The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping




© 1957, The CHAY Commission of the Labor Zionist Movement. Republished by Habonim Dror North America in 2009. ISBN 978-0-557-16403-5

To those who came before. To those who will come after. To those here now.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . * * * It is good to participate in the celebration of twenty-five years of Habonim Camping and to help make possible the historic task of “keeping the record.Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. * * * The Chay Commission. Aliya and Youth. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. 1932. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. Habonim started an important chapter in its youthful story–youthful and on behalf of youth–that was destined to play a significant role in the psychological struggle which confronted Jewish youth in the fearsome years of hatred and violence that were to follow.” It is worthy of note that in that same year.

to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. * * * Twenty-five years of Habonim camping will undoubtedly afford mixed feelings of reminiscence and of nostalgia to those who have experienced the pleasure and the vicissitudes of summers within the orbit of these camps. Bert Goldstein Chairman. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well. Chay Commission 15 .

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

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

The Beginning .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. and problems of the organization. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living. 1957 29 . It was mainly due to their stand and influence that this convention decided upon the reorganization of the Young Poale Zion. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. The basic idea of the camp was that no member of the staff was paid or received any other special consideration outside of the authority deserved for good leadership. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. Jacob Lemberger. history. participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season. to introduce tzofiut.

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. The emphasis continues to be on translating into personal experience the concepts of individual and social living of the movement and on providing a wholesome and stimulating Jewish environment. Abraham Cohen. Concurrently they acquire information and emotional attitudes toward their Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life which help to make of them healthy mid creative Jewish personalities. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. 1943 44 . Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience.

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

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

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

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

Jacob Katzman and Leo Krown at Accord.

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

Ready for overnight hike, Accord, 1936.

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

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

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

Washday at Accord.

Outdoor discussion, Accord, 1935.

Campers, Accord, 1935.

Waterfalls, Accord, N.Y.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the establishment of a network of twice and thrice the number of Kvutzot we now have. Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. is naturally desirable.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim. But it is the general feeling that their number should be limited to a certain percentage of the campers in order to preserve the Habonim character. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. I. The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. That non-members should attend Kvutza. All these questions must eventually be resolved. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. In general. more powerful than Hebrew schools. It is more powerful than city propaganda. lies the road to the establishment of a really alert Labor Zionist youth. 1944 59 . it has been left up to the individual city to decide on this question although certain minimum principles such as no work on Shabbat have been adopted nationally. Murray Weingarten. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles. for one. and its preservation and strengthening is perhaps the greatest contribution Habonim can make to the cause of Labor Zionist youth in this country.

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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


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

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOUNGSTERS! You know. you had lots of spirit back in 1934-35. brushing teeth. for instance. When you realize that we had to take the same hike for washing clothes. how to stack the wood so as to direct the heat towards the pots and away from the cook. we really had work to do. Soon after we braced it. estimated the materials. how to keep the flames from climbing the wooden walls. 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. over dangerous cliffs and precipices to get to the “sink and washtubs”–a swirling. Take Accord. how to replace a broken grate. Zalman. 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. how to keep the sickly stove from falling apart. We decided to construct a brand new dining hall. how to make that stove cook the food the right way at the right time. One of our own members. Keeping ourselves and our clothes clean was another constant work project. made the plans. for taking swims or showers. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING LISTEN HERE. No sooner was the shack or dining hall constructed than we had a real project on our hands. sometimes it makes me mad! You who go to Kvutza these days have a way of saying: “Well – of course. or any time we wanted to wash our hands – you have an idea of the tremendous work involved in keeping clean. swishing torrent of icy brook water. and how to extinguish them quickly once they started up–and last but not least. 85 . It took a genius to know how to line the stove with fire brick. and constructed the new building. We had to support the doddering building.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a permanent site for a Philadelphia camp. for the summer. War clouds were gathering. and the swimming facilities were reached by climbing a very steep hill at a considerable distance from the 115 . In 1939. a magnificent barn. The White Paper was soon to be issued and the horror of Hitler-Europe was soon to be upon us. During the summer of 1939.500). we were able to convince enough members of the senior movement of the importance of a local camp for them to organize a camp committee to seek a site. Upon returning from Moshava at the end of the 1939 summer season. The site. Pennsylvania. as many of our members as possible spent the summer at Moshava near Baltimore. After much searching. a site was found near Pipersville. had two unfortunate deficiencies. at the height of the depression and with much trepidation because of the lack of finances. 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. the Philadelphia haverim rented the old anarchist Camp Germinal near Jamison.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING GALIL In 1938. however. and staffed mainly by older haverim of Habonim. It included a well-constructed farm house. and a number of cabins which at one time had beeii4 chicken coops. plans were made for finding. we were determined to have a camp of our own. Fortunately. which could be rented for the summer. One must recall the times in which this thinking took place. Our appetites were whetted. let alone talk in terms of developing a permanent camp. and immediately upon the close of the summer. A county highway divided the cabins from the rest of the site. Yak Rycus was imported from the Midwest to act as rosh Kvutza. Pennsylvania (for the then large sum of $1. and the first Camp Galil came into existence. a very successful summer program was carried out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In short.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim. Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years. Flowers and landscaping are also of great significance. 1940 133 . and labor is of little significance if it does not go hand in hand with a desire for beauty and freshness. Little by little. 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. Other projects can be postponed from day to day. one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets. gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience. It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. the garden should develop. Danny Ginsburg. and here is a grand opportunity. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully. and there is no reason why it cannot supply a substantial part of the Kvutza's fresh food products during the latter part of the season after a few years of experience. however. but postponing work on the garden spells failure.

