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The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
Editor DAVID BRESLAU Associate Editors AVRAHAM G. HAKLAY SHIRLEY LASHNER ZELDE KRULEWITZ PINHAS RIMON
© 1957, The CHAY Commission of the Labor Zionist Movement. Republished by Habonim Dror North America in 2009. ISBN 978-0-557-16403-5
To those who came before. To those who will come after. To those here now.
But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’. It all started when the Young . The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. From that initial summer. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success. anchored in its summer camps. The Habonim Dror youth movement. feminist and Middle East peace movements.” Today we know that they were indeed making history. Throughout the decades. generating the passion. teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else. civil rights. but there was nothing inevitable about any of it. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home.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. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life. Habonim 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. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine.
Poale Zion Alliance. debating ideology and hauling their own trash. They named it Habonim. Others argued that the children of working class immigrants. decided in that spring of 1932 to try what amounted to a cross-cultural experiment: to see if the American summer camp could be reimagined in the spirit of the kibbutz and the chalutzim. and the camp thrived. Following days of stormy debate they decided to create a new children’s organization as an autonomous unit within the movement. leaders of Young Poale Zion gathered at Accord to discuss the future of their education program. with the help of Young Poale Zion alumna Golda Meir. they agreed to set aside the radical politics of Poale Zion and build . the young adult wing of the Labor Zionist movement. Young Poale Zion had been trying since the 1920s to establish a children’s organization for ten-toeighteen-year-olds. after a new Labor Zionist scouting organization established in England in 1929. That first summer of 1932. the socialist Zionist pioneers who were rebuilding the land of Israel. New York. the movement acquired a campsite of its own in Accord. Nothing like it existed anywhere in America. and the camp’s first advocates faced strong opposition. Many of the senior Labor Zionists were convinced that summer camp meant volley ball and boating. The summer camp would eventually provide the missing spark. but the results were dispiriting. The numbers remained small and enthusiasm was low. In the spring of 1933. The founders themselves weren’t entirely sure what they had in mind. prosaically named Buds. had been successful enough to merit another round the following year. The new location proved enormously popular. Chapters were formed here and there. for all its uncertainties. Labor Zionism’s main constituency. even within their own movement. couldn’t afford summer camp. Painfully. not living as a commune. They hadn’t even settled yet on the name Habonim. After the 1934 camp season ended. who had settled in Palestine and was now in New York as a shlicha.
marching for civil rights in 1957. Two years after that. Gordonia. Living for weeks away from their families in a community of their peers. By 1945 Habonim was operating eleven camps across the continent with a total enrollment of some 1. . The new organization grew quickly. And the camp program was unique. many Habonim members showed up—protesting outside British consulates in 1946. Two new ones were opened in 1935. but the campers still wanted to be together. And when a few Habonim members showed up for a major public event. renewed each summer and deepened over time. devotion to Israel and the ideals of kibbutz pioneering. The fastest growth was in the summer camps. but on the movement and everything it did. Three more were added in 1939 and more the following summer and the summer after that. Those bonds and those lessons.the Habonim education program around character-building. The impact of the camp experience could be seen not only on the individual Habonim members. rallying for Soviet Jews and California farm-workers in 1975. resulting in a powerful brew that was stronger than any of its components. youngsters developed intimate bonds with each other and the group. it was clear that camp was no longer just an adjunct to the year-round Habonim educational program. Traditional summer camp songs and cheers were combined with Labor Zionist ideology and the movement’s sense of mission.600 campers. Habonim. yielded for many youngsters a set of lifelong friendships and a powerful movement loyalty. By 1938 it was strong enough to take over a smaller Labor Zionist youth group. that had been struggling for a decade to find its footing. scoutcraft. too. the Young Poale Zion Alliance dissolved itself and became the senior division of its own offshoot. in Michigan and Quebec. Summer might end. By the mid-1940s. protesting the Vietnam war in 1969. and so they spent their weekends going to ken meetings and regional seminars to see their friends. Camp had become the heart of the movement experience.
But they are still here. communal settlement groups.When Israel won its independence in 1948 and took to the battlefield to defend it. and in the 1970s and 1980s to found the new kibbutzim of Gezer. that founded Kibbutz Gesher Haziv and Kibbutz Urim. The notion of camping as a laboratory for values education and movement building was something new in American Jewish education. The path that Habonim pioneered in 1932 was trod a decade later by Young Judaea and the Ramah camps of Conservative Judaism.” They’ve been written off many times. They’re not as shiny or high tech as some of the better known camps. as big as they were in their heyday in the 1940s. When the first fourteen Labor Zionist teenagers pitched their tent in the Catskills in 1932. because they wanted to make a difference and to live out their values. Habonim members continued to move to Israel in garinim. They went. Jewish values camping is high fashion. The . though they had an inkling. settling in urban communes in slums and development towns. of course. They continued going over in garinim in the 1950s and 1960s to join Gesher Haziv and Urim. Even in the 1990s and beyond. Grofit and Ravid. It’s not even clear that the Young Poale Zion organizers knew themselves exactly where they were headed. but that’s always been part of their charm — the old Habonim principle that it’s “chalutzic to be schmutzik. when the kibbutz movement was sunk in crisis and Zionism had become a subject of cynicism or worse. And because they wanted to be with their friends from camp. Hundreds moved to Israel in its early years as members of garinim. Those movements dominate the Jewish public square so thoroughly that many American Jews are surprised to hear that Habonim camps are still in business. Today. Jewish summer camps existed to provide children with exercise and fresh air and to give their parents a breather. and soon after that by the Reform movement. hundreds of Habonim members — nearly the entire senior membership — went there to volunteer.
And still they carry on.J. Goldberg. the kids want to be with their friends. They still have an urgent message to transmit. J. three-quarters of a century after they began. 2009 . resurrected by faithful alumni and determined groups of teenagers.New York and Los Angeles camps have gone bust and then risen again. Besides. They have to.
............................................................................................................. 60 THE TURNING POINT ................................................. CREAMRIDGE ......................................................14 Introduction ..... 33 THE MEANING OF KVUTZA ................................................................................... 131 CAMP AVODA..............................................6 Foreword from Original Publication ................. 125 CAMP MIRIAM................................................................................................................................................................................. 82 LISTEN HERE......................................................................1933 ................................................................................................................ 87 KENDALL ............................................................................................................................... 90 "KVUTZIE"..................... TEXAS ................................................................................. 85 TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK ..................................................................... 49 COMING OF AGE .................................. 68 HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ........................................ 115 GIMLI......................................................................................... KVUTZA......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 100 KVUTZA IN THE WEST ..................................... 55 PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY................................................................................................................................................................................... 128 CAMP BONIM................................................................. 109 GALIL .............................................................................................. 25 GROWTH OF AN IDEA "KVUTZA" AND KVUTZA ............... 129 THE COMING SEASON .......................................................................... 122 AFIKIM ... 126 MONTREAL ..............................................16 THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING . 74 CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN .................................................................. 95 TEL NATAN ......................................................... 134 AMAL IN RETROSPECT ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. YOUNGSTERS!......................................... WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? ....... 107 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 94 KINNERET ....................................................................................Contents Foreword ....... 32 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING ...... 104 THE STORY OF "MOSH"............................... 91 KVUTZA.................................. 137 ....................... 98 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM ............................. MANITOBA ............................ 20 ACCORD .............
..................................................173 DANNY GINSBURG .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................163 KINNERET SHELI .........................................................177 NATE KANTER .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................181 HAYIM RAMBAM ...................................187 JOSEPH ROSENBERG .......................157 SO YOU WANT TO BE A MADRICH .................................................................................................................180 ARI LASHNER ................................................................................................155 NIGTH WATCH .............143 PEEKING IN WITH OUR SHALIAH ...............189 ENZO SERENI ................................................................................................................................................171 BEN CHERNER ..............................168 MIRIAM BIDERMAN ................................................................................151 UNTIL NEXT YEAR ............................................................................................ ACCORD .....................161 NEED HELP PACKING? ...................................................................................................................................................199 JOHANAN TARTAKOWER ..........................156 THE TREE .....................................................159 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS ..............................................................153 VIEW FROM KVUTZA HILL..........................................191 IRV STERNBERG ...........................................................................................................................................155 TO KVUTZA .......................165 IN MEMORIUM HAZKARA ..............................201 ...KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL NIGHT WATCH ................................................................................142 ACCORD DIARY ..........................................
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. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. * * * The Chay Commission. 1932. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . * * * It is good to participate in the celebration of twenty-five years of Habonim Camping and to help make possible the historic task of “keeping the record.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. 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. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil.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. 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. Aliya and Youth.
The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable. Chay Commission 15 . Bert Goldstein Chairman. * * * 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. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript.
The pioneers of Camp Kvutza were imbued with an all-consuming desire for creative Jewish living. close to five generations of youth have participated in the Habonim Camps. Through these years.creating their own society of the future.Introduction During the past twenty-five years. as are most of our chalutzim in Israel. These pioneers transmitted their zeal and vision to succeeding generations of Jewish youth in Habonim who followed in their footsteps. Camp Kvutza enriched the lives of all who participated in its growth and development. working. studying. The leaders and chalutzim of tomorrow are at Camp Kvutza today. It is correct to say that Camp Kvutza is the basic source of strength for the entire Labor Zionist Movement in America. Many were 16 . Today's leaders of Habonim are veterans of Camp Kvutza. playing . much has been written both for Habonim and for the Jewish educational world on this unique form of camping. They dedicated themselves to a form of society based on principles of self-labor and mutual cooperation. Thus.
we were confronted with the wealth of material which has been accumulated for a quarter of a century. 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. but have presented the material in the differing forms in which it originally appeared. to that of a leader enlarging on the principles by which Camp Kvutza will function. convention reports. we have not attempted to create a literary unit. But they will find much which may inspire them and will guide them in their movement activities. however. and content of Camp Kvutza. Furrows.the deliberations within the movement on the development. We hope. expansion. 1957 17 . Many present members of Habonim will no doubt discover herein a world seemingly remote from today's reality. In compiling this collection. to that of educators and community leaders analyzing and evaluating the significance of this departure in Jewish camping. and with varying levels of presentation: from that of a thirteen-year old describing his experiences with childish enthusiasm. Menahel. Many were the reactions written by campers while at Kvutza and upon their return to the city. Most of the material included has been gleaned from the Habonim archives: News and Views. Merkaz Habonim. The Editors Summer. that each reader will find herein something of intimate significance as well as informational value. Out of these diverse sources. the office secretaries. * * * We want to take this opportunity to thank the Chay Commission. our editorial committee. and internal organizational and educational bulletins. and especially our patrons for making possible the publication of this volume. Haboneh.
The Beginning .
but at that time. and it may even sound boastful to say that we were an idealistic Jewish youth. We loved this country with its sense of human 20 . It was the time of the depression. our thoughts were molded by the country we lived in.THE BEGINNING THE BEGINNING An anniversary is a time of reflection. Yet we. the studies. Our schooling. Suddenly all is focused clearly and is full of an inner glow . Looking backward. the tiny group of Poale Zion youth. how "peculiar. It was very hard for we were going against the stream. At the Camp Kvutza these ideals were most meaningful. As one looks back twenty-five years. one retraces the years and comes to the beginning: the first Camp Kvutza. the camp. a mutual investigation of the problems inherent in the ideals which we held in common. with making a livelihood. So much comes alive: the chaverim. the forms of living there to be based on Socialism. the Kvutza: the living and studying together. how strange it was. how revolutionary. our style of life." Many of us were born in the United States. Some came to the country as young children. We lived in our ideal: a worker's life in Eretz Yisrael. Today the conception of "idealist" has acquired a strange interpretation. the economic collapse after 1929. one senses how much importance there was to this beginning. there was merely the living together at a Camp Kvutza among the gentle hills of New York State. All around us the youth was concerned with jobs. we tried by our own living to create a new world: a world in which the Jew would live in his own country. American Jewish living surrounded us. were far away from all that worried Americans. But in truth and most sincerely. They guided and directed our lives. but above all. the campfire with its songs. Our minds and our hearts were concerned with another land and our problems were foreign and distant to American life.the beginning.
it was important to know the reason.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING dignity and freedom. 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. Or again. the night club in Harlem. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman. the awe of Niagara. Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts. In some homes. and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. and oceans. The life of America was our life: the jazz. There were before us the grandeur of the West. the breadth of the Hudson. its lakes. the stirrings of the vast labor masses . the beauty of the Appalachians. art." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. this tiny group out of the millions of American Jews? Again and again at the Camp Kvutza. the charm of the South. vivid with the hope of the liberation of the Jew. the politics of the country. its pioneers. and music. the new theater. its mountains and plains. I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal. the new forms of the dance.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. 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. and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores. 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. Russian revolu- 21 . Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. Some homes were "Bundist. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. rivers. We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book.
Around us was the camp fire. they motivated the program of work. In the short span of time spent at Camp Kvutza. For Poale Zion ideology." Why dream of the liberation of the Jews? How about other peoples enslaved by cruel despotic governments? Why far away Eretz Yisrael? There was a working class to be helped in the United States. and American history glorified the pioneer who moved West to build up the great United States. but not a Jewish folk song. to teach their children about their glorious heritage. and young voices filled the air with Hebrew or Yiddish songs of Eretz Yisrael and Jewish revival. the sentiment of rebuilding and heroism. we went to the writings of Borochov and Syrkin. Why Eretz Yisrael? There are two million Jews in New York City alone. all the above elements were ever present. The rhythm. Why not work here at home? In the first Camp Kvutza. there was a large mass of workers with no job security. bright and cheerful. We well understood the pioneering life of Eretz Yisrael. all spoke deeply to us. there was the singing of the Eretz Yisrael songs which linked us with our unknown comrades. and at times against the wishes of the parents who were aghast at their child's "peculiarities. 22 . There were problems to be solved here: tender children working beyond their strength. for in America we were still close to pioneering. the poetry of the words.THE BEGINNING tionary songs of freedom and Siberian exile were sung. To the Camp Kvutza was brought much out of the American life in which we found ourselves. We wanted to know more and more about the ideal we so earnestly believed in. to hold them to some kind of Judaism. the tense young faces lit by the flame. Much must be done for them. Poale Zionist. consciousness grew out of this strange soil. We tried to add to the elements already influencing the chaverim. exploited by those intent on profits. Zionist. amidst the dark shadows of the trees.
Twenty-five years ago their educational philosophy was a complete departure from what was then prevalent. I had just received my Bachelor of Science degree in education from Teachers College of Columbia University. It was a theory of freedom in education and especially John Dewey's philosophy. he studied on his own level. he was taught to work and think in a group. and E. My special contribution to Camp Kvutza was to bring to our studies the new educational philosophy of John Dewey. he was motivated. The personality of the learner was stressed. namely. Kilpatrick.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING To the Camp Kvutza we also brought the new educational theories just coming into being in the United States. 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. The new education stressed respect and dignity of the individual. These new me- 23 . were breaking new ground in education. It was new. All these methods admirably suited our need. the chaverim wholeheartedly accepted these new methods which I so enthusiastically advocated. It aimed to enrich the individual by giving him the tools whereby he could continue his investigations. The project method was concomitant with these new theories. to study our ideology and to pass on our ideals to many American Jewish youths. Both in planning the program of the Camp Kvutza and in carrying it out. and Thorndike! I was fired by the new philosophy of education which they taught and I had learned the new techniques which they advocated. and audacious. Adult education was assuming its rightful place. T. The new methods were so well fitted to our Poale Zionist ideal. opposed to all forms of absolutism. Thorndike. his personality was respected. challenging. William Kilpatrick. These. my teachers. which was to give the Jew inheritance in his land. How happy I was that I was privileged to study under John Dewey.
but to study for the love of the subject . By their example they have influenced others to come to Israel. The study of Eretz Yisrael problems lent themselves particularly to the new project method. Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago was a small pebble thrown into the vast ocean of American Jewish youth. they fought in the War of Liberation of Israel. Their children are growing up in Israel. It was group living and learning which was deep and lasting in its influence. 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. For chaverim from the Camp Kvutza have settled on the soil of the land. The waves in its wake have reached the Promised Land. What a new world these fundamental methods of learning opened up for us! We sensed the democracy of these techniques.study deeply and creatively. 1957 24 . Sophie A. Udin. they were in Cypress. The small ripple it caused has moved farther and farther. And the genesis was that first Camp Kvutza twenty-five years ago. So we studied the creative discussion method.THE BEGINNING thods taught the individual how to motivate a study not by committing to memory many facts. I had some years of organizational work behind me. They were on so-called "illegal" boats. and they served in Sinai. but never had I enjoyed a more innerly satisfying experience. This group work was in complete accord with the cooperative ideals of Labor Eretz Yisrael. We sought to draw out every individual to full participation. Happy are we to have been comrades and partners in that great adventurous undertaking.
Kinderwelt. I attended a convention of a Zionist scouting organization with which I had been affiliated. strenuous efforts were made to obtain a campsite of our own. the insistence that inasmuch as the movement already has a children's camp. the use of a beautiful spot in the Catskills was gotten. and while all who participated gained considerably in their knowledge of Labor Zionism and techniques of leadership. in which one labored and which was governed by its own members. It was held in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. The following winter and spring. was lacking. who was then 25 . Jacob Katzman. I saw then what such a camping experience can mean in the development of the spirit.1933 Shortly before I came to America. 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. of a place that one built with one's own hands. Other members of the YPZA Central Committee were like-minded. then National Secretary of the Poale Zion.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD . ideology. enthusiastically accepted the idea. Many of us began to think in terms of making of the Labor Zionist youth movement a youth movement in fact. In the summer of 1932. YPZA should utilize that in every way possible. therefore. Sophie Udin assumed the leadership. With the help of Golda Meir. something other than a mere replica of the senior Poale Zion. The lingering memories found their expression when in America I became a member of the Central Committee of the Young Poale Zion Alliance. and leadership of a youth movement. But most of the other leading chaverim of the senior organizations were skeptical and some were even opposed. we decided to make an experimental beginning in Unser Camp. the lack of funds. Berl Locker. it was generally felt that the real spirit of a Kvutza. and two. The reasons were: one.
They came because after all. but we succeeded in instilling the proper spirit of cooperation and a form of self-government. The first few weeks were the hardest. and a fine Jewish background. keep the grounds clean. New Jersey. a Hebrew teacher. has already related the story of its birth elsewhere in this -volume. Meyer Brown and Shmuel Siegel. But Katzman had to leave in the middle of the season to help prepare the forthcoming YPZA national convention. whose task it was to bring some modicum of civilization to this wilderness. young people with organizational tradition. carry water from the well. Margolin. Jewish history. However. to most of whom. camping and the Young Poale Zion were quite alien as yet. I bad to conduct all the discussion groups and Shabbat programs. The first substantial help came with the arrival of Mr. the tuition was only $7 a week and where could one get such a bargain even during the Depression? Under those circumstances. and geography of Eretz Yisrael. provide wood for the stove. with leadership abilities. and assign work for the daily work crews. who 26 . To this day I don't know how it happened. I took over for the remaining period. supervise all the camping activities.THE BEGINNING National Secretary of the YPZA and directed our first Kvutza at Accord. including K. First of all. to mold a cohesive group. we also had some newcomers who could not even pronounce the name of the organization. One of the four tents consisted of ten boys from Orange. it was very hard to improvise a program to keep the campers busy.P. and to institute self-rule and discipline. and upon his insistence and that of our Central Committee. and a multitude of other jobs. Little by little. our senior chaverim started to look upon the camp as something worthwhile. who immediately instituted a program of Hebrew. Among them were some of the best members of the YPZA from several communities. I found the campers a most heterogeneous group.
