a common goal. is a description of a B'nai B'rith camp: "The most popular of the subjects studied was the imaginary trip to Israel . " The day's work is beginning . and shared by. Today. to private camps charging high tuition rates. for example. for visas at the Israel Consul's office.. realistically enough. issue of The Reconstructionist.. Now the plumb line and the level go into action. They visited the cities. For instance. It is actually a description of a typical "work camp" of which there are many. 69 .. Two boys and a girl start to saw wood for the flooring of the house they are erecting .. He must ask for help. The camp individualist. Every year. Cooperation is essential. "At a Work Camp of the American Jewish Society for Service. and their children returned from camp none the worse for wear and full of enthusiasm for the type of creative Jewish camping which they had experienced over the summer-an enthusiasm which to varying degrees was communicated to. new camps come into being which stress similar approaches to the very ideals in camping which were once almost exclusively ours. our camps are no longer unique. The cement is ready. with its emphasis on the dignity of labor and cooperation among men. from the point of view of progressive educational techniques and values. . Others are busily mixing mortar and cement for the foundation of the house. Here. The children were started on this imaginary trip by applying. in an article entitled. The foundation is about to be laid.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING their children to our camps. the parents themselves. one can find a strikingly familiar description of a day at camp in the March 14. Sankel. ." by Hyman R. Emanuel.. This is a key job. cannot do the job alone." This could be a description of a very successful work project at a Habonim camp. ranging from agency camps. The monopoly we once had in the field of creative Jewish living" is no longer ours either.. such as the one described above. 1954. Still others are digging a ditch to lay the sewer pipe.
When they entered the kibbutz Yizr'el. on the contrary. ill-managed camp in order to educate towards that goal. they could sense the immense drama which has taken place and is taking place around this famous mountain . well-operated camp. On the other hand. in a primitive one. Habonim camping is as necessary and important to us as it ever was. we want to create halutzim. we find that we are not the only progressive Jewish camp on the scene. the Jewish parent pays increasing attention to the physical setup of the camp to which lie sends his child. an even more important conclusion. well-equipped. The physical setup and technical functioning of the camp finally chosen may well be the deciding factors. And today. So now. But one need not have a technically primitive. For in Habonim. . " 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. using the approach to Jewish camping which such an activity typifies. is that we are no longer alone. and only our camps can educate towards that aim. and landmarks of the country. which can be drawn from this and other examples. unlike other Jewish organizations. if not better than. Each site was investigated for its ancient and modern significance. the madrich has more tools and materials at his disposal 70 . or among the few. well-run camp as well as.GROWTH OF AN IDEA famous settlements. in terms of our movement's needs. in a modern. though educationally Jewish camping has caught up to us. Let no one conclude from my foregoing remarks that our particular type of camping has outlived its usefulness. technically we have failed to keep pace with the other camps. which is on the Gilboa. A good madrich should be able to educate towards the aims of Habonim in a modern. . in 1954. f acing the Arab Triangle. more than ever before. on the contrary. there are so many Jewish camps from which to choose that he may well be particular as to the one he finally decides upon.
whose first concern is with his child's health and safety. If we do not advance technically. If we do advance. and administrative spheres so that we can once again compete with other Jewish camps and be acceptable to the modern Jewish parent.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING to aid him in his job. a time will come when our camps will be empty. 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. technical. The need then is to bring our camps up to date in the physical. 1954 71 . To defend the primitive camp on ideological terms is to distort the entire meaning of our ideology. as we have set out to do. we may once again find ourselves in a leading position in the field of Jewish camping in America. Dex Srauss.
History and Development .
2) a full Jewish life. Habonim established its first Camp Kvutza at Accord. This committee established a series of minimum requirements. they ran the gamut from experiments in Lieberman's Creative Camping to semi-military discipline. began to work on the first Kvutza Manual. During that first summer. In educational methodology. Accord stands out in the memories of all the old-timers for its sheer physical beauty and difficult pioneering conditions. Los Angeles had its first camp. As a result. Only a few of the camps were on permanent sites.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS It all began in 1932. The summer Kvutza had become Habonim's most powerful and most effective educational weapon and had also become a "big business" operation. 3) self-labor. with fourteen haverim in a tent. two more Kvutzot were opened in 1935-in Montreal. and in preparation for the 1941 season. The following year. Moshava (Baltimore) and Kinneret (Detroit) were founded. Close to 1500 haverim attended the camps in 1940. With the development and expansion of the camps came a need for better planning and direction of both their educational and administrative aspects. but there was already a feeling that means must be found of assuring permanency and continuity in the operation of our camps. called for the organization of a Habonim Kvutza Committee. new camps were projected for Texas and Winnipeg. most sites were rented. the Cincinnati Habonim convention in December. living and studying together for a month. In many cases permission was secured to use the site for an indefinite period of time. In 1936. and in Chicago at Camp Tel Hai. 1940. and set up a systematic program for selecting the volunteers to staff the camps. This by no means meant that our camps were becoming standardized. By 1939. Inspired by Accord. 74 . the fundamentals of Camp Kvutza were developed: 1) collective-democratic living. New York.
1600 youngsters spent the summer at eleven camps. a number of interesting and important Hebrew programs were planned at Kinneret and Moshava. fairly large numbers of non- 75 . New York bought a new camp site at Amenia. Amal itself was at Creamridge. in 1951. Influenced and sparked by Amal alumni. For several seasons this was a work camp in the process of construction. One of the significant results of Amal has been the proof that under proper conditions. Foremost among these was the national Hebrew camp. Detroit. New Jersey. Toronto. 1946 saw perhaps one of the peak years in Habonim camping when over two thousand campers attended Kvutza. and at Creamridge. Later. there have been a number of significant experiments in Habonim camping.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING In 1943. and became established as one of the foremost Hebrew camps in the country. but the collapse of the movement in the city brought about the demise of the camp as well. Habonim was the only Zionist organization to sponsor a Hebrew camp. a number of highly successful Camp Avoda seasons were conducted at the farms with groups drawn from within the movement. for several years. The objective of this experiment was to create a positive attitude toward collective living and halutziut among non-affiliated American Jewish youth. Dallas. gained the backing of six bureaus of education in various cities which sent scholarship students. St. Its first season in 1948 opened on a rented site in Vermont with 26 campers. Ottawa. Amal. Chicago. Montreal. Louis had its Kvutza. Connecticut (for New York). Camp Avoda was operated for the first time at the Hehalutz training farm in Creamridge. New York. Baltimore. Winnipeg. In 1945. Tel Natan. Los Angeles. the camp accommodated fifty campers. During the years. At Amenia (1949) and Killingworth (1950). The primary educational factor in Camp Avoda was its proximity to the collective group and the farm. In later years. Philadelphia founded its own camp (Galil). in Killingworth.
at Galil. carrying full supplies and equipment and camping nights at previously selected sites. Amal was conducted at Moshava. At the 1953 convention of Habonim. 1950 also saw another experiment long under consideration. The national Habonim Camping Association has been showing steady but slow improvement in the handling of national aspects of 76 . the sports and cultural festival. one in Vermont for the East and one in Detroit for the West. in which all the campers participate. In 1950. In addition. In 1948. There has been a trend to put the administration of our camps on a semi-commercial basis. too. have seen a number of interesting variations and experiments in the Habonim camping picture. The first national mahaneh madrichim was held in the summer of 1940 at Galil for the training of madrichei tzofim. There has been an awareness that existing Habonim camps must be put on a more efficient and permanent basis. Many more camps are on permanent sites into which large investments have been put by the local Labor Zionist movements and Merkaz Habonim.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT movement people can be attracted to our camps and integrated into the movement. In 1952. bonim. Mahaneh madrichim is an experiment in the realm of leadership training rather than strictly camping. Louis. and pre-embarkation seminars for the Habonim Youth Workshop in Israel. and noar." A number of haverim made a long trip by truck. and during the summer of 1953. The three camps in the East have conducted an annual Maccabia. one national madrichim camp was conducted at Kinneret. Each subsequent summer has witnessed large seminars of madrichim. two madrichim camps were held. Toronto conducted a "rambling camp. The past few years. it was decided to discontinue Amal as a separate institution and to stress Hebrew at all Habonim camps. This pattern was followed the next year at Montreal and St. most camps have conducted training programs for prospective madrichim.
Maryland. We are aware that Camp Kvutza is our most effective educational instrument. The permanent New York Kvutza at Red Hook. Midwest Camp Habonim. Saugus. Camp Miriam. will be conducted: Camp Habonim. all on permanent sites. 1957 77 . New York. British Columbia. Annapolis. Gabriola Island. During 1957. and increasingly aware of its potentiality as an instrument for expansion. New York. Camp Kvutza Galil. the following seven Kvutzot. Faustin. St. Camp Naame. Kvutza Manual. Camp Kvutza. was purchased in 1953. Michigan. Quebec. Red Hook. Pennsylvania. Camp Moshava. California.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING camp. New camp sites were purchased for the Midwest in 1956 and for Camp Miriam in Vancouver in 1956. Ottsville. Three Rivers.
Joev Criden and friends. A lecture at Accord. . New York. "Brocky".The Kitchen at Accord. at Kendall. Accord.
1938. Accord. Kieve Skidell. Enzo Sereni and friends ponder a problem.David Breslau. Carl Allentuck working on "sanitation". Discussion under "tree of knowledge". 1937. Accord. . Rosh at Accord. Accord. 1939.
1935. Tent Area.Y. Building at Accord. N.Work at Accord. . Campers. N. Accord.Y. Accord. 1935. The Dining Room and Kitchen at Accord.
Kinneret. 1942. "All aboard for the noar seminar". Kinneret. Kinneret. Kinneret. 1940. Montreal. Kinneret. Abe Meadow installing electricity. 1941. 1941. Campers.Dining Room at Camp Kvutza. . Youth Day. 1941. Building the Migdal.
Kerhonkson-never beard of the places. 82 . we accept this bid as meaning us.. spirits flag. and from an unexpected quarter.. efforts. Granite. The first Young Poale Zion Kvutza is winding up its four-week session at Unser Camp. bumpy. Mid-June. Somehow.. only a deep-rutted. . Suddenly.. We are getting panicky.. we have lost our way a half-dozen times. four hours. yet everyone feels that something was missing . . 1933. the product of our own labors. The sister would like to do something for "the Jewish people. and the more primitive the better! Next year we must learn not only theory but also how to provide for ourselves. A series of interviews. The fourteen pioneers have been together for a full month and have valiantly tried to imbibe three lecture and discussion periods a day. Our hearts sink. Soon there is no highway at all. no matter what the difficulties.. Next year we must have a real Kvutza. 1932 . Farband summer colony at Highland Mills. it wasn't our own. too.. and ingenuity. enthusiasm waxes high. farmers' dirt road into a wilderness." For lack of a more specific address.. Three hours. The closing hours are devoted to evaluation and self-criticism. 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. an undreamed of opportunity. Summer is knocking at the door and still no Kvutza site. The haverim have learned much and have had a lot of fun. with two or three lectures in each period. Unser Camp offered too many comforts and too many distractions. it was a camp and not a Kvutza. but the country gets more and more beautiful as the road becomes steeper and the hairpin curves sharper.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KVUTSA IN THE NEW YORK AREA CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN The last days of August. We were guests and not creators . dusty. Life in the big tent has been most congenial. New York. Finally one morning we are off to the Catskills: Accord.
. Clear the site on top of the hill. really building! . . Persuade some Pioneer Women to come out as "cookies. a meeting of the National Executive is hastily convened. we'll borrow.. . Take advantage as much as we can of the cement floor of the 83 . So much to do . . . The next day. No money? We'll beg. no house (it burned down when the place was abandoned seven years before).. . No shelter? We'll build our own. here is what we have to do. How are registrations coming? . . . get lumber . cots . . . Haven't heard from Buffalo .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING A few more minutes and we find ourselves on the summit of a hill. Time is short-so short! A matter of days now… And through it all. Feverish days and nights . . a beautiful valley below. but also with sadness when we see how the land lies waste and neglected-grass and weeds waisthigh. . Can you borrow dishes. Buy tents. a ring of mountains that seems to change color before your eyes. . back in the city. a glorious tingle in the blood we are building our own Kvutza! Yes.. silverware? . And how about discussion leaders? . There is only an indescribable shack occupied by our benefactress and her partner in the summer .. . And how about the program? .. the earth is parched. ." . Raise money. . . and in the near distance. we'll owe . . Two coming from Rochester . . . What will they eat? Who will cook for them? . This is the place. .. . the answer to our prayers.. Far? What of it? Wild? We've got a job to do.. . . . Here. . A singing brook cascades over the rock ledges forming crystal pools every few hundred feet-and on "our" land! We are filled with joy at the sight of all this beauty. Who can forget the day when the big truck came rumbling across the wooden bridge to unload the first $400 worth of lumber . . We need a car . Ten haverim want to build a dining room and platforms for the tents . All right now. . lay it out cross-wise so that the kitchen part will come right over the spring.
The Kvutza is scheduled to open Sunday. They form a thrilling silhouette against the sky. The seven-year growth of grass and weeds has been cut. and it seems as if everything is still to be done. The cookies become more and more exasperated as the number of mouths to feed increases. There. miracles have been happening. Thursday noon. set with dishes and silverware. the outhouse. twenty-four of us. Nerves are on edge . . Everyone is working against time . . In the deepening twilight.. ready for the first Shabbat in our own Kvutza. 1942 84 . In the meantime. the original number of the work group is more than doubled. . scrubbed clean at the brook and dressed in our "best. Over the dining room we can stretch canvas if necessary. Jacob Katzman. But the cookies work hardest of all. should be received with rejoicing. . Every newcomer is pressed into service as soon as he has a bite to eat . and decked with flowers. The single pyramid tent that had housed the work crew is now joined by three others. Every hour brings one or two more haverim. Here. The long tables in the dining room are scrubbed clean. and the old farmer's stove bought for $4 refuses to get fired. The Shabbat. . . our sages tell us.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT burnt-down barn.. Friday all day they come trekking in. By nightfall. We've got to finish the kitchen first." sit down to break bread together. down below. We fulfilled the mitzva with overflowing hearts. we will build platforms for the tents .
how to keep the sickly stove from falling apart. One of our own members. brushing teeth. how to stack the wood so as to direct the heat towards the pots and away from the cook. 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. and how to extinguish them quickly once they started up–and last but not least. estimated the materials. for instance. swishing torrent of icy brook water. sometimes it makes me mad! You who go to Kvutza these days have a way of saying: “Well – of course. Zalman. It took a genius to know how to line the stove with fire brick. you had lots of spirit back in 1934-35. but did you have any programs?” Why. None of those new-fangled ideas like faucets for us pioneers! In the old days we trekked down from the hill to the creek. how to keep the flames from climbing the wooden walls. how to replace a broken grate. Take Accord. for taking swims or showers. We decided to construct a brand new dining hall. YOUNGSTERS! You know. 85 . Soon after we braced it.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING LISTEN HERE. over dangerous cliffs and precipices to get to the “sink and washtubs”–a swirling. No sooner was the shack or dining hall constructed than we had a real project on our hands. Keeping ourselves and our clothes clean was another constant work project. or any time we wanted to wash our hands – you have an idea of the tremendous work involved in keeping clean. made the plans. how to make that stove cook the food the right way at the right time. under the expert direction of the Philadelphia engineers. we had a program of activities you’ll find it mighty hard to match! Just making it possible to live was program enough. When you realize that we had to take the same hike for washing clothes. We had to support the doddering building. we really had work to do. and constructed the new building.
He described a storm which he had once seen blow down and rip five tents there and he sort of made fun of our Kvutza as a comfortable. the truck–or even midnight swims. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds. we still made time for our cultural programs. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York. Celeritas. Well.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. 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. 1942 86 . 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. all responded to the emergency. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. We survived the event of course. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. 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. safe summer resort. I guess I haven’t the space to tell about the revolution at Tel Hai. As one man. Saadia Gelb. One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. Then you’ll see how much spirit and how much program we had in the early days of our Kvutza.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK That summer. not a memorial. New York was determined to build a Kvutza of its own once again. Who wanted to go anywhere but to our own Tel Yohanan for the summer? Nonetheless. The first reaction: We were ap- 87 . The name of Yohanan Tartakower was completely unknown to me. and the majority of the Galilniks were of solelim-tzofim age. I'd say that many of us did not know at the time who Yohanan was. The fact that the Galil campers were living in the cabins and most of the New Yorkers in a separate tent-camp. but Mahaneh Tel Yohanan was a living thing. New York. 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 news was announced: New York Habonim had a new home-at the (then stupendous) cost of almost fifty thousand dollars. The mahaneh in Red Hook. Despite this attitude. we went to Galil. in the early spring of 1953. and the registration of Tel Yohanan promised to expand enormously. the shock of hearing that Tel Yohanan had been wrecked by vandals was numbing. the great tales of "adventure" found willing ears. The Merkaz wore out tempers and tires in everlasting jaunts around New York State looking for a new camp site. Since the majority of the New Yorkers were of bonim age. spending my first year in Camp Kvutza. faced its first meeting with Habonim during a spring session in 1953. I was a still-wet-behind-the-ears tzofa. Finally. it often seemed as if we New Yorkers were marking time. but we lived in such a way that he continued to exist in us. In June. did not help the situation at all. the division between the two groups was extremely sharp. During the summer of 1952. When we returned to the city. That summer of 1951 in Tel Yohanan was a six-week honeymoon with the movement for all of us.
