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.


” Today we know that they were indeed making history. feminist and Middle East peace movements. 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. Throughout the decades. teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’. The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life. The Habonim Dror youth movement. They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success.Foreword There was little sense of history in the making during that summer of 1932 when fourteen teenagers moved into their single tent at the edge of a Labor Zionist bungalow colony in the Catskills for the first season of Habonim camp. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. It all started when the Young . generating the passion. anchored in its summer camps. But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. but there was nothing inevitable about any of it. civil rights. From that initial summer. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience.

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

but on the movement and everything it did. marching for civil rights in 1957. resulting in a powerful brew that was stronger than any of its components. Two years after that. By the mid-1940s. And when a few Habonim members showed up for a major public event. And the camp program was unique. protesting the Vietnam war in 1969. rallying for Soviet Jews and California farm-workers in 1975. Those bonds and those lessons.600 campers. The fastest growth was in the summer camps. many Habonim members showed up—protesting outside British consulates in 1946. Three more were added in 1939 and more the following summer and the summer after that. too.the Habonim education program around character-building. it was clear that camp was no longer just an adjunct to the year-round Habonim educational program. By 1945 Habonim was operating eleven camps across the continent with a total enrollment of some 1. Living for weeks away from their families in a community of their peers. 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. in Michigan and Quebec. By 1938 it was strong enough to take over a smaller Labor Zionist youth group. Traditional summer camp songs and cheers were combined with Labor Zionist ideology and the movement’s sense of mission. but the campers still wanted to be together. scoutcraft. The new organization grew quickly. . Gordonia. devotion to Israel and the ideals of kibbutz pioneering. that had been struggling for a decade to find its footing. Camp had become the heart of the movement experience. Summer might end. and so they spent their weekends going to ken meetings and regional seminars to see their friends. yielded for many youngsters a set of lifelong friendships and a powerful movement loyalty. Habonim. renewed each summer and deepened over time. Two new ones were opened in 1935. youngsters developed intimate bonds with each other and the group.

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

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


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

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

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. 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. 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. 1932. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. * * * The Chay Commission. Aliya and Youth.Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in. * * * 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. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil.

We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript. 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. to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. 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 .

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

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

The Beginning .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. and problems of the organization. held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. It was mainly due to their stand and influence that this convention decided upon the reorganization of the Young Poale Zion. Jacob Lemberger. 1957 29 . and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. 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. history. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living. to introduce tzofiut. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia.

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. 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. rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. Abraham Cohen. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. Concurrently they acquire information and emotional attitudes toward their Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life which help to make of them healthy mid creative Jewish personalities. 1943 44 . 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. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. safe summer resort. Well. the truck–or even midnight swims. 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. Saadia Gelb. We survived the event of course. 1942 86 . 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. Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. Celeritas. As one man. we still made time for our cultural programs. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do. 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. 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. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. A couple of hours later a storm descended upon us apparently for the purpose of proving to our guest that the Accord Kvutza was not such a safe place after all. all responded to the emergency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and sank a shallow well. 1944 KINNERET In the summer of 1938. 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. our haverim cleared a road through the swamp. Nevertheless.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Well. but for all other facilities. Armon Kamesar. Mordecai Salinger. and level. a few members of the group waded through a swamp to find a large tract of unused ground. During the summer of 1939. and with the assistance of a professional carpenter. Michigan. That winter. built a dining hall and kitchen. the hardy group turned to Farband Camp. by the time you'll be reading this article. This they immediately staked out as the perfect spot for their future ventures. 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. high land. erected platforms for the tents. heavy woods. pooled their resources to purchase a couple of tents which they pitched on the side of a hill overlooking Waterloo Road near Chelsea. only thirty-five miles from Milwaukee. a small group of Detroit Habonim. under the leadership of Ben Kaminker. a place with real possibilities turned up. among them Ben Kaminker. twenty acres of which belonged to the Farband. hilly. A large group of Cincinnati 95 . A patch of grass surrounded by a D-shaped trench formed the open-air dining table. after calling for enough times to have lost count. we will probably be building for the 1944 Kvutza season. and Danny Ginsburg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. literary trials. 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. 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. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks. models. discussions. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks. as the camp is. Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages. on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate. the several activities directly associated with it. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles. and the arts. Last year's camp was a typical Habonim camping year and the following report is characteristic of most of the others: Camp Duration and Composition Habonim Camp opened on July 1st in 1956 and lasted for six weeks until August 12th. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history." Through lectures. as well as some that were specifically camp activities. During the entire period. games. Situated. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. 105 .