But one stormy late afternoon. This was taken in stride. There is a limit to the punishment which even a secondhand army tent can take from the elements. Her discussions on halutziut were inspiring to the campers. Of inestimable value in this respect were the several days which Golda Meir spent with us.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING came to visit their families. The first Accord Kvutza was also rich in adventures. The age range of the first season in Accord was probab1y older than any of the subsequent seasons. without exception. brought back to the city good reports of what was going on in Accord. so it was not surprising when occasionally a tent was blown down. had to participate in K. it was during 27 . and share in whatever manual labor was required. was quite a chore. which. During that time. the camp found itself without a single tent standing and without a place for the campers to sleep. Everyone. The camp reached its maturity when we instituted the forms of "selfgovernment. under those primitive circumstances (without a heater for hot water). Work was assigned judiciously and without favoritism. they were carried out in a responsible fashion. The council proved its effectiveness by seeing to it that once a task was undertaken. but her report to the senior movement was of even greater importance in bringing Camp Kvutza to its attention.P. There was quite a large proportion of chaverim who had completed their preparatory training and were awaiting aliya certificates. The council took its task seriously. a program mapped out. a decision arrived at. when the velocity of the wind was of hurricane proportion and the rain came down in sheets. 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.." Representatives to a camp council were elected by all the campers. If ever the spirit of the camp was manifest. help police the cleanliness of the grounds and tents.
lent dignity to the camp and helped to establish the reliability of Camp Kvutza in the minds of our senior haverim. and it proved that a camp of this kind lends itself to the pur- 28 .THE BEGINNING this emergency. the cots and all the possessions of the campers were put out to dry. were transferred to a nearby hotel. The taller and older chaverim had to carry the younger ones. but by their presence. The advice of the good people around to break up camp was not heeded. our clothing was soaked. The few that remained on the camp grounds tried as best they could to sleep on the tables in the dining room. We emerged from the dining room and began a snake dance to the tune of Chopin's Funeral March. the brook had overflowed its bank and the water covered the bridge. 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. One would like to characterize some of the campers but that would take too much space and would be unfair to those not mentioned. It pointed the way toward self-discipline and self-government. the tents were put up again. this experience became a highlight of that camping season. In retrospect. One vividly recalls the morning after-the sky was overcast. However. Many have made their mark in Eretz Yisrael as chalutzim and leaders in the Labor Movement. and cold to the marrow. on their backs to the other side. All the campers. our cooks. who not only saw to it that the food was adequate and wholesome. the roof leaked. he got wet. with the exception of a few. wet. But this did not diminish the spirit of those who remained behind. Mention should be made of the contribution to the camping experience of Rachel Siegel and Leah Brown. especially the haverot. As soon as the sun came out. The first season of Accord was the proving ground for the concept of a camp run by youth for youth. and no matter which way one turned. By the time the exodus began. and we were all sleepy.
participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent. held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. Jacob Lemberger. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. history. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living.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. It was mainly due to their stand and influence that this convention decided upon the reorganization of the Young Poale Zion. and problems of the organization. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia. to introduce tzofiut. 1957 29 .
Growth of an Idea .
therein is contained the keen desire to realize personally. as if final judgment would be pronounced by the words "yes" or "no. They cannot put what should be into being. and no number of meetings in the city can accomplish this. one's entire personality must be overhauled. Deeper emotions must be stirred. deeper roots must be sought. which makes him place all his ability at the disposal of the group without measuring how much he receives in return. For what are the great values introduced by and embodied in our Kvutzot in Eretz Yisrael? The mutual relationships between haverim. though expressed in different forms. the responsibility which the individual feels to the group. a triumph for our idea. They can indoctrinate a theoretical acknowledgment of what should be. communal labor. and joy. That true comradeship." Both the question and the intense anxiety for a positive answer represent. in as great a measure as possible. that true self-esteem and es- 32 . This attitude toward one's fellow men is the essential ethical motif in our educational program and represents the only true socialist mentality. play. These instrumentalities are limited in scope. yet one is surprised to what a great extent the essence of Kvutza life is retained. study. the true equality which arises not from an abstract philosophical belief that all men are equal. but from a heartfelt recognition of the value of one's haverim. worry.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. attitudes and states of mind are not created by speeches and lectures and discussions. All these are expressed through communal living. The differences between a Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael and our summer Kvutzot are quite evident. One can master the art of living together only by living together. from the educational viewpoint. However. those ideals which motivate our movement.
In the Kvutza. which aims at creating an individual who will not only have definite ideals but also realize them. The camp setting provides the opportunity to help the camper increase his range of interests. to provide 33 . one does not meet with another.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING teem of others. but from following those paths in common. and in general. in addition. 1937 A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN COOPERATIVE JEWISH CAMPING Modern educational camping has increasingly emphasized experience in creative group living and learning. Thus our education. one lives with another. cannot be complete without the Kvutza. What are meetings? They signify that all present have come from different directions. Ben Zion Ilan. does not arise from common outlooks on the paths to be taken. 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. and then all return to their respective different places. develop socialized attitudes and patterns of behavior. self-reliance. Jewish camps conducted under communal or semi-communal auspices have sought. meet temporarily. knowledge and skills. The objective is not only to provide a change of physical environment and healthful recreation. and the consideration for the welfare of others which years of preaching could never develop. guarding the health of others-enjoying starry evenings of collective singing and group dancing the sum of all these moments which make up Camp Kvutza life is that self-discipline. to enrich his personality.
34 . known as Camp Kvutza. the camps are the extension as well as the annual climax of the Habonim program. 3. based on the principles of economic and political democracy. and at the same time. which caters to young people of the age level of 14 to 21. To prepare young Jews for" participation in the upbuilding of a new social order throughout the world. This paper describes a type of Jewish camping program which attempts to apply this philosophy and technique of educational camping. Educational Objectives of Habonim In order to properly understand the motivation and character of Camp Kvutza. These camps. conceiving their work as an extension of the program of Jewish group work agencies in the city. Habonim. to provide satisfying and creative Jewish experiences. have a ten-year history under the auspices of the Labor Zionist Youth Organization. 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. is essential to know something about the aims of Habonim. and actively to support the rebuilding of the Jewish National Home. Habonim has the following purposes: 1. Modeled after the Eretz Yisrael collective settlements. To strengthen the bonds between American Jewry and Eretz Yisrael. 2. in Eretz Yisrael and. as members of the Histadrut Haovdim (General Federation of Jewish Labor of Eretz Yisrael). to create a cooperative Jewish Commonwealth. To train young Jews to become halutzim.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Jewish educational experiences.
Experimentation in methods and program materials varies with the personal predilections of the camp leaders. and personnel. physical environment. The vegetable garden is a bigger undertaking in California than in Winnipeg for obvious climatic reasons. To educate young Jews toward the revitalization of traditional Jewish values. In one camp there may be more free choice of activity than in another. reflects the Yiddish school influences under which the campers live during the year. toward a feeling of identification with the Jewish rights everywhere. Each camp has developed in time a distinctive character. Habonim members live according to the principles they have been studying and. for instance. where a camp is located on rented property. Nevertheless." This is a central concept in the educational program of the movement. it is deemed inadvisable to put too much effort into construction projects. To prepare young Jews for active participation in American Jewish community life. it does not follow that they are identical in character. The camp director enjoys no privileges not available to the youngest camper. in a sense. "who shall in their own lives realize its aims. the camps conform within the limits indicated to certain principles and patterns. To prepare young Jews for the defense of Jewish rights everywhere. and culture. Differences exist which are based on local circumstances. Thus. Equality of all persons in the camp is a cardinal principle. 5.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING 4. 35 . The Montreal camp. history. 6. test their validity. for the study of Jewish life. Principles of Camp Program Although all the camps are the expression of a similar social and educational outlook. The reader must not overlook the importance of the words. At Camp Kvutza.
purchasing food staples. an effort is made to have no hired labor in camp. nature study. The staff and leaders are all members of the organization who contribute their services and regard themselves as members of the camp community. dramatics. Self-government is a third basic principle. a cook has to be engaged. arts and crafts. 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. considerable preparations have to be made.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Neither is he exempt from any of the chores which are a part of the maintenance of the camp. The functions of the staff members and leaders are to direct the educational activities -the discussion and study groups. The committees assist in raising funds. In keeping with the practice of the collectives and cooperatives in Eretz Yisrael. on rare occasions. The executive committee meets often with the director and staff members to act upon various problems. 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. and sports. and in other ways. The regular camp meetings discuss administrative problems. and elect various committees which are responsible for specific phases of camp life. and daily routine. Exceptions are made when it is not possible to secure the services of a competent physician or nurse or when. Workmen are also hired when. scoutcraft. the singing. reading circles. programs. Representatives of Habonim and the adult Labor Zionist organizations constitute the committees. particularly at the establishment of a new site. The local Habonim take the initiative in all this 36 . Disciplinary cases which are not easily adjusted may be brought to the attention of the designated committee. recruiting campers. Where several cities in a region cooperate in conducting a camp.
In addition. boys and girls taking responsibility for the leadership of groups of younger children. The executive committee is elected. 37 . At a meeting of the entire camp. enlarging the camp. then. This is a group of members who generally remain as staff members and leaders. outlining projects.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING work and carry the burden of responsibility. the director or an experienced camper outlines the purposes of Camp Kvutza and indicates some of the specific objectives for the summer. both communal and private. Campers may register for varying periods. 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. These leaders are themselves active members of groups of their own age at the same time that they are leading the younger children. With the arrival of the campers. putting up new structures. to find. The year-round program of the Habonim organization provides for the continual preparation of members for or leaders of groups of younger children. Prior to the arrival of the first group of campers. its responsibilities and functions are discussed. and beautifying the grounds. it is necessary to bear in mind that we are considering here individuals generally much younger than their "opposite numbers" in other camps. set up the tents. It is very general. In speaking of staff and leaders. repair the plumbing. They open the buildings. and the various functional committees are named. the advance crew spends the evenings outlining plans for the summer. No attempt is made to do a complete job of renovation. both in the cities and in the camps. and preparing for the discussions and activities they will conduct. clear the grounds. the full program is initiated. an advance crew arrives at camp to prepare for the opening of the season. and get the camp generally ready. as one of the major activities of camp is to carry forward the program of improving facilities.
Work projects are a consistent feature of every Camp Kvutza. The campers help prepare meals." Using hired workmen only where the tasks made this unavoidable. as has been suggested. some elements of nutrition. is assisted by campers. and tents is likewise the responsibility of the campers. trees have been cut down. This phase of the program has been one of the most fruitful sources of creative expression. and in some cases. the group finished waterproofing the roof of the dining room and kitchen. and problems involved in maintaining the camp within budgetary limits. This has been particularly true where the camp was established on a new site and had to be built "out of nothing. dug a tile tunnel for the water pump. new tent platforms. the cook. 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. sheds to cover the pump and washing machine (the 38 . who is usually a member of an adult Labor Zionist group. put up screens and shutters on the doors and windows of the dining room. In the kitchen work. The following year they added a shower house. No one at camp is exempt from taking his or her turn at this work. built shelves and drawers for kitchen equipment. wait on tables. ground cleared and ploughed. Building projects are planned and executed sometimes within one season. and buildings erected. with the local circumstances. The nature of these projects varies. designated daily by the committee in charge of assigning individuals to various tasks.GROWTH OF AN IDEA Work Projects Some aspects of the camp program and some of the "institutions" which have developed in the course of years merit detailed description. The maintenance of the grounds. buildings. In the process they learn menu planning. over a period of years. In a four-week period one summer at Kinneret in Michigan. The girls painted the dining room and screens. and clean up after meals.
the produce from the garden is used in the kitchen. In recent years. new garbage pits." Five trees were cut down. trimmed. it serves to inculcate in the campers a positive attitude toward work and collective self-sufficiency. The greatest adventure was that of "bringing light to Kinneret. It is a real-life demonstration of the values inherent in socially useful labor. log bridge and dam over a stream which fed the swimming pool. Moreover. All this was done in addition to clearing two large wooded areas to accommodate the tents. and the beginnings of a small building intended for use by activity groups in bad weather. an outdoor amphitheater dug out of a low hill and furnished with a stage platform. the income being contributed to the Jewish National Fund. During the 1942 season. acquire an enlarged dining room. efforts have been made to introduce gardening with varying success. Girls have taken to this activity particularly. the practice has developed to sell produce to visitors. It is an end in itself inasmuch as it fills immediate needs and serves to beautify the camp. The campers acquire considerable information and numerous skills. shower house. painted and erected so that electric cables could be drawn from the nearest sources of power. This emphasis on work has several motivations. infirmary. 39 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING campers conducted a cooperative laundry). interest in gardening was heightened by associating this activity with the need for maximum food in this country. Connecticut. shower house. In some of the camps. I have watched the camp at Killingworth. and recreation hall with impressive ceremonies. During the weeks of camp. The advance crew usually prepares the soil and plants a variety of vegetables which mature during July and August. The complete electrification job was done and celebrated late in the summer when the lights were turned on in the dining room. and the beginning of a storage bin.
with projects involving related activities being used to a fair degree. long and personalized discussions as to the implications of the war took place in all camps. Jewish community organization. derived from the basic aims of Habonim. Here the emphasis is on creating new forms 40 . "famous unknowns. anti-Semitism. Reading of relevant materials goes on simultaneously. the Bible and modern Jewish literature. representatives of the Eretz Yisrael Labor Movement. from vocational problems of American Jewish youth." phases and problems of life in Eretz Yisrael. but an atmosphere of purposeful learning permeates the camp at all times.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. Group discussion is the dominant method. The topics range from the aims and organizational forms of Habonim. Definite periods are set aside for this in the daily schedule. to the effect of rainfall on the economy of Eretz Yisrael. holidays. problems of Jewish adjustment. At the end of the 1939 season. personalities from Jewish and Socialist history. Talks by visitors from nearby communities. particularly among the younger age groups. and staff members serve frequently as points of departure for discussions. Jewish migrations and refugees. and special occasions. to the causes of war and the prospects for permanent peace. when war was imminent in Europe. covers a wide range of topics of Jewish and general interest. The subject matter. Groups have discussed and read about Jewish historical subjects. The subjects keep changing as events suggest the timeliness of various problems. Observance of Shabbat Much attention has been focused upon the observance of Shabbat. and elements of Socialism.
and continue in the dining room before and after the meal. reading circles. tables are covered with white table cloths.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING of observance which will give meaning and significance to the holidays. they do not stiffer from that coldness and remoteness which so often characterize the reformist or "non-sectarian" services in vogue in many Jewish camps. the dining room is furnished with fresh flowers and ferns. Some experiments have been made with developing new forms for Saturday morning and with the Havdala 41 . Preparations for Shabbat go on all day. being original. with or without choral group to provide direction. Camp is cleaned up. the evening closes with folk dancing in the open or in the cleared dining room. The use of the traditional Kiddush has spread in recent years. The day is characterized by more leisure. symptomatic of the swing back from an earlier rejection in radical Jewish circles of all that smacks of the old and "outworn. give to the observance a spontaneity which is so often lacking where the traditional orthodox customs are practiced. they have drawn those which lit particularly the spirit of Shabbat. After the meal the singing normally continues. Considerable success has been achieved in this area. At the same time. sports and swimming for longer periods than usual. and which will be emotionally and aesthetically satisfying. discussions of current events. On Saturday. These ceremonials." Groups have prepared special readings from the Bible and the Prophets. and from their extensive repertoire of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. The ceremonies may begin at flag-lowering. all work projects are in abeyance. and when this is done the first hint may well appear in the blessing of the candles. Invariably. Specific themes may be used as the foci of the program. 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. and a special menu is prepared. laundry is done.
it is interesting to note that some camps have observed the anniversary of the martyrdom of Sacco and Vanzetti. On Tuesday the solelim rebelled. 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. the camps have always emphasized the concept of keeping all campers and staff on an equal basis with respect to money." In keeping with the principle of collective living. group re- 42 . and Hayim Nahman Bialik. after the campers had debated the question of having breakfast or not." Reflecting their interest in the general struggle for human freedom and civil rights. and every year. This was on Monday. which occur during the summer. and here the tendency to create new ways of observing old holy days finds expression. breakfast is foregone on Tisha B'Av. This has not been achieved without some difficulty. In all the camps. Tisha B'Av (Ninth of Av-date of the destruction of the Temple). the founder of political Zionism. The Saturday night campfire. are observed regularly with special programs. too. They refused to drink their juice. is observed.GROWTH OF AN IDEA services at sunset. Other Celebrations The anniversaries of Theodor Herzl. The educational value of the discussions is obvious. and the money normally spent on the meal is contributed to the Jewish National Fund. has become a traditional event. involving as they do questions of equality. it was decided that "only the solelim (the youngest children) were to have some fruit juice. individual rights. where the diary of the week is reviewed. The Common Fund One of the most radical features of Camp Kvutza is the elimination of "private capital. the Hebrew poet.
and the like. Where it includes the agreement to share among the entire camp all foods and candy sent to individual campers. means of curbing excessive demands. how will we be able to get stamps and batteries?" After ten years Camp Kvutza has remained true to its original principles. at the same time enabling him to defend his request if he wishes to do so. asked: "If we don't have one. the committee advises the camper accordingly. are virtually non-existent. are being trained in agriculture or trades for settlement there. in a discussion as to whether or not there should be a common fund. as members of the American Hehalutz. Occasionally. however. As indicated. How well it has been accepted by the campers is illustrated in the anecdote about the boy who. The only exception to this general practice is made in situations where the camper deposits with the committee some money to be kept for his return home. and combs are placed with the committee which fills the orders as the finances permit. particularly with non-members of Habonim or with new campers. frequently over the objections of a minority. problems familiar to all camp directors. the troublesome problems associated with these gifts. (A goodly number of former campers are now living in collective settlements in Eretz Yisrael. difficulties arise. the common fund is not instituted without prior discussion and acceptance. 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. Experience has varied. No accounts are kept of what campers give or get. On the whole. Where a request is considered to be out of line with the budget or unjustifiable for any other reason. or. tooth brushes. All requests for supplies such as stamps.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING sponsibility for the individual. it has been accepted and has worked out very satisfactorily. 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.) 43 . stationary.
Abraham Cohen. Concurrently they acquire information and emotional attitudes toward their Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life which help to make of them healthy mid creative Jewish personalities.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. 1943 44 . rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. 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.
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.
and who creates within himself a force that drives him on to self-realization. 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 the new society that we seek to create. We believe that there must evolve a new society of cooperation where mankind will develop new values. When we speak of new society and new values. And 49 . In the place of this narrow view of life. His participation in this renaissance becomes the foremost factor in his life as an individual. we would implant a concern for mankind. this means that we want to develop an individual who is awake and sensitive to his world. we are not dreamers after Utopia. takes part in the renaissance of his people. In specific terms. we would choose other avenues than Zionism on which to live. We believe in the right of an entire people to be free as a group. In other words. for all individuals. Were we to believe only in man's right to be a free individual. who dares to participate in every phase of its life. for our 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. We familiarize our haverim with our historical past. he is a young Jew who understands what is happening to his people in an alien world and. because of the sensitivity within himself. we interpret our present struggle. but followers after the pattern of life being created now in Eretz Yisrael.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 try to erase the narrow concept of "me and mine. We believe in the right of man to be free as an individual. But it is because we believe in the value and the necessity for national living that we are Zionists.