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

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

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

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

Strong arguments were advanced for giving up Amal-our personnel shortage was acute. This past summer we confidently opened the season with sixty haverim.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Haverim seriously questioned reopening Amal in 1949. Amal's partisans were soon active on all fronts. the camper response was more encouraging. On August 9th. to a large extent. an ambitious program was prepared for the public. a performance of Yitzhak Lamdan's Masada was witnessed and applauded by sixty parents and guests. It was therefore with great trepidation that the Merkaz finally decided in favor of reopening the camp. It was no longer an experiment. And. we succeeded. They felt that it had failed. During the winter of 1949-1950. Prominent Hebrew educators were solicited to add their names to our list of sponsors. The season began with forty-five campers who were determined to make it a success. to its fledgling Hebrew camp as its permanent site. 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. We hoped to create a camp modeled along the lines of our other camps. and this we had seemingly accomplished without vitiating our halutzic Zionist program. This was to be its last chance. Hebrew educators from many sections of America visited Amal during the season and were im- 138 . This time. We ended our second season with the realization that Amal had proved itself. Many observers claimed that our campers spoke more Hebrew than the campers of any other Hebrew-speaking camp in America. the number of sponsoring Jewish educational institutions increased from two to six. the Merkaz assigned Tel Meir. and twenty-two scholarships were awarded to Amal by various Hebrew school systems. In recognition of Amal's promise. Several Jewish educational institutions were induced to award scholarships to Amal. there were but dim hopes of registering an adequate number of campers. in Connecticut.

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall. 1937 142 . Soft winds rock The trees. o'er all Is quiet Three o'clock The whippoorwills Softly mock From yonder hills In the quiet Four o'clock The sky is red. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just as all settlements in Eretz Yisrael differ. schools. Afterwards. the same bylaws.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Saturday. Swimming is naturally one of the main activi- 151 . Most of the farmers are Norwegians and the relations between the camp and the farmers are excellent. July 16th Today is the final conflict: let each stand in his place-the campers play a baseball game of chills and thrills. homes. one from the other. the campers beat the madrichim 17-7. there is dancing and singing. the Kvutza which serves our upstate New York movements. the bottom floor used as a dining room and kitchen. And so the second week of camp ends. written by Benny Lappin and produced by Ruth L.for are they not organized and managed the same way. and the author. What triumph! What humiliation! The drama group presents an anti-war play at the camp fire tonight. One expects them all to be a like . civilizations-so do the varying backgrounds of our haverim place an individual stamp upon each Camp Kvutza. My first stop this year was at Kendall. because the people who live there are differentcoming from various countries. Accord Diary. the same institutions. 1938 PEEKING IN WITH OUR SHALIAH Traveling around the camps of our movement is an experience akin to that of visiting our settlements in Eretz Yisrael. the top floor used as a handicrafts and cultural room -that is the entire camp.a few trees mark the spot. of course. Situated on a plain on the shore of Lake Ontario-no mountains or bills . the same program and activities-yet each Kvutza represents a unique world of its own. Five wigwam tents in a straight line and a large and spacious two-story barn. Amid much excitement and conflicting emotions in the cheering section. New York. Farm land stretches out on all sides.


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in conversation. with roots in Italy as far back as 70 A. I was a witness to the same phenomenon here. in all his dangerous missions for the Histadrut. Sereni enjoyed many elements of ultimate security which enabled him to be not only daring. even made them rather suspicious. according to repute. and with assured status in the academic and professional society of contemporary Rome. He had a firm viewpoint. but after a halfhour with a huge batch of literature. In fact. Then afterwards. a fighter in a certain sense.IN MEMORIAM harbored dark suspicions about how thoroughly he had read. prominent Roman Jewish family. the flashing play of his wit and thought. his paradoxes and rapid-fire patter. I noted in the comments on Sereni's death. of course. 194 . He never counted costs-one of the things. and a strong sense of the direction in which he wished to go. It was not only the Germans with their gruendlichkeit who were uneasy at his mental athletics. Sereni would be able to deposit it all on my desk. perhaps. Others smuggled Jewish money out of Nazi Germany but I am sure no one ever did it with as much assurance and enjoyment as Sereni. He threw himself with unlimited devotion-perhaps the proper word is abandoninto the cause he wished to serve. Sereni was. They were inclined to worry about his most innocent proposal for fear of some ingenious trap. A scion of a rather wealthy. 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. but one might even say a daredevil.D. Sereni was so clever that slower minds distrusted him. which have recently appeared in the Eretz Yisrael press. which set him apart from many comrades was that in certain things. 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. efficiently marked to indicate the essential items for digesting or writing up. he had less need than they to count costs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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