At the same time. A comradely atmosphere from the outset . and (we thought) no halutziut. The population at Red Hook climbed to more than double that number.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT palled! It was all too civilized for our tastes. but were also faced with a previously unknown problem of incorporating a large percentage of nonmembers. Habonim had arrived at an understanding of the needs of this new type of camp and gathered a staff of the highest possible caliber from every part of the movement. The first summer in Camp Habonim. It became as natural for some madrichim to converse in Hebrew as for the campers to try to emulate the actions of the staff. a separate shower-house. while the Habonim population remained at roughly the same level. in the activities run by the campers themselves. It was a wonderful experience for both camps. Gone were the days of cold water only. In accepting the "luxury" of our new home. It was felt. Camp Hatzofeh.even cheers were care- 88 . This perhaps was the more serious of the two. we could not afford to let our ideals go by the board. There was a Habonim atmosphere. It will be remembered as the year of the Habonim Maccabia with the summer camp of Hanoar Hatzioni. The next summer was somewhat less of a memorable experienceperhaps because the previous season had been so overwhelmingly successful. The campers responded. 1954 was the "honeymoon" season at Red Hook. the number of Habonim campers from the New York region was under fifty. served to dispel a few illusions. too. In Tel Yohanan and again in Galil. outhouses. Red Hook. We had not only to adapt ourselves to a new concept of camping with its attendant responsibilities. 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. no electricity. active Habonim within the camp did not exceed forty percent of the total population.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fully censored to exclude any derogatory material about the opposing camp. What is to happen to New York camping in the future? That is in the hands of the haverim themselves. with people from all three camps cheering the competitors impartially? Each camp had a theme . Galil for Galil. a new dimension of education had been added to the Maccabia which made its meaning even fuller for the participants.upon which the cheers. Once again held at Galil. As usual. though not until a contest had been waged in which every point was in doubt. with a large number of participants. 1957 89 .both wanted to "rip up the score sheets. The spirit of the entire competition may be imagined from the unanimous protest of the two camps directly before the close of the Maccabia . 1956 saw the revival of the Habonim Inter-Kvutza Maccabia. evening program presentation. and Negev for Moshava . from the concept of halutziut "in the raw" to a more mature understanding of our role in the community and of how we must fill it. Each summer has seen the development of the concept of Habonim camping-from the tents. Ziffy Entin.Yehuda for Red Hook. and songs were based.cold-water stage to the cabins-hot water stage. it was the high point of the season. Remember the afternoon spent in track events. In addition to the spirit of comradeship which grew up in the three days. at camp." 1955 saw a new venture in Habonim camping-that of a successful Leaders' Training program. the New Yorkers won.
the loyalties it helped cement bore fruit after the war years in 1946. and the empty "haunted house" down the road gave the camp additional atmosphere. Buffalo. inhabited by the ghost of two-fingered. This group existed from 1946 to 1949 and was probably as active a Zionist group as existed in this country. and as a result. Had it not been for the camp. New York. It is not difficult to measure the importance of Camp Kvutza to upstate New York. The burned-out remains of a house nearby. I can fully appreciate the time and effort expended by the "older haverim. A large two story barn served as the kitchen and recreation hall. Havera Atlas. the Habonim camping experience would have been denied to most of the Habonim in this region. were the cook. our departed haver and teacher.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KENDALL Camp Kvutza at Kendall. and was responsible for many lasting friendships. and Mark B. one-eyed Pete. The woods behind the tents and the hay loft behind the barn served as "rooms" for discussions and Hebrew lessons. aside from many of the Habonim members. From my experience on pre-registration camp committees in later years.'s (and ex-Habonim) formed the Enzo Sereni Labor Zionist group in Rochester. Some of the haverim who were campers are now in 90 . Several ex-G. I cannot comment on the feverish activity involved in trying to set up the camp for the first time. It handled thirty to fifty-five children per week. Hanopolsky. Our camp was not a large-one. opened in 1937 and ran through 1941. However. and Syracuse. 1941 was the last year of Camp Kvutza.I. Permanent fixtures at the camp. thirty miles west of Rochester. Many new Habonim members were obtained through the camp. It was situated on farm land along Lake Ontario." Camp Kvutza catered to the Habonim of Rochester. I was only thirteen in 1937 when I spent one week at Camp Kvutza. however.
Danny Owerbach. for upon her depended all the transportation of haverim and materials for this crucial period and for the Kvutza season itself. 1957 KVUTSA IN THE MIDWEST "KVUTZIE" It was a hot June day in 1936. the super truck driver-to-be. we had to revive a place which was once a beautiful Farband camp. and so we pushed her slowly to the garage and told the mechanic to get her in running condition for that evening. Michigan. The haver in whose lumber yard she was stationed after serving some time at our short-lived Hehalutz training farm in Indiana was glad to see her go. The previous week. shook his head. rosh Kvutza. Tel Hai. 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. Only three weeks remained before the opening of Kvutza. dilapidated. In these three weeks. but which had been ravaged by fire. The fire had left a desolate spot. now overgrown with weeds and grass and ruins all about. even for members of Habonim. and we were pushing that truck to a garage to get her running. 91 . and down Douglas Boulevard in Chicago. But we knew she would run again. business manager. to realize that the three were none other than Nahum Guttman. and that this little scene was actually the first practical beginning of Habonim's second Kvutza in America at New Buffalo.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Israel. He looked at us and grinned. She had been given to us for nothing. rusty-looking. we had received our first application with $1 deposit. It was hard. tiredeflated 1926 Dodge truck. three "big shots" were pushing an old. and said he'd see what he could do. and myself. Julius Cohen. The advance crew would have three weeks of unceasing work to get the place in shape for the opening.
there was spirited singing and joking.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In the evening when we returned. but all the way. I urged her on by calling out. Cries of "ouch" rang out and the people along Western Avenue stared. I got into the driver's seat. We decided to take the chance. and through the grace of an inefficient police force. She needed a new generator and new battery. the driver completely new. we finally reached Tel Hai. 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. We had no lights. Kvutzie!" and thus she was named. We looked up at the sky and saw that the moon was full. and then somehow managed to drive to the center. 92 . It was now about midnight and the traffic was not very heavy. when the battery went completely dead. We could take the chance of using her that night if we wanted. Those in the back were frozen from the cold night air. "Come on. Before we left. What should we do? Turning back would mean another precious day wasted. those in front roasted from the heat of the motor. Trembling. With the aid of that flashlight and the full moon. but he wouldn't advise it. We decided to continue. Julie and Nahum. After a few hours' sleep and a little more pushing. got into the seat next to me. we got the Dodge started on her way back to Chicago-just Julie and I. when she began sputtering over a little hill. The streets of Chicago are renowned for their holes and bumps and I didn't miss one of them. The Dodge was old. Here we picked up fourteen brave souls and were on our way. Then on the way. We started her up. fearlessly risking their lives. she was indeed able to run-but no telling how. After a harrowing hour and a half we were finally out of the city. One of the haverim climbed up on top of the cab and shone his flashlight down on the road in front of the truck.
Miraculously. Kvutzie became a legend. we'd see. how many flats she would have. Then we decided to take a number of haverim 1000 miles to the seminar at Accord. We played guessing games as to what time she would return from a trip.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Kvutzie was the cause of most of the joy and sorrow of that first season. But we survived the trip. Without them. her every departure. the source of the greatest fear. We had her gear fixed so it would stay in high. "What? With Kvutzie? Never!" Well. who had inherited the junk yard from her father and who was sitting among old rims and tires and spare parts writing a book. We arrived at Accord amid great celebrating (and without a single flat tire on the entire trip). There. New Jersey. They dismantled her and used her parts on other trucks. There. and the sixty hours of traveling. Her every arrival was the source of the greatest excitement. and whom and what she would bring back with her. Songs were written about her. at Accord. we sold Kvutzie to the Hehalutz farm at Creamridge. and everything was against our getting there. she served us through the entire summer. she soon died. the mountains. Then we went to buy her new shoes at an old junk yard about two miles from Michigan City. What a night that was! We packed eighteen haverim into the back of Kvutzie and started the trip! It thundered and rained. 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. the rain. our New York Kvutza. aided by a Jewish girl of about twenty. Frightened parents trembled as Kvutzie pulled out of the dirt road onto the highway at three in the morning. we found four almost new tires for Kvutzie. But Kvutzie had been running on love and sympathy. 93 .
We took out the trusty telephone book and began paging through it. When at the winter seminar it was decided to leave Tel Hai and look for a new site for the Midwest Kvutza.762 1/2 miles from Milwaukee. I supply the blasting powder. "Sure enough. the overnight hikes. How should we go about it? Where should we start? Whom should we contact? The method we used was quite simple. little did we expect that it would be our last summer there. But it was. that first season of Kvutzat Tel Hai. the wonderful spirit. WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? When we left Tel Hai at the close of the Kvutza season last summer." said the man on the other side of the line. the Meshugoyim (mad ones).HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Others may remember the camp fires. Again I went through the same procedure. A committee was elected to look for a site. None other like it in the whole state. "I have just what you want." I thanked the gentleman for his kind offer and consideration and hung up. It was decided that Wisconsin would be the lucky state containing the new Habonim Kvutza. 1942 KVUTZA. the comradeship. I remember Kvutzie for she was the creator of that spirit. "Yes. a spirit which could take a dead object and give it the soul that Kvutzie had. none of us were too sad. see? Nothing to worry about. I spun around three times and placed my finger on the page. 94 . All you have to do is put a dozen steam shovels to work for two years and you've got it. the discussion. And it's only 9." said a bass voice. Real Estate. Moshe Goldberg. Only in the wonderful life that is ours at Kvutza could such a spirit come to be. and an official title was given the committee. "I have just the place for you. KVUTZA." I hung up. With eyes closed. I phoned that number. R-Radiators-Radios-ah.
heavy woods. erected platforms for the tents. we will probably be building for the 1944 Kvutza season. the hardy group turned to Farband Camp. It meets all the requirements and we are awaiting word as to the possibilities of our developing the lake into a swimming pool. A large group of Cincinnati 95 . Armon Kamesar. only thirty-five miles from Milwaukee. under the leadership of Ben Kaminker. Mordecai Salinger. pooled their resources to purchase a couple of tents which they pitched on the side of a hill overlooking Waterloo Road near Chelsea. That winter. During the summer of 1939. Michigan. twenty acres of which belonged to the Farband. While exploring the area south of their encampment. and level. and with the assistance of a professional carpenter. high land. 1944 KINNERET In the summer of 1938. A patch of grass surrounded by a D-shaped trench formed the open-air dining table. and Danny Ginsburg. by the time you'll be reading this article. Kinneret was a success and ready for further expansion when Mordecai Salinger took over as rosh Kvutza in 1940. hilly. This they immediately staked out as the perfect spot for their future ventures.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Well. a few members of the group waded through a swamp to find a large tract of unused ground. but for all other facilities. a place with real possibilities turned up. their neighbors across the road and owners of their camp site. after calling for enough times to have lost count. Nevertheless. they enlisted the moral and financial assistance of active seniors who helped plan construction of the new Habonim camp to be known as Kinneret. our haverim cleared a road through the swamp. and sank a shallow well. built a dining hall and kitchen. among them Ben Kaminker. a small group of Detroit Habonim.
We added our 96 . and last but not least. enlarged the dining room by moving the kitchen to a new addition. arrived late. and the arrival of four girls from Cleveland marked the beginning of Kinneret as a regional camp. while Aharon Remez was the fair-haired boy whose experience and muscle were relied on to continue with the building program. with Ettie Skidell in charge of camp and the boys hard at work moving mountains of dirt to lay the sanitation distribution field. separate outhouses were under way. In 1943. the Ashkenazy building. under the tutelage of Yosef Israeli. the rosh. work was again the watchword. Shalom Wurm set the pattern for cultural activities at camp. a migdal. We built a cabin. Artie Goldberg was rosh Kvutza.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT haverim joined the Detroiters. In 1945. with Shirley Milgrom who came along for the honeymoon. The washing facilities were enclosed and work began on a real outhouse. and dug another distribution field for the modern improved shower house.at Kinneret. and the hills around Kinneret resounded with labor songs. Leon Adler became rosh. Harry Spoon. and all became sweetness and light at Kinneret-for once we were genteel. but the campers carried on valiantly under the expert whistle blowing of Esty Carson. 1942 was another year of big construction . 1941 was a quiet year. Electricity was installed. The hospital was nominally finished and we began our eternal project. which was dedicated to Donny Lee of Cleveland. the storage cellar. raising the number of campers to an average of sixty during that summer. In 1944. 1944 also saw the end of the beloved tower-the termites and old age finally beat the creosote and supports. New tent platforms. We began work on the hospital. The rosh was Paul Milgrom (Pinhas Rimon).
Dvora Frankel was rosh in 1949. art. Detroit's United Hebrew Schools provided a number of full scholarships and there was a large enrollment. drama.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING annual brick to the storage cellar and spent the rest of the season looking for work." and also a year of strong emphasis on scoutcraft. Of the season. That was the year of Doris Dombey's bouncing bed. the greatest stunt ever at Kinneret. 1947 was the year of Joey Criden. and the discussion program centered about the False Messiahs. and Evvy Weingarten made her famous leap from rooftop to Ann Arbor hospital. The season gushed with culture. Joey brought the overnight hike back to Kinneret and the innovation of naming the tents-remember the famous Dorot and Mishmar HaNegev? And not to be outdone. was rosh in 1946. Camp doubled its enrollment on weekends-an ambitious weekend program. modern dance. Joey named his quarters. This was the year of the "flexible schedule. Several more cabins were built." and Blue-White Day was distinguished by its blood and gore. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew. In 1951. Haim Stopak was rosh. Abba (Cherniak) Tzuriel was rosh. the Detroit United Hebrew Schools said that more Hebrew was learned by their students that year than any other. A madrichim camp was held after the regular season. 97 . Murray Weingarten. Doodle Horowitz led Kinneret in its first year as a Hebrewspeaking camp. with Dave Katz as his right-hand man. In 1948. There were many midnight "Arab attacks. Pipeline HaNegev. including many younger children. There was an ambitious work program mainly centered about maintenance-there were no new projects. in honor of sixteen-month-old Donny. In 1950.
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 . baby carriages. Jerry Katz. Prior to opening. Abbie Haklay was rosh. There was no big construction projects because of the lack of people. 1957 TEL NATAN Tel Natan was the Camp Kvutza for the St. Harriet Gelfond. A new truck was purchased. who was one of the most sincere and dedicated members of the Labor Zionist movement and represented the best that is found in Habonim. It was unique in having complete facilities. 1955 was Kinneret's last year. Dani Kerman returned in 1953. Dani Kerman was rosh and Kinneret was still a Hebrew-speaking camp. a group of “old-timers” packed box-lunches. but a marvelous business manager. Geli Gelfond was rosh. Tel Natan was named for our dear haver. again including younger children. 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. and spent a day of labor at Kinneret. and the last year of Kinneret closed with a Bonim Seminar. In 1954.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 1952 opened with a low registration. and assorted spouses and progeny. but things picked up. Tel Natan. Louis and Cincinnati mahanot in 1947 and 1948. Chicago and Detroit combined efforts in staff and campers. Detroit had had a very successful year and camp registration was up. managed to make money even on only twenty campers. Esther Goldberg. The foundation for the wash house was laid that day and work for the rest of the season had a concrete basis-repairing the efforts of the old folks. Seymour Salinger. Nathan Kanter.
examined and leased the camp site sixty miles west of St. All that we missed was the swimming. bought a truck. This was even more successful than the summer session. The first season was a success. Missouri. hospital. we were convinced that we had made a wonderful beginning as the first year-round Camp Kvutza in history. no one lost any weight (thanks to Havera Kanter. I'm not sure why the camp failed or what lesson other camps can learn from Tel Natan. two tons of dishes and pots. The camp and the setting were beautiful and the facilities excellent (two stoves. and the two tons of dishes and pots did not arrive till fall. The cabins were warm. a large dining room. a walk-in icebox. Perhaps it was too easy. Louis was just not ready to con- 99 . office. guest house. who was our cook). formed the Habonim Camping Association of Missouri. shower house. ten large cabins. and the activities and discussions excellent. Perhaps St. no one complained. Troy. the camp discontinued operation. an electric refrigerator. and after one more season. and since the swimming at Cheetham Pond was not too good anyway. and several buildings we never used. We did not have to struggle and fight to establish our camp. we contacted the movement in Cincinnati. known to the Missouri State Park Commission as Camp C1. We were wrong. We broke even. plenty of hot and cold water. the food was good. We returned to Tel Natan for a winter conference. Louis.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING there would be no camp in the Chicago area to serve the St. The camp.000 acre park. Nate's mother. was located on a high hill in the heart of a 6. In a matter of days. Forty haverim spent four satisfying weeks at Tel Natan. four sinks. and printed application blanks. Quiure River State Park. Louis mahaneh. a recreation hall. After we shut down the camp for the winter.
names such Tel Hai. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. innocuous name. a bold. of exciting days and romantic nights. and a feeling of deep regret that the monument we began to erect in memory of Nate Kanter in 1947 was never finished. This void. which was mainly older. 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. I believe that Tel Natan failed because the leadership in the mahaneh.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT duct and sustain its own camp. or moved on to other personal activity. was probably the main cause of failure. These are names that really bring back memories of our youth. some photographs. Kinneret. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael. 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. memories of a glorious.the Labor Zionist Youth. of work and love and devotion. 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 . of singing and dancing. thrilling one for our haverim of those early 100 . and left a void. went on aliya. Wil Schoomer. This was a new idea. And yet this name holds for us twenty-five years of memories-memories of other camps with other names. Yad Ari. It was a concept of a place where young Labor Zionists would build their own camp with their own hands from the ground up. created by a slowdown in activity during the war. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. to other movement assignments.