Everyone must become interested in the management of Kvutza: the government. While still in the city. and educational programs. Unless the individu- 50 . management of the kitchen. Discussion is an important part of education. dramatics. Once at Kvutza. everyone must be made to have an interest in every phase of the day's activity: work. social. and social selves. If he is a responsible boneh. Individual Development at Kvutza Haverim who come to Kvutza must create the Kvutza. photography. religious. appearance and cleanliness of the settlement. scouting. Equality must be expressed in every phase of life economic. crafts. study. That is our best way of developing the new individual. cultural. political. he should have a part in the actual planning of construction. and put it in their hearts and in their way of living. In order to translate these ideas into human living. food and equipment purchasing. discipline and attitudes of the little community. but living is by far the greater teacher. he should bear witness to all the excitement of preparation. 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. prepare himself to go to Kvutza. development of creative interests such as. Even before he sees the site. This equality and this concern for mankind will become real only when man is judged by his selfless contribution to society. If he is too young for this. and only when he is a laborer for the improvement of that society.GROWTH OF AN IDEA this concern would be demonstrated in our economic. music. In Camp Kvutza we live our ideals. help to raise funds. he should become a part of Kvutza. art. and sports. otherwise there is no equality. we must educate an entire generation of Jewish youth along new lines of thinking and acting. We seek to take the word equality off the lips of our haverim.
we will fail in our attempt to develop him into the person we want. through discussion and dramatics. the life-struggle of our people today. it is our training ground for the tomorrow 51 . At the very least. The madrich must come to Kvutza prepared for his duties. Now there is only day-by-day living. Our aims for the haver who participates in Kvutza may be summed up as follows: 1. 4. he should be ready with his discussion material. For no one in Kvutza is on a vacation. If possible. 2.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING al is part of the day's activity. To deal with the problems of life in a group through the creation of a society based on equality and cooperation. he must be prepared with the proper attitude. the individual" and to be so challenged as to take upon himself the task of realizing that future. He will create the atmosphere and the spirit. Now there are no "company manners" between them. 5. he will develop-or fail to develop-all the individuals who come to Kvutza. songs. and rainy-day activities. The Madrich of Kvutza Upon the madrich rests the Kvutza. To know that the future of our people depends on "me. but at Kvutza he is with them during all their waking and sleeping hours. games. To learn to live with a large group of individuals. For in the city. 3. through special programs and in daily living. To experience. it is absolutely vital in the Kvutza. If his role is important in the city. the madrich sees his haverim only once or twice a week. To understand the significance of being pioneers in a new form of living.
He faces a serious task. He must foresee problems before his youngsters create them so that he can divert energies to other channels. lie. and spends many hours in just speaking with them about all the big problems we face together and all their personal problems. He helps them adjust to their surroundings. must understand that Kvutza is not merely an educational experiment. The madrich must be wide awake. he is responsible for their psychological well-being. We do not bring together a group of youngsters. must know how to put across his way of thinking and the desired way of acting. at times. eat enough. he is responsible for the physical well-being of his haverim. wins their confidences. "firm" in stating our point of view? The rosh of every Kvutza. turn them loose. Third. The madrich directs the training. with notebook in hand. He sees that they sleep enough. he discovers their hidden talents and interests. and then. Exactly what is his responsibility? First. Freedom with a Pattern Herein lies a real problem for all madrichim. keep themselves and their sleeping quarters clean.GROWTH OF AN IDEA of our people. and only one who understands the responsibility should be entrusted with it. he makes them aware of the role they play in their group. 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. be is responsible for their development as individuals. he draws them into every activity. Second. write up our scientific observations. promotes friendly relations among them. He must be a good pal and know how to have f un with them. He explains Kvutza and people to them. The luxury of experiments in edu- 52 . together with the madrichim. At the same time.
The rosh and madrichim are entrusted with young lives and young minds. each thing in its place. The appearance of Kvutza must be orderly-clean grounds. A day filled with activity. but more is needed to make this orderliness complete. neat haverim. meals. The rosh and madrichim must keep them in mind always. 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. Our only sin can be the failure to make Kvutza what it must be: a pattern of life for our haverim. they are likewise entrusted with a great responsibility to the Labor Zionist movement. We are trying to "turn men into a nation and sand into a country. goes far toward creating the orderly society. other institutions may be created to assist in the order of the Kvutza or in 53 . clean buildings that are nicely decorated. There should be clean-up committees of campers. Failure to participate in discussions. That symbol and its realization are the prime forces behind Kvutza. the day's program-all must add up to steady living.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING cation for their own sake we must leave for people more fortunate than we. in any group activity. Let them not be frightened by terms or by name-calling. Staying awake until all hours of the night is ruinous to health and humor-it is not freedom." Camp Kvutza is our instrument for inspiring and remaking individual young Jewish lives. in work. No amount of "freedom" is real or desirable if it destroys our Kvutza spirit or discolors our Kvutza design. An Orderly Society Kvutza must be an orderly society. Rising. Haverim must live on schedule. Kvutza must be a symbol to us-a symbol that we will eventually make real. The program should be full so that haverim know that one activity follows another regularly. We need this for the education as well as for the spirit of the Kvutza. is not freedom but a weakening of Kvutza spirit.
lack of understanding of Kvutza. From these discussions. the fewer problems will arise. as well as a goal toward which they will work. Therefore. Kvutza should develop the machaneh. it cannot be stressed too much: Prepare your members for Kvutza. Summer Kvutza can do much. For example. poor participation. the machaneh in which I am now living has chosen its Kvutza committee. The better the madrich. not only for the development of our haverim individually." since each case and the individuals concerned must be considered. Our machaneh has a good group of Kvutza "veterans. Our machaneh has expanded rapidly so that only about half of our haverim have been to Kvutza and have an understanding of the movement. 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. rosh and madrichim should have discussions oil the weaknesses and strengths of the machaneh and its needs. Therefore. Poor enrollment of movement members. 2. Setting Goals Each Kvutza is a reflection of the city from which its people come. Insofar as possible. Thus there will be an understanding among those who will lead the Kvutza. Before going out to Kvutza. No general rule may be given for "order" or "discipline." They are actually the "backbone" of the machaneh. lack of discipline. but beyond that and greater than that. Our second aim of Kvutza is to 54 . a broken common fund-these reflect the city activities.GROWTH OF AN IDEA the handling of haverim who refuse to be a part of the general orderliness. with this committee I have had one discussion from which we concluded: 1.
and must prepare as much as possible for the season. This year. we become more certain that we will face still greater responsibilities in the movement here and abroad. created. that we have hardly had time to notice the years creeping up on us. so immersed in the every-day workings. entitled to a sedate. Miriam Biderman. must think a great deal about Kvutza as an educational institution and as a symbol. For although thirteen years is a relatively short period of time in the life of an individual. and talkative "Bar Mitzva dinner. like last. 1935 COMING OF AGE The thirteenth consecutive year of Habonim summer camping has rolled around. our movement faces a serious lack of leadership for our summer Kvutzot. at that age. We have been so occupied in actually preparing for Kvutza. thoughtful. even before the official beginning of Habonim as an organization. worries. This will mean that all who are madrichim must become well acquainted with the objectives of Kvutza before they go. and business of the camp. complete leadership within the Kvutza and within the machaneh. Therefore. by a small group of stubborn young people who were dissatisfied with Jewish summer camping as 55 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING prepare these sixteen-year-old “veterans" to assume. wherever necessary. our haverim must feel that in Kvutza they are undergoing training for their role tomorrow. contributed? The first Habonim Camp Kvutza was started thirteen years ago. It was only when I sat down and began to count that I suddenly realized. With our awareness of what is happening to our people in Europe and in Eretz Yisrael." What have we accomplished in these thirteen summers? What institutions can we point to? What have we established. that Bar Mitzva is upon us. to my amazement. an institution such as camp is considered old and established.
gave too little room for the expression of the creative abilities of campers. change them for the better. Whereas thirteen years ago all the principles listed above were dreams-according to some. We have found no better way to develop youth toward an intelligent understanding of Zionism 56 . Habonim is operating eight summer camps throughout the United States and Canada. They felt it was too occupied with trivialities. of our camping system. Whereas thirteen years ago there was a group of some ten to fifteen campers. They decided to devote some time each day to discussion of Jewish current affairs. and are constantly expanding our facilities. most Jewish-conscious and responsible Habonim groups." Today. most alert. thirteen years later. Today Camp Kvutza is integrally bound up with the life blood of Habonim as a movement. the campers. dreams incapable of realizationtoday they are part and parcel. It is almost a truism that those cities which have a good Camp Kvutza in the vicinity have the strongest. They called the camp "Kvutza. They were determined that the spirit of modern Eretz Yisrael should permeate the camp. should work several hours a day in and about the camp. They felt that the camp should be run democratically with each camper having a choice in decisions affecting programs and work. They had the impudence to believe that they could operate a camp which could change these things. Whereas thirteen years ago the first campers "squatted" on a piece of land loaned to them. as it did last. Jewish history. we now have an average of 1.400 or more each summer.GROWTH OF AN IDEA they knew it. They decided that they. It is undoubtedly the strongest educational instrument which we have succeeded in developing. Jewish problems. and paid too little attention to intelligent discussion and teaching of Jewish attitudes and heritage. we now own all but one of our camps. and preparing to operate nine next summer. in a highly developed form.
to become vitally concerned with our problems. Perhaps it is because younger people all over are becoming accustomed to a greater degree of responsibility. Our staff must consist of a certain type of individual. The fact that we are interested in retaining a permanent hold on the camper through the year as well as in the summer months. Whatever the reasons. with a certain type of background. 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. conditions the type of camp we have. and it is increasingly difficult for even them to devote themselves to camp. Ways must be found to draw them actively into the cause which circumstance dictates they must fight for though they be unprepared. two-month living course presented by Camp Kvutza. Thus we have been hit more than ordinary camps by the current war situation. The nature of our purpose makes for an extremely high rate of change and adaption to circumstance.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. be concerned simply with supplying a staff for our camps.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING than the twenty-four-hour-a-day. There are several reasons for this.and nineteen-year-old haverim who would normally assume positions of leadership are to a large extent unavailable. The fifteen. We cannot. and with roots in Habonim. The inner strength of our camps is showing itself in the way this crisis is being met. New systems for activity have to be worked out. Despite our realization of these things. we are reticent about pointing to our accomplishments. Programs have to be adjusted to their level of preparation. like others. By their very nature our camps become institutionalized according to a given pattern. The eighteen. our 57 .
In some cities Kvutza is the summer camp of our entire movement. So far. there exists no Kvutza because the movement there has failed to become enthusiastic enough about it to undertake the establishment of one. receiving enthusiastic backing of all its segments. the Labor Zionist movement as a whole has failed to recognize its value and gives it no more than perfunctory backing. new ideas are being contributed. The extent to which Habonim should actually run the camp. We have continued to develop during the last two difficult summers. In others. other ticklish problems arise. so good. we have not succeeded in completely solving them. have we exploited as fully as we could have and should have? Have we succeeded in getting the Labor Zionist movement as a whole to recognize it and actively support it? Have we succeeded in bringing it to the attention of the Jewish public as a whole? The answers to these questions are doubtful. in those places where the senior movement has become interested. In others. Three new permanent sites have been acquired. Given the conviction that Camp Kvutza is a good instrument for the advancement of our approach to Jewish life. comes into question. All that I have mentioned can definitely be considered on the credit side of the Camp Kvutza ledger. the advisability of younger people being entrusted with financial and physical responsibility for what in some cases is a big business. plans for new camps are under serious consideration. On the other band.GROWTH OF AN IDEA younger haverim have reacted in a way which leaves no doubt as to the future of Habonim camping. But there is another angle from which the whole picture can be viewed. We have encountered many problems along these lines and to this day. We have always felt that an important element in shaping the character and initiative of the campers would be lost were 58 . camps are being expanded.
In the establishment of a network of twice and thrice the number of Kvutzot we now have. It is more powerful than city propaganda. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. is naturally desirable. All these questions must eventually be resolved. and its preservation and strengthening is perhaps the greatest contribution Habonim can make to the cause of Labor Zionist youth in this country.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. 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. That non-members should attend Kvutza. I. In general. it has been left up to the individual city to decide on this question although certain minimum principles such as no work on Shabbat have been adopted nationally. Murray Weingarten. 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. 1944 59 . more powerful than Hebrew schools. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. for one.
and where necessary and possible. and privileges that carry consequences affecting him directly. 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. to each according to his need. there is never hired labor except where necessary-the cook and the nurse). needs. We have. The maintenance work is done by the camper: kitchen duty. responsibilities. Each person receives what he needs from the common fund. C. program. and ways of meeting these needs. 60 . sanitation. suggestions. Each person at Kvutza puts in as much money as he can and whatever food he may bring or receive from home. our common fund of money and food from home. perhaps for the first time.In Kvutza.Here. Self-Government .In Kvutza. This is in keeping with our cooperative ideal: from each according to his ability.GROWTH OF AN IDEA PRINCIPLES AND PHILOSOPHY I. We have a meeting of the entire camp community to discuss its philosophy. Social Justice A. And we elect our committees and our officers. The food is distributed equally. cleaning. in turn. and interests of the campers in regard to the Kvutza program. Self-Labor . to each individual. the haver becomes a full-fledged member of a community with duties. Cooperative Living . and at the same time. This is in keeping with our belief in the dignity of labor and with the ideal and policy of the Histadrut . B. We discuss the desires.that a man must not be exploited and that he. exploit no one. for example. No individual accounts are kept. even construction of buildings.
We desire to aid each individual to become self-sufficient. though it is hardest to define in -words. we must regard it as if we. Into this spirit goes the appreciation of the culture and tradition. We want to develop the desire to participate personally in the upbuilding of Eretz Yisrael. dancing. Camp Kvutza and the Movement I. in our lives. III. to have a healthy self-respect. and in our haverim through Kvutza. comfortable feeling of being Jewish. We strive to develop a historical sense and an identification with the past and present struggle of the Jewish people. We want to develop or intensify an appreciation of the Jewish tradition and a desire for participation in and perpetuation of this culture. We want to develop in our people a feeling of belonging to all that ever was and is Jewish. The Individual A. We want to develop in Kvutza. We approach this through our Shabbat and holiday celebrations. carry responsibility. B. is perhaps the most important part of Kvutza life. that intangible Jewish spirit-the folkways of our people. We want to make him realize his own worth. the identification with the people and its struggle. and a positive. Zionism It is our purpose in Kvutza. Judaism A. reading circles. to give the haver an intellectual understanding of Zionism and an emotional feeling of healthy nationalism. C. singing. to be able to make decisions. 61 . personally. The Haggada says that as we read at the Seder Pesach of the Exodus from Egypt. and use privileges well. Hebrew study. are experiencing these things. This.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING II. as in our machanot.
having had a full. general and Jewish. III. C. The Machaneh A. discussions with other haverim and with madrichim. and hav- 62 . II. Through self-study. We expect the haver to develop intellectually during the course of the summer. and stimulation in a group. become an integral and pleasant part of their lives because it is so for their friends also. reading circles. When people have a place in the social setup of the movement. and the hanhaga. Habonim becomes the social group. Every person needs a sense of belonging. Meetings. courage. Through the achievement of all the above. group attitudes. The individual and the group are closely interrelated. In the course of such participation. and to be able to influence without becoming domineering. KM. "In unity there is strength. and standards. All of the foregoing is important to the machaneh. There are satisfactions which an individual cannot obtain alone. The Group A. and enjoyable summer. to conform without losing his individuality. He develops loyalties. For many of our people. a haver is more willing and able to be active in the movement during the course of the organizational year." An individual gains significance. they are more willing to devote time and energy to the movement. We strive to develop within him a community mindedness: the ability to live within a group. stimulating. 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. one has a real opportunity to increase his knowledge. his personality develops and a socializing takes place.GROWTH OF AN IDEA B. This is especially important for us because it makes for strong ties among members of Habonim and for cohesive groups. D. Kvutza is a stimulant to movement work -When haverim come from Kvutza. B. discussion groups.
they are usually anxious to get started on machaneh activities and have a lot to offer intellectually and spiritually. This gives them a greater responsibility to the group.Through opportunities for leadership. The movement is strengthened by the activities and stimulation of Camp Kvutza. educate and induct new members. committee work. Their function is within the group and not above and outside of it. He is responsible for Kvutza as a whole and for each of its facets." Kvutza Is a Living Community I. to make a quick decision where necessary-in other words. C. IV. We come together and have an opportunity to live a portion of our lives as we believe and desire. is a vital part of the community. or simply through the group experience. B. "The whole is greater than its parts. The madrichim are perhaps the equivalent to elected officers in a democratic society. Leadership qualities are developed . Kvutza is a democratic. The Movement A. Kvutza Is a Living Community A. B. The rosh. He can influence the entire atmosphere of a Camp Kvutza.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ing formed strong group ties. to feel and understand the tempo of the camp. many return from Kvutza in a position to influence and lead others. C. It is his responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of the Kvutza and its people. Kvutza offers an excellent opportunity to attract. The campers. 63 . like the madrichim. cooperative community. They have been assigned their roles by virtue of their wider experience and greater insight and understanding. madrichim. and rosh are integral parts of this group. It is not a vacation from our "real" lives.
Future relationships between madrichim and campers can stem from impressions received on the first day. The madrichim in a Kvutza are not counselors in the usual sense. There we will determine the policy and principles of Kvutza. The First Day I. in relation to all others madrichim and campers alike-that he influences people. intellectually. The rosh and madrichim must work closely together in order to achieve the best possible results for the group. and in a creative manner. It is in all of the madrich's behavior as a social being. The first day of camp sets the tone for the entire period. There we put into practice our theory that Kvutza is a "living community. however.GROWTH OF AN IDEA II. in turn. Relationships in Camp Kvutza A.” We want the haverim to understand that. They are not technicians functioning in the limited sphere of their specialties. B. The madrichim must exert every effort to make the campers feel at home and must be with the campers every minute of the day to aid in their personal adjustment and orientation to new faces and new surroundings.The first meeting is the most important one of the season. He also has the job of making decisions necessary for the best functioning of the Kvutza. The rosh. we enrich our lives through this relationship. The relationship between rosh and madrichim is important in forming attitudes and understanding in madrich-camper relations. has veto power over decisions of madrichim and campers in matters of health and safety. socially. The Meeting . because of his particular position. The madrich that works with a group must be part of that group. If we are successful. the group stimulates him. It is also one of the biggest factors in the tone and atmosphere of the camps. This is the first community expression of the campers. He stimulates the group and. There is a definite carry-over of attitudes. though it is natural that the rosh and the youngest tzofeh are not 64 . A.
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equal in influence, they are equal in right of expression. The madrichim also are an integral part of this community meeting, with full voting rights and complete freedom of expression. Let us clarify the question of jurisdiction which will arise in some form. The madrichim will deal with our general educational policy and health and safety measures. The madrichim must have an appreciation and an understanding of all other camp problems. The primary function of the general meeting, on the other hand, is to discuss the group life-the community life such as common fund, work committee, evening programs, and daily schedule. It is clear, however, that an explanation of the guiding principles of our health and safety measures is necessary, that a discussion on the educational aspects of camp can be a positive thing. If the thoughts of the campers on this aspect of camp life are feasible, then they certainly are acceptable. B. Common Fund - Our purpose in advocating the common fund is to teach the first fundamental principle of a Labor Zionist life. It is not advisable, however, to impose such a decision on Kvutza. Our job must be to educate in such a fashion that the haverim will decide themselves that it is practical and necessary. Our approach should be: How do you want to handle spending money and food packages? We can get across the point that beside the educational value, it is practical, pleasurable (isn't it more fun to do things together as friends?), and is wanted. Educational Tools I. We have, in our movement and in Kvutza, established certain definite and characteristic methods of "getting things across.” We utilize the discussion, the reading circle, creative group activities, and Shabbat and holiday programs. These are our educational tools.