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

whose dining room had a canvas top.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Our plans for this summer are to build a staff building. Mosh has changed from a small camp sponsored by Gordoniawhose tents were pitched on the bare ground. 1935. And it is no wonder that we all love it. many changes have occurred since that memorable year. The two groups were the Hashomer Hatzair and the Gordonia organization of Baltimore. for not only do we spend some of the happiest weeks of the year there. to build several new concrete platforms. David Yaroslovsky. an arts and crafts pavilion. while Gordonia would have the camp in August. July. to enlarge and improve our dining and kitchen facilities. 1957 KVUTSA IN THE BALTIMORE-PHILADELPHIA AREA THE STORY OF "MOSH" "Half the year you look forward to it-the other half you look back on it. Habonim camping on the West Coast is confidently looking forward to a secure and ever-expanding future along with all Habonim camping in the United States and Canada." Such is the effect "Mosh" has on its campers. In 1935 Mr. Sigfrid Sonniborn of Baltimore gave 162 acres of land near Annapolis to two Zionist groups to be used for a camp site. The first month of the summer season. where there was no electricity whatsoever. Hashomer would use the camp. And so Moshava began its first season! Needless to say. with seven tents pitch- 107 . 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. but the setting is so perfect and the scenery so beautiful that we never want to forget it. The capacity is now seventy-five to eighty campers from all over the Atlantic seaboard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. however. But miner or airman. and no one would have suspected that it came about as a sort of by-product of work for the Royal Canadian Air Force. 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. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight. In one of those strange wartime transmutations. In cannot be changed without destroying the very basis for which our camps were created. He became a military aircraft inspector for the RCAF stationed in Winnipeg. he went out to organize Habonim at night. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. 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. who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal. David Biderman. 1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. 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. Daniel Isaacman. It was David Biderman who wrought the miracle of Habonim in Winnipeg and set the stage for the first camp. Winni- 122 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


o'er all Is quiet Three o'clock The whippoorwills Softly mock From yonder hills In the quiet Four o'clock The sky is red. A promise of The day ahead Of quiet Five o'clock A sun so bright Has replaced The dim of night In quiet Six o'clock The day is come But at Kvutza Till day is done No quiet! Rita Greenberg. 1937 142 . Soft winds rock The trees.NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The knowledge of his irrevocable loss to us is difficult to comprehend. of the trials and tribulations of training and of self-realization in Eretz Yisrael. that we carry forward that struggle today. That. and that those after us will not falter. At first he saw one important objective ahead -that was the establishment of a real Jewish institution in the heart of the American scene. He would talk of the needs for another Kvutza and another mahaneh and of dogged perseverance in organizational work. it is the realization that they represented a continuation of the Jewish struggle for survival which began before them. and ever expanding . and he would finish by saying that. 177 . his future was inextricably bound up with the highest hopes of the movement. If there is meaning in the memory of our haverim and of their services. is the fitting memorial to Ben Cherner. in the long run. Saadia Gelb Furrows. 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. January. developing. impossible to console.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING If Ben were here and could talk to us." wrote one of his friends from the Midwest. "one must see his life in terms of a personality that was unfolding. His role in Habonim for more than eight years is invaluable.. this kind of obstinacy would succeed. he would talk of simple and prosaic tasks. it seems to me.. he was Danny Ginsburg of Habonim. "To understand Danny. 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. where he made his most specific contributions to the life of Habonim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you learned that a few warm friendly words could easily quell the storm raging in him. he gave up that kind of life and returned home. Once he admitted to me that only because of the deep love for his father." One of the advance crew was Hayim Rambam.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. For the stormy nature of this boy. old farmer's stove. He was drawn to the broad. He was an adventurer. 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. people who were tired of civilization and routine. the walls of his home. And 187 . open fieldsthe sort of boy that can develop into a hero or an adventurer. He used to spend many days and nights with hoboes and his stories were remarkable. and the old Ford that we were barely able to purchase for $10. and the discipline of a school. We were most impressed with the big. We saw a different world. We also found some boards for the future kitchen. We knew then that he was moody and ready to tell stories of his adventures throughout the United States. We were met by the advance crew of a few boys. and dishes (slightly cracked). The camp consisted of a hilltop cluttered with tents which had obviously seen better days in the army. always seeking new thrills and experiences. Hayim could be found on one of the cots in the tent. On closer acquaintance. Tired after a day of hard work. 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. even in early childhood. He had a leader's qualities and could influence people either for better or worse. They felt free as birds and so did Hayim. a few boxes of cups (without handles).