Illinois. Here was the opportunity for Habonim to truly build its own camp. It was a good idea. who recall those days with love and tenderness. Here the ideals of Camp Kvutza could really flourish. however. and will continue to go on for many. was the fact that the campers and the staff were satisfied and happy. 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. were spacious and comfortable. many years. The tents. near New Buffalo. beautiful dining room. No other buildings. and so it remained a tent camp. which served the ChicagoMilwaukee-Minneapolis area. Michigan. in northcentral Wisconsin. Many fine and beautiful traditions were built here. however. They planted a pine forest. so we had to travel ten miles to go swimming. This was camp Yad Ari. and they did! They built a big. 160 acres of land were purchased near Waupaca. occasionally someone would get wet at night when he forgot to close the tent flaps. Hai. not even the fin- 101 . 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. containing all the necessary facilities. 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 . two of which were spent at a rented camp near Savannah. and the camp itself was always clean and well kept. Most important of all. Its tenure came to an abrupt end. and a modern shower house.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING years. when it was destroyed by fire. Then followed an interim period of three years. were built.but nothing. which has since proven to be the most memorable part of the whole camp. The name. Tel. The first Habonim camp in the Midwest (and the second to be established in the United States) was Tel Hai. In 1948. today stirs beautiful memories among many of our senior haverim. which doubled as a recreation room. except for a dispensary. however.
wherever or whenever it might have been. This was Yad Ari. with everyone in white. could ever be a substitute for the most wonderful of intangibles. modern Camp Habonim. Yad Ari was abandoned. that resiliency which can change disaster to triumph. This was the idea that the very small. this was Camp Habonim. turn tears into laughter. and 1955 saw Camp Yad Ari and Camp Kinneret combined at Camp Kinneret near Chelsea. Michigan. can never forget. Kinneret was the choice. the dignity of the flag raising. and one that has proven itself. Obviously. A good concept. the true Habonim spirit.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT est of facilities or the most beautiful buildings and grounds. or the simple beauty of a Friday evening meal by candlelight. 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. of a closeness and oneness that could be achieved nowhere else-the indomitable spirit of Habonim. A new concept of camping had been born in the minds of the leadership of Habonim. with the singing and the dancing afterwards? Those of you who ever attended Camp Habonim. The combined areas would now extend as far east as Pittsburgh and as far south and west as St. more intimate type of camp was no longer feasible. But. At the end of the 1954 season. Thus. Kinneret was never meant to be the permanent new home of the large. as all good things do. haverim. central Michigan was much nearer the center of this region than northern Wisconsin-therefore. this also came to an end. a more modern one. Why choose Kinneret over Yad Ari? Mainly because of the location. Louis and Minneapolis. the feeling of real group living. We had to have fewer but much larger and better (physically speaking) camps. the combining of the two small camps into one large camp at Kinneret. It was too small and lacked the proper facilities for a large number of campers. Can you remember. It was to serve merely for the transition period until 102 .
all the modern conveniences that one associates with the best in modern camps are present at our new Midwest Camp Habonim. The dining hall is probably one of the most ideally situated spots in camp. and did it well.self-labor. however. Michigan. But to go along with more modern practices. eighty acres of beautiful grounds near Three Rivers. Its many high windows overlook the lake and present a truly scenic picture for the diners. Negotiations were completed early in May and two additional cabins were begun. de- 103 . 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). This camp had been a farm resort and was situated on beautiful Kaiser Lake. were purchased by Habonim.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING a new site would be found. with which all Habonim campers are so familiar. 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 cabins are all equipped with electric lights and even the grounds are illuminated at night. The purchase itself marked a new phase of Habonim camping in the Midwest because this was the first time that Habonim had used its own resources to purchase a camp site in this region. we have improved upon many of the primitive physical facilities. In the spring of 1956. the new Midwest Camp Habonim. Midwest Camp Habonim today is. The most important features remain . a combination of the best of the old and of the new. that we are giving up the old idea of Camp Kvutza? Not at all. All toilet facilities are indoors . We now come to the current chapter. The next season found us in the new camp. We have not lost sight of the unique Habonim camping program and we retain that spirit that typifies Habonim.in fact. It did just that. self-government. In short. The good old flashlight. the new cabins come equipped with these appurtenances. we believe. is now almost a thing of the past.
and of course. and many others have remained here to become leaders not only in the Labor Zionist movement.C. and water had to be brought by car from about a mile away. with Ben's arrival in Los Angeles. and once a child has had a positive camping experience at camp. the determination indomitable. the concept of a common fund. camping experience in 1937 and Azusa in 1938. This is a record that speaks for itself. that feeling of kinship and real comradely spirit. and Ben Cherner. his chances of remaining in Habonim are excellent. moshavim. becomes an attraction for newcomers to our movement. the physical plant of the camp. and cities. and a program superior to most. that can compare favorably with any in the area. the permanent camp in the Angeles National Forest. these were the ingredients of the first Camp Kvutza in the West in the year 1936. Lenny Zurakov. Swimming was in a public pool. Sleeping was mostly outdoors.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT mocracy. cooking in an abandoned shack. twenty sprightly youngsters. but in all parts of the American Jewish community. In 1939. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE WEST A goat farm. For the first time. But spirits were high. and the results were a full camping season which was followed uninterruptedly for the next twenty-one years. In looking back upon twenty-five years of Habonim camping. as well as the program. Old-timers remember the C. we can honestly say that we have compiled a tradition of living Judaism which would be difficult for any group or organization to match. We feel that we now have a camp. Many graduates of Habonim camp have gone to live in Israel.C. that the idea of Habonim camping ripened and the first camp was established. in kibbutzim. It was during that summer. 104 .
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. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles. models. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen. Last year's camp was a typical Habonim camping year and the following report is characteristic of most of the others: Camp Duration and Composition Habonim Camp opened on July 1st in 1956 and lasted for six weeks until August 12th. the several activities directly associated with it. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks." Through lectures. 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. Situated. Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages. and the arts. Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. as the camp is. 105 . discussions. literary trials. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. During the entire period. games. as well as some that were specifically camp activities.
scouting. 106 . the discussion of Jewish problems and of Jewish achievements. hiking. Here. toilets and wash basins. we felt it even more in the conversations with the parents of the campers. including showers. the Shabbat morning Tanach circle. singing. sports. photography. We also extended our camp season to eight weeks. We anticipate doubling our registration this summer. Camp accomplished in a very few weeks what efforts by parents could not achieve for years. dancing. all this left an indelible impression upon the campers. arts and crafts. 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. they were in a thoroughly children's atmosphere as well as in a thoroughly Jewish one. and for many campers for the first time.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In addition. We felt it in the expressions of the children at camp. Future Plans All this progress was made possible through a building expansion program undertaken last spring. the Israel and Zionist spirit of all our activities. The sports facilities were improved. Much new equipment was purchased. we felt it in the one hundred percent attendance at the first camp reunion. Camp Spirit We would be greatly remiss in our factual report of camp activities and program if we were not to stress the spirit of the camp. the following camp activities were open to all campers: swimming. The Shabbat celebration. and other camp diversions which took place regularly. the daily Hebrew classes.
The two groups were the Hashomer Hatzair and the Gordonia organization of Baltimore. And it is no wonder that we all love it. Mosh has changed from a small camp sponsored by Gordoniawhose tents were pitched on the bare ground. with seven tents pitch- 107 . where there was no electricity whatsoever." Such is the effect "Mosh" has on its campers. and whose campers came from Baltimore only-to a large camp sponsored by Habonim following the amalgamation of Habonim with Gordonia. 1957 KVUTSA IN THE BALTIMORE-PHILADELPHIA AREA THE STORY OF "MOSH" "Half the year you look forward to it-the other half you look back on it. 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. but the setting is so perfect and the scenery so beautiful that we never want to forget it. to build several new concrete platforms. And so Moshava began its first season! Needless to say. The capacity is now seventy-five to eighty campers from all over the Atlantic seaboard. to enlarge and improve our dining and kitchen facilities. Sigfrid Sonniborn of Baltimore gave 162 acres of land near Annapolis to two Zionist groups to be used for a camp site. July. to improve the present shower building. Hashomer would use the camp. In 1935 Mr. many changes have occurred since that memorable year. The first month of the summer season. 1935. while Gordonia would have the camp in August. whose dining room had a canvas top. David Yaroslovsky.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Our plans for this summer are to build a staff building. for not only do we spend some of the happiest weeks of the year there. an arts and crafts pavilion.
In all directions there is green foliage that beckons to you with its coolness in the heat of the day. It is lined with clinging vines draped around the trees. or go to sleep on the sandy beach while taking a sun bath. the tents and stage are arranged in an almost perfect circle. an outdoor stage.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT ed on platforms. this scene is dimly repeated. From there. Past interesting coves and the beach. One can relax in the mildly cool river water. a modern hospital with up-to-date equipment. get an invigorating swim in the deeper cold water further from shore. a piano. one sees the side road leading from the water tower to the hospital opposite. The picture Moshava presents is truly a beautiful one. tantalizing monkey vines swing just above your reach. and track events take place during sports periods. a popular place for rehearsals or for a nocturnal group wishing to read Edgar Allen Poe in just the proper atmosphere. The center of this circle is the center field. basketball. But this is not all. Scrambling down the side of the cliff. Following the path further. and electrical connections. gazing at the stars. four large airy cabins. volleyball and basketball courts. These two cabins begin the camp proper. wide and level. where baseball. Here on this trail is the wellknown "Tree" on whose roots many a couple sit wrapped in the velvety darkness of night. This trail is the most popular of all. Only from the water tower. 108 . a well-filled library. a large roomy kitchen. and far on the distant side of the river. one arrives at last at the old cliff that overlooks the Severn River. 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. horseshoe. however. spreading below. one finds oneself on the bench near the river. and listening to the waves lap on the beach. for flanking them. and here and there. can one see it completely. we come to the long uneven trail that leads back to the central field. a newly reinforced dining room.
influenced by their anarchist background. In May. one of which leaked from the luxurious 109 . The central field is not far ahead and soon one can be in the midst of activity again. contacted sympathizers. "Mosh" Diary. brooms. a site for camp. the Sunday of the 23rd. Far and wide they traveled.former anarchist hangout and spiders' hideout. printed stationary. They formed committees. and a rosh Kvutza set foot on forty acres of poison ivy studded with two outhouses. worked with characteristic irregularity. It was a crime to travel hundreds of miles for the inspiration and learning we could achieve on our own grounds. The manor house after being scrubbed from top to bottom revealed an immense dining room. three kitchens. So the determined Quakers set to work. They screened and painted. The scrubbed and rubbed. Then came the eventful day when fourteen haverim. They transformed a chicken coop into a habitable shack. and nagged the National Executive. Camp Tax became the byword.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING It is also on this trail that we find the path leading to the new cliff. hot and cold water. And now. the first expedition set out armed to the hilt with mops. Through mosquito-ridden New Jersey to mosquito-ridden Pennsylvania until they came upon Camp Germinal . But soon the cash thermometer rose and $250 became a realization. They slept and ate and grew gray hair over pledges. 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. and ten stall showers which. buckets.
The six master bedrooms did come in handy when the fourteen pioneers increased to sixty. Cookie and the chocolate pudding. Ernst who drowned you trying to teach life saving. Leslie and his hair washing. Yona and her trying girls. The office served as a lounge. Edi and Brown Betty. and Shlomo and his hat. Aba Kibbile's drama group. music room. Yak and his travels in Ferdy. 1938 110 . Sossy from Chicago. who often stopped to admire the flowers by the wayside? He carried our haverim down to the swimming hole in the Shamony. and the other which had a natural waterfall coming from the center roof every time the dishes fell. Tzip and her hatred of kitchen duty. and then after a sojourn with the flowers. the bull. named for his predecessor. Clara's operetta. Leo and his driving mania. Galil Diary. or on a line to the Delaware. could be persuaded only by Schmeer up to the hill again to camp.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT bath upstairs every time one of the girls decided to miss a discussion. and dance studio. Or can we forget our staff-rising and falling like the stock market? One week ten and the next week four. Who of us can ever forget Sir Ferdinand. And their famous idiosyncrasies.
"The Women". Laizer Blitt. Kinneret. 1941. Etty Skidell. . Montreal. Montreal. Moshe Goldberg. Overnight hike at Montreal. 1941. Kinneret.N. All proceeds to the J. Aviva Gootman. Rose Breslau.F.The "Ten Lost Tribes" prepare to return. 1956. 1956. 1957. Gaby Stalzenberg at work. Shirley Goldberg. Chana Reitman. 1957. Corn for sale at Camp Habonim.
N. The Lake at Tel Yochanan. . Red Hook.Y. The Dining Room at Camp Habonim. "B'tayavon".Visiting Day. N. 1957. 1957. Solelim Dance at Red Hook. Camp Habonim. Montreal. 1957.Y. Amenia. Dining Room at Tel Yochanan.
N. Ottsville. Pennsylvania. Bridging the Creek at Galil. Camp Habonim. . 1948.Flag Raising at Moshava. 1957. 1957. Red Hook. The Waterfront at Moshava. Galil Choir performs for Visitors Day.Y. Annapolis. Maryland.
"Comfort ye. Moshava. . 1957. Tisha B’Av. 1957. Taking a dip in the enlarged "L" shaped pool at Camp Habonim.A discussion under the trees. 1955. Moshava. Harvesting Corn at Camp Habonim. Moshava. my people". 1957. "Chalil and Drum Corps.
A county highway divided the cabins from the rest of the site. After much searching. War clouds were gathering. Upon returning from Moshava at the end of the 1939 summer season. 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. Yak Rycus was imported from the Midwest to act as rosh Kvutza. however. a very successful summer program was carried out.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING GALIL In 1938. which could be rented for the summer. One must recall the times in which this thinking took place. a magnificent barn. It included a well-constructed farm house. and the swimming facilities were reached by climbing a very steep hill at a considerable distance from the 115 . at the height of the depression and with much trepidation because of the lack of finances. Pennsylvania. Our appetites were whetted.500). a permanent site for a Philadelphia camp. for the summer. and a number of cabins which at one time had beeii4 chicken coops. we were determined to have a camp of our own. The White Paper was soon to be issued and the horror of Hitler-Europe was soon to be upon us. let alone talk in terms of developing a permanent camp. had two unfortunate deficiencies. 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. a site was found near Pipersville. plans were made for finding. In 1939. The site. and the first Camp Galil came into existence. as many of our members as possible spent the summer at Moshava near Baltimore. and immediately upon the close of the summer. Fortunately. Pennsylvania (for the then large sum of $1. During the summer of 1939. the Philadelphia haverim rented the old anarchist Camp Germinal near Jamison.
the haverim of Habonim. So much so that at the beginning of the summer. were the roshim. notwithstanding the broken arm of one of our haverim who managed to fall off a roof while shingling it. and daily Hebrew sessions were a part of the program. To counteract these activities. with the help of some adults. it became a nightly occurrence for a truckload of these hooligans to drive slowly through the camp hurling epithets. At that particular period. The effectiveness of this endeavor 116 .HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT cabins. however. I believe. The purpose of this particular mahaneh madrichim was to train madrichei tzofim. One remembers nostalgically the first contact with shlihim. the German American Bund was active in the area. was a member of the staff. The summer itself was full of interesting and varied experiences. In addition. and frequently more. a principal of a Philadelphia Talmud Torah. Dr. Edie. Irv Sternberg and his wife. The most striking memory of this summer. Haverim came from all over the country and friendships were created which were to last to this very day. Word was passed around and fortunately. however. The rampant anti-Semitism which existed and which was manifested so clearly made a deep impression upon our younger haverim. they managed to deface and almost destroy the dock we had built at the creek. In retrospect. had to do with the last three weeks of camp which was devoted to what. was the first national mahaneh madrichim. The group was small-I doubt if there were more than fifty at any one time-but the spirit was high. at the younger haverim. Guard duty became an important job. Irv approached the local sheriff and received a permit to carry guns. one recalls a most interesting and unusual Hebrew program. no further incidents took place. Undaunted. began intensive construction projects to make the site as serviceable as possible for the summer. did not detract from a very fine summer. Construction went well. Meyer Cohen. This unpleasantness.