GROWTH OF AN IDEA
A. The Discussion-The discussion has traditionally been our way of disseminating information. We have considered it our chief "tool." We realize that informational lectures seldom move a young person or change his attitudes or ideas. Our discussions have often been reduced to information-giving periods, and only by carefully planning and preparing them, can we avoid making lectures of the discussions. Methods that are interesting, provocative, and attractive must be utilized. B. The Reading Circle-The reading circle is a pliable "tool.” It can be used in connection with the discussions, as well as independent of them (Zionist classics, for instance). It can also be a device for transmitting certain attitudes and feelings. As an example of this last, reading stories and poetry from Hebrew and Yiddish literature in the original or translation may help in developing an understanding of and feeling for the literature and folkways of our people. In Camp Kvutza, where there are a number of Hebrew-speaking haverim, there is certainly an opportunity for a reading in circle. Personal Preparation I. This coming summer, madrichim in our Kvutzot, on the average, will be younger than ever before. In many cases, this means that the madrich will be lacking in experience and background. We must be prepared to conduct more extensive and intensive training in the city for our madrichim prior to their going out to Kvutza. This can be accomplished in various ways. A. The madrichim responsible for camp work should begin to meet once a week. What does such a group hope to accomplish? The group should aim to have a clear understanding of what Camp Kvutza is, how it differs from the average camp in this country, what we hope to accomplish with our campers, and what the ideas of Habonim are. It should aim to have an under-
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standing of what to do with children and how to make decisions on practical and technical problems of Kvutza. B. This "workshop" is to serve as the instrument whereby the madrichim obtain basic attitudes and ideas for camp work. After concentrated discussion, the madrich should be ready for the necessary personal preparation. Conferences with individuals and supervision of individual assignments is an important aspect of our training. The facilities of the city can be utilized, and various haverim can be assigned to take courses in first aid, dramatics, crafts, carpentry, cooking, sports, swimming, office work, scoutcraft, etc. Others can begin to think in terms of preparing for the discussion groups, evening programs, Shabbat celebrations, rainy-day programs, and the work program. C. The "workshop" and individual preparation do not rule out the necessity for frequent meetings of all the madrichim. The following items must be understood thoroughly: 1. Health and safety requirements and standards 2. Kitchen setup and rules 3. Daily program 4. General educational work 5. Role of the madrich in Camp Kvutza 6. Discipline D. From the beginning we should strive to create the feeling that the madrichim are working as a group, thrashing out plans, discussing theory and practice, and helping establish the basic principles which govern their tasks. The job of this group becomes increasingly important since training and supervision are paramount to achieve the necessary continuity of program and stability of approach. Handbook for Madrichim, 1952
GROWTH OF AN IDEA
THE TURNING POINT Habonim camps, at their inception, introduced new and revolutionary methods and concepts into the field of camping generally, and Jewish camping in particular. Perhaps we, not to speak of authorities in the field of Jewish camping, have never fully evaluated or appreciated the new and progressive approaches we developed in our first camps. Our program was outstandingly different from other Jewish camping programs; in most phases of camping, we led the way and were far ahead of other camps. Alongside the most progressive educational techniques and values, our camps, from the physical point of view, operated on a most primitive level. Campers were generally housed in tents. Outdoor plumbing was the rule and not the exception. Dining halls were small, kitchens totally inadequate. There were no special facilities for infirmaries. Frequently, camps were situated in virtually inaccessible sites. There were no special technical personnel; an older havera with relatively limited experience might well be the cook or nurse, and an older haver, the business manager. And no camp season was complete without at least one good epidemic, fire, or accident, which created the material for "chizbatim" told to this very day. In fact, the more primitive the camp, the more enjoyable and satisfying the camp season appeared to have been. And, surprisingly enough, parents sent their children to such camps. Perhaps it was that in the late thirties and early forties the Jewish community had not as yet reached its present economic middle-class level, with corresponding middle-class standards in regard to the camps. Perhaps parents-and especially those from so-called "Jewish homes" -felt that the uniquely Jewish content which we had to offer their children in such a creative and dynamic manner more than offset the primitive environment to which their children were exposed. Whatever the reason, though they complained, parents sent
from the point of view of progressive educational techniques and values. 1954. in an article entitled. This is a key job.. ranging from agency camps. They visited the cities. one can find a strikingly familiar description of a day at camp in the March 14. " The day's work is beginning . The camp individualist. . the parents themselves. realistically enough. It is actually a description of a typical "work camp" of which there are many.. Every year.. The monopoly we once had in the field of creative Jewish living" is no longer ours either. 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. is a description of a B'nai B'rith camp: "The most popular of the subjects studied was the imaginary trip to Israel ." This could be a description of a very successful work project at a Habonim camp. Others are busily mixing mortar and cement for the foundation of the house. The foundation is about to be laid. For instance. Sankel. Here. He begins to see the value of working together with his fellow camper for a common goal. . Still others are digging a ditch to lay the sewer pipe.. our camps are no longer unique. for example. Two boys and a girl start to saw wood for the flooring of the house they are erecting . The cement is ready. for visas at the Israel Consul's office.. cannot do the job alone. such as the one described above. The children were started on this imaginary trip by applying. "At a Work Camp of the American Jewish Society for Service. He must ask for help." by Hyman R. Emanuel. with its emphasis on the dignity of labor and cooperation among men.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING their children to our camps. Today. Now the plumb line and the level go into action. 69 . issue of The Reconstructionist. to private camps charging high tuition rates. Cooperation is essential. and shared by.. new camps come into being which stress similar approaches to the very ideals in camping which were once almost exclusively ours.
" 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. So now. and landmarks of the country. on the contrary. we find that we are not the only progressive Jewish camp on the scene. is that we are no longer alone. On the other hand. in 1954. When they entered the kibbutz Yizr'el. on the contrary. the Jewish parent pays increasing attention to the physical setup of the camp to which lie sends his child. and only our camps can educate towards that aim. in a modern. Each site was investigated for its ancient and modern significance. f acing the Arab Triangle. Let no one conclude from my foregoing remarks that our particular type of camping has outlived its usefulness. which is on the Gilboa. unlike other Jewish organizations. which can be drawn from this and other examples. For in Habonim. A good madrich should be able to educate towards the aims of Habonim in a modern. the madrich has more tools and materials at his disposal 70 . well-run camp as well as. in terms of our movement's needs. The physical setup and technical functioning of the camp finally chosen may well be the deciding factors. And today. well-operated camp. there are so many Jewish camps from which to choose that he may well be particular as to the one he finally decides upon. we want to create halutzim. well-equipped. though educationally Jewish camping has caught up to us. they could sense the immense drama which has taken place and is taking place around this famous mountain . if not better than. in a primitive one. more than ever before. . using the approach to Jewish camping which such an activity typifies. technically we have failed to keep pace with the other camps. .GROWTH OF AN IDEA famous settlements. ill-managed camp in order to educate towards that goal. Habonim camping is as necessary and important to us as it ever was. But one need not have a technically primitive. or among the few. an even more important conclusion.
We must face up to the realities of the situation and solve the problems confronting us in a responsible and mature manner. we may once again find ourselves in a leading position in the field of Jewish camping in America.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING to aid him in his job. Habonim camping is now at a crucial turning point. 1954 71 . technical. To defend the primitive camp on ideological terms is to distort the entire meaning of our ideology. Dex Srauss. and administrative spheres so that we can once again compete with other Jewish camps and be acceptable to the modern Jewish parent. The need then is to bring our camps up to date in the physical. as we have set out to do. If we do not advance technically. If we do advance. whose first concern is with his child's health and safety. a time will come when our camps will be empty.
History and Development .
Los Angeles had its first camp. the fundamentals of Camp Kvutza were developed: 1) collective-democratic living.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS It all began in 1932. and in Chicago at Camp Tel Hai. but there was already a feeling that means must be found of assuring permanency and continuity in the operation of our camps. began to work on the first Kvutza Manual. This by no means meant that our camps were becoming standardized. By 1939. 74 . The following year. new camps were projected for Texas and Winnipeg. Only a few of the camps were on permanent sites. During that first summer. with fourteen haverim in a tent. With the development and expansion of the camps came a need for better planning and direction of both their educational and administrative aspects. In many cases permission was secured to use the site for an indefinite period of time. The summer Kvutza had become Habonim's most powerful and most effective educational weapon and had also become a "big business" operation. they ran the gamut from experiments in Lieberman's Creative Camping to semi-military discipline. called for the organization of a Habonim Kvutza Committee. two more Kvutzot were opened in 1935-in Montreal. living and studying together for a month. This committee established a series of minimum requirements. New York. Inspired by Accord. Habonim established its first Camp Kvutza at Accord. Close to 1500 haverim attended the camps in 1940. 2) a full Jewish life. In educational methodology. In 1936. and set up a systematic program for selecting the volunteers to staff the camps. the Cincinnati Habonim convention in December. Accord stands out in the memories of all the old-timers for its sheer physical beauty and difficult pioneering conditions. and in preparation for the 1941 season. most sites were rented. 1940. 3) self-labor. Moshava (Baltimore) and Kinneret (Detroit) were founded. As a result.
Amal itself was at Creamridge. Chicago. Ottawa. the camp accommodated fifty campers. Montreal. Los Angeles. Baltimore. In later years. Connecticut (for New York). fairly large numbers of non- 75 . a number of highly successful Camp Avoda seasons were conducted at the farms with groups drawn from within the movement. New Jersey. One of the significant results of Amal has been the proof that under proper conditions. In 1945. St. Tel Natan. and at Creamridge. and became established as one of the foremost Hebrew camps in the country. Toronto. During the years. For several seasons this was a work camp in the process of construction. Dallas. Winnipeg. The objective of this experiment was to create a positive attitude toward collective living and halutziut among non-affiliated American Jewish youth. Influenced and sparked by Amal alumni. in 1951. Camp Avoda was operated for the first time at the Hehalutz training farm in Creamridge. there have been a number of significant experiments in Habonim camping. Amal. Later. in Killingworth. New York. Its first season in 1948 opened on a rented site in Vermont with 26 campers. gained the backing of six bureaus of education in various cities which sent scholarship students. 1946 saw perhaps one of the peak years in Habonim camping when over two thousand campers attended Kvutza. Philadelphia founded its own camp (Galil). At Amenia (1949) and Killingworth (1950). New York bought a new camp site at Amenia. The primary educational factor in Camp Avoda was its proximity to the collective group and the farm. a number of interesting and important Hebrew programs were planned at Kinneret and Moshava. but the collapse of the movement in the city brought about the demise of the camp as well. for several years. Louis had its Kvutza. Detroit. Foremost among these was the national Hebrew camp.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING In 1943. 1600 youngsters spent the summer at eleven camps. Habonim was the only Zionist organization to sponsor a Hebrew camp.
In 1948. Each subsequent summer has witnessed large seminars of madrichim. 1950 also saw another experiment long under consideration. carrying full supplies and equipment and camping nights at previously selected sites. Louis. and during the summer of 1953. In addition. two madrichim camps were held.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT movement people can be attracted to our camps and integrated into the movement." A number of haverim made a long trip by truck. in which all the campers participate. have seen a number of interesting variations and experiments in the Habonim camping picture. the sports and cultural festival. one national madrichim camp was conducted at Kinneret. Mahaneh madrichim is an experiment in the realm of leadership training rather than strictly camping. At the 1953 convention of Habonim. at Galil. The past few years. most camps have conducted training programs for prospective madrichim. The three camps in the East have conducted an annual Maccabia. There has been an awareness that existing Habonim camps must be put on a more efficient and permanent basis. bonim. and pre-embarkation seminars for the Habonim Youth Workshop in Israel. it was decided to discontinue Amal as a separate institution and to stress Hebrew at all Habonim camps. and noar. The first national mahaneh madrichim was held in the summer of 1940 at Galil for the training of madrichei tzofim. Toronto conducted a "rambling camp. In 1950. Many more camps are on permanent sites into which large investments have been put by the local Labor Zionist movements and Merkaz Habonim. This pattern was followed the next year at Montreal and St. In 1952. The national Habonim Camping Association has been showing steady but slow improvement in the handling of national aspects of 76 . one in Vermont for the East and one in Detroit for the West. Amal was conducted at Moshava. too. There has been a trend to put the administration of our camps on a semi-commercial basis.
Red Hook. New camp sites were purchased for the Midwest in 1956 and for Camp Miriam in Vancouver in 1956. will be conducted: Camp Habonim. Annapolis. 1957 77 . Kvutza Manual. Pennsylvania. We are aware that Camp Kvutza is our most effective educational instrument. Midwest Camp Habonim.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING camp. Faustin. Camp Kvutza. New York. and increasingly aware of its potentiality as an instrument for expansion. all on permanent sites. Quebec. Camp Naame. Gabriola Island. was purchased in 1953. The permanent New York Kvutza at Red Hook. British Columbia. New York. Michigan. California. Three Rivers. Camp Kvutza Galil. During 1957. Camp Moshava. Camp Miriam. Ottsville. Saugus. St. the following seven Kvutzot. Maryland.
New York.The Kitchen at Accord. at Kendall. Accord. Joev Criden and friends. . "Brocky". A lecture at Accord.
Discussion under "tree of knowledge". Enzo Sereni and friends ponder a problem. Accord. Kieve Skidell. Carl Allentuck working on "sanitation". 1937. Accord. 1939.David Breslau. Rosh at Accord. 1938. Accord. .
Y. Accord. Accord.Work at Accord. 1935. 1935. Campers. Tent Area. N. The Dining Room and Kitchen at Accord. Building at Accord. . N.Y.
1941. Building the Migdal. Campers. Youth Day. "All aboard for the noar seminar".Dining Room at Camp Kvutza. Kinneret. Abe Meadow installing electricity. . Kinneret. 1941. 1940. Kinneret. Kinneret. 1942. Kinneret. Montreal. 1941.
. but the country gets more and more beautiful as the road becomes steeper and the hairpin curves sharper. and from an unexpected quarter. 1932 . Farband summer colony at Highland Mills... we have lost our way a half-dozen times. and ingenuity. 82 . 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. Somehow. it wasn't our own. an undreamed of opportunity. enthusiasm waxes high. dusty. only a deep-rutted.. Our hearts sink." For lack of a more specific address. We are getting panicky. Soon there is no highway at all. no matter what the difficulties. Next year we must have a real Kvutza. too. with two or three lectures in each period. .. spirits flag. Unser Camp offered too many comforts and too many distractions.. The first Young Poale Zion Kvutza is winding up its four-week session at Unser Camp.. New York. Granite. The haverim have learned much and have had a lot of fun. We were guests and not creators . Mid-June. Suddenly. bumpy. Three hours. the product of our own labors. Summer is knocking at the door and still no Kvutza site. four hours. A series of interviews. we accept this bid as meaning us. 1933. it was a camp and not a Kvutza. Kerhonkson-never beard of the places. The fourteen pioneers have been together for a full month and have valiantly tried to imbibe three lecture and discussion periods a day. yet everyone feels that something was missing .HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KVUTSA IN THE NEW YORK AREA CAMP KVUTZA IS BORN The last days of August.. The closing hours are devoted to evaluation and self-criticism. Life in the big tent has been most congenial. and the more primitive the better! Next year we must learn not only theory but also how to provide for ourselves. The sister would like to do something for "the Jewish people.. farmers' dirt road into a wilderness. efforts. Finally one morning we are off to the Catskills: Accord.
get lumber . Two coming from Rochester . Take advantage as much as we can of the cement floor of the 83 . All right now. no house (it burned down when the place was abandoned seven years before)." . lay it out cross-wise so that the kitchen part will come right over the spring. a meeting of the National Executive is hastily convened. a glorious tingle in the blood we are building our own Kvutza! Yes. a ring of mountains that seems to change color before your eyes. . back in the city. . Persuade some Pioneer Women to come out as "cookies. How are registrations coming? .. . . A singing brook cascades over the rock ledges forming crystal pools every few hundred feet-and on "our" land! We are filled with joy at the sight of all this beauty. Who can forget the day when the big truck came rumbling across the wooden bridge to unload the first $400 worth of lumber . Clear the site on top of the hill. . but also with sadness when we see how the land lies waste and neglected-grass and weeds waisthigh. Haven't heard from Buffalo . No shelter? We'll build our own.. Feverish days and nights . cots . No money? We'll beg. a beautiful valley below. we'll owe . . .. . and in the near distance. Ten haverim want to build a dining room and platforms for the tents . . . we'll borrow. Far? What of it? Wild? We've got a job to do. here is what we have to do. .. This is the place. the earth is parched. The next day. We need a car . . . . . Buy tents.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING A few more minutes and we find ourselves on the summit of a hill. . silverware? .. . Raise money. .. . . Can you borrow dishes. . . really building! . What will they eat? Who will cook for them? . . And how about the program? . And how about discussion leaders? . the answer to our prayers. . So much to do . . .. Here. Time is short-so short! A matter of days now… And through it all. . There is only an indescribable shack occupied by our benefactress and her partner in the summer .. .
set with dishes and silverware. Jacob Katzman. We've got to finish the kitchen first. We fulfilled the mitzva with overflowing hearts. should be received with rejoicing. But the cookies work hardest of all.. Nerves are on edge . Thursday noon. In the meantime. Friday all day they come trekking in. The Shabbat. Every hour brings one or two more haverim. miracles have been happening. the original number of the work group is more than doubled. In the deepening twilight. our sages tell us. the outhouse. . . Here. The cookies become more and more exasperated as the number of mouths to feed increases. The long tables in the dining room are scrubbed clean. . twenty-four of us. They form a thrilling silhouette against the sky. Over the dining room we can stretch canvas if necessary. 1942 84 . By nightfall. and it seems as if everything is still to be done. The seven-year growth of grass and weeds has been cut.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT burnt-down barn. and the old farmer's stove bought for $4 refuses to get fired. The single pyramid tent that had housed the work crew is now joined by three others. The Kvutza is scheduled to open Sunday. . .. Everyone is working against time . down below. There." sit down to break bread together. ready for the first Shabbat in our own Kvutza. and decked with flowers. Every newcomer is pressed into service as soon as he has a bite to eat . . we will build platforms for the tents . scrubbed clean at the brook and dressed in our "best.
sometimes it makes me mad! You who go to Kvutza these days have a way of saying: “Well – of course. 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. It took a genius to know how to line the stove with fire brick. how to keep the flames from climbing the wooden walls. We had to support the doddering building. and constructed the new building. we had a program of activities you’ll find it mighty hard to match! Just making it possible to live was program enough. Soon after we braced it. how to keep the sickly stove from falling apart. None of those new-fangled ideas like faucets for us pioneers! In the old days we trekked down from the hill to the creek. estimated the materials. for instance. for taking swims or showers. how to replace a broken grate. how to make that stove cook the food the right way at the right time. One of our own members. When you realize that we had to take the same hike for washing clothes. Take Accord. We decided to construct a brand new dining hall. No sooner was the shack or dining hall constructed than we had a real project on our hands. Keeping ourselves and our clothes clean was another constant work project. made the plans. Zalman. and how to extinguish them quickly once they started up–and last but not least. you had lots of spirit back in 1934-35. YOUNGSTERS! You know. swishing torrent of icy brook water. we really had work to do. how to stack the wood so as to direct the heat towards the pots and away from the cook. 85 . over dangerous cliffs and precipices to get to the “sink and washtubs”–a swirling. under the expert direction of the Philadelphia engineers. brushing teeth. but did you have any programs?” Why.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING LISTEN HERE. or any time we wanted to wash our hands – you have an idea of the tremendous work involved in keeping clean.