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

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

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

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

we filled an urn with ashes from the crematorium. He remembered well the long discussions they used to have on philosophical as well as world political and Jewish topics. and he couldn't forget how even in the environment of Dachau. " 'Before leaving Dachau. Of his end he knew nothing since he had been taken away from Dachau before it came.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. he was bubbling with energy and intellectual curiosity. He remembered that he was usually together with one French and two other British officers. and there we found a card with the following information on it: “ ‘Prisoner No. who had been in the same block with him in Dachau. “ ‘We then looked up the pastor. “ ‘When we came to Dachau. 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. Block 23. 192 . Those were not his ashes alone but they were sacred. Sereni impressed him as a man of extremely high intellectual acumen. When the projected memorial to the Gola is erected in Jerusalem. 113160. Entered 9 October 1944. 17 November 1944. Died 18 November 1944. Resident at Tel Aviv. “ ‘One can only surmise from this information that he was brought to his death by torture. those ashes will be placed there together with those of our other martyrs. Taken to Special Punishment Cell for interrogation. V3 (code for member of the British forces). his own tormentors no doubt among them. we turned immediately to the card index of all those who had ever been in the place. 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. His body was cremated at the local crematorium. Shmuel. Born 22 June 1905 at Jerusalem. Barda.

Even those who lived with him at that famous Bet Hehalutz on Riverside Drive probably never knew when he awoke. he. only a few months ago. I woke up. In this way I hoped to find out when Enzo did come in. I came back from a trip out of town in the wee hours of the morning. as I recall. I remember. Everywhere he went. There is no longer any doubt. Apparently he never slept except for forty winks occasionally on buses and on railroad coaches-and every morning when he was in New York. to find Sereni sitting opposite me at his desk. it became a current story that Sereni spoke the best broken English anyone had ever heard. he would sail through texts like a swift Italian breeze. 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. I never did find out when he arrived. Whatever the language.M. I had been rather vain of my speed in reading but Sereni was insufferably superior. One day. we went out there and got permission from the Russian commandant of nearby Linz to visit the place. Another blow to my own pride was the way he went through the Hebrew press-or any other reading matter. but to make sure. We who worked with him in the office of Hehalutz were consumed with envy and despair at his incredible energy and tirelessness. and there was no trace of him whatsoever. But there is no one there today but a number of Russian troops who are billeted there. Austria. as far as that goes. when a report reached us that Sereni had been seen alive in the concentration camp at Mauthausen. We all 193 . Soon after his earliest appearance in America. going through the Eretz Yisrael press. We were skeptical because some Brigade boys had been there around that time and had said nothing about it. he left an indelible impression. would appear at the office bright and early to greet the first-comers and shame the others.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING " 'For us the search seemed ended. between 7:30 and 8:00 A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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