When the war ended and Habonim haverim. The impetus of the Camp Kvutza.000 from the YWCA.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. Almost singlehandedly. this pattern was repeated. this dedication to the importance of the summer Kvutza soon manifested itself. supplied the necessary labor and technical knowledge to begin im- 117 . Connecticut. Conditions brought about by the imminence of war 'unfortunately dictated against a camp of our own in 1941. that the young Labor Zionist movement of Philadelphia grew and was strengthened because of a program which revolved around the camp. All efforts were bent toward getting a camp for Philadelphia and vicinity. The movement suffered accordingly. or returned to Moshava. whether as a culmination of a year's work. The camp was purchased for the sum of $30. Abe Segal. It can truthfully be said. 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. for without a camp. The camp was quite primitive-there was no electricity. The young branches. this dream of having a camp of our own. 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. From 1941 through 1945. or as inspiration for a new year's activities cannot be minimized. whose membership came from ex-Habonim members. the kitchen had an old wood-burning stove. was shared by one haver of the senior movement of Philadelphia. Happily for Habonim. Most of our haverim spent that summer either at Killingworth. and the water supply was dependent upon an old gasoline engine which worked on occasion. it became clear that the local mahaneh could not really grow. without whom there would have been no Camp Galil today. returned from the service.
consequently. and installed electricity. Interesting results followed. Killingworth could no longer be used and the Amenia site was not adequate. and the general membership supplied the muscle-power to dig the ditches so that all electric wires would be underground. however. While eighty children could be accommodated. during the struggle for Statehood. serviced that number-this. was somewhat unnerving. In 1952. they were somewhat overwhelmed by the influx of the New Yorkers. designed. We are all part of one movement. The lessons learned that summer were to be utilized during the following year. The experience for Philadelphia. The cycle was rather vicious. if ever. but there are many local differences and loyalties which can be positive. The next few years were filled with gradual growth and improvement. despite the fact that campers came from as far as Wilmington and the Vineland-Toms River areas. In 1953. the New York mahaneh was having its camp difficulties. camp rarely. Aside from the fact that Philadelphia haverim acquired Brooklyn accents. Few children came to camp-the camp leadership was not from Philadelphia and. The electrical engineers in the group planned. it was at first difficult to utilize the camp to its fullest extent. the civil engineers in the group directed the building of the necessary footbridge to cross the stream.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT proving the camp site. there was no leadership for the winter mahaneh. Interest in the camp was further heightened by the events of 1947-48. The idea as finally formulated called for the establishment of two camps on the Galil site. Because of the weakness of Habonim in the city. one would retain the name Galil and 118 . haverim of the Camp Committee were approached by the national office with a proposition to use the site of Camp Galil for the Hebrewspeaking Camp Amal. To solve this dilemma an arrangement was made whereby the New York haverim registered at Galil for the summer. which would in turn provide children for the summer season.
and could register up to sixty children. Galil was helped considerably in registering children by the fact that because of the emphasized Hebrew program. The idea now evolved to include. however. Registration would be limited to forty campers. a great deal of Hebrew was always used. It was during this year that the movement crystallized its thinking with regard to a central Hebrew-speaking camp. actual classes for study of the language. During our camping history. Being on the approved list of the Council brought help 119 . It was. and while the camps might never become completely Hebrew-speaking. This meant that the facilities of Galil were to be used to their maximum. in addition to the everyday terminology. despite all the handicaps. The Camp Committee of Galil wholeheartedly endorsed this approach and determined upon a course which would make Galil a truly Hebrew-centered camp and. The idea of two separate camps with separate staffs and differing orientation was too difficult an undertaking to be of any real success. But this was not enough. It was agreed that every Habonim camp should have as much Hebrew as possible in its program. they should become Hebrew centered. Camp terminology was almost exclusively Hebrew. quite clear at the end of the summer that such an arrangement could never be repeated. the Council on Jewish Education of Philadelphia approved Camp Galil as one of three Hebrew camps for which it provided scholarships. at the same time. The best that can be said of that summer was that.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING would accept campers from ages nine through twelve only. make use of its facilities by improving the physical plant so as to be able to attract more children. The future of Habonim in Philadelphia was therefore dependent upon those unaffiliated children who could be brought to spend a summer at camp. Camp Amal would register children ages thirteen through sixteen who met the Hebraic requirements. quite a bit was accomplished in both camps.
if not directly connected with our movement. Not only will this be avoided in the future. During the past three summers many of the campers at Galil have made considerable progress in their Hebraic studies. Supplementing the Habonim staff were Gratz College students working to our mutual advantage. A second well was dug primarily to provide water for the pool and to act as a supplementary water supply for general use. In 1956. camp was full. In some cases. the Hebrew teachers' training institution of Philadelphia. During the past few summers. Galil depended on the creek for water for the swimming pool. The Hebrew program at Galil is flexible enough to be able to provide for these individual needs. A Hebrew Educators Advisory Committee was organized and the Hebrew program of Galil approved. a number of staff members of Galil were employed from the student body of Gratz College. the water level of the creek continued to fall so that there were times when the pool could not be properly filled. at least sympathetic to our program and completely cooperative in carrying it out.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT from other quarters. 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. In most cases. and in 1957. Improvements to camp continue. The swimming pool was completely rebuilt. It should be noted that the national office was never able to supply the total staff needs of Galil. 120 . registration was closed by the end of March. for the first time. the Gratz College students were. Many of the youngsters bring with them specific requests from their teachers and principals as to material to be covered. In addition. especially in the case of boys. In previous years. they have covered the equivalent of a full year's work in the city. Several of the largest congregations in the city also announced to its membership that it would grant scholarships to children desirous of attending Galil. if necessary.
All of this. and the problems of the youth movement are an integral part of each camp meeting. It has made its mark in the Philadelphia Jewish community and its prestige is at its highest point. 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. But. Our parents. In the "old days. Habonim camping has traveled a long road in the past twenty-five years.” This in a sense represented our thinking. the Kvutza in Israel has also undergone some metamorphoses and the American Kvutza must reflect these changes. But they were neither shocked nor disturbed by "primitive" conditions. and every meeting has on its agenda a report from the rosh mahaneh of Philadelphia Habonim. immigrants themselves. like it or not. All members of the Camp Committee are dedicated to this purpose. "The road of the halutz is a long and difficult one and if it isn't. 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. make it." primitive sites and difficult conditions were almost a matter of principle. 121 . The Camp Committee has assumed all of the responsibility of a Chay Commission.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The future of Galil seems assured. Haverim cried that this would violate the principle of self-labor. We are raising a new generation of children and a new generation of parents. were no less concerned about our welfare during the summer than parents today. Parents today seem more concerned for the material aspects of camp life and. deeply committed to Labor Zionism. however. We wanted to simulate the life of the Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael as closely as possible. But problems have arisen.
Winni- 122 . who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal. Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. however. David Biderman. by temperament David Biderman was no one-job man. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. 1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. But miner or airman. Once Winnipeg Habonim reached mahaneh status they could settle for nothing less than a Camp Kvutza of their own. The Winnipeg movement was young and vigorous then. Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. It was David Biderman who wrought the miracle of Habonim in Winnipeg and set the stage for the first camp. In cannot be changed without destroying the very basis for which our camps were created. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day. 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. and no one would have suspected that it came about as a sort of by-product of work for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The only clue to his earth-bound past was slyly concealed in his home address: He lived on Burrows Street in Winnipeg. he went out to organize Habonim at night. In one of those strange wartime transmutations. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. He became a military aircraft inspector for the RCAF stationed in Winnipeg. Daniel Isaacman. but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval.
special friend of the court. He used to drive up with David Biderman. Aliyah Kare was dean of arts and crafts and second in command of the kitchen. but special cheers were always reserved for the venerable Bar Mitzva. Gimli has changed considerably in recent years. forty strong.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING peg's first Kvutza would be held at Calof's cottage in Gimli on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. the staff was small and hybrid. turned out to greet them. a black. The cottage itself was a one-story wooden building partly enclosed by an L-shaped screened porch. Kasedy was cook-and a good oneand as a special dispensation she was permitted to bring along her son. 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. blue-eyed sons and daughters of Iceland dominated the village streets. The curious campers welcomed the distinguished guests. Appropriate to the camp site. high-topped Ford that made the weekly 123 . about two blocks from the lake and close by a public wooded area. Shimin. and the town itself is honeycombed with the cottages of Winnipeg vacationers. Geulah Green was the registered nurse and lifeguard. neither in appearance nor in the quarter-acre plot it occupied. Mrs. The business manager who commuted on weekends was Sully Spector. a bright-eyed youngster who was under age for camp. I was imported from New York to be rosh and factotum. Calof's cottage. There were some summer cottages in 1941. There was a church of roughhewn stone authentic enough to have been transplanted from the old village back home. was at the outskirts of Gimli. There is a large RCAF airbase nearby. but the town had not yet lost the Icelandic character of its original settlers. It was in no way distinguished from other cottages in the neighborhood. When David and Sully arrived-no matter what the time of day-the whole camp. Blond. The camp site.
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. That day I had a job on my hands. It is unlikely that campers anywhere lived more closely than the campers at Gimli. With the tents up and the campers covered. Even the cook in the kitchen could not escape them. I dashed from one councilman to another. while tent-pegs were held in abeyance. it was pitched according to law . The tents could not go up without the mayor's approval.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT pilgrimage. in his shirtsleeves trimming a hedge. So. parents who were torn between their loyalty to Labor Zionism and their concern for the welfare of their child- 124 . etc. the season got under way. quizzing each on his home ground Nielson in a tractor shed. sent me to garner the opinions of the five councilmen. and for Winnipeg Habonim it symbolized the indomitable halutz spirit. tired kids. the advance crew of three set to work pitching tents on the Calof lawn. One day before the opening. The Ford often faltered but it never failed. Thors in a garage. The constable sent me to the mayor. 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.democratic Icelandic law. I ran around like Chicken Licken taking a census. most assuredly that would have been its fate. The camp had the usual trials and triumphs: rains that came and tents that fell. Olafson in the general store. And from the mayor I brought word to the constable-and only then did the pegs go in and the first tent go up. That tent was not simply pitched. the mayor. camp fires at the beach.-until the roll call was completed and breathlessly I could report the affirmative vote to the mayor. The advantages in the setup were priceless: No one could be out of earshot of the discussions.
He hoped the Toronto haverim would choose a name for Kvutza in keeping with our ideals. he stressed the place of America in Labor Zionism in light of the plight of Jewry in Europe. still others were disappointed to find the dam unfinished. over 125 haverim and friends packed three trucks and several cars and filled the grounds. 1940 125 . and Habonim. There were frenched beds and a pillow fight that covered the grounds with feather-snow. Some inspected the eighty percent-finished dining room and kitchen. ." Moshe Rubinoff. In his talk. haverim spoke for the Poale Zion. one of the rivers (we are at the junction of two streams) brought fond memories of the beautiful showers of that historic site. But the wisest of all went exploring in the forests. . Pinhas Rimon. After Tehezakna. There were earnest daydreams and the stubborn belief that somehow all of this was bringing everyone closer to Eretz Yisrael . he offered to rent the spot for every Sunday in the summer. somehow it did. was blessed with the unfaltering benevolence of King Saul. Ontario. the Pioneer Women. the name of an Eretz. Accord. Strangely enough. with the iron cots and brand new mattresses. At first everything was disorganized as everybody went out exploring. As a result. In fact. Yisrael Kvutza. the Farband. and one found a most beautiful nook for discussions. others looked around the sleeping quarters. Moreover. 1957 AFIKIM The opening of Camp Kvutza at Markham. The opening was held around the flag poles. 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. Our Kvutza is named "Afikim. just at that point.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ren.
however. And so in 1951. on Gabriola Island. it turned out that we would not be able to rent this camp in the future because the Zionist Organization of B. and furthermore. Camp Kvutza Miriam was held at Camp Hatikvah.F. Camp Hatikvah. The first Habonim Camp Kvutza of Vancouver Habonim was held in the summer of 1949 at Camp Wordsworth. as rosh. the idea was first brought forward that Habonim should own a camp site. Vancouver Habonim was first organized by Bert and Marian Waldman in 1948. It was soon realized that as an intensive supplement to the program of the mahaneh in the winter.C. it has a capacity of sixty people. thus precluding our use of the site. a Camp Kvutza in the summer was necessary. thirty miles west of Vancouver. the camp of the Zionist Organization of British Columbia in 1950. Although several places were located. suffered from being too close to civilization.C. This was a two-week camp with the shaliah.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP MIRIAM Camp Miriam was named after Miriam Biderman and is located on Gabriola Island. At present. Amram Milner. The mahaneh set up a Camp Site Investigation Committee. Doodle Horowitz was rosh Kvutza. At that time. This committee spent many pleasant weekends traveling around the scenic local fiords hunting camp sites. Because of the primitive conditions. It is a nine-acre. itself had extended its own camp period.F. We have been a long time in acquiring it. the local C. About twenty-five attended this first twoweek camp. the site of Camp Miriam moved back again to its primitive Gabriola Island site. Moishe Loffman of Winnipeg was rosh Kvutza that year. which was again rented from the C. It was rented for two weeks. heavilywooded camp site with water frontage on a beautiful little cove. for a period of two weeks.C. In the fall of 1951. camp. lack of adult supervision at that time made the work of the committee 126 .
C. decided that they would no longer be in the landlord business and that if we wanted to use the camp the following summer. unhygienic conditions existing there. Now that the Gabriola Island camp site is the property of the Habonim Zionist Society. 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. the existence of Vancouver Habonim would be seriously threatened. In the summer of 1952.F. In 1953 Camp Miriam was again held on Gabriola Island for two weeks with Al Linden as rosh. Although we were still unable to purchase a camp. we again crossed the Straits of Georgia to the Gabriola Island camp site.F. 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. with the growth of the mahaneh. At this time there were about eightyfive camper-weeks and Abbie Haklay was our rosh. and so in 1955. the problem of its development is up 127 . The 1956 camp was a three-week season with Nahman Goldwasser as rosh. Camp Miriam in 1954 was located at Roberts Creek. sold us the camp on very easy terms. a threeweek Camp Kvutza was made possible.. on the site of a former girls' camp. the C. at about this time. being fellow Socialists. After much hunting. and they were told that if there was no camp that summer. This camp was particularly fortunate in having on the staff three Workshoppers. Fortunately the C. The seniors then formed an incorporated society for the purpose of buying the camp property.C.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING abortive. However. By this time. This camp ran for three weeks with Asher Wallfish as shaliah and Allen (Geli) Gelfond as rosh. Yehuda "Sam" Weissbach was our rosh for that year's three-week camp. we would have to buy it. Some active parents were approached as well as some seniors of the Labor Zionist movement. The Roberts Creek camp site was even worse than Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT to us and the local parents and seniors. 1957 MONTREAL Once upon a time. many haverim spent wonderful summers at Kvutza and at seminars. chasing hornets. the camp season will extend to four weeks for the first time in our history. which are to have priority in the next few years. Plans for the development of the site include especially development of kitchen facilities and playground. and sort of forgot to come back. There in Prefontaine. 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. Max Langer. those who suffered afterwards from lime burn. and then off to another direction for another pit for another purpose. and then a swim in the North River? Who can forget washing the dishes in that quaint sink and lugging hot water from the old stove. the great baseball games at the playing field near the tents. the haverim who went to Ste. not knowing that one day it was destined to house Habonim. the little creek behind the kitchen that was our ice box. Agathe to get axes sharpened. or the famous soups that we had in those days which couldn't be had in the Waldorf Astoria. Who can forget whitewashing the kitchen (to cover last summer's soot) and dining room until it was sparkling in the sunlight. digging a new garbage pit. trudging through the swamp connecting the pipeline bringing water to camp. the many times the smoke stack shifted a bit and smoke was heavy and thick? Who can forget the overnight 128 . there was a stable (and it still stands today) which housed horses. those who got many blisters chopping firewood to keep the stove going red hot all summer. In 1957.
selected a site on Lake Dallas for a Habonim Camp Kvutza. A Camp Bonim Association. and Tulsa.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING hikes. Cocoa Cheifetz. a group of friends of Habonim dedicated to the precept of Camp Kvutza. at a place called Lac Quenoilles. Haverim who were at Kvutza in those days have traveled and settled in various parts of the world. having the same wonderful time. was organized in the course of the year. Maurice Levy. the many cases of poison ivy? Years have come and gone. and financial means. and Dr. In the summer of 1939. with the writer of this report. should be mentioned. effort. To everyone's chagrin a polio epidemic made it impossible to open camp in 1940 and necessitated postponement of the program. Camp Kvutza has changed places. the day one haver climbed over a fence and stepped into a hornet's nest. Irving Brodsky. Zesmer. Times have changed and so has Kvutza-not like the old camp. not any more in Prefontaine. the haverim of the Dallas groups planned for a summer camping program. Texas. Jacob Feldman. TEXAS Ever since the founding of Gordonia in Texas in 1929. but many miles further in the mountains. It was then that Moshe Smith. a madrich of the Dallas movement. Several of the Association's members who devoted much time. acting as a committee for the Southwest Habonim. It was not until ten years later that such an opportunity presented itself. 129 . and Yapha (Jennie) Zesmer. Habonim groups were functioning. I. in Houston and San Antonio. Among these devoted friends were Harry Sigel. Isaac Goldstein. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE SOUTHWEST CAMP BONIM. New Orleans Louisiana. in addition to the four groups in Dallas. Oklahoma. but new and sparkling and full of Habonim.