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. Well.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do. 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. 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. Then you’ll see how much spirit and how much program we had in the early days of our Kvutza. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York. 1942 86 . As one man. Celeritas. One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. we still made time for our cultural programs. 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. safe summer resort. Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. the truck–or even midnight swims. all responded to the emergency. Saadia Gelb. We survived the event of course. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds. I guess I haven’t the space to tell about the revolution at Tel Hai.
but we lived in such a way that he continued to exist in us. not a memorial. The Merkaz wore out tempers and tires in everlasting jaunts around New York State looking for a new camp site. I'd say that many of us did not know at the time who Yohanan was. and the registration of Tel Yohanan promised to expand enormously. faced its first meeting with Habonim during a spring session in 1953. it often seemed as if we New Yorkers were marking time. did not help the situation at all. New York. we went to Galil. the great tales of "adventure" found willing ears. When we returned to the city. The name of Yohanan Tartakower was completely unknown to me. the division between the two groups was extremely sharp. The fact that the Galil campers were living in the cabins and most of the New Yorkers in a separate tent-camp. spending my first year in Camp Kvutza. New York was determined to build a Kvutza of its own once again. but Mahaneh Tel Yohanan was a living thing. Finally. the shock of hearing that Tel Yohanan had been wrecked by vandals was numbing. The mahaneh in Red Hook. Who wanted to go anywhere but to our own Tel Yohanan for the summer? Nonetheless.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING TEL YOHANAN AND RED HOOK That summer. The first reaction: We were ap- 87 . the news was announced: New York Habonim had a new home-at the (then stupendous) cost of almost fifty thousand dollars. Since the majority of the New Yorkers were of bonim age. and the majority of the Galilniks were of solelim-tzofim age. Despite this attitude. I was a still-wet-behind-the-ears tzofa. That summer of 1951 in Tel Yohanan was a six-week honeymoon with the movement for all of us. In June. 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. During the summer of 1952. in the early spring of 1953.
the number of Habonim campers from the New York region was under fifty. The population at Red Hook climbed to more than double that number. There was a Habonim atmosphere. It will be remembered as the year of the Habonim Maccabia with the summer camp of Hanoar Hatzioni.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT palled! It was all too civilized for our tastes. 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. 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. This perhaps was the more serious of the two. At the same time. but were also faced with a previously unknown problem of incorporating a large percentage of nonmembers. The campers responded. too. In accepting the "luxury" of our new home. 1954 was the "honeymoon" season at Red Hook. while the Habonim population remained at roughly the same level. A comradely atmosphere from the outset . we could not afford to let our ideals go by the board. and (we thought) no halutziut. outhouses. It was felt. The first summer in Camp Habonim. active Habonim within the camp did not exceed forty percent of the total population. It was a wonderful experience for both camps. a separate shower-house. Red Hook.even cheers were care- 88 . We had not only to adapt ourselves to a new concept of camping with its attendant responsibilities. The next summer was somewhat less of a memorable experienceperhaps because the previous season had been so overwhelmingly successful. It became as natural for some madrichim to converse in Hebrew as for the campers to try to emulate the actions of the staff. Camp Hatzofeh. Gone were the days of cold water only. In Tel Yohanan and again in Galil. no electricity. in the activities run by the campers themselves. served to dispel a few illusions.
In addition to the spirit of comradeship which grew up in the three days.cold-water stage to the cabins-hot water stage. the New Yorkers won. 1957 89 . Once again held at Galil. though not until a contest had been waged in which every point was in doubt." 1955 saw a new venture in Habonim camping-that of a successful Leaders' Training program. with a large number of participants. 1956 saw the revival of the Habonim Inter-Kvutza Maccabia.upon which the cheers.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fully censored to exclude any derogatory material about the opposing camp. What is to happen to New York camping in the future? That is in the hands of the haverim themselves. a new dimension of education had been added to the Maccabia which made its meaning even fuller for the participants. The spirit of the entire competition may be imagined from the unanimous protest of the two camps directly before the close of the Maccabia . from the concept of halutziut "in the raw" to a more mature understanding of our role in the community and of how we must fill it. As usual.both wanted to "rip up the score sheets. Each summer has seen the development of the concept of Habonim camping-from the tents. evening program presentation. and songs were based. Remember the afternoon spent in track events. at camp. and Negev for Moshava . Ziffy Entin. Galil for Galil. it was the high point of the season.Yehuda for Red Hook. with people from all three camps cheering the competitors impartially? Each camp had a theme .
New York. and as a result. Many new Habonim members were obtained through the camp." Camp Kvutza catered to the Habonim of Rochester. 1941 was the last year of Camp Kvutza. Hanopolsky. aside from many of the Habonim members. Had it not been for the camp. Our camp was not a large-one. Buffalo.'s (and ex-Habonim) formed the Enzo Sereni Labor Zionist group in Rochester. however. our departed haver and teacher. inhabited by the ghost of two-fingered. However. From my experience on pre-registration camp committees in later years. The woods behind the tents and the hay loft behind the barn served as "rooms" for discussions and Hebrew lessons. It was situated on farm land along Lake Ontario. and Mark B. A large two story barn served as the kitchen and recreation hall.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT KENDALL Camp Kvutza at Kendall. This group existed from 1946 to 1949 and was probably as active a Zionist group as existed in this country. and Syracuse.I. the loyalties it helped cement bore fruit after the war years in 1946. thirty miles west of Rochester. opened in 1937 and ran through 1941. I can fully appreciate the time and effort expended by the "older haverim. It is not difficult to measure the importance of Camp Kvutza to upstate New York. the Habonim camping experience would have been denied to most of the Habonim in this region. and the empty "haunted house" down the road gave the camp additional atmosphere. Several ex-G. I cannot comment on the feverish activity involved in trying to set up the camp for the first time. Havera Atlas. Some of the haverim who were campers are now in 90 . and was responsible for many lasting friendships. Permanent fixtures at the camp. The burned-out remains of a house nearby. were the cook. I was only thirteen in 1937 when I spent one week at Camp Kvutza. It handled thirty to fifty-five children per week. one-eyed Pete.
and so we pushed her slowly to the garage and told the mechanic to get her in running condition for that evening. Julius Cohen. tiredeflated 1926 Dodge truck. dilapidated. She had been given to us for nothing. The fire had left a desolate spot. business manager. for upon her depended all the transportation of haverim and materials for this crucial period and for the Kvutza season itself. He looked at us and grinned. the super truck driver-to-be. and we were pushing that truck to a garage to get her running. to realize that the three were none other than Nahum Guttman. but which had been ravaged by fire. we had received our first application with $1 deposit. and myself. we had to revive a place which was once a beautiful Farband camp. The advance crew would have three weeks of unceasing work to get the place in shape for the opening.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Israel. now overgrown with weeds and grass and ruins all about. 1957 KVUTSA IN THE MIDWEST "KVUTZIE" It was a hot June day in 1936. 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. 91 . and that this little scene was actually the first practical beginning of Habonim's second Kvutza in America at New Buffalo. three "big shots" were pushing an old. The previous week. In these three weeks. Danny Owerbach. Only three weeks remained before the opening of Kvutza. It was hard. But we knew she would run again. Tel Hai. rusty-looking. rosh Kvutza. 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. shook his head. and said he'd see what he could do. even for members of Habonim. and down Douglas Boulevard in Chicago. Michigan.
and through the grace of an inefficient police force. Before we left. when the battery went completely dead. What should we do? Turning back would mean another precious day wasted. After a harrowing hour and a half we were finally out of the city. Trembling. Kvutzie!" and thus she was named. We looked up at the sky and saw that the moon was full. Julie and Nahum. we finally reached Tel Hai. those in front roasted from the heat of the motor. The streets of Chicago are renowned for their holes and bumps and I didn't miss one of them. The Dodge was old. Then on the way. We started her up. 92 . but all the way. got into the seat next to me. She needed a new generator and new battery. we got the Dodge started on her way back to Chicago-just Julie and I. 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. After a few hours' sleep and a little more pushing. I got into the driver's seat. but he wouldn't advise it. and then somehow managed to drive to the center. We decided to continue. It was now about midnight and the traffic was not very heavy. she was indeed able to run-but no telling how. Those in the back were frozen from the cold night air. We decided to take the chance. We could take the chance of using her that night if we wanted. We had no lights. the driver completely new. fearlessly risking their lives.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In the evening when we returned. there was spirited singing and joking. when she began sputtering over a little hill. With the aid of that flashlight and the full moon. "Come on. Here we picked up fourteen brave souls and were on our way. One of the haverim climbed up on top of the cab and shone his flashlight down on the road in front of the truck. I urged her on by calling out. Cries of "ouch" rang out and the people along Western Avenue stared.
Songs were written about her. What a night that was! We packed eighteen haverim into the back of Kvutzie and started the trip! It thundered and rained. We played guessing games as to what time she would return from a trip. Miraculously. she soon died. and everything was against our getting there.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Kvutzie was the cause of most of the joy and sorrow of that first season. But we survived the trip. our New York Kvutza. at Accord. New Jersey. Then we decided to take a number of haverim 1000 miles to the seminar at Accord. the rain. and the sixty hours of traveling. There. Without them. we found four almost new tires for Kvutzie. 93 . 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. and whom and what she would bring back with her. Then we went to buy her new shoes at an old junk yard about two miles from Michigan City. They dismantled her and used her parts on other trucks. her every departure. the mountains. who had inherited the junk yard from her father and who was sitting among old rims and tires and spare parts writing a book. we'd see. Kvutzie became a legend. But Kvutzie had been running on love and sympathy. We had her gear fixed so it would stay in high. There. the source of the greatest fear. We arrived at Accord amid great celebrating (and without a single flat tire on the entire trip). "What? With Kvutzie? Never!" Well. she served us through the entire summer. we sold Kvutzie to the Hehalutz farm at Creamridge. aided by a Jewish girl of about twenty. Her every arrival was the source of the greatest excitement. how many flats she would have. Frightened parents trembled as Kvutzie pulled out of the dirt road onto the highway at three in the morning.
"I have just what you want. the overnight hikes. KVUTZA. and an official title was given the committee. WHO'S GOT A KVUTZA? When we left Tel Hai at the close of the Kvutza season last summer. But it was. that first season of Kvutzat Tel Hai." I thanked the gentleman for his kind offer and consideration and hung up.762 1/2 miles from Milwaukee. Only in the wonderful life that is ours at Kvutza could such a spirit come to be. Real Estate. "Yes. "I have just the place for you. the discussion. All you have to do is put a dozen steam shovels to work for two years and you've got it. None other like it in the whole state." said the man on the other side of the line. I spun around three times and placed my finger on the page. It was decided that Wisconsin would be the lucky state containing the new Habonim Kvutza. a spirit which could take a dead object and give it the soul that Kvutzie had. Again I went through the same procedure. I remember Kvutzie for she was the creator of that spirit. When at the winter seminar it was decided to leave Tel Hai and look for a new site for the Midwest Kvutza. none of us were too sad. "Sure enough. A committee was elected to look for a site. see? Nothing to worry about. How should we go about it? Where should we start? Whom should we contact? The method we used was quite simple. the wonderful spirit. I phoned that number. With eyes closed." I hung up.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Others may remember the camp fires." said a bass voice. 1942 KVUTZA. I supply the blasting powder. 94 . We took out the trusty telephone book and began paging through it. R-Radiators-Radios-ah. little did we expect that it would be our last summer there. the Meshugoyim (mad ones). And it's only 9. Moshe Goldberg. the comradeship.
and sank a shallow well. Armon Kamesar. high land. While exploring the area south of their encampment. but for all other facilities. among them Ben Kaminker. built a dining hall and kitchen. erected platforms for the tents. under the leadership of Ben Kaminker. During the summer of 1939. Nevertheless. by the time you'll be reading this article. and with the assistance of a professional carpenter. they enlisted the moral and financial assistance of active seniors who helped plan construction of the new Habonim camp to be known as Kinneret. Mordecai Salinger.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Well. their neighbors across the road and owners of their camp site. This they immediately staked out as the perfect spot for their future ventures. hilly. our haverim cleared a road through the swamp. the hardy group turned to Farband Camp. Kinneret was a success and ready for further expansion when Mordecai Salinger took over as rosh Kvutza in 1940. 1944 KINNERET In the summer of 1938. 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 large group of Cincinnati 95 . and Danny Ginsburg. heavy woods. twenty acres of which belonged to the Farband. a few members of the group waded through a swamp to find a large tract of unused ground. That winter. after calling for enough times to have lost count. a small group of Detroit Habonim. and level. It meets all the requirements and we are awaiting word as to the possibilities of our developing the lake into a swimming pool. we will probably be building for the 1944 Kvutza season. Michigan. a place with real possibilities turned up. A patch of grass surrounded by a D-shaped trench formed the open-air dining table.
enlarged the dining room by moving the kitchen to a new addition.at Kinneret. a migdal. Electricity was installed. arrived late. New tent platforms. and dug another distribution field for the modern improved shower house. Artie Goldberg was rosh Kvutza. with Ettie Skidell in charge of camp and the boys hard at work moving mountains of dirt to lay the sanitation distribution field. The washing facilities were enclosed and work began on a real outhouse. raising the number of campers to an average of sixty during that summer. the Ashkenazy building. while Aharon Remez was the fair-haired boy whose experience and muscle were relied on to continue with the building program. work was again the watchword. In 1943. under the tutelage of Yosef Israeli. We added our 96 . separate outhouses were under way. Leon Adler became rosh. Shalom Wurm set the pattern for cultural activities at camp. and last but not least. 1944 also saw the end of the beloved tower-the termites and old age finally beat the creosote and supports. We began work on the hospital. 1942 was another year of big construction . and the arrival of four girls from Cleveland marked the beginning of Kinneret as a regional camp. which was dedicated to Donny Lee of Cleveland. with Shirley Milgrom who came along for the honeymoon. We built a cabin. 1941 was a quiet year. In 1945.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT haverim joined the Detroiters. and all became sweetness and light at Kinneret-for once we were genteel. The rosh was Paul Milgrom (Pinhas Rimon). the storage cellar. Harry Spoon. but the campers carried on valiantly under the expert whistle blowing of Esty Carson. and the hills around Kinneret resounded with labor songs. The hospital was nominally finished and we began our eternal project. In 1944. the rosh.
97 . Doodle Horowitz led Kinneret in its first year as a Hebrewspeaking camp. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew. This was the year of the "flexible schedule. A madrichim camp was held after the regular season. art. The season gushed with culture.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING annual brick to the storage cellar and spent the rest of the season looking for work. Dvora Frankel was rosh in 1949. and Evvy Weingarten made her famous leap from rooftop to Ann Arbor hospital. In 1951. Murray Weingarten. Pipeline HaNegev. 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. and the discussion program centered about the False Messiahs. Of the season. was rosh in 1946. Joey named his quarters. the greatest stunt ever at Kinneret. In 1948. modern dance. drama. Camp doubled its enrollment on weekends-an ambitious weekend program. including many younger children. Abba (Cherniak) Tzuriel was rosh. There were many midnight "Arab attacks. with Dave Katz as his right-hand man." and also a year of strong emphasis on scoutcraft. In 1950. Haim Stopak was rosh." and Blue-White Day was distinguished by its blood and gore. Detroit's United Hebrew Schools provided a number of full scholarships and there was a large enrollment. 1947 was the year of Joey Criden. That was the year of Doris Dombey's bouncing bed. in honor of sixteen-month-old Donny. Several more cabins were built. the Detroit United Hebrew Schools said that more Hebrew was learned by their students that year than any other. There was an ambitious work program mainly centered about maintenance-there were no new projects.
but things picked up. again including younger children. In 1954. managed to make money even on only twenty campers. and the last year of Kinneret closed with a Bonim Seminar. Tel Natan was named for our dear haver. Chicago and Detroit combined efforts in staff and campers. a group of “old-timers” packed box-lunches. There was no big construction projects because of the lack of people. 1957 TEL NATAN Tel Natan was the Camp Kvutza for the St. Dani Kerman returned in 1953. 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. Louis and Cincinnati mahanot in 1947 and 1948. Detroit had had a very successful year and camp registration was up. Geli Gelfond was rosh. and assorted spouses and progeny. Jerry Katz.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 1952 opened with a low registration. but a marvelous business manager. Tel Natan. A new truck was purchased. Seymour Salinger. Prior to opening. baby carriages. and spent a day of labor at Kinneret. Esther Goldberg. 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. It was unique in having complete facilities. 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 . 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. Harriet Gelfond. Abbie Haklay was rosh. Dani Kerman was rosh and Kinneret was still a Hebrew-speaking camp. 1955 was Kinneret's last year.
Louis. This was even more successful than the summer session.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING there would be no camp in the Chicago area to serve the St. office. the food was good. and the two tons of dishes and pots did not arrive till fall. I'm not sure why the camp failed or what lesson other camps can learn from Tel Natan. no one lost any weight (thanks to Havera Kanter. the camp discontinued operation. After we shut down the camp for the winter. We did not have to struggle and fight to establish our camp. bought a truck. who was our cook). The camp. In a matter of days. examined and leased the camp site sixty miles west of St. and after one more season. The camp and the setting were beautiful and the facilities excellent (two stoves. we were convinced that we had made a wonderful beginning as the first year-round Camp Kvutza in history. Forty haverim spent four satisfying weeks at Tel Natan. a walk-in icebox. a recreation hall. we contacted the movement in Cincinnati. and the activities and discussions excellent. All that we missed was the swimming. hospital. The cabins were warm. Quiure River State Park. and since the swimming at Cheetham Pond was not too good anyway. We were wrong. plenty of hot and cold water. Louis was just not ready to con- 99 . ten large cabins. two tons of dishes and pots. Missouri. We broke even. known to the Missouri State Park Commission as Camp C1. We returned to Tel Natan for a winter conference. Louis mahaneh. four sinks. and several buildings we never used. Troy. was located on a high hill in the heart of a 6. an electric refrigerator. The first season was a success. Perhaps St. no one complained. shower house. Perhaps it was too easy. and printed application blanks. Nate's mother. a large dining room.000 acre park. formed the Habonim Camping Association of Missouri. guest house.
thrilling one for our haverim of those early 100 . 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. created by a slowdown in activity during the war. I believe that Tel Natan failed because the leadership in the mahaneh. 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. of work and love and devotion. or moved on to other personal activity. and a feeling of deep regret that the monument we began to erect in memory of Nate Kanter in 1947 was never finished.the Labor Zionist Youth. some photographs. And yet this name holds for us twenty-five years of memories-memories of other camps with other names.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT duct and sustain its own camp. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. to other movement assignments. and left a void. 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 . 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. This void. a bold. was probably the main cause of failure. of exciting days and romantic nights. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. These are names that really bring back memories of our youth. names such Tel Hai. innocuous name. Wil Schoomer. of singing and dancing. went on aliya. This was a new idea. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael. Kinneret. which was mainly older. memories of a glorious.