Taubman (currently in Tulsa).HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT all of Dallas. currently of Minneapolis. Ami Levin. In each of these communities. 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. and Yitzhak Groner. Some $60. Oklahoma. From the very outset. Yaakov Ely.000 was contributed through the Camp Bonim. and Nathan Karin of San Antonio. Zalman Kahn. Meir Sigel. particularly in the smaller towns where no Jewish education was possible. M. and Hannah Wiederman of Houston . Nad. Subsequent years were periods of real Habonim expansion in the region. Gerber.all did a real halutzic job in planning for Camp Bonim and in implementing these plans. Bruno Sigel. called Camp Bonim blessed. and Abraham Sinkin. I. was always considered phenomenal. as 130 . and the summer of that year brought two hundred campers to Camp Bonim. committees of friends of Camp Bonim were formed for the purpose of making this decade-old dream a reality. Weiner of Houston. Avraham Groner. Zevi Borofsky. Moshe Smith. Zalman Schneider. all of Dallas. Yapha Chesnick. veterans in Habonim. Bernard Rubenstein. Leah Waltman. A number of Dallas haverim. David Zesmer. The invaluable assistance of Kalman Shapiro. and parents in the communities. Herman P. worked with the writer to make this success possible. and in others throughout Texas. and Louisiana. The camping program was extended to an ever-growing movement. Shahna Kahn. Raphael Levin. then a member of the Dallas Hebrew School faculty. Association by friends in the three states for the purchase and improvement of the site. In the summer of 1941. Camp Bonim opened its first season on a leased site on Lake Dallas. This was always considered by the founders and madrichim. The winter of 1945 saw the purchase of a site on Lake Dallas. and I. Camp Bonim observed kashrut (as do all Habonim camps).
The campers may talk 131 . I should not hesitate to give the campers considerable liberty. an occasion for perfect rest. aided me in formulating and developing certain ideas with regard to the basic principles of Kvutza. morning exercise. and for this reason. if anything. would have cramped our style last year. 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. Shabbat at Camp Bonim was. senior haverim would visit the camp for Shabbat and sing the praises of the type of education Camp Bonim offered. 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. I am sure that. can be discussed at a Kvutza meeting and will undoubtedly be passed with very little opposition.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING an integral must in any Jewish educational program. kitchen duty. from the very inception. We had ideas. From time to time. Experience. even such a measure as common fund. The entire camp program was geared toward a full and enriching Jewish experience in the spirit of Labor Eretz Yisrael. the campers will decide to do the right thing at Kvutza meetings. Yaakov Levin. For example. near Detroit. programs. Problems such as bedtime. handicrafts. which no Kvutza should be without. however. and contemplation. can certainly be handled in this manner. 1957 EXPERIMENTS AND TRENDS THE COMING SEASON My experience last summer with Kinneret. study. given the opportunity. work.
if planned properly. but by giving them an opportunity to be instrumental in the actual building of the Kvutza. and the cost and effort expended on such a project will be repaid if plans are carefully laid out and executed. will receive much enthusiasm on the part of the campers. Arm in arm with work goes gardening.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT about staying up late. However poor these conditions may be. but if a discussion of the benefits of an earlier day and the harm done by late hours is carefully conducted. this is a decided advantage since the Kvutza with a garden begins not in July but in April 132 . they can be counteracted by artificial means. Both vegetable and flower gardening must be begun in April or May. The best way to give the camp back to the campers is not by merely giving them a voice in their own government. To my knowledge. This may be difficult to carry through in some Kvutzot because of unfavorable natural factors. even to the extent of killing the idea of a garden. Work. however. Habonim are builders. and we should certainly be given an opportunity to build.vegetable and floral culture. Gardening can and should be of two kinds . and in order to carry out this project successfully. On the surface this may seem a disadvantage. 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. On second thought. In the case of a permanent Kvutza. but it means a great deal to about ten boys who had a band in building it. even at the expense of a more professional job. should play a major role in Kvutza activities and. of course. work and handicrafts are not being neglected in our Kvutzot. such as poor soil conditions or extreme drought. 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. Our camps present a golden opportunity for us to put some of the concepts of halutziut into practice. The dining room at Kinneret is by no means a professional job.
one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. however. It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. Those who work on the garden in the spring will naturally be more interested in Kvutza than those whose first connections with camp begin when the season opens. and labor is of little significance if it does not go hand in hand with a desire for beauty and freshness. Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. Danny Ginsburg. gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience. Little by little. and there is no reason why it cannot supply a substantial part of the Kvutza's fresh food products during the latter part of the season after a few years of experience. and here is a grand opportunity. Flowers and landscaping are also of great significance. the garden should develop. but postponing work on the garden spells failure. In short. Other projects can be postponed from day to day. 1940 133 . A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene.
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. built around work. where they received an education along Reconstructionist lines. Fifteen boys and girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen attended the camp. CREAMRIDGE Camp Avoda at the Hehalutz farm in Creamridge. chickens. Although we were rather skeptical at the beginning. it is possible to expose successfully young American Jews to collective agricultural life. The campers were given an opportunity to participate in the various branches-barn. The campers elected their own person to assign the work who. a number were students of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. This was partly due to the assignment of routine jobs to the campers. such as picking tomatoes or cleaning chicken coops. most of us were ready to admit that. The life of the camp was. cannery.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP AVODA. New Jersey. To our surprise. the campers. began as an experiment and ended as an established institution. within reasonable limits. The agricultural discussions were conducted by members of the farm and were intended to give a general picture of the various branches of a farm 134 . while several had almost no knowledge of Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. in the course of the summer. prepared the daily work schedule. rather than giving them an opportunity to do work which they would find more interesting and which would require a certain degree of skill. The campers participated in both cultural and agricultural discussions. of course. not to mention halutziut. The group was a rather heterogeneous one. together with us. and so on. we found that almost without any conscious guidance on our part. gradually began to adopt the outlook and standards of intimate collective groups. by the end of last summer. garden. High school-age boys and girls came to Creamridge to live and work with an established collective group.
the campers met to discuss and to decide about the problems that arose in the maintenance and the functioning of the camp. Camp Avoda in some ways fell short of what it might have been. the cultural work was too limited and lacking in intensity-for example. questions. was in reference to our own farm economy.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING economy. there was a discussion about whether boys have to work in the kitchen and clean house as well as girls. These discussions aroused considerable h1terest and proved very worthwhile. As mentioned before. Five or six times during the summer. the work program was not organized in a manner that would have been most beneficial to the campers. we did not have an adequate library of Zionist and other literature which campers could read at their leisure. One evening a week was devoted to a cultural discussion concerning aspects of modern Jewish life throughout the world with particular emphasis on Zionism. of course. and suggestions brought up at these meetings. Because of the varying backgrounds of the campers. some difficulties were encountered in presenting these discussions. an argument ensued as to whether some campers may go to a movie on a day when the others are swimming or whether the whole group must have their recreation together. During the first few 135 . the campers were given a good deal of freedom of choice and decision. and so on. but the group as a whole was an alert one and there were many lively arguments and debates. there were innumerable small problems. and except for a few elementary rules upon which we insisted. We naturally tried to have Camp Avoda run as democratically as possible. Despite the fact that the group was a small one and that camp life followed a rather simple pattern. 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. A good part of the discussions.
we met with almost complete opposition. Most of us thought it likely that they would ridicule. parents sent boxes of candy and cookies. to extol or criticize it. then it was shared among the campers. 1944 136 . A few weeks before the end of the season. At first the candy was the private property of the particular tent in which the recipient lived. After a time. they were asked to analyze collective living. on the basis of their own experience. They liked us and they liked the way we lived. Several are returning this summer to participate in a larger. There was a good deal of disagreement about whether this type of life was possible on a large scale at the present time. the idea of keeping clothes collectively. Yet. During the year. better planned. and felt. As happens in every camp. The campers went home with a very real appreciation of the farm and at least an acquaintance with halutziut. heard. When at the beginning of the summer. for instance. we feel that we achieved the basic purposes of Camp Avoda. later the campers themselves again brought up the suggestion and it was accepted. that living collectively was better and preferable to any other way of life. we proposed a common fund. many of them came to visit us for weekends and holidays. but it was just the opposite.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT weeks. and better organized Camp Avoda. but everyone who spoke assumed. and finally it was decided that the boxes were to be shared equally among the campers and members of the farm alike. the campers gradually began to realize the advantages of collective living. as something that did not need further proof. they began to adopt more and more of our methods. Purely on the basis of what they saw. there were also a good many technical shortcomings which should have been avoided. Al Weingrod.
This was hardly an auspicious beginning. But it might also be shown that Amal's successes have not been achieved without prejudicing the halutzic character of our camps. But we felt strongly that we had a mission to fulfill in Hebrew camping. do not await official decisions. Amal has realized the dreams of its founders. despite the initial movement apathy. and gained for Habonim new prestige in the Jewish educational world. the Merkaz.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING AMAL IN RETROSPECT Amal. Habonim's Hebrew-speaking camp. however. has attracted a considerable number of new haverim. it has won national recognition as one of the outstanding Hebrew-speaking camps in America. In view of the small registration. After three uncertain years of experimentation. The movement greeted this venture with singular indifference. We opened in the summer of 1948 with a handful of campers. has completed its third season. We were disturbed by the cloistered atmosphere of many existing camps. Their educational program bypassed halutziut. Habonim has never had an opportunity to determine the future of this nascent institution. Bialik. The staff had little Hebrew camping experience and was poorly prepared. nearly decided to abandon the project. It was but three years ago that we hesitantly opened Amal on a rented site in Vermont. on one occasion. 137 . Therefore. Few haverim expressed interest in attending Amal. They glibly spoke of the national poet. and chose to ignore the pressing need of Eretz Yisrael: an American halutz aliya. has established its own camping patterns and set into motion uncertain forces. we decided in favor of continuing our efforts on behalf of Amal. Institutions. Even a cursory evaluation would disclose that Amal has fostered the study of Hebrew in our movement. in its three years of existence. Amal. They were fostering a native Hebrew-speaking elite. We have been too concerned with the very survival of Amal to give adequate consideration to its role within the movement.
in Connecticut. They felt that it had failed. we succeeded. Strong arguments were advanced for giving up Amal-our personnel shortage was acute. Hebrew educators from many sections of America visited Amal during the season and were im- 138 . the Merkaz assigned Tel Meir. and twenty-two scholarships were awarded to Amal by various Hebrew school systems. This past summer we confidently opened the season with sixty haverim. We ended our second season with the realization that Amal had proved itself. to a large extent. On August 9th. This was to be its last chance. It was therefore with great trepidation that the Merkaz finally decided in favor of reopening the camp. The season began with forty-five campers who were determined to make it a success. Several Jewish educational institutions were induced to award scholarships to Amal. Amal's partisans were soon active on all fronts. Many observers claimed that our campers spoke more Hebrew than the campers of any other Hebrew-speaking camp in America. there were but dim hopes of registering an adequate number of campers. This time. During the winter of 1949-1950. It was no longer an experiment. And. the camper response was more encouraging. We hoped to create a camp modeled along the lines of our other camps.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Haverim seriously questioned reopening Amal in 1949. Nor did our work go unnoticed in the Jewish community. and the national budget could not again sustain a financial loss such as it had in Amal's first season. As evidence of our coming of age. an ambitious program was prepared for the public. a performance of Yitzhak Lamdan's Masada was witnessed and applauded by sixty parents and guests. Prominent Hebrew educators were solicited to add their names to our list of sponsors. and this we had seemingly accomplished without vitiating our halutzic Zionist program. to its fledgling Hebrew camp as its permanent site. the number of sponsoring Jewish educational institutions increased from two to six. In recognition of Amal's promise.
Moshe Margalit. Daily formal class work had been introduced. and great emphasis in the discussion program was placed upon Jewish history. The 1950 season was most successful.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING pressed with the serious educational work that we attempted. 1950 139 .
Kvutza and the Individual .
Soft winds rock The trees. A promise of The day ahead Of quiet Five o'clock A sun so bright Has replaced The dim of night In quiet Six o'clock The day is come But at Kvutza Till day is done No quiet! Rita Greenberg. 1937 142 . 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 drop right off to dreamland. "Oh boy. in comfortable camp clothes. 143 .discussion groups – activities – dip – lunch rest and correspondence – sports – swimming – supper . there is great rejoicing over the new outhouse. Then a camp fire. we finally reach home. Sleep now. to say nothing of Avram. and quiet. with dancing for those who are not too tired after the long train ride. and singing for all. tents and madrichim are assigned. tired but happy. Among last year's haverim. Washing is over. leans back (on his neighbor) after a muchneeded supper and listens to Dave's welcoming speech. Tiptoeing through the metropolis so as not to wake the immense population. July 5th The regular program again today. and the exclamation. Tuesday.01 worth of candy-no more. no less. First and last stop is the place of business of Mr. under the direction of Benny. and everyone. Block. July 3rd Campers arrive. Stan and Sol are prize kibitzers. Tonight we have an amateur hour.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD DIARY Sunday.clean-up . Amid much excitement. Monday. Here we are refreshed by popsicles and exactly $. And so to bed.and one of the many evening activities possible in Kvutza. July 4th Today the regular daily program begins: Rise and shine – exercise – washing – breakfast . This evening we have a hike to Accord via the new route discovered by Benny and Yehiel. is it swell to be back!" echoes and reechoes to the bewilderment of the newcomers. to find talent for the Drama Circle-to-be.
Campers at Midwest Camp Habonim. Michigan. 1954. Flag Raising at Midwest Camp Habonim. Michigan. Chelsea. 1957. Scout-craft Competition at Maccabia. 1957. 1957. 1953. 1957. Volleyball at Kinneret. . Galil. 1957. Basketball at Maccabia. Attacking the Weeds.Midwest Camp Habonim. Three Rivers. Kinneret.
1957. 1957. 1956. Habonim Camp Kvutza Naame.In the tradition at Kinneret: Building the Migdal. Friday afternoon lunch on the patio. California. Saugus. Midwest Camp Habonim. . Green Valley Station. Campfire at Midwest Camp Habonim. Camp Kvutza Naame.
Midwest Camp Habonim. Camp Kvutza Naame.Hora around the Campfire. arriving at Galil for Maccabia. 1957. . 1957. Campers from Moshava. Camp Habonim. Dedicating the new Arts and Crafts Pavilion. 1957. 1957. and Camp Habonim.
Camp Kvutza Naame. . 1957. Visitors Day. Yemenite Dance. British Columbia. Gabriola Island. Joint Flag Raising of the three camps at Maccabia.The Swimming Pool at Camp Kvutza Naame. 1956. Waiting for the Ferry to Camp Miriam. Galil. Canada.
We do our laundry in the creek. . Two haverim volunteer to wash the dining room and kitchen floors. and clean up. Gathered on the hill. Saturday. At lunch the Celibates Club is organized at a special table which excludes haverot. At the table the candles are lit and the prayer sung by Edna before we sit down to eat. Sammy and Marvin (who declares that at least he is a confirmed bachelor) are the unworthy specimens of humanity who lead this ridiculous movement. The camp paper . one sees a veritable hive of industry.is begun under the expert direction of Judy G. we gather together on the grass to sing.The Cookooricoo . 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. Everyone is dressed in white shorts and blue Habonim shirts for Friday night.F. As the haverim tear themselves away to bed. and we march down the hill singing happily. Struck by the magnificent beauty of the sky and surrounding mountains. luxury. The library is open.Off Ferns Forever. we hear The Cookooricoo read by Stan and then sing songs of Shabbat. Their motto is: O. it begins to rain. Friday." Thursday. July 9th Ah. We have a leisurely breakfast. July 6th It is agreed that "Harishona" is a suitable name for our Accord Kvutza since we were literally "the first.F. 148 .KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL Wednesday. As the Bible circles in Hebrew and English begin this afternoon. July 8th All day today is given over to preparation for Shabbat. we sleep an extra half hour this morning. and the boys are working on an aquarium in which to keep material for Sammy's dissection mania. to the great delight of our intelligentsia. discussion. July 7th Looking about this morning.
Finally the sun breaks through the clouds just in time to set. seem to regard this with disfavor for it starts to rain. it's off to Minewaska we go!" And amid the cheers of the remaining campers. The grass is very wet as we walk up the hill to bed. heigh ho. however. with one or two people doubling up because some trunks have not yet arrived. begging Dave for an extra hour of sleep tomorrow. Monday. No morning exercises. July 13th Kvutza seems empty this morning with only half the haverim here. Later.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sunday. All the haverim are back for a delayed lunch. The elements. July 12th We are awakened this morning by reveille blown by Harriet on her trumpet. Parents begin to arrive. "Heigh ho. This afternoon it rains and. the group sets out. So the younger haverim go to bed. A new batch of haverim come from the city and there is much excitement during the meeting of old friends and new. after which 149 . Tonight we have a camp fire with singing. July 11th Today we are settled again. Yehiel's determination is of some avail because the shower suddenly stops. Each tent presents a skit or a like exhibition. we gather in the dining room for songs and games. And then to bed. July 10th This morning there is a talk and discussion conducted by Shlomo on the present situation in Eretz Yisrael. Tuesday. It is decided that haverim of fifteen and over will take an overnight hike tonight after supper. as on previous days. stunt night. Wednesday. 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.
we listen to The Cookooricoo as read by Avram. Now to our tents after singing and dancing. The stream goes by. are on guard duty so all hopes for a peaceful night are futile. besides clean-up. 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. A "Candid Camera Fiend" or two stay behind to record on film our march down the hill. we watch Mutzie present Barry with a diploma from Fibber's College. Friday. For Shabbat we snap pictures of our haverim in Habonim shirts and white shorts. Still gathered on the rocks. 150 . After lunch. Back by the tents and joined by the kitchen committee. we have arts and crafts and scoutcraft. we have free time. and Dave R. 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. while at the top of the hill are horseshoe and deck tennis games. Now bed and sleep at last. and following supper. our tents and persons spotless. Thursday. and preparation for a debate-" Resolved: That Socialism as such will solve the Jewish problem. Down by the kitchen we have ping-pong. July 14th There are discussions this morning on the trials in Russia. Reading circles are the only activities this afternoon. but-Miriam L. 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." Today the equipment for all sorts of sports is spread over the camp.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. Ready for supper.
Farm land stretches out on all sides. the bottom floor used as a dining room and kitchen. Five wigwam tents in a straight line and a large and spacious two-story barn. What triumph! What humiliation! The drama group presents an anti-war play at the camp fire tonight. My first stop this year was at Kendall. the same program and activities-yet each Kvutza represents a unique world of its own. the same bylaws. One expects them all to be a like . Swimming is naturally one of the main activi- 151 . the top floor used as a handicrafts and cultural room -that is the entire camp. 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. schools. Amid much excitement and conflicting emotions in the cheering section. civilizations-so do the varying backgrounds of our haverim place an individual stamp upon each Camp Kvutza.for are they not organized and managed the same way. New York. and the author. of course.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Saturday. Just as all settlements in Eretz Yisrael differ. Accord Diary.a few trees mark the spot. because the people who live there are differentcoming from various countries. homes. written by Benny Lappin and produced by Ruth L. there is dancing and singing. July 16th Today is the final conflict: let each stand in his place-the campers play a baseball game of chills and thrills. Situated on a plain on the shore of Lake Ontario-no mountains or bills . the Kvutza which serves our upstate New York movements. the same institutions. Most of the farmers are Norwegians and the relations between the camp and the farmers are excellent. the campers beat the madrichim 17-7. And so the second week of camp ends. Afterwards. one from the other.
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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
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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
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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
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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-
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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
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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-
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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
that is. For example. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. Yes. there are the bonim. Likewise. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. 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. dear prospective madrich. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur. And now. and go on night watch. You will be subject to nightly outpourings of their hearts and will be forced to promise them you will try to get the work committee to put them on guard or kitchen duty with their current crushes. and if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . And so. however. sleep. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology. to attend a staff meeting. On the whole. gossip. And finally.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation. you will be required. 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. after everyone else is in bed. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich.
got no more than half way up. one needs little convincing that a post-midnight snack is in order. loudly shhh-ing each other although it's quite obvious that the whole camp is still awake. I decided to try it again. you won't be able to keep your mind on the meeting anyway. who is pretty good looking so we had no trouble getting several girls to go. and when the darn meeting is going to end. and all troop over to the dining room. someone found out that I had the only knapsack in Kvutza. in back of 161 . After such a fatiguing meeting. Sandy. and when you're going to prepare the discussion you have to lead tomorrow morning. but being out of condition. You'll keep wondering if the cabin that's doing all the yelling is yours. 1942 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS Dear Mom: You know that right across the way from the camp there is a high mountain called Mt. It is a custom that every summer some campers decide to do the nearest thing to suicide and climb the mountain for what they call a "good time. That was three years ago." Well. but having become a fine physical specimen at Kvutza. Two persons are appointed. If you do not fall prey to the sandman's charms. I once tried it. Finally it does break up. Jeannie Reisapfel. Jupiter-and here the story lies. Jerry. so they let me carry all the lunches plus a first aid kit and camera. We were to be guided by the forest ranger.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING case of insomnia. We hiked two miles in the nice summer sun and began to climb the mountain single file. but only on the condition that it be continued tomorrow when everyone will be fresh as a daisy. and they do quite a bit of hurrying about in an effort to keep at least three people awake at all times. to rotate about the room pricking the madrichim with pins. As we started out. in two-hour shifts.
I played soldier all the way down and it was very realistic. I shall explain: A firebreak is a long. I stopped. If you don't know what a firebreak is. I am sure that this tractor found the steepest part of the whole range of mountains. How sorry I was. It is made by big tractors which try to find the steepest part of the mountain they can go up without turning over. There was of course no turning back. took pictures (my film). designed to stop a forest or brush fire.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL me. Love. and then began to go down. Norman 1942 162 . Just as we got near camp. and ate lunch (sandwiches and fruit from the knapsack I was carrying). Dave Bleviss was at the rear and no one could squeeze by. bad been eating garlic all morning and whenever we stopped. Also it is quite uncomfortable to find that you cannot stop at the edge of a cliff. Once you begin going down it is very difficult to stop. Well. Oh yes. too. After fighting our way through the brush (the ranger and I wore short pants and my legs are disfigured for life). I almost became a casualty when I tripped. he would put his head over my shoulder to see what was doing. goodbye now. After waiting until we all gathered-including the loose parts-we began to hike home. I want to stay longer. Don't worry. It is not true that it is easier to come down than to go up. Mom. sang songs which the ranger liked though he didn't know what they were all about (nor did we). send me $7 and a snake-bite kit. Your dear son. cleared strip through the mountain. we found a rattlesnake had been killed a few minutes before we got there. We went down a firebreak. We sat around. I felt just like killing a rattlesnake. we arrived at the top. and made me sick. We finally got to the bottom drawn out over a half mile or so of ground.
Also make sure that they are washable.they must be able to endure rough treatment. Drag out all your old clothes. antiquated clothes that you have long ago forgotten about. Therefore. because we play. we are very active in Kvutza. and you will have a great part of your Kvutza wardrobe. very little will remain of them anyway. we know what kind of a laundry man you are. and dress shirts for Shabbat and Sundays.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING NEED HELP PACKING? Spring is well along. School will follow soon after. and presto. and just between us. play shirts. But your clothes must have one important virtue . we are in Kvutza! Yet. clothes. 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. First. clothes that are too dilapidated for city wear. some of us don't feel so easy about this packing business. Have your wardrobe include work shirts (for we all work). Nothing is too bad for Kvutza when it comes to clothes. let me-a veteran-give you a few hints as to what to pack and what not to pack. too. Our parents 163 . because by the time you go home. You see. And once the Kvutza has been awakened from its winter's sleep. You are going to wash them yourself. 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.
we go to it (in the form of a swimming pool). I'm sure to forget to bring some. I'm not going to lend you mine. Oh. a cap. Your pajamas must not be too nice though because your neighbor might mistake them for fancy slacks and borrow them for use on some important occasion. I almost forgot to mention the pants that go with the shirts. 164 . reading and study groups. So you might as well take along some sheets and warm blankets. Perhaps you'll feel like sleeping for some strange reason one night. One item that should be carefully chosen is shoes. Brrr! Nights are sometimes cold in Kvutza. you'll need a raincoat and boots. and FUN! But in order to get around in presentable shape. we don't always hide from water. bless me. in which case. it can rain even in Kvutza. haverim. Besides. By all means. and warm pajamas. a warm jacket.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. And don't forget the shoe polish. That's just to remind you that you'll need a bathing suit. because I'm warning you. Have a pair of hard-soled shoes for hiking and a pair of soft-soled ones for play and work. and a bathrobe. So don't forget these important items. We have indoor games in the dining hall. Mind you. Shorts or slacks or anything that goes under that general heading by a stretch of the imagination will do. yet you can never tell. But we don't let that interfere with our activities. don't forget your pants. You'll need a sweater. Yet. Although I know that you are not intending to do much sleeping (how often I've heard a haver shout into the face of his madrich: "Do you think I came all this way to go to sleep?"). When it doesn't come to us (in the form of rain). I'll have to use yours.
We had slept under its benevolent shadow that summer of 1955. constructing the frame. knotting the ropes. The builders remember the watchtower-chopping the trees. About filling in the details. Our feet remembered all-day hikes. Then our hands remembered the semaphore code: K-i-n-n-e-r-e-t s-he-l-i.. We remembered discussing leadership problems. The soles of our feet recollected our nature walks. thought-provoking periods. We remembered the arduous trek to the lake. We bade farewell to Kvutzat Kinneret. We remembered lively. The message was received! We had talked to each other from afar. raising the watchtower that would guard Kinneret. The scouts remembered how we had hiked through the swamps of Kinneret. tactics. you will have use for the extra pairs on masquerade nights. Our toes could feel again the sand rippling as we walked through the Farband camp on the way to 165 .. we remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us.. If she is unreasonable in the amount of underwear she makes you take. Our eyes remembered watching for the answering flags flashing in the sun. 1944 KINNERET SHELI We stood quietly meditating in the gathering twilight of the field of Kinneret.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING That's the general idea. That last night. As we watched the torches for the last time. my advice is that you comply with your mother's demands. We remembered sleeping through them. And the memories engulfed us. The haverim who had built Kinneret gathered on the last night of the last season. We recalled nights of Hagana. Birdie Dekelbaum. haverim remembered the discussions we had had.
Kvutzat Kinneret. We swatted away at the infernal pests. We swam. We remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL swim. Once again we swayed and swerved to the sound of the shepherd's flute. The beauty of the Shabbat celebration haunted us. In our memories we sang. We had built it-Kinneret. We stood quietly in the gathering twilight. We bade farewell to a friend. The raft seemed to beckon to us anew. The cooling relief of the ointments soothed us. We danced again to the familiar tunes. We relived the glorious. The clammy feel of seaweed lingered in our minds. 1957 166 . to the rhythms of Eretz Yisrael. We remembered the mosquitoes only too well. Avraham Bass. comfortable feeling of Shabbat. This was our camp. We remembered Shabbat as dusk fell the last time at Kvutzat Kinneret. We recalled how we had danced the hora hour upon hour. we floated in a dream of memories.
comrades. this is called peace. there is no peace and your battle is not done. 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. Brothers. Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. The aeroplanes overhead wing their way with peaceful cargoes. The last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire. the sound of firing still is heard And the dazed survivors of your people flee before the same pursuing mob. the uniform of their captors only changed. 168 . the rifles are stacked.In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still. the bombracks off. The mighty of the earth decreed it so. resting in many lands. But brothers resting in many lands.
From the bitter hedgerow battles of Normandy. From the Rhineland plains and woods. From ghetto and from concentration camp. Bialystok. 169 . even from the waters of the seas. From beachheads and from far Pacific Isles with strange exotic names like Iwo Jima. cry for memorial. yet calls afresh each loved one gone. Only in a brief moment of council.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Even in this western land of liberty. Lublin. the roster of our dead commands memorial. Where in the same wide war fell our sons defending Kfar Giladi. the battle. from Warsaw. the hard-contested hills of Italy. Auschwitz and Stryj. The distant isles and seas engulf us with the magnitude of our loss. Brothers resting in the distant lands. the roll call of the resting places from continent to continent. The familiar faces missing from our ranks. Majdanek. the gaps that never can be filled. The record of the graves. And what avail soon crumbling stone carved in our sacred script to puzzle future archaeologists. the voices of the Nazi foe still echo and repeat the ancient vicious lies. for the remnant of the exile does not stop. The hundreds upon thousands upon millions. we pause to consider a fitting monument and to tell our losses. From every forest haunt and cave where desperate guerilla bands struck at the foe.
shivering limbs of the wasted few who somehow did not die. Lying in fields throughout the earth. Look and say. in graves of honor and in lime pits of shame. the weary. to the camp. Worn and weary but imbued with the flame which kindled them at the foot of Sinai's peak. from your graves look out! Look out upon your people! Look into the ghetto. Rest. 1945 170 . will they live? Will this your people. behind. Ahead. oh brothers.E. Habonim Convention. December. strewn before our feet. still further struggle. The records of an extinct folk. O Brothers. D. these dried bones yet live? With loving hands and humbled spirits.IN MEMORIAM Shall your memorial be the silence of forgotten history. shrunken. a line of valiant battles dearly won. into the ship that bears illegal freight out of the graveyard of Europe.G. for we dedicate to you a monument eternalWe are your memorial. And in the valley. Brothers. And the monument we dedicate is their own people. The mounds and graves of the ending of our seed We pause as on a mountain top and see. let us dedicate the memorial to our dead scattered through many lands.
unbelievable. She brought a real understanding of the meaning of education into our movement. We are at a loss as to what to say or do. all of us. Each time it seems that our best is taken. During one of the war years. she threw herself entirely into our work. as rosh of several madrichim groups. Her primary concern was always the development of the individual. Miriam came to us late. how to react. as rosh of our national funds work. 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. The small group discussions.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING MIRIAM BIDERMAN We are a movement of young people. even the old timers were able to learn a great deal from her. the mahaneh activities. as rosh of one of the mahanot. Each time it seems impossible. Thus she worked closely with the individual haver. Camp Kvutza-these she considered as means to an end. She understood her educational function not as one of directing the group. and as editor of Alot (the national publication specifically for our halutzim)-all these at the same time. Immediately. their purpose and justification being to instill values and attitudes within the haverim. Miriam was a school teacher by profession. She was among our most devoted. but as one guiding the individual. Nevertheless. she had a great capacity for hard work. she served as rosh of the New York region. 171 . She joined us when she was already in her twenties. She strove for selffulfillment in our movement even before she went on aliya. The number of haverim that we have lost is mounting too quickly. upon him she centered all her efforts. She came to us because she had decided upon the path of selfrealization. And she exerted a tremendous amount of influence upon those with whom she worked. when we were suffering from a critical shortage of leadership personnel.
indicate to us the creative being whose "life song" was "suddenly cut off. sensitive. with ability. understanding. to synthesize the old and the new." Her many letters to haverim gave us an insight into this devoted. she came to us with a deep appreciation for Jewish tradition.. in Baltimore. she left her heritage: a corps of responsible haverim. She was able to put meaning into Jewish tradition. she sought out young haverim with devotion. Miriam wrote prolifically and she has left us a rich legacy of her written word.IN MEMORIAM Her aim was to prepare younger haverim. of her articles in our various publications. She continually championed traditional practices in our movement. or Tisha B'Av program in which Miriam had a hand always made a powerful impression. Shabbat celebration. in New York. Her sense of complete identification with Jewishness and her acute sensitivity to the tragedies of the Jewish people are a reflection of her traditional background. passed away. Miriam was brought up in an Orthodox religious home. troubled havera who "before her time .. Wherever she went. Thus. The volume of her Shabbat and other program material. Both in our movement here and later in the kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. 172 . and worked with them. And wherever she worked. with. the lack of traditional observance caused her a great deal of discontent. in Winnipeg. a Third Seder. for the tasks of movement leadership and self-realization.
that we felt that one way of its taking root in America was to send out emissaries. It was in 1934. There is always an aura about the figure of a man who carries the title of "first" but who we do not remember. Ben Cherner had not only served his apprenticeship in the movement but had already acted as an organizer for the Young Poale Zion Alliance. But the National Executive (four people we were. but he knew how to train people to follow in his footsteps so that there was a second and third and fourth. contact parents and prospective madrichim. though you may not know his name or you may not realize that you know him. all told) decided that he must remain for another year to help in the transition from Young Poale Zion Alliance to Habonim. He had done his duty. shortly after Habonim was established. he was a veteran. The adjective stuck to Ben because he had the faculty of attracting people to himself to carry on. and was supposed to receive permission for aliya. I am certain that he took no courses in leadership technique. . Many usages prevailing in the movement to this day are traditions which had their inception with him. he had had his fill of peanuts and of traveling for the movement. who toured the New England region in 1933. We didn't think of shlihim from Eretz Yisrael. By 1934. and transform them into a mahaneh of Habonim. The outstanding "first" in relation to Ben was that lie was the first organizer of Habonim. By 1934. It was at that time that we decided to be heartless toward Ben. get together the remnants of the YPZA. I do not think that Ben went to college or had much formal training. We were very modest.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING BEN CHERNER Many of you know Ben Cherner. We wanted organizers to establish our new system of education. His task was to go into a community. as we subsequently have been to every organizer and shaliah. By 1934. The stories of organizers struggling and living on peanuts refer to Ben Cherner. 173 .
The organizer for whom Ben paved the way made Chicago the center of our movement for many years. Hence a good deal depended on whom was sent. The movement was kept alive by personal contact. we obtained $75 from several Los Angeles haverim. To understand the significance of Ben's organizational tours. the Buffalo movement waned. It was a dynasty: from Ben Cherner to Joey Criden. soft-spoken boy. Naturally. When Moshe was called to New York. 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. There was not too much money for printing. The visitor was the warm link representing the movement. 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. His first stop was Buffalo. the stream of organizers. The mail was inadequate. That trip in 1935 was the first link in the chain which ultimately led to the development of the Los Angeles mahaneh. He set up several mahanot. one must visualize the years in which these were made. Ben was a simple. of a Far West in which Folk Shulen graduates knew Hebrew. There existed a loose connection between the New York center and the groups. We were getting news of a growing community in Los Angeles. Then Ben went to Chicago. After negotiations. his home town.IN MEMORIAM Ben was not much of an orator. He went into a city without benefit of publicity notices or mass meetings. There is a "first" in connection with Ben which relates to the Pacific Coast. He spoke quietly and intimately. He went to private homes and got 174 . from Joey to Moshe Goldberg. the summer Kvutza. He knew how to sing and he knew how to gather people around him. we called on Ben to make the trip.