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. when it was destroyed by fire. It was a good idea. containing all the necessary facilities. The first Habonim camp in the Midwest (and the second to be established in the United States) was Tel Hai. The name. Its tenure came to an abrupt end. Tel. however. 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 . near New Buffalo. In 1948. and they did! They built a big. except for a dispensary. and the camp itself was always clean and well kept. who recall those days with love and tenderness. so we had to travel ten miles to go swimming. which served the ChicagoMilwaukee-Minneapolis area. This was camp Yad Ari. Then followed an interim period of three years.but nothing. The tents. in northcentral Wisconsin. many years. however. 160 acres of land were purchased near Waupaca. and will continue to go on for many. No other buildings. Hai. They planted a pine forest. were spacious and comfortable. which doubled as a recreation room. Here was the opportunity for Habonim to truly build its own camp. beautiful dining room. Many fine and beautiful traditions were built here. Michigan. however. not even the fin- 101 . occasionally someone would get wet at night when he forgot to close the tent flaps. and so it remained a tent camp. Here the ideals of Camp Kvutza could really flourish.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING years. and a modern shower house. were built. which has since proven to be the most memorable part of the whole camp. 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. two of which were spent at a rented camp near Savannah. was the fact that the campers and the staff were satisfied and happy. Most important of all. today stirs beautiful memories among many of our senior haverim. Illinois.
this was Camp Habonim. Thus. the combining of the two small camps into one large camp at Kinneret. Can you remember. haverim. and one that has proven itself. Kinneret was never meant to be the permanent new home of the large. the dignity of the flag raising. This was Yad Ari. the feeling of real group living. turn tears into laughter. could ever be a substitute for the most wonderful of intangibles. Louis and Minneapolis. Why choose Kinneret over Yad Ari? Mainly because of the location. Yad Ari was abandoned. wherever or whenever it might have been. Michigan. But. as all good things do. with the singing and the dancing afterwards? Those of you who ever attended Camp Habonim. It was to serve merely for the transition period until 102 . with everyone in white. a more modern one. more intimate type of camp was no longer feasible. We had to have fewer but much larger and better (physically speaking) camps. It was too small and lacked the proper facilities for a large number of campers. A good concept. This was the idea that the very small. can never forget. central Michigan was much nearer the center of this region than northern Wisconsin-therefore. A new concept of camping had been born in the minds of the leadership of Habonim.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT est of facilities or the most beautiful buildings and grounds. the true Habonim spirit. or the simple beauty of a Friday evening meal by candlelight. At the end of the 1954 season. that resiliency which can change disaster to triumph. modern Camp Habonim. and 1955 saw Camp Yad Ari and Camp Kinneret combined at Camp Kinneret near Chelsea. Obviously. this also came to an end. The combined areas would now extend as far east as Pittsburgh and as far south and west as St. 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. Kinneret was the choice. of a closeness and oneness that could be achieved nowhere else-the indomitable spirit of Habonim.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING a new site would be found. a combination of the best of the old and of the new. the new cabins come equipped with these appurtenances.in fact. self-government. Michigan. With the new buildings we can now house seventy-five campers comfortably and we have enough room to expand to a hundred and fifty. and did it well. The good old flashlight. We have not lost sight of the unique Habonim camping program and we retain that spirit that typifies Habonim. with which all Habonim campers are so familiar. In the spring of 1956. We now come to the current chapter. All toilet facilities are indoors . The next season found us in the new camp. Does this mean. Negotiations were completed early in May and two additional cabins were begun. In short. Midwest Camp Habonim today is. 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.self-labor. were purchased by Habonim. is now almost a thing of the past. eighty acres of beautiful grounds near Three Rivers. Its many high windows overlook the lake and present a truly scenic picture for the diners. the new Midwest Camp Habonim. It did just that. that we are giving up the old idea of Camp Kvutza? Not at all. The cabins are all equipped with electric lights and even the grounds are illuminated at night. all the modern conveniences that one associates with the best in modern camps are present at our new Midwest Camp Habonim. But to go along with more modern practices. 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 most important features remain . we have improved upon many of the primitive physical facilities. however. This camp had been a farm resort and was situated on beautiful Kaiser Lake. de- 103 . we believe. The dining hall is probably one of the most ideally situated spots in camp.
with Ben's arrival in Los Angeles. the physical plant of the camp. Many graduates of Habonim camp have gone to live in Israel. This is a record that speaks for itself. Swimming was in a public pool. and cities. and of course. Lenny Zurakov. In 1939. that feeling of kinship and real comradely spirit.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT mocracy. the determination indomitable. that the idea of Habonim camping ripened and the first camp was established. and many others have remained here to become leaders not only in the Labor Zionist movement. and a program superior to most. that can compare favorably with any in the area. Sleeping was mostly outdoors. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE WEST A goat farm. But spirits were high. these were the ingredients of the first Camp Kvutza in the West in the year 1936. as well as the program. we can honestly say that we have compiled a tradition of living Judaism which would be difficult for any group or organization to match. For the first time. but in all parts of the American Jewish community. the concept of a common fund.C. Old-timers remember the C. and Ben Cherner.C. the permanent camp in the Angeles National Forest. becomes an attraction for newcomers to our movement. twenty sprightly youngsters. 104 . moshavim. in kibbutzim. cooking in an abandoned shack. We feel that we now have a camp. In looking back upon twenty-five years of Habonim camping. and the results were a full camping season which was followed uninterruptedly for the next twenty-one years. camping experience in 1937 and Azusa in 1938. It was during that summer. and once a child has had a positive camping experience at camp. and water had to be brought by car from about a mile away. his chances of remaining in Habonim are excellent.
the several activities directly associated with it. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen. 105 . was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. Situated. as well as some that were specifically camp activities.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks. During the entire period. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. games. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate. discussions. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks." Through lectures. and the arts. 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. beginning with our ancient struggles for freedom and independence and down to the modern deeds of courage and valor of the defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto and of the Hagana. Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages. Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. as the camp is. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history. literary trials. models. Last year's camp was a typical Habonim camping year and the following report is characteristic of most of the others: Camp Duration and Composition Habonim Camp opened on July 1st in 1956 and lasted for six weeks until August 12th.
singing. 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. arts and crafts. We are beginning to receive campers from other cities on the West Coast and are rapidly becoming an all-Western camp. we felt it even more in the conversations with the parents of the campers. the following camp activities were open to all campers: swimming. We anticipate doubling our registration this summer. and other camp diversions which took place regularly. including showers. toilets and wash basins. hiking. the daily Hebrew classes. they were in a thoroughly children's atmosphere as well as in a thoroughly Jewish one. 106 . scouting. dancing. all this left an indelible impression upon the campers. We felt it in the expressions of the children at camp. Future Plans All this progress was made possible through a building expansion program undertaken last spring. sports. The Shabbat celebration. Camp accomplished in a very few weeks what efforts by parents could not achieve for years. photography. We also extended our camp season to eight weeks. Here. the discussion of Jewish problems and of Jewish achievements. the Israel and Zionist spirit of all our activities. Much new equipment was purchased. we felt it in the one hundred percent attendance at the first camp reunion. The sports facilities were improved. Four large new cabins were built. and for many campers for the first time. the Shabbat morning Tanach circle.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT In addition.
Mosh has changed from a small camp sponsored by Gordoniawhose tents were pitched on the bare ground. for not only do we spend some of the happiest weeks of the year there. July. with seven tents pitch- 107 . many changes have occurred since that memorable year. while Gordonia would have the camp in August. And it is no wonder that we all love it.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Our plans for this summer are to build a staff building. And so Moshava began its first season! Needless to say. and whose campers came from Baltimore only-to a large camp sponsored by Habonim following the amalgamation of Habonim with Gordonia. to build several new concrete platforms. 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. 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. The two groups were the Hashomer Hatzair and the Gordonia organization of Baltimore. 1935. The capacity is now seventy-five to eighty campers from all over the Atlantic seaboard. In 1935 Mr. an arts and crafts pavilion. where there was no electricity whatsoever. Hashomer would use the camp. David Yaroslovsky. to enlarge and improve our dining and kitchen facilities. to improve the present shower building." Such is the effect "Mosh" has on its campers. whose dining room had a canvas top. but the setting is so perfect and the scenery so beautiful that we never want to forget 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.
a popular place for rehearsals or for a nocturnal group wishing to read Edgar Allen Poe in just the proper atmosphere. This trail is the most popular of all. one sees the side road leading from the water tower to the hospital opposite. The picture Moshava presents is truly a beautiful one. Scrambling down the side of the cliff. basketball. or go to sleep on the sandy beach while taking a sun bath. These two cabins begin the camp proper. get an invigorating swim in the deeper cold water further from shore. wide and level. tantalizing monkey vines swing just above your reach. horseshoe. this scene is dimly repeated. however. a modern hospital with up-to-date equipment. for flanking them. we come to the long uneven trail that leads back to the central field. It is lined with clinging vines draped around the trees. gazing at the stars. Here on this trail is the wellknown "Tree" on whose roots many a couple sit wrapped in the velvety darkness of night. 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. From there. a large roomy kitchen. one arrives at last at the old cliff that overlooks the Severn River. 108 . One can relax in the mildly cool river water. and electrical connections. can one see it completely. and track events take place during sports periods. an outdoor stage. the tents and stage are arranged in an almost perfect circle. a piano. and here and there. volleyball and basketball courts. one finds oneself on the bench near the river. Past interesting coves and the beach. Following the path further. where baseball. and far on the distant side of the river.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT ed on platforms. and listening to the waves lap on the beach. spreading below. In all directions there is green foliage that beckons to you with its coolness in the heat of the day. four large airy cabins. The center of this circle is the center field. a newly reinforced dining room. a well-filled library. Only from the water tower.
Through mosquito-ridden New Jersey to mosquito-ridden Pennsylvania until they came upon Camp Germinal . the Sunday of the 23rd.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING It is also on this trail that we find the path leading to the new cliff. buckets. worked with characteristic irregularity. and a rosh Kvutza set foot on forty acres of poison ivy studded with two outhouses. So the determined Quakers set to work. a site for camp. printed stationary. 1939 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR It was after their return from the 1937 Accord season that the Philadelphia haverim realized the necessity for their own Camp Kvutza. They slept and ate and grew gray hair over pledges. "Mosh" Diary. They screened and painted. In May. The manor house after being scrubbed from top to bottom revealed an immense dining room. hot and cold water. And now.former anarchist hangout and spiders' hideout. The central field is not far ahead and soon one can be in the midst of activity again. and nagged the National Executive. They transformed a chicken coop into a habitable shack. Then came the eventful day when fourteen haverim. and soap. Camp Tax became the byword. three kitchens. contacted sympathizers. and ten stall showers which. They formed committees. brooms. influenced by their anarchist background. The scrubbed and rubbed. But soon the cash thermometer rose and $250 became a realization. the first expedition set out armed to the hilt with mops. one of which leaked from the luxurious 109 . Far and wide they traveled. It was a crime to travel hundreds of miles for the inspiration and learning we could achieve on our own grounds.
and then after a sojourn with the flowers.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT bath upstairs every time one of the girls decided to miss a discussion. Who of us can ever forget Sir Ferdinand. or on a line to the Delaware. Leo and his driving mania. Cookie and the chocolate pudding. Tzip and her hatred of kitchen duty. Clara's operetta. Leslie and his hair washing. music room. The office served as a lounge. Yona and her trying girls. and dance studio. named for his predecessor. Or can we forget our staff-rising and falling like the stock market? One week ten and the next week four. Sossy from Chicago. Ernst who drowned you trying to teach life saving. Galil Diary. who often stopped to admire the flowers by the wayside? He carried our haverim down to the swimming hole in the Shamony. And their famous idiosyncrasies. 1938 110 . Edi and Brown Betty. and the other which had a natural waterfall coming from the center roof every time the dishes fell. and Shlomo and his hat. could be persuaded only by Schmeer up to the hill again to camp. the bull. Aba Kibbile's drama group. The six master bedrooms did come in handy when the fourteen pioneers increased to sixty. Yak and his travels in Ferdy.
Aviva Gootman.F.The "Ten Lost Tribes" prepare to return. 1941. "The Women". Chana Reitman. 1957. Overnight hike at Montreal. . Shirley Goldberg. 1956.N. Corn for sale at Camp Habonim. Rose Breslau. Kinneret. Moshe Goldberg. Gaby Stalzenberg at work. 1941. All proceeds to the J. Etty Skidell. Laizer Blitt. 1956. Kinneret. 1957. Montreal. Montreal.
Montreal.Y. 1957. . 1957. The Lake at Tel Yochanan. N.Visiting Day. Amenia. "B'tayavon". Camp Habonim. 1957. The Dining Room at Camp Habonim. Solelim Dance at Red Hook.Y. Dining Room at Tel Yochanan. N. Red Hook.
Annapolis. Maryland. The Waterfront at Moshava. Galil Choir performs for Visitors Day. N. Pennsylvania. 1957. Red Hook. 1957.Flag Raising at Moshava. 1948. . Ottsville.Y. Bridging the Creek at Galil. Camp Habonim.
Harvesting Corn at Camp Habonim. Moshava. . 1957.A discussion under the trees. my people". "Comfort ye. 1957. 1957. Tisha B’Av. Taking a dip in the enlarged "L" shaped pool at Camp Habonim. "Chalil and Drum Corps. Moshava. Moshava. 1955.
It included a well-constructed farm house. A county highway divided the cabins from the rest of the site. the Philadelphia haverim rented the old anarchist Camp Germinal near Jamison. One must recall the times in which this thinking took place. and a number of cabins which at one time had beeii4 chicken coops. Fortunately. as many of our members as possible spent the summer at Moshava near Baltimore. however. The White Paper was soon to be issued and the horror of Hitler-Europe was soon to be upon us.500). we were able to convince enough members of the senior movement of the importance of a local camp for them to organize a camp committee to seek a site. and immediately upon the close of the summer. at the height of the depression and with much trepidation because of the lack of finances. a site was found near Pipersville. Pennsylvania. a very successful summer program was carried out. Our appetites were whetted.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING GALIL In 1938. a magnificent barn. and staffed mainly by older haverim of Habonim. plans were made for finding. 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. After much searching. During the summer of 1939. had two unfortunate deficiencies. The site. Pennsylvania (for the then large sum of $1. for the summer. which could be rented for the summer. a permanent site for a Philadelphia camp. In 1939. we were determined to have a camp of our own. Upon returning from Moshava at the end of the 1939 summer season. and the first Camp Galil came into existence. and the swimming facilities were reached by climbing a very steep hill at a considerable distance from the 115 . let alone talk in terms of developing a permanent camp. Yak Rycus was imported from the Midwest to act as rosh Kvutza. War clouds were gathering.
I believe. Construction went well. at the younger haverim. Guard duty became an important job. with the help of some adults. Edie. did not detract from a very fine summer. Undaunted. were the roshim. however. At that particular period. and frequently more. The effectiveness of this endeavor 116 . The group was small-I doubt if there were more than fifty at any one time-but the spirit was high. a principal of a Philadelphia Talmud Torah. The rampant anti-Semitism which existed and which was manifested so clearly made a deep impression upon our younger haverim. Haverim came from all over the country and friendships were created which were to last to this very day. the German American Bund was active in the area. and daily Hebrew sessions were a part of the program. Irv Sternberg and his wife. Irv approached the local sheriff and received a permit to carry guns. notwithstanding the broken arm of one of our haverim who managed to fall off a roof while shingling it. Meyer Cohen. however. Word was passed around and fortunately. In retrospect. they managed to deface and almost destroy the dock we had built at the creek. the haverim of Habonim. was the first national mahaneh madrichim. Dr. one recalls a most interesting and unusual Hebrew program. it became a nightly occurrence for a truckload of these hooligans to drive slowly through the camp hurling epithets. The most striking memory of this summer. began intensive construction projects to make the site as serviceable as possible for the summer. One remembers nostalgically the first contact with shlihim. The purpose of this particular mahaneh madrichim was to train madrichei tzofim. had to do with the last three weeks of camp which was devoted to what. This unpleasantness. In addition. The summer itself was full of interesting and varied experiences. So much so that at the beginning of the summer. was a member of the staff. To counteract these activities.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT cabins. no further incidents took place.
supplied the necessary labor and technical knowledge to begin im- 117 . or as inspiration for a new year's activities cannot be minimized. All efforts were bent toward getting a camp for Philadelphia and vicinity. From 1941 through 1945. or returned to Moshava. this dedication to the importance of the summer Kvutza soon manifested itself. 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. whether as a culmination of a year's work. this dream of having a camp of our own. The movement suffered accordingly. Conditions brought about by the imminence of war 'unfortunately dictated against a camp of our own in 1941. and the water supply was dependent upon an old gasoline engine which worked on occasion.000 from the YWCA. whose membership came from ex-Habonim members. The young branches. When the war ended and Habonim haverim. it became clear that the local mahaneh could not really grow. without whom there would have been no Camp Galil today. for without a camp. returned from the service. that the young Labor Zionist movement of Philadelphia grew and was strengthened because of a program which revolved around the camp.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING paved the way toward the utilization of the summer camp for serious and intensive discussions of mutual problems which were to transfer themselves to each city and each Camp Kvutza in the country. the kitchen had an old wood-burning stove. 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. The camp was quite primitive-there was no electricity. Happily for Habonim. It can truthfully be said. this pattern was repeated. Abe Segal. Connecticut. The camp was purchased for the sum of $30. was shared by one haver of the senior movement of Philadelphia. Most of our haverim spent that summer either at Killingworth. Almost singlehandedly. The impetus of the Camp Kvutza.
they were somewhat overwhelmed by the influx of the New Yorkers. camp rarely. serviced that number-this. which would in turn provide children for the summer season. To solve this dilemma an arrangement was made whereby the New York haverim registered at Galil for the summer. there was no leadership for the winter mahaneh. Few children came to camp-the camp leadership was not from Philadelphia and. the New York mahaneh was having its camp difficulties. however. and the general membership supplied the muscle-power to dig the ditches so that all electric wires would be underground. was somewhat unnerving. The cycle was rather vicious. The experience for Philadelphia. designed. Because of the weakness of Habonim in the city. one would retain the name Galil and 118 . We are all part of one movement. but there are many local differences and loyalties which can be positive. Aside from the fact that Philadelphia haverim acquired Brooklyn accents. during the struggle for Statehood. Interesting results followed. The next few years were filled with gradual growth and improvement. and installed electricity. Interest in the camp was further heightened by the events of 1947-48. 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. The lessons learned that summer were to be utilized during the following year. Killingworth could no longer be used and the Amenia site was not adequate. While eighty children could be accommodated. consequently. despite the fact that campers came from as far as Wilmington and the Vineland-Toms River areas. In 1953. The electrical engineers in the group planned. The idea as finally formulated called for the establishment of two camps on the Galil site.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT proving the camp site. In 1952. if ever. the civil engineers in the group directed the building of the necessary footbridge to cross the stream. it was at first difficult to utilize the camp to its fullest extent.
Camp Amal would register children ages thirteen through sixteen who met the Hebraic requirements. It was agreed that every Habonim camp should have as much Hebrew as possible in its program. It was during this year that the movement crystallized its thinking with regard to a central Hebrew-speaking camp. and could register up to sixty children. The Camp Committee of Galil wholeheartedly endorsed this approach and determined upon a course which would make Galil a truly Hebrew-centered camp and. This meant that the facilities of Galil were to be used to their maximum. they should become Hebrew centered. however. quite a bit was accomplished in both camps. quite clear at the end of the summer that such an arrangement could never be repeated. despite all the handicaps. The idea of two separate camps with separate staffs and differing orientation was too difficult an undertaking to be of any real success. make use of its facilities by improving the physical plant so as to be able to attract more children. actual classes for study of the language. Being on the approved list of the Council brought help 119 . and while the camps might never become completely Hebrew-speaking. The future of Habonim in Philadelphia was therefore dependent upon those unaffiliated children who could be brought to spend a summer at camp. But this was not enough. a great deal of Hebrew was always used.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING would accept campers from ages nine through twelve only. The idea now evolved to include. the Council on Jewish Education of Philadelphia approved Camp Galil as one of three Hebrew camps for which it provided scholarships. It was. During our camping history. Camp terminology was almost exclusively Hebrew. at the same time. Registration would be limited to forty campers. The best that can be said of that summer was that. Galil was helped considerably in registering children by the fact that because of the emphasized Hebrew program. in addition to the everyday terminology.
In previous years. In some cases. It should be noted that the national office was never able to supply the total staff needs of Galil. the water level of the creek continued to fall so that there were times when the pool could not be properly filled. During the past three summers many of the campers at Galil have made considerable progress in their Hebraic studies. especially in the case of boys. the Hebrew teachers' training institution of Philadelphia. Supplementing the Habonim staff were Gratz College students working to our mutual advantage. camp was full. if necessary. for the first time. Many of the youngsters bring with them specific requests from their teachers and principals as to material to be covered. Several of the largest congregations in the city also announced to its membership that it would grant scholarships to children desirous of attending Galil. 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.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT from other quarters. In most cases. registration was closed by the end of March. Improvements to camp continue. at least sympathetic to our program and completely cooperative in carrying it out. In addition. Not only will this be avoided in the future. and in 1957. 120 . In 1956. the Gratz College students were. A Hebrew Educators Advisory Committee was organized and the Hebrew program of Galil approved. but the well water will be purer and free of algae so that the pool need not be emptied and cleaned as frequently as heretofore. During the past few summers. if not directly connected with our movement. they have covered the equivalent of a full year's work in the city. Galil depended on the creek for water for the swimming pool. The swimming pool was completely rebuilt.
Haverim cried that this would violate the principle of self-labor. But problems have arisen. make it. the Kvutza in Israel has also undergone some metamorphoses and the American Kvutza must reflect these changes. those of us now responsible for our camps must take this into account. "The road of the halutz is a long and difficult one and if it isn't. All members of the Camp Committee are dedicated to this purpose. like it or not.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The future of Galil seems assured.” This in a sense represented our thinking. were no less concerned about our welfare during the summer than parents today. I well remember the heated discussions which took place among haverim in Philadelphia when Galil contemplated installing an automatic dishwashing machine. 121 . and every meeting has on its agenda a report from the rosh mahaneh of Philadelphia Habonim. Our parents. But they were neither shocked nor disturbed by "primitive" conditions. and the problems of the youth movement are an integral part of each camp meeting. In the "old days. Habonim camping has traveled a long road in the past twenty-five years. But. We wanted to simulate the life of the Kvutza in Eretz Yisrael as closely as possible. Parents today seem more concerned for the material aspects of camp life and." primitive sites and difficult conditions were almost a matter of principle. It has made its mark in the Philadelphia Jewish community and its prestige is at its highest point. The Camp Committee has assumed all of the responsibility of a Chay Commission. is to no avail unless it leads to an invigorated and expanded youth movement in the city. however. deeply committed to Labor Zionism. immigrants themselves. We are raising a new generation of children and a new generation of parents. All of this. They are not interested in running a camp just for the sake of a summer business.