Of Ben's many qualities. he set an example. which was paradise by contrast. Ben's was a permanent influence because he did not talk only of Eretz Yisrael. The senior leaders of the Labor Zionist movement set a disheartening example by not permitting their children to remain in Eretz Yisrael. his. That too was a service. When he left. to go to Eretz Yisrael was a feat. his primary one was his humanity. He liked young people. It was in 1936 that he finally left. It was into such conditions that Ben plunged to try to clean up the place. unsanitary farms struggling under extremely difficult conditions. There was no other candidate who could have done the organizational work. approachability. We felt that we were committing a crime against Ben by holding him back but there was no alternative. were serious. He tried to maintain the agricultural training center in Illinois. in a sense. He was young himself. They were small. in Minneapolis. Even his leaving was. He loved people.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING people around him to sing with him and talk with him. American halutzim who could not adjust to the rigors of pioneering did not help the atmosphere by returning home. At that time. poor. who returned from Eretz Yisrael and spread stories to justify themselves. It was more than a one-man job. The fact that Ben failed is not a reflection on him. We had held him back two years beyond his time. and one in Illinois. No course in leadership or technical training or knowledge could have made 175 . adjusted. For a/person who is normal. to live in it. and refined. A large percentage of the "halutzim" were malcontents who could not earn a living. The repercussions of the action of the Detroit group. There was one specific job Ben tried to do which ultimately resulted in failure. When Enzo Sereni came. inadequate. there was a nucleus which somehow carried on. a useful service. we consolidated all of these farms into the one at Creamridge. there were training farms in Baltimore. and to introduce a new atmosphere. Perhaps this accounted for his ability to gather young people around him.
176 . His singing possessed an enchanting. That was one of the reasons why he did not return to America as a shaliah. He would not get excited or rush off to his work. He was by no means a professional singer. we appreciated his enthusiasm. He considered himself a soldier. He had stuck to Naan no matter how strongly he was urged to join the American kibbutz. His singing had a good deal to do with his influence in the movement.IN MEMORIAM up for that basic human element. 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. quality. some camp fire traditions and some of the stories reprinted by us in Haboneh have their origin in Ben's fertile mind. he held them for hours. Our attitude was changed by the realities of life. He showed his enthusiasm by explaining his idea and then setting about carrying it out so well that the job seemed easily done. In our relationship to Ben. In that period. Ben did not believe in the concentration of Americans in Eretz Yisrael. Only during the last two years did he begin to waver and to talk of transferring to Kfar Blum. or anyone to refer to. Yet when he sat with a group of people around a camp fire. but Ben was stubborn. so solid that perhaps they account for one of the tragedies of his life. Similarly. when he helped to organize the Union of Jewish World Combatants. the rest of us did not believe in it either. when he went to Eretz Yisrael. Many of our songs are versions which he taught to the first groups of Habonim. it was realization. Ben never thought of himself as a leader. Ben had very solid convictions. When he went to do organizational work. For good or for ill. He never permitted himself to think of. We did not want an American landsmanshaft in Eretz Yisrael. himself as a leader. They sat and sang without moving or talking. it was in the line of duty. it was in the line of duty.
He had become widely known and loved-he was no longer Danny Ginsburg of Detroit. he would talk of simple and prosaic tasks. That. The knowledge of his irrevocable loss to us is difficult to comprehend. "one must see his life in terms of a personality that was unfolding.. impossible to console.. he was Danny Ginsburg of Habonim. His role in Habonim for more than eight years is invaluable. 177 . "To understand Danny. where he made his most specific contributions to the life of Habonim. 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. Saadia Gelb Furrows. that we carry forward that struggle today. his future was inextricably bound up with the highest hopes of the movement. He would talk of the needs for another Kvutza and another mahaneh and of dogged perseverance in organizational work. and he would finish by saying that." wrote one of his friends from the Midwest. is the fitting memorial to Ben Cherner. it is the realization that they represented a continuation of the Jewish struggle for survival which began before them. and that those after us will not falter. At first he saw one important objective ahead -that was the establishment of a real Jewish institution in the heart of the American scene.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING If Ben were here and could talk to us. developing. this kind of obstinacy would succeed. 1947 DANNY GINSBURG Once again the battlefront has claimed the life of one of our haverim. and ever expanding . January. If there is meaning in the memory of our haverim and of their services. of the trials and tribulations of training and of self-realization in Eretz Yisrael. in the long run. it seems to me.
a determination that held out until he convinced or was convinced. near Detroit. he became rosh of the Detroit Habonim. When he went into active service more than twenty months ago. strong determination. "Those who saw Danny at work in Kinneret. and his place and importance within Habonim grew as he did. There was always a glow about him as he worked. He was one of those exceptional individuals who throws himself into every activity with the completeness of a passionate spirit. through going to Eretz Yisrael. to contribute to Kibbutz Aliya discussions. Kinneret. Sometime later. and under his energetic leadership. the movement there flourished remarkably. that would be built by and for Habonim. nothing could stop him. After his initiation of the work for a summer Kvutza near Detroit. sincerity. Yes. of hard work. " The many members of Habonim throughout the country who remember him at conventions as chairman at sessions. 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. Danny's was truly a constantly developing personality. He continued. who have known him at seminars and other movement gatherings. to take part in the solution of prob- 178 .IN MEMORIAM This goal was the establishment of a summer Kvutza. lie arrived at the personal decision to join Kibbutz Aliya and prepare himself for a true realization of his burning idealism. When Danny danced. find it difficult to separate the two. and above all. as a leader in discussions. His influence was felt as well among the haverim in the neighboring cities. well remember that it was not only physically that he worked hard. Danny continued to participate in Habonim life. All who came in contact with him were imbued with his spirit of idealism. it was with the determination born of his intense sincerity. through the mails.
After all. in the minds of all of us. "I guess I haven't done much in my short life so far. But in case I don't. he wrote to his Detroit haverim in these words: "Naturally. to bring some good into the world. then I think my life so far has been worthwhile. But if I've served as a stimulus to even a few kids to try to reach higher. Furrows. I only hope I'll get a chance to make it more so in the future. we're all only little coos in a machine and if some of us have to fall by the wayside in order that the machine should continue to run smoothly. I hope that I'll be able to come back safely and put into practice those things in which I believe and about which I've written to you and the others so much. 1945 179 . but we who are carrying on.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING lems of the local groups he had led as well as those of national Habonim. When Danny learned that he and his men were to take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima. He continued to be. not the little cogs. one of the leading members of Habonim. through embodying his spirit in our work in Habonim. May. perhaps the leading member of the future." He has not been granted the chance he hoped for. I haven't learned very much-just enough to realize that I still have a great deal to learn. it's all right too. can prove the true worth of his short life. it's the machine that counts.
even those who had never met him. Louis. He was killed in an automobile accident on his way home from a meeting of Habonim. hard-working boy who became so close to them. unselfish. He has left a gap which cannot be filled. 1947 180 . He came to be one of the most active and respected haverim in the machaneh. 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. Halutziut came easily for Nate. On his days off. he left home and began training at the National Farm School. he threw himself into movement work more vigorously than ever. both in his work in the movement and in his relations with his haverim. he was a frequent visitor at the Hehalutz Training Farm at Creamridge. unassuming. because he personified the ideals of our movement. He was preparing for life in Eretz Yisrael at an age when most haverim are just beginning to consider halutziut. He was a complete halutz-devoted. New Jersey. February. At sixteen. One of his first activities was a visit to the training farm at Creamridge. His loss is a tremendous blow for all of us. Those haverim now in Eretz Yisrael will remember the quiet. On his return to St.IN MEMORIAM NATE KANTER Every haver in Habonim knew Nate Kanter. he entered the Navy and served two and a half years. to him it was the natural way of life. At the time of his death he was making plans to leave for Eretz Yisrael in the spring. When he reached eighteen. largely in the Pacific. working ceaselessly. Furrows.
The entire kibbutz was shocked and stricken by his death. While he was working. And all the time. the desire to come to Eretz Yisrael and take part in its upbuilding. art. People gathered and stood together in small groups for comfort. young and vital. and his work with the ships He spoke simply and beautifully. It is still incredible. 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 . The quietness and stillness were uncanny. There was an escort of men with guns to protect us. Kieve said a few words before the coffin was lowered into the ground. April. 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. He spoke about the conflict in Ari's nature: How he loved beautiful things a good book. That picture of Ari. on the other hand. His body was taken to the Mazkirut building. a glass of wine-and how he had. and from there. 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. . will always remain with me. Kieve spoke about his years in the movement. . various pictures of Ari flashed through my mind. his years at sea. Rose Breslau Furrows. The people followed near and behind the coffin. a trigger happy Arab from Salchia shot him in the back. 1948 181 . carried and driven to the little cemetery near the garden.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ARI LASHNER It happened yesterday between 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning. music. No one said anything.
he inspired in others a sincere and warm recognition of his own capabilities. With him went a whole period in the youth of those who grew up with him. and the movement produced. He went away many times before-to distant cities for the movement. good-humored greeting again. 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. of drives into the country. bringing in thousands on his Hagana ship. someone on whom we all leaned. to Europe and to Eretz Yisrael. For Ari exemplified the best that the combination of Judaism. You would never have guessed from Ari's quiet work-day. a ship that ran the blockade and then returned to Europe for a second load. We feel more alone in a darker world. to express their sense of loss. and he was destined to contribute in important measure to the Jewish State in the future. unchanged. His wife and child had gone to Eretz Yisrael before him. and a springtime era of the movement. of strolling about the city. the pleasurable interludes of gentle conversation. Everyone who knew him would agree to this. an inexhaustible source of reminiscence and humor. A cohesive group that grew up in the movement and had planted firm roots in Eretz Yisrael feels shattered. diverse individuals have felt impelled to communicate with others who knew him.just because of these qualities . For he was a central figure. but left such deep impressions on all whom he met. There will never take place that meeting in Eretz Yisrael to which I looked forward so greatly. for just as he was a leader of the most complete modesty and honesty . From all parts of the world. He had 182 . He went through life so unassumingly.IN MEMORIAM ARI LASHNER Ari Lashner has left us. America. But always before. The ignorant Arab sniper's bullet that cut short his life at Kfar Blum on March 16th caused far more than a personal loss. there was his smiling. to war as a marine. of 'music.
Not that he was a "gentleman. And there was frequent cause for anger and impatience in those years. He was never heard by anyone to shout in anger. who hated even the raised voice. Principles divorced from circumstances and action did not exist for him except as scholastic exercises with which he was -very impatient. it is his insistence that the individual search for his own truth and act in consequence." unless "gentleman" is redefined to be what he was. For a time. But he never drove others. and impatience. for which he was too naturally gifted). What he could not tolerate in himself and others was covering up the problem. or seeking a way out by processes of rationalization. Thus he could not consider the fate of the Jewish people without including himself in the solution. or to descend to the vulgar or unseemly in any way. But he longed for the day of peace when he could realize himself in some way in the Jewish Land. attaching at least as much weight to his feelings as to his reason. He died in war. He had strong passions. by the development of universal theories which solved all problems. tempering the feelings. this realistic tendency intervened even in his enjoyment of abstract beauty in painting and poetry (never in music. excusing oneself. and respecting feeling in others. to gossip in malice. Ghandi could not have abhorred violence more than Ari Lashner. He assumed you were wrestling honestly with your problems as he was with his. tolerant and receptive 183 . and under the pressure of very wide experience. there was a definite mellowing in him. which all who experienced him felt.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING not known when or how he would see them again and he wanted to be with them desperately. yet not your own. But in recent years. anger. He did not enjoy the conscious role of "organizer" or even of halutz. If a keynote is to be sought in his pervasive influence. In this connection. he gave full credence to the role of the irrational in life.
visit galleries. The piece went on interminably. He was a Socialist. after our Young Poale Zion Alliance meetings. 184 . He saw the evils of America. His greatest pleasure was to drive through its countryside. walk in cities. but he weighed things relatively and he knew the enormous importance of the measure of basic civil liberties enjoyed here. we went driving out on Long Island until dawn. observe people.IN MEMORIAM by nature. whether in art or in farming. too. and of complex ways of life. into formal molds with neat tags was foreign to his mind. He knew it well to California. parks. concert balls. until almost the last full day together. From the earliest days when. the enjoyment of beautiful things in many forms became a welcome release for him. stores. but he would take any capitalism over a Socialism that gave a whit less of individual liberty. He enjoyed greatly the scene of the “visit to the uncle” in War and Peace. He loved honesty and simplicity. He loved to stop at roadside inns. of people. He felt humble and inferior to the point of discomfort before anyone with special talent. The very casting of whole societies. He muttered to himself: "What on earth is this endless hodgepodge?" It was announced as the Kreutzer Sonata. While he understood and admired a Vronsky and an Anna Karenina. his favorite was Levin. I associate him with trips into the green countryside and 1 recall his avid appreciation of it. when we drove into New England. He once told of hearing a musical work on the radio while working on something. but without the slightest trace of the envy that stems from vanity and leads to pretenses and false emulation. Any account of Ari would be incomplete without mentioning his love for America. The man with a "reputation" as a music lover doesn't tell such stories about himself with detached enjoyment.
There never were any dramatic announcements or obvious soul struggle. Socialists and Communists drove the black and white stereotypes of doctrinaire radicalism to absolute extremes. and it was difficult to perceive at what stage this process actually became a form of reduction ad absurdum. We Labor Zionists participated in all radical activities but as a collateral thing. The concept of doubt in the sense of debating one's path by purely mental processes cannot rightly be used for him. Robinson era at City College. actually. without some trustworthy reference point in reality. and thought uneasily himself that he was. But they were a little above him. Ari admired the courage and the intellectual acumen of the radical leaders and even admitted that their panaceas might be right. Impossible. It was the Frederick B. These have been called his "doubts" and his "conflict." But he spoke about the other things that were nice to do with a certain detachment. another essential characteristic is illustrated. He dropped his teacher-training course when it gradually became apparent to him that his future lay with the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The 1930's were a difficult test for radical youth. He saw the Jewish people again singled out for persecution and he felt that concrete' special efforts by Jews themselves were demanded. He was unaware of the courage it took to drift with the tide of one's being. He spoke nostalgically about the interesting careers others were following. and every week saw demonstrations. Here. and counterdemonstrations. He seemed to be. just drifting. He was always ready to admit that the paths others were following were right. Ari Lashner's reference point was his emotional Jewishness and Labor Zionism to which he attached significant weight. expulsions. What it was and what had gone into it was flowing irrevocably in a certain 185 . Their solutions for the whole world still left him uncomfortable as an individual. His life was the result of an evolutionary process. He felt like a victim of himself. In the rarefied atmosphere of college.
desires. Ari would not want to be singled out or separated from his comrades. by virtue of his great truth to himself. the expanded hachshara farms. April. Camp Kvutza. Every soul is precious. is true. increased aliya. in the conventional sense. how he spoke at camps and conferences-vital and human. I am rendering a faint duty inadequately because I knew Ari. as every individual was in life. Furrows. for my part. no analogy with anyone else. and acts known and beloved somewhere. I merely consider that he has crossed another boundary before us as he did so often before. Harry Levtow. So he followed the path of the halutz. And so for every one of those who are dying in Eretz Yisrael. of thoughts. There is a whole generation of young people who remember how Ari led them in song and dance. but the epitome of us.IN MEMORIAM direction and be would have thought it absurd that some sudden idea should be able to change it. It is probably reserved only to those who knew him to feel the true loss. faithfully. Labor Eretz Yisrael and the ideals of halutziut proudly became the central educational idea of the movement. working. I do not think of Ari as having died. emphasis on Hebrew. 1948 186 . sometimes looking wistfully back at the green fields of America. all these have come about through the vision. courage. one of us. there are those to whom the loss is a terrible reality. nobly. It is futile to try to recreate by words the vital essence of a complicated personality like Ari. and energy of the small group of which Ari was a central figure. And he did it as usual-well. 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. Every one of those good Hebrew names we read is only a symbol of a face smiling to someone. No hero picture. But the Yishuv has always commemorated its dead lovingly. It is not possible to believe and.
you learned that a few warm friendly words could easily quell the storm raging in him. Once he admitted to me that only because of the deep love for his father. We were met by the advance crew of a few boys. For the stormy nature of this boy. a few boxes of cups (without handles). On closer acquaintance. I well remember the delightful evenings and sunsets in the camp which were so inspiring. They felt free as birds and so did Hayim. and the discipline of a school. Hayim could be found on one of the cots in the tent. always seeking new thrills and experiences. and the old Ford that we were barely able to purchase for $10. We also found some boards for the future kitchen. The camp consisted of a hilltop cluttered with tents which had obviously seen better days in the army.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING HAYIM RAMBAM On a beautiful evening-it must have been about ten years ago-Rachel Siegel and I arrived by car at Camp Kvutza. He had a leader's qualities and could influence people either for better or worse. the walls of his home. And 187 . We were most impressed with the big. salvaged from Unser Camp for whose guests they were not deemed worthy." One of the advance crew was Hayim Rambam. He was drawn to the broad. open fieldsthe sort of boy that can develop into a hero or an adventurer. Tired after a day of hard work. We saw a different world. people who were tired of civilization and routine. He used to spend many days and nights with hoboes and his stories were remarkable. Our status as property owners was made complete when we obtained from a friendly storekeeper a prehistoric ice cream container that was to serve as our "refrigerator. he gave up that kind of life and returned home. We knew then that he was moody and ready to tell stories of his adventures throughout the United States. had proved too stifling. old farmer's stove. even in early childhood. He was an adventurer. and dishes (slightly cracked).