The Winnipeg movement was young and vigorous then. In one of those strange wartime transmutations. Daniel Isaacman. and no one would have suspected that it came about as a sort of by-product of work for the Royal Canadian Air Force. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. he went out to organize Habonim at night. but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval. however. But miner or airman. by temperament David Biderman was no one-job man. In cannot be changed without destroying the very basis for which our camps were created. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight. David Biderman. Winni- 122 . Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. He became a military aircraft inspector for the RCAF stationed in Winnipeg. It was David Biderman who wrought the miracle of Habonim in Winnipeg and set the stage for the first camp. Once Winnipeg Habonim reached mahaneh status they could settle for nothing less than a Camp Kvutza of their own. The only clue to his earth-bound past was slyly concealed in his home address: He lived on Burrows Street in Winnipeg. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day. who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. 1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. 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.
but special cheers were always reserved for the venerable Bar Mitzva. special friend of the court. There was a church of roughhewn stone authentic enough to have been transplanted from the old village back home. and the town itself is honeycombed with the cottages of Winnipeg vacationers. turned out to greet them. Kasedy was cook-and a good oneand as a special dispensation she was permitted to bring along her son. The camp site. When David and Sully arrived-no matter what the time of day-the whole camp. high-topped Ford that made the weekly 123 . a black. but the town had not yet lost the Icelandic character of its original settlers. Calof's cottage. Blond. 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. The curious campers welcomed the distinguished guests. neither in appearance nor in the quarter-acre plot it occupied. I was imported from New York to be rosh and factotum. The cottage itself was a one-story wooden building partly enclosed by an L-shaped screened porch. It was in no way distinguished from other cottages in the neighborhood. forty strong. Appropriate to the camp site. He used to drive up with David Biderman. about two blocks from the lake and close by a public wooded area. the staff was small and hybrid. The business manager who commuted on weekends was Sully Spector. There is a large RCAF airbase nearby. Aliyah Kare was dean of arts and crafts and second in command of the kitchen. a bright-eyed youngster who was under age for camp. There were some summer cottages in 1941. Mrs. Shimin.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING peg's first Kvutza would be held at Calof's cottage in Gimli on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. was at the outskirts of Gimli. Geulah Green was the registered nurse and lifeguard. blue-eyed sons and daughters of Iceland dominated the village streets. Gimli has changed considerably in recent years.
That tent was not simply pitched. That day I had a job on my hands. tired kids. The camp had the usual trials and triumphs: rains that came and tents that fell. The advantages in the setup were priceless: No one could be out of earshot of the discussions. The Ford often faltered but it never failed. the advance crew of three set to work pitching tents on the Calof lawn. With the tents up and the campers covered. And from the mayor I brought word to the constable-and only then did the pegs go in and the first tent go up. camp fires at the beach. in his shirtsleeves trimming a hedge. most assuredly that would have been its fate. the season got under way. Thors in a garage.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT pilgrimage.-until the roll call was completed and breathlessly I could report the affirmative vote to the mayor. A fact not generally known is that the Gimli camp almost died in embryo and had it not been for the great democratic tradition of Iceland. One day before the opening. the mayor. etc. I ran around like Chicken Licken taking a census. sent me to garner the opinions of the five councilmen. while tent-pegs were held in abeyance. quizzing each on his home ground Nielson in a tractor shed. It is unlikely that campers anywhere lived more closely than the campers at Gimli. I dashed from one councilman to another. it was pitched according to law . parents who were torn between their loyalty to Labor Zionism and their concern for the welfare of their child- 124 . Even the cook in the kitchen could not escape them. So. 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.democratic Icelandic law. and for Winnipeg Habonim it symbolized the indomitable halutz spirit. The tents could not go up without the mayor's approval. Olafson in the general store. The constable sent me to the mayor.
At first everything was disorganized as everybody went out exploring. The opening was held around the flag poles. one of the rivers (we are at the junction of two streams) brought fond memories of the beautiful showers of that historic site. Moreover. the Pioneer Women. just at that point. the name of an Eretz.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ren. . After Tehezakna. and one found a most beautiful nook for discussions. still others were disappointed to find the dam unfinished. Ontario. over 125 haverim and friends packed three trucks and several cars and filled the grounds. he stressed the place of America in Labor Zionism in light of the plight of Jewry in Europe. And Harry Spoon gave a talk on the meaning of Camp Kvutza to the movement all over the world as he took over the key to Toronto's Camp Kvutza. Yisrael Kvutza. and Habonim. . He hoped the Toronto haverim would choose a name for Kvutza in keeping with our ideals." Moshe Rubinoff. Our Kvutza is named "Afikim. he offered to rent the spot for every Sunday in the summer. There were earnest daydreams and the stubborn belief that somehow all of this was bringing everyone closer to Eretz Yisrael . the Farband. Pinhas Rimon. with the iron cots and brand new mattresses. somehow it did. As a result. Strangely enough. 1940 125 . In his talk. In fact. There were frenched beds and a pillow fight that covered the grounds with feather-snow. But the wisest of all went exploring in the forests. Some inspected the eighty percent-finished dining room and kitchen. was blessed with the unfaltering benevolence of King Saul. 1957 AFIKIM The opening of Camp Kvutza at Markham. haverim spoke for the Poale Zion. Accord. others looked around the sleeping quarters.
suffered from being too close to civilization. Doodle Horowitz was rosh Kvutza. The first Habonim Camp Kvutza of Vancouver Habonim was held in the summer of 1949 at Camp Wordsworth. This committee spent many pleasant weekends traveling around the scenic local fiords hunting camp sites. camp. Camp Kvutza Miriam was held at Camp Hatikvah. At that time.C. it turned out that we would not be able to rent this camp in the future because the Zionist Organization of B. thirty miles west of Vancouver. This was a two-week camp with the shaliah. About twenty-five attended this first twoweek camp. the local C. the idea was first brought forward that Habonim should own a camp site. and furthermore. And so in 1951. itself had extended its own camp period. 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 has a capacity of sixty people. At present. It was rented for two weeks. It is a nine-acre. the camp of the Zionist Organization of British Columbia in 1950. as rosh. Camp Hatikvah. however. The mahaneh set up a Camp Site Investigation Committee. In the fall of 1951. for a period of two weeks. thus precluding our use of the site. Vancouver Habonim was first organized by Bert and Marian Waldman in 1948. which was again rented from the C.F. on Gabriola Island. It was soon realized that as an intensive supplement to the program of the mahaneh in the winter. Amram Milner.C. heavilywooded camp site with water frontage on a beautiful little cove. Although several places were located.F. Moishe Loffman of Winnipeg was rosh Kvutza that year.C. Because of the primitive conditions. the site of Camp Miriam moved back again to its primitive Gabriola Island site. a Camp Kvutza in the summer was necessary. We have been a long time in acquiring it.
we would have to buy it. with the growth of the mahaneh. The seniors then formed an incorporated society for the purpose of buying the camp property. we again crossed the Straits of Georgia to the Gabriola Island camp site. Yehuda "Sam" Weissbach was our rosh for that year's three-week camp. it was felt that an alternative to Gabriola Island had to be found because of the difficulty in transportation to the Island and the primitive. being fellow Socialists. However.. The Roberts Creek camp site was even worse than Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island. Fortunately the C. at about this time. the problem of its development is up 127 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING abortive. Some active parents were approached as well as some seniors of the Labor Zionist movement. Now that the Gabriola Island camp site is the property of the Habonim Zionist Society. By this time. At this time there were about eightyfive camper-weeks and Abbie Haklay was our rosh. on the site of a former girls' camp. This camp ran for three weeks with Asher Wallfish as shaliah and Allen (Geli) Gelfond as rosh. 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.C. Although we were still unable to purchase a camp. Camp Miriam in 1954 was located at Roberts Creek. In 1953 Camp Miriam was again held on Gabriola Island for two weeks with Al Linden as rosh. and they were told that if there was no camp that summer. This camp was particularly fortunate in having on the staff three Workshoppers. a threeweek Camp Kvutza was made possible. and so in 1955.C. decided that they would no longer be in the landlord business and that if we wanted to use the camp the following summer. The 1956 camp was a three-week season with Nahman Goldwasser as rosh. the C.F.F. After much hunting. In the summer of 1952. unhygienic conditions existing there. sold us the camp on very easy terms. the existence of Vancouver Habonim would be seriously threatened.
and then a swim in the North River? Who can forget washing the dishes in that quaint sink and lugging hot water from the old stove. Max Langer. trudging through the swamp connecting the pipeline bringing water to camp. 1957 MONTREAL Once upon a time. or the famous soups that we had in those days which couldn't be had in the Waldorf Astoria.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT to us and the local parents and seniors. digging a new garbage pit. Who can forget whitewashing the kitchen (to cover last summer's soot) and dining room until it was sparkling in the sunlight. the little creek behind the kitchen that was our ice box. there was a stable (and it still stands today) which housed horses. There in Prefontaine. Agathe to get axes sharpened. the camp season will extend to four weeks for the first time in our history. which are to have priority in the next few years. those who got many blisters chopping firewood to keep the stove going red hot all summer. and then off to another direction for another pit for another purpose. those who suffered afterwards from lime burn. the great baseball games at the playing field near the tents. the haverim who went to Ste. chasing hornets. many haverim spent wonderful summers at Kvutza and at seminars. and sort of forgot to come back. In 1957. the many times the smoke stack shifted a bit and smoke was heavy and thick? Who can forget the overnight 128 . 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. not knowing that one day it was destined to house Habonim. Plans for the development of the site include especially development of kitchen facilities and playground.
not any more in Prefontaine. acting as a committee for the Southwest Habonim. the many cases of poison ivy? Years have come and gone. TEXAS Ever since the founding of Gordonia in Texas in 1929. Texas. in addition to the four groups in Dallas. Several of the Association's members who devoted much time. Oklahoma. the day one haver climbed over a fence and stepped into a hornet's nest. a group of friends of Habonim dedicated to the precept of Camp Kvutza. and financial means. in Houston and San Antonio. Habonim groups were functioning. the haverim of the Dallas groups planned for a summer camping program.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING hikes. New Orleans Louisiana. Maurice Levy. Among these devoted friends were Harry Sigel. Camp Kvutza has changed places. 1957 KVUTZA IN THE SOUTHWEST CAMP BONIM. Times have changed and so has Kvutza-not like the old camp. Irving Brodsky. having the same wonderful time. a madrich of the Dallas movement. effort. with the writer of this report. It was then that Moshe Smith. In the summer of 1939. selected a site on Lake Dallas for a Habonim Camp Kvutza. was organized in the course of the year. Zesmer. 129 . and Dr. I. and Tulsa. Cocoa Cheifetz. Jacob Feldman. but new and sparkling and full of Habonim. at a place called Lac Quenoilles. and Yapha (Jennie) Zesmer. Haverim who were at Kvutza in those days have traveled and settled in various parts of the world. To everyone's chagrin a polio epidemic made it impossible to open camp in 1940 and necessitated postponement of the program. A Camp Bonim Association. It was not until ten years later that such an opportunity presented itself. Isaac Goldstein. should be mentioned. but many miles further in the mountains.
Some $60. Nad. Meir Sigel. and Hannah Wiederman of Houston . and Yitzhak Groner. Camp Bonim opened its first season on a leased site on Lake Dallas. Raphael Levin. Zalman Kahn. A number of Dallas haverim. Gerber. Weiner of Houston. particularly in the smaller towns where no Jewish education was possible. Yaakov Ely. Moshe Smith. In the summer of 1941. Subsequent years were periods of real Habonim expansion in the region. then a member of the Dallas Hebrew School faculty. and I. and Abraham Sinkin. committees of friends of Camp Bonim were formed for the purpose of making this decade-old dream a reality. all of Dallas. and in others throughout Texas. Herman P. Camp Bonim observed kashrut (as do all Habonim camps). Taubman (currently in Tulsa). The camping program was extended to an ever-growing movement. In each of these communities. and parents in the communities. currently of Minneapolis. Zevi Borofsky. Leah Waltman. 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. Oklahoma. David Zesmer. called Camp Bonim blessed. I. Yapha Chesnick. and Nathan Karin of San Antonio. This was always considered by the founders and madrichim. Bernard Rubenstein. Zalman Schneider. worked with the writer to make this success possible.000 was contributed through the Camp Bonim.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT all of Dallas. veterans in Habonim. Avraham Groner. From the very outset.all did a real halutzic job in planning for Camp Bonim and in implementing these plans. The invaluable assistance of Kalman Shapiro. M. and the summer of that year brought two hundred campers to Camp Bonim. Ami Levin. The winter of 1945 saw the purchase of a site on Lake Dallas. and Louisiana. was always considered phenomenal. Shahna Kahn. Bruno Sigel. Association by friends in the three states for the purchase and improvement of the site. as 130 .
and for this reason. The entire camp program was geared toward a full and enriching Jewish experience in the spirit of Labor Eretz Yisrael. near Detroit. given the opportunity. From time to time. the campers will decide to do the right thing at Kvutza meetings. I should not hesitate to give the campers considerable liberty. morning exercise. study. Yaakov Levin. Shabbat at Camp Bonim was. senior haverim would visit the camp for Shabbat and sing the praises of the type of education Camp Bonim offered. if anything. I am sure that. Those of us who drew up plans for Kinneret last summer were alike in one respect-we were all inexperienced. and contemplation. 1957 EXPERIMENTS AND TRENDS THE COMING SEASON My experience last summer with Kinneret. from the very inception. work. handicrafts. aided me in formulating and developing certain ideas with regard to the basic principles of Kvutza. would have cramped our style last year. Experience. For example. can be discussed at a Kvutza meeting and will undoubtedly be passed with very little opposition. Problems such as bedtime. kitchen duty. We had ideas. an occasion for perfect rest. The campers may talk 131 . programs. even such a measure as common fund. 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. which no Kvutza should be without.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING an integral must in any Jewish educational program. however. can certainly be handled in this manner.
The dining room at Kinneret is by no means a professional job. but by giving them an opportunity to be instrumental in the actual building of the Kvutza. of course.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT about staying up late. Our camps present a golden opportunity for us to put some of the concepts of halutziut into practice. and in order to carry out this project successfully. but if a discussion of the benefits of an earlier day and the harm done by late hours is carefully conducted. no one will want to stay up past a reasonable hour. and such a principle as the "conquest of labor" should be exploited to its limit. work and handicrafts are not being neglected in our Kvutzot. Arm in arm with work goes gardening. The best way to give the camp back to the campers is not by merely giving them a voice in their own government.vegetable and floral culture. will receive much enthusiasm on the part of the campers. they can be counteracted by artificial means. if planned properly. Gardening can and should be of two kinds . Habonim are builders. On second thought. such as poor soil conditions or extreme drought. and the cost and effort expended on such a project will be repaid if plans are carefully laid out and executed. even to the extent of killing the idea of a garden. Both vegetable and flower gardening must be begun in April or May. To my knowledge. In the case of a permanent Kvutza. Work. it might also be wise to plant trees for ornamental purposes as well as for fruit. This may be difficult to carry through in some Kvutzot because of unfavorable natural factors. However poor these conditions may be. however. On the surface this may seem a disadvantage. and we should certainly be given an opportunity to build. it is necessary to take a trip to Kvutza every week and put in several hours of work. but it means a great deal to about ten boys who had a band in building it. even at the expense of a more professional job. this is a decided advantage since the Kvutza with a garden begins not in July but in April 132 . should play a major role in Kvutza activities and.
Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. Flowers and landscaping are also of great significance. one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets. A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. 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. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully. but postponing work on the garden spells failure. the garden should develop. 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. Other projects can be postponed from day to day. and here is a grand opportunity. and labor is of little significance if it does not go hand in hand with a desire for beauty and freshness. Danny Ginsburg. 1940 133 . gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience. Little by little. It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. however. In short. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years.
most of us were ready to admit that. New Jersey. a number were students of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. the campers. The life of the camp was. where they received an education along Reconstructionist lines. cannery.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP AVODA. of course. CREAMRIDGE Camp Avoda at the Hehalutz farm in Creamridge. began as an experiment and ended as an established institution. Fifteen boys and girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen attended the camp. built around work. To our surprise. it is possible to expose successfully young American Jews to collective agricultural life. not to mention halutziut. and so on. such as picking tomatoes or cleaning chicken coops. Working six or seven hours a day under the hot sun was a new experience for all of them and it was occasionally difficult to maintain good standards of work for the group. we found that almost without any conscious guidance on our part. in the course of the summer. while several had almost no knowledge of Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. garden. by the end of last summer. 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 . chickens. gradually began to adopt the outlook and standards of intimate collective groups. The campers elected their own person to assign the work who. This was partly due to the assignment of routine jobs to the campers. together with us. The group was a rather heterogeneous one. prepared the daily work schedule. High school-age boys and girls came to Creamridge to live and work with an established collective group. rather than giving them an opportunity to do work which they would find more interesting and which would require a certain degree of skill. The campers participated in both cultural and agricultural discussions. Although we were rather skeptical at the beginning. The campers were given an opportunity to participate in the various branches-barn. within reasonable limits.