I am sure that it was solely to Hayim's credit that we came away that summer sound in limb. How well I remember that procession in the thick blackness. Hayim showed himself to be the second sort of person. Towards the end of the summer. We all gathered in our one "building. Here we are. was an obedient. riding in the Ford. Hayim was the driver of the Ford on which we depended for supplies from the nearby town and water from the well. 188 . on the other hand. because of whose caprices we always had to bring along a couple of "footmen" to help push when the inevitable need arose. lashed by the wind! It was one of those moments when old and young display all their shortcomings and weaknesses and. that constantly refused to get back to camp on time." squatting on the tables with only a roof overhead while the torrent of rain drenched us through the open sides. Incidents of that summer keep coming to mind." to whom many campers literally owed their lives. Hayim and I. The Ford that had not the least desire to climb the smallest hill. so we decided for safety's sake to make our way to a nearby boarding house. when a person may forget about and sacrifice himself for the general welfare. knee-deep in water. without a path to follow. a hurricane suddenly pounced upon us. Our ancient army tents.IN MEMORIAM many a time I thought that perhaps Hayim may turn out to be another Jack London. He was also our "life saver. We felt that the very foundation of our camp would not survive that night. destroying many houses in the neighborhood and flooding all the valleys. 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. willing servant in Hayim's skillful hands.
his enthusiasm. . While working in the fields. and now Joseph Rosenberg is reported missing in action at sea. The fourth of our haverim is gone. He dreamed of participating in the defense of the country . He was about to become rosh mahaneh of Detroit and he spent hours 189 . more serious in outlook. his devotion. less restless. a third while performing his duty in the Near East. One died flying in this country. he drank from a spring he did not know was contaminated. But a month later he was dead. I really learned to appreciate his character at the Leaders' Seminar in Pipersville in 1940. Hayim showed up in Jerusalem during a holiday. When he did not receive a certificate. Leak Brown Haboneh June. I was impressed with his youthfulness. I did not see him for a long time after that but heard he was employed as a tractor driver in Mikveh Yisrael. 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. a second was lost in a mission over Germany. It did not occur to him that tiny microbes would conquer his powerful body and quiet his stormy nature for eternity. 1942 JOSEPH ROSENBERG There will be many vacant places in our ranks when this war is over. Suddenly. In the meantime.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The work in Camp Kvutza became a form of training for Hayim. he went on his own. It was clear that Eretz Yisrael had had a marked effect upon him. He was much changed-more mature. and he hoped to obtain a certificate to go to Eretz Yisrael. . under the hot sun. I also went to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Jerusalem with my husband. his zeal.
We remember that when a Kibbutz Aliya was formed in Detroit. when we grow older. We remember how as rosh mahaneh of Detroit Habonim. he was certain that he would be able to organize a Habonim group. June.. We remember that when Joey came out to camp weekends.IN MEMORIAM with me discussing his plans. * * * * * Joey joined Habonim in 1935 at the age of eleven. Joey joined the local union and made himself heard there. Joey entered a trade school to prepare himself for the life of a halutz. He showed me his neat notebook. his ideas. 1944 190 . he spent every spare moment making contacts and speaking to people. We remember that while others were delving into deep discussion about the problems of labor. he led us through one of the strongest years of our existence. D.. He lived his life in search of a better world and gave his life in the struggle for it. But those who stayed with the group remember that while others were spouting high-sounding phrases about becoming halutzim. G. You may not know. I read his outlines. It is an irreparable loss for the movement here and for Kfar Blum in Eretz Yisrael. 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. Furrows. we talked about his doubts and his ambitions. B. his plans. D. Joey was one of the first to join and carry out its program.that during the period that he was stationed at San Diego in training. he would do more work than others had done all week.
Yet that is what has occurred to Habonim through the murder of Enzo Sereni in Dachau on November 17-18. and he told me the story of his search for Enzo Sereni by whose side he had once worked in America: “ ‘I was a member of one of the Jewish Brigade's search teams. we are finally beyond any question of doubt certain that Enzo is dead-dead at the age of thirty-nine. His mission was to work with Italian partisans behind the German lines. 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. engaged in the search for prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates in Germany. The details of his capture are not known. but traces of him. after his capture by the Germans. and now a sergeant in the Second Battalion of the Jewish Brigade. Sereni. and together with American haverim. 1944. I obtained permission from the British army bureau in charge of these searches to institute a search for Enzo Sereni. Eretz Yisrael delegate to the American Habonim. A letter from Kieve Skidell tells the following story which ends all hope that Enzo. it was primarily Enzo Sereni. as you may know. missing in action for over a year. Ben Zion Ilan. Today. led to the concentration camp at Dachau. Together with Ben Zion Ilan of Afikim who was then an Eretz Yisrael delegate to the youth movement. through a search conducted by Ben Zion (now a sergeant in 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. whose energy and imagination made Habonim possible. about whom relatives in the Allied countries had made inquiries. one-time halutz from America. might still be alive: “On the streets of Paris I ran into Sgt. Together with another member of the team. as Hehalutz delegate. 191 . when the best part of his contribution to Zionism surely lay ahead of him.
Resident at Tel Aviv. His body was cremated at the local crematorium. his own tormentors no doubt among them. We started to look for the pastor in the monasteries in Cologne and Munich and learned that he had gone back to Dachau to help the inmates there and become the confessor of the SS troopers who are now imprisoned there.IN MEMORIAM We had heard that he was at one time known to have been together with a Dominican pastor by the name of Roth. those ashes will be placed there together with those of our other martyrs. “ ‘We then looked up the pastor. Of his end he knew nothing since he had been taken away from Dachau before it came. 192 . all of whom have disappeared without a trace. V3 (code for member of the British forces). Barda. He remembered that he was usually together with one French and two other British officers. he was bubbling with energy and intellectual curiosity. When the projected memorial to the Gola is erected in Jerusalem. we filled an urn with ashes from the crematorium. Taken to Special Punishment Cell for interrogation. Shmuel. Died 18 November 1944. Those were not his ashes alone but they were sacred. It turned out that he had been the secretary of the block Sereni was in and he remembered him well. Sereni impressed him as a man of extremely high intellectual acumen. and he couldn't forget how even in the environment of Dachau. 17 November 1944. Born 22 June 1905 at Jerusalem. 113160. Block 23. " 'Before leaving Dachau. we turned immediately to the card index of all those who had ever been in the place. and there we found a card with the following information on it: “ ‘Prisoner No. who had been in the same block with him in Dachau. He remembered well the long discussions they used to have on philosophical as well as world political and Jewish topics. “ ‘When we came to Dachau. Entered 9 October 1944. “ ‘One can only surmise from this information that he was brought to his death by torture.
as I recall. Apparently he never slept except for forty winks occasionally on buses and on railroad coaches-and every morning when he was in New York. Soon after his earliest appearance in America. One day. it became a current story that Sereni spoke the best broken English anyone had ever heard. Another blow to my own pride was the way he went through the Hebrew press-or any other reading matter. I woke up. I came back from a trip out of town in the wee hours of the morning. I never did find out when he arrived. Whatever the language. when a report reached us that Sereni had been seen alive in the concentration camp at Mauthausen. We were skeptical because some Brigade boys had been there around that time and had said nothing about it. only a few months ago.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING " 'For us the search seemed ended. In this way I hoped to find out when Enzo did come in. as far as that goes. Even those who lived with him at that famous Bet Hehalutz on Riverside Drive probably never knew when he awoke. to find Sereni sitting opposite me at his desk. We who worked with him in the office of Hehalutz were consumed with envy and despair at his incredible energy and tirelessness.' " To those who knew Enzo there is no need to define our loss. I remember. I had been rather vain of my speed in reading but Sereni was insufferably superior. I determined not to go home to clean up but to get the rest of my sleep on a bench in the office. he would sail through texts like a swift Italian breeze. would appear at the office bright and early to greet the first-comers and shame the others.M. going through the Eretz Yisrael press. Austria. There is no longer any doubt. he. and there was no trace of him whatsoever. Everywhere he went. we went out there and got permission from the Russian commandant of nearby Linz to visit the place. but to make sure. between 7:30 and 8:00 A. But there is no one there today but a number of Russian troops who are billeted there. We all 193 . he left an indelible impression.
of course. in all his dangerous missions for the Histadrut. Sereni enjoyed many elements of ultimate security which enabled him to be not only daring. In fact. the flashing play of his wit and thought. his paradoxes and rapid-fire patter. with roots in Italy as far back as 70 A. efficiently marked to indicate the essential items for digesting or writing up. He threw himself with unlimited devotion-perhaps the proper word is abandoninto the cause he wished to serve. according to repute. and a strong sense of the direction in which he wished to go. he had less need than they to count costs. Sereni would be able to deposit it all on my desk. I was a witness to the same phenomenon here. which have recently appeared in the Eretz Yisrael press. 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. It was not only the Germans with their gruendlichkeit who were uneasy at his mental athletics. I noted in the comments on Sereni's death. He had a firm viewpoint.IN MEMORIAM harbored dark suspicions about how thoroughly he had read. but after a halfhour with a huge batch of literature. 194 . perhaps. He never counted costs-one of the things. A scion of a rather wealthy. but one might even say a daredevil. and with assured status in the academic and professional society of contemporary Rome. in conversation. Then afterwards. a fighter in a certain sense. prominent Roman Jewish family. even made them rather suspicious. Sereni was. Sereni was so clever that slower minds distrusted him. They were inclined to worry about his most innocent proposal for fear of some ingenious trap. he always knew something about the material we had just covered which had escaped our more plodding attention-and never could we find anything he had missed.D. 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. which set him apart from many comrades was that in certain things.
In spite of a frantic search they could not find Sereni until midnight. He was indeed a man whom an opponent had to know to love. covering the theory and practice of both German Nazism and Italian fascism. and they could not get him to leave until he had made a few last points. At last they discovered the prison where he was kept and were permitted to see him. never were they more wrong. was almost fantastically reflected in his volatile whims and witticisms. He was also capable of using an argument largely for its effect. In the most furious argument. After a while she found Prinz and he was released. indeed. They found him in the midst of a lively discussion with his guards. Sereni was basically cool. In the utmost heat of contention. I can well believe that he sustained an intense mental activity in his last days at Dachau. because in the most opposing statements he could appreciate the grains of truth. gave him another formidable advantage in debate which only increased the confusion and unfounded suspicions of many opponents. It is true that he used his opponents' lower resistance to fire deliberately.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The same lusty combativeness marked his fights for his ideas within the Histadrut. the product of a scientifically-trained mind. Prinz's wife learned of the affair and tore the town apart trying to locate the two and obtain their release. Opponents often mistook his vehemence for vindictiveness. Rabbi Joachim Prinz tells this story of Sereni. This. Sereni's fundamental open-mindedness. He boiled rapidly but only on the surface. 195 . He was capable of the most astounding self-contradictions and mental flexibility. Sereni remained detached and capable of appreciating an opposing view. 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.
were in reality tentative statements. of course. But he was an extreme realist as well.IN MEMORIAM Shlomo Grodzensky tells this of his first encounter with Enzo: He met a sturdy little Italian." Said Grodzensky: "Do you believe in Marxism. 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. so to speak. and often went to practically fantastic lengths of logic in this matter. or simple selfdelusion if one took the Hashomer Hatzair view. He therefore argued that the Jewish worker must have the idealism to come down to the Arab level in order to meet him and. What particularly upset the assurance of some of us was that 196 . of course. raise the standard of living by cooperative methods of consumption and mutual aid. Practically rubbing his hands with glee. I remember when he was in this country. meant either deferring such solidarity to an indefinite future if one took the Mapai view. 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. 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. and we never knew how seriously to take them. then?" Outraged. just off the boat. who at once asked whether it were true that there was a current vogue for Marxism in America. experimental hypotheses. Reluctantly. Enzo was always a strong adherent of the idea of a Jewish-Arab collaboration. Enzo shot back: "What do you think I am. I'm a first-rate expert at arguing Zionism from a Marxist basis. in Sereni's mind. All these. on the theory that the Arab's must be raised to the Jewish level. a simpleton. 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. Sereni said: "Excellent! You know.
suffered its casualties like any other rural settlement. and what he thought. Sereni knew very well what the costs were of Arab terrorism to the Jews. I was astonished to hear that Enzo was not allowed to stand his turn at guard duty because. it could not stop him from breaking the rule against walking through certain officially designated dangerous areas between Rehovot and Givat Brenner. even to a notion of provisional. Sereni had obviously considered that factor already for he promptly replied that there were also instances. the first few times he had gone out without a rifle. However. entailed serious consequences in action for Sereni. He would never wait for a bus to take him home and he scoffed at the danger from Arab 197 . I remember an instance by which I was particularly impressed: In America. though the kibbutz would not assign him to stand watch. one might even say heuristic. 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. where peace and mutual forbearance had ensued between groups after a decisive measuring of strength. As a member of a kibbutz which. as I learned. But this was no final stand for Sereni. during the period of my own stay in Eretz Yisrael (1939). notably the British-Boer case. if only in order to make them think on their own. It was brought up in discussion that bloodshed between groups had historically tended to implant mutual hatred that long outlasted the fighting.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sereni delighted in the forceful paradox as a method of presentation and loved to shock his youthful audiences out of their received doctrines. value in his life-course. Even the most fleeting adherence to an idea. he acted. When I came to Givat Brenner. Sereni argued that the disturbances of 1936-38 were a good thing in the history of Arab-Jewish relations. But these hypotheses were also formative elements in his own thoughts.
He told me that having had long conversations in America with Hayim Greenberg. Later. He was completely aware of it. But he took his bearings by love. We saw him as the "happy warrior" child. if you loved a woman. 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. romantic strain of love in Sereni. for this reason he would often mock us by declaring himself nearer a Christian than a Jew in religious sensibility. No. moving mountains of apathy and mental torpor with a logical witticism. He always had a childlike look. if I may abuse a phrase. approaching forty. confronting unforeseen and portentous immensities. I learned the basic intellectual reasons for these new meshugassen of Sereni's. taking delight in the explosive effects of his intellectual gunfire. full of fire and sparkle. he would acclaim you a Zionist. and I can attest to it. I remember Sereni loved to propound this question: "Tell me. bravely but with solemnity. Solemnity was a look I often saw in him at Givat Brenner. Far deeper than his intellectual constructions was a deep. In the recent picture. deracinated Jews-yet under Sereni's ministrations their success as kibbutz members was. Products of fascism. Sereni presents an altogether different aspect from what was familiar to us.IN MEMORIAM neighbors whom he had known. volunteered for sabotage and underground work behind the lines in Italy. when I spoke to him. ~ he looks like a lost child. let us say-would you give her up? " If you answered. 198 . This was the man who. and another claimed her-her husband. childlike. he had swung towards pacifism. But what was it which put those omens of fear into Sereni's eyes in his latest pictures? We can only guess. outstanding and phenomenally smooth. In a late picture taken in Eretz Yisrael and published in the memorial issue of Hapoel Hatzair.
From his latest picture. to learn to meet the inevitable situations of adult life. though only thirty-one when he died. Ben Halpern Furrows. but to take new strength from the spirit he displayed. as in the life of an individual. the Kibbutz Hameuhad. he had invested his love. are shaped and influenced by those few who conceive and develop the ideas which give it birth. As a movement grows up. his own home and family. to learn to mourn the death of a comrade. and later the Merkaz. We know from writings that reach us from Eretz Yisrael how deeply the split in the Mapai affected Sereni. Jews-Eastern European Jews. even Italian historiography. his own kibbutz. who died early in June. and the Italian people. his friends. Lithuanians and Germans alike. Givat Brenner. Italian philosophy. Mapai. German Jews. 199 . he contributed inestimably to the formulation of the program and policies of Habonim. He used to say that everywhere he went-to Eretz Yisrael.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING These things he loved: Italy-Italian art. and never had he failed to realize what he risked. December. 1945 IRV STERNBERG The early days in the life of a movement. a member of the National Executive. which he barely knew. the Histadrut. was a veteran in Habonim and its predecessor. to America-he invested his money in the Histadrut. Irv Sternberg. the Young Poale Zion Alliance. it must begin to accept the responsibilities of maturity. we see that it was able to put a reflection of fear even into those eyes. the Yiddish language. was one of those who contributed to the conception and development of Habonim. his metaphysical moorings. Irv. to Germany. He had invested far more than a lifetime of labor. One of the first organizers.
the type of material he assembled when he served as editor of Haboneh last year. his passion for the unique. 1944 200 . were reflected in those things he wrote. the background that molded all his discussions of our problems. His exceptional ability in artistic handwork led him to organize Habonim crafts groups. and long be grateful for the share he contributed to Habonim. Habonim will remember Irv. Irv nevertheless translated his Socialist Zionism into his personal life. conceive new ideas. At the founding convention of Habonim in Buffalo. Irv was a haver with diverse and intense interests. In 1939 Irv received some measure of reward for the work he had done so devotedly for so long. 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. July. when he was elected on the Poale Zion list as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress. His knowledge of the essence of the movement led him to create programs. seek new methods of educating others in it. His love of literature and art.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. Furrows. 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. and all of these he applied in his work for Habonim.
too-that is why these words are meaningless to me. He was one of our best haverim. That is the best tribute I can give him. and I call to all those others who believe as Johanan did to rouse themselves." He was my friend. Freedom and peace are meaningless if we are not conscious of their worth and do not accept their responsibilities-and freedom and peace must prevail lest future Johanans shall die. We must fill the gap. And I can say with a determination which I have never felt before that we must not let the chain of halutzim be broken. 1944. We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them. to accept the task of the halutz. 1944 201 . lest the Jewish people never find their future. November. 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. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING JOHANAN TARTAKOWER "Johanan Tartakower was killed in action in the European Theater of Operations on September 29th. of the dreams we had together of Eretz Yisrael and "our" kibbutz. of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh. I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences. Harry Brumberger Furrows.
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