Because of the varying backgrounds of the campers. some difficulties were encountered in presenting these discussions. questions. Camp Avoda in some ways fell short of what it might have been. 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. Five or six times during the summer. was in reference to our own farm economy. As mentioned before. but the group as a whole was an alert one and there were many lively arguments and debates. the work program was not organized in a manner that would have been most beneficial to the campers. the campers met to discuss and to decide about the problems that arose in the maintenance and the functioning of the camp. During the first few 135 . We naturally tried to have Camp Avoda run as democratically as possible. there were innumerable small problems. Because this was our first experience with a camp of this type and because summertime is always a busy and difficult season at the farm. A good part of the discussions. we did not have an adequate library of Zionist and other literature which campers could read at their leisure. and except for a few elementary rules upon which we insisted. the cultural work was too limited and lacking in intensity-for example. of course.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING economy. Despite the fact that the group was a small one and that camp life followed a rather simple pattern. These discussions aroused considerable h1terest and proved very worthwhile. the campers were given a good deal of freedom of choice and decision. and so on. there was a discussion about whether boys have to work in the kitchen and clean house as well as girls. and suggestions brought up at these meetings. One evening a week was devoted to a cultural discussion concerning aspects of modern Jewish life throughout the world with particular emphasis on Zionism. Several campers wanted a room in the house to be set aside as a recreation and letter-writing room.
but it was just the opposite. but everyone who spoke assumed. we met with almost complete opposition. During the year.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT weeks. on the basis of their own experience. and felt. Most of us thought it likely that they would ridicule. that living collectively was better and preferable to any other way of life. better planned. to extol or criticize it. When at the beginning of the summer. we proposed a common fund. There was a good deal of disagreement about whether this type of life was possible on a large scale at the present time. we feel that we achieved the basic purposes of Camp Avoda. they began to adopt more and more of our methods. and better organized Camp Avoda. heard. After a time. then it was shared among the campers. parents sent boxes of candy and cookies. many of them came to visit us for weekends and holidays. they were asked to analyze collective living. for instance. there were also a good many technical shortcomings which should have been avoided. They liked us and they liked the way we lived. as something that did not need further proof. A few weeks before the end of the season. later the campers themselves again brought up the suggestion and it was accepted. The campers went home with a very real appreciation of the farm and at least an acquaintance with halutziut. Al Weingrod. the campers gradually began to realize the advantages of collective living. Yet. Several are returning this summer to participate in a larger. 1944 136 . Purely on the basis of what they saw. At first the candy was the private property of the particular tent in which the recipient lived. and finally it was decided that the boxes were to be shared equally among the campers and members of the farm alike. the idea of keeping clothes collectively. As happens in every camp.
has established its own camping patterns and set into motion uncertain forces. This was hardly an auspicious beginning. But it might also be shown that Amal's successes have not been achieved without prejudicing the halutzic character of our camps. But we felt strongly that we had a mission to fulfill in Hebrew camping. We were disturbed by the cloistered atmosphere of many existing camps. Few haverim expressed interest in attending Amal. 137 . Their educational program bypassed halutziut. we decided in favor of continuing our efforts on behalf of Amal. in its three years of existence. on one occasion. The staff had little Hebrew camping experience and was poorly prepared. Amal. however. it has won national recognition as one of the outstanding Hebrew-speaking camps in America. has attracted a considerable number of new haverim. It was but three years ago that we hesitantly opened Amal on a rented site in Vermont. They were fostering a native Hebrew-speaking elite. The movement greeted this venture with singular indifference. They glibly spoke of the national poet. Amal has realized the dreams of its founders. despite the initial movement apathy. After three uncertain years of experimentation. Even a cursory evaluation would disclose that Amal has fostered the study of Hebrew in our movement. In view of the small registration. Habonim has never had an opportunity to determine the future of this nascent institution. Institutions. We opened in the summer of 1948 with a handful of campers. and chose to ignore the pressing need of Eretz Yisrael: an American halutz aliya. Habonim's Hebrew-speaking camp. nearly decided to abandon the project. and gained for Habonim new prestige in the Jewish educational world. Therefore. Bialik. do not await official decisions. We have been too concerned with the very survival of Amal to give adequate consideration to its role within the movement.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING AMAL IN RETROSPECT Amal. has completed its third season. the Merkaz.
an ambitious program was prepared for the public. and this we had seemingly accomplished without vitiating our halutzic Zionist program. Strong arguments were advanced for giving up Amal-our personnel shortage was acute. It was no longer an experiment. we succeeded. the camper response was more encouraging. This was to be its last chance. They felt that it had failed. In recognition of Amal's promise. in Connecticut. Amal's partisans were soon active on all fronts. The season began with forty-five campers who were determined to make it a success. And. a performance of Yitzhak Lamdan's Masada was witnessed and applauded by sixty parents and guests. It was therefore with great trepidation that the Merkaz finally decided in favor of reopening the camp. Several Jewish educational institutions were induced to award scholarships to Amal. the number of sponsoring Jewish educational institutions increased from two to six. Hebrew educators from many sections of America visited Amal during the season and were im- 138 . As evidence of our coming of age. and twenty-two scholarships were awarded to Amal by various Hebrew school systems. We hoped to create a camp modeled along the lines of our other camps. and the national budget could not again sustain a financial loss such as it had in Amal's first season. This time. During the winter of 1949-1950. This past summer we confidently opened the season with sixty haverim. the Merkaz assigned Tel Meir. Many observers claimed that our campers spoke more Hebrew than the campers of any other Hebrew-speaking camp in America. On August 9th. We ended our second season with the realization that Amal had proved itself. Nor did our work go unnoticed in the Jewish community. to a large extent. there were but dim hopes of registering an adequate number of campers. Prominent Hebrew educators were solicited to add their names to our list of sponsors.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Haverim seriously questioned reopening Amal in 1949. to its fledgling Hebrew camp as its permanent site.
and great emphasis in the discussion program was placed upon Jewish history. Moshe Margalit. 1950 139 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING pressed with the serious educational work that we attempted. Daily formal class work had been introduced. The 1950 season was most successful.
Kvutza and the Individual .
o'er all Is quiet Three o'clock The whippoorwills Softly mock From yonder hills In the quiet Four o'clock The sky is red. Soft winds rock The trees. 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 .NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall.
Washing is over. 143 . First and last stop is the place of business of Mr. July 3rd Campers arrive. Monday.01 worth of candy-no more. to say nothing of Avram. we finally reach home. Then a camp fire. Among last year's haverim.and one of the many evening activities possible in Kvutza. to drop right off to dreamland. Here we are refreshed by popsicles and exactly $. and the exclamation. Sleep now. under the direction of Benny. Stan and Sol are prize kibitzers. July 5th The regular program again today. Tuesday. tired but happy. is it swell to be back!" echoes and reechoes to the bewilderment of the newcomers. This evening we have a hike to Accord via the new route discovered by Benny and Yehiel.clean-up . Tonight we have an amateur hour. Block. and quiet. and everyone. there is great rejoicing over the new outhouse. tents and madrichim are assigned.discussion groups – activities – dip – lunch rest and correspondence – sports – swimming – supper . Amid much excitement. Tiptoeing through the metropolis so as not to wake the immense population. with dancing for those who are not too tired after the long train ride.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ACCORD DIARY Sunday. July 4th Today the regular daily program begins: Rise and shine – exercise – washing – breakfast . leans back (on his neighbor) after a muchneeded supper and listens to Dave's welcoming speech. and singing for all. And so to bed. in comfortable camp clothes. to find talent for the Drama Circle-to-be. no less. "Oh boy.
. Basketball at Maccabia. 1954. 1957. Attacking the Weeds. Michigan. 1957. Michigan. Volleyball at Kinneret. 1957. 1957. Chelsea. Scout-craft Competition at Maccabia. Three Rivers. 1957. Galil. Flag Raising at Midwest Camp Habonim. Kinneret. Campers at Midwest Camp Habonim.Midwest Camp Habonim. 1953.
In the tradition at Kinneret: Building the Migdal. 1957. 1956. Camp Kvutza Naame. 1957. Friday afternoon lunch on the patio. Green Valley Station. Saugus. Midwest Camp Habonim. Campfire at Midwest Camp Habonim. California. . Habonim Camp Kvutza Naame.
Campers from Moshava. Midwest Camp Habonim. . 1957. arriving at Galil for Maccabia. 1957. Camp Kvutza Naame.Hora around the Campfire. 1957. and Camp Habonim. 1957. Camp Habonim. Dedicating the new Arts and Crafts Pavilion.
1957. . 1956. Canada. Waiting for the Ferry to Camp Miriam. Visitors Day. British Columbia. Camp Kvutza Naame. Galil.The Swimming Pool at Camp Kvutza Naame. Joint Flag Raising of the three camps at Maccabia. Yemenite Dance. Gabriola Island.
Friday. Gathered on the hill. Sammy and Marvin (who declares that at least he is a confirmed bachelor) are the unworthy specimens of humanity who lead this ridiculous movement. We have free time tonight. it begins to rain. they feel that the stars sparkling in the velvet heavens have come nearer to earth and are watching over Kvutza. and clean up. July 9th Ah. luxury. and the boys are working on an aquarium in which to keep material for Sammy's dissection mania. July 6th It is agreed that "Harishona" is a suitable name for our Accord Kvutza since we were literally "the first. July 8th All day today is given over to preparation for Shabbat. we hear The Cookooricoo read by Stan and then sing songs of Shabbat. we sleep an extra half hour this morning. to the great delight of our intelligentsia. At lunch the Celibates Club is organized at a special table which excludes haverot. As the haverim tear themselves away to bed. we gather together on the grass to sing. Their motto is: O. 148 .The Cookooricoo .is begun under the expert direction of Judy G.F.F." Thursday. one sees a veritable hive of industry. The library is open. July 7th Looking about this morning. The camp paper . Struck by the magnificent beauty of the sky and surrounding mountains. and we march down the hill singing happily. We have a leisurely breakfast. We do our laundry in the creek. Everyone is dressed in white shorts and blue Habonim shirts for Friday night.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL Wednesday. At the table the candles are lit and the prayer sung by Edna before we sit down to eat. discussion. . Two haverim volunteer to wash the dining room and kitchen floors. Saturday.Off Ferns Forever. As the Bible circles in Hebrew and English begin this afternoon.
stunt night. A new batch of haverim come from the city and there is much excitement during the meeting of old friends and new. Yehiel's determination is of some avail because the shower suddenly stops. July 12th We are awakened this morning by reveille blown by Harriet on her trumpet. the group sets out. however. it's off to Minewaska we go!" And amid the cheers of the remaining campers. 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. Later. seem to regard this with disfavor for it starts to rain. as on previous days. No morning exercises. after which 149 . July 11th Today we are settled again. 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. Tonight we have a camp fire with singing. "Heigh ho. So the younger haverim go to bed. The grass is very wet as we walk up the hill to bed. July 10th This morning there is a talk and discussion conducted by Shlomo on the present situation in Eretz Yisrael. with one or two people doubling up because some trunks have not yet arrived. July 13th Kvutza seems empty this morning with only half the haverim here. Monday. heigh ho. Parents begin to arrive. This afternoon it rains and. Tuesday.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sunday. The elements. Finally the sun breaks through the clouds just in time to set. And then to bed. All the haverim are back for a delayed lunch. begging Dave for an extra hour of sleep tomorrow. we gather in the dining room for songs and games. Wednesday.
Still gathered on the rocks. Thursday. besides clean-up. and Dave R." Today the equipment for all sorts of sports is spread over the camp. Friday. After lunch. are on guard duty so all hopes for a peaceful night are futile. and the waterfall competes with Dave's voice as he reads to us the past week's diary and news from the other camps. For Shabbat we snap pictures of our haverim in Habonim shirts and white shorts. and following supper. we have free time. It seems a perfect antidote for insomnia. Ready for supper. Back by the tents and joined by the kitchen committee. July 14th There are discussions this morning on the trials in Russia. Now bed and sleep at last. A "Candid Camera Fiend" or two stay behind to record on film our march down the hill.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. our tents and persons spotless. and preparation for a debate-" Resolved: That Socialism as such will solve the Jewish problem. 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. Now to our tents after singing and dancing. 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. 150 . but-Miriam L. while at the top of the hill are horseshoe and deck tennis games. we listen to The Cookooricoo as read by Avram. we watch Mutzie present Barry with a diploma from Fibber's College. we have arts and crafts and scoutcraft. Reading circles are the only activities this afternoon. The stream goes by. Down by the kitchen we have ping-pong.
the same bylaws. Swimming is naturally one of the main activi- 151 . Just as all settlements in Eretz Yisrael differ. 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. Five wigwam tents in a straight line and a large and spacious two-story barn. Most of the farmers are Norwegians and the relations between the camp and the farmers are excellent. Situated on a plain on the shore of Lake Ontario-no mountains or bills . and the author. written by Benny Lappin and produced by Ruth L. homes. Farm land stretches out on all sides. What triumph! What humiliation! The drama group presents an anti-war play at the camp fire tonight. one from the other. because the people who live there are differentcoming from various countries. Amid much excitement and conflicting emotions in the cheering section. Accord Diary. the bottom floor used as a dining room and kitchen. the top floor used as a handicrafts and cultural room -that is the entire camp. the same institutions. of course. One expects them all to be a like . New York. My first stop this year was at Kendall.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Saturday. the campers beat the madrichim 17-7. Afterwards.for are they not organized and managed the same way. And so the second week of camp ends. the Kvutza which serves our upstate New York movements. civilizations-so do the varying backgrounds of our haverim place an individual stamp upon each Camp Kvutza.a few trees mark the spot. July 16th Today is the final conflict: let each stand in his place-the campers play a baseball game of chills and thrills. there is dancing and singing. schools. the same program and activities-yet each Kvutza represents a unique world of its own.
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ties as Lake Ontario with its clear blue waters is only fifty yards away. The haverim there built a long wooden jetty of water which gradually gets deeper and deeper as you go on. Only this year, millions of little fish had been dumped into the lake from the Canadian side, and they had floated over to the American shores. Thus, during the first weeks in camp, their bodies littered the beach, kept you company while you swam, and frequently went into your mouth if you were not careful. From Rochester, I climbed up and up to the Laurentian Mountains in Prefontaine, Quebec, where our Montreal camp is situated. Physically, the camp there is a very poor one, an old building with various compartments used as cabins, dining room and kitchen, an office, and two tents. In general, our haverim from Montreal come from very poor districts - most of them forced to begin working in factories at the ages of fourteen to fifteen. From many points of view, Montreal is like an East European city with the Jews living almost in a ghetto and the population, mostly French Catholics, very anti-Semitic. Most of our haverim there speak Yiddish very well as they attend Yiddish parochial schools. Singing and dramatics is the specialty of Montreal. Every year they give a concert attended by 1200 people which is a highlight of the Jewish artistic season there. No monotones in Montreal-almost all have choir voices and most of the songs are sung in three voices. Two dramatic' presentations were carried through successfully the week I was there-one describing the life of Bialik; the other portraying the history of the Jewish Hagana in Eretz Yisrael, from the founding of the Hashomer until the occupation of Hanita. From there, southward to Camp Galil. The singing there; the manner in which J.N.F. projects were carried out; the exciting baseball games between the Varsity and the Scrubs; the ingenious costumes invented for the masquerade; the adventures of Ferdinand, the truck; the hike in the park near
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
the spot where Washington crossed the Delaware; the spirit of the oldest bonot - the famous LeHagshama group of Philadelphia - who though they found in camp only boys under thirteen and over twenty, expended their energy in leading groups and building up a healthy camp spirit-these are all unforgettable parts of Galil. Ben Zion Ilan, 1938 UNTIL NEXT YEAR And so it was the last day of Kvutza. We packed, we ran around camp looking for wrapping paper and twine, and we envied those fortunates who were staying for the seminar. Busy as we were, however, we could feel something strange in the air; a small committee had been picked by Dave with much secrecy and we wondered about its mysterious I duties. We ate, saying to ourselves and to each other, "This is the last lunch at Kvutza this year." The gods shared our disappointment, perhaps, for they sent down a flood of heavenly tears that transformed the camp into a mudhole. Through the downpour, our trunks and bags were carried to the truck and transported to Accord. A small band of brave halutzot rushed down the hill with a burden of "civilized clothes" which had to be ironed before they could be worn home on the morrow. And now loud lamentations could be heard from Kvutza. The secret had escaped; the cat was out of the bag. A gay farewell party had been planned for this last evening, a campfire, then a march to the pine trees decorated with Japanese lanterns under which was to have been set a feast fit for a king and also for us. Sobbing, we planned a substitute affair and sadly went about making preparations. At last, gathered at the top of the hill and dressed mostly in borrowed clothes, we were ready for supper. Suddenly a bombshell landed in our midst: an evening paper from Ellenville. War, it seemed, was near-the Soviet-Reich
KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL
pact a reality, not just a fantastic nightmare. Thinking of the three-and-a-half million Jews in Poland, many our own relations, wondering whether Britain would indeed stand firm by her pledges to Poland, we were in no mood to appreciate the meal that was set before us. After supper everyone was chased back to the tents while preparations went on in the kitchen. Soon the whistle blew and we tramped into the dining room again. What a transformation! The room was decorated with crepe paper and balloons strung from the ceiling, candles of blue and white giving off the light by which we saw the tables spread with cake, candy, and fruit. We sat down together and sang at the tables all the songs we had sung during the full summer. When the tea had been served and cleared away, Dave rose to speak to us. Because of the news from abroad we were not having the festive evening that had been planned, but still we could look back with satisfaction on a summer of working, playing, and living together. He hoped that the time we had spent in Kvutza would provide a stimulus for more and better work in our various cities during the coming winter. As we left to go to bed, the sky was not yet clear, but the moon shone among the clouds. We took a good look around; this might be our last night at Accord for Dave had said Kvutza might be moved next year. People went to bed quietly-there wasn't as much noise as is usual on the last night at camp. Soon the hushed giggling and singing died down and we fell asleep. Evy Schwartz, 1939
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VIEW FROM KVUTZA HILL, ACCORD Around the hill on which we stand are ringed the woods, Deep, deep into the valley far below, And stretch until in fringing green encroach Upon the fields which roll beyond The utmost margin of our view to where The ranks of toothed hills stand row on row, Green blueing into gray until the last Is but a cloud. David E. Goldberg, 1939 TO KVUTZA In 1933, as we were preparing for Kvutza, the Nazi power was sweeping through Germany. As we packed our trunks in 1939, our thoughts turned back to the fall of Czechoslovakia. Another nation had crumbled because it believed in truth and decency. As we returned home from Kvutza that season, civilization was being crushed. War had come to a world that had not known peace. Last year we came to Kvutza with heavy hearts. France, the symbol of man's hope, had been defeated by the Nazi military machine, and Italy was in the war. The Mediterranean was a war zone and the first bombs had fallen on Eretz Yisrael. Now a Nazi band of steel is stretching into the Near East and is tightening about Eretz Yisrael-a band of steel which reaches about our hearts. We are again preparing to go to Kvutza. To us, Kvutza never has been an ordinary camp. To us, Kvutza has been a place where the things we be-
KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL
lieved could be practiced. It is in Kvutza that there is democracy. It is in Kvutza that all are equal. Our Kvutza is a place where we might learn and plan for the day when we could return to Eretz; Yisrael. In our Kvutza, we could dream and hope together for a day when there would be no war, when men might live a happier life in peace and security. This is no ordinary season for a far-from-ordinary Kvutza. During this season, we must win new faith in our beliefs. We have not yet had to fight for these beliefs of ours. But others are fighting. The British and their allies are fighting for the same things. The Jews and all others of Europe who believed in freedom have long endured the oppression of the swastika because of their belief in the principles of decency. The halutzim of Eretz Yisrael are standing to their guns to defend what they have built and their dreams for the future. We in Kvutza must grow strong in our beliefs and let those who now stand in the front lines know that they can count on us for whatever lies within our power to give in this fight for the future. Artie Goldberg, 1941 NIGTH WATCH The night was cold and dark, the moon passed silently overhead, and still she slept. Suddenly a tap on the shoulder, a yank of the little pigtails, and she was awakened by an obliging, sleepy-eyed haver. Hand in hand they walked to their first destination-the dining room. And there they found more than just an empty place, mosquitoes about the lights, and dirty dishes on the table; there was a building of which they were a part-they recently had carried logs to repair it, and now it was theirs. Dirty dishes did not matter, the mosquito bites did not itch quite so much - the place was theirs. Faithfully through the night they guarded it, and
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when the early hours of the morn began to break, they woke two other haverim. Yes, the girl with the pigtails and the sleepy-eyed haver were on guard duty. The dining room was theirs-all theirs! Haboneh, 1941 THE TREE Limp and lonely and lifeless, it hangs down the side of its cliff. Its naked roots clutch at the earth like fingers' that have lost their power to grasp at life. Around it we stand and we look down on it. And it seems strange to look down on something to which we had always looked up. It is The Tree. If you have ever been in Moshava, you know The Tree. Just across the grounds and follow the path to the water. You pass the ravine and the road to the New Cliff. And then you find The Tree. Or maybe it is that The Tree finds you. You stop to look at The Tree. It sits on its own cliff and it looks over the Severn River. It guards the haverim. on the beach and in the water. It sees the sailboats glide past. It watches the sunsets and the night skies. But when you stop to look at it, it turns. And it looks at you. Then you notice its arms are held out to you and you understand it is your first haver at Moshava. So you climb out on its strong roots and you settle yourself in its lap. For a while, you sit in silence-you and The Tree. And when at last you decide to leave, you go knowing that you will return. Many times you visit it. Sometimes you come with your haverim. Then all of you sit on its arms and around it and you lose yourself in discus-
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sion. Momentarily you forget where you are. Yet, when you look upward, you see The Tree and you know it listens sympathetically. Sometimes you bring your new group to The Tree. You are a madrich and you want to impress your haverim. And hardly a week passes now but that one of them recalls, "Remember that time we sat at The Tree?" Sometimes you come with a Certain One. For The Tree, alone, may know your secrets. But most times you come alone to The Tree. Early in the morning you come to it. Late at night when you cannot sleep. After Moshava has closed and you are back in the city, suddenly you have such a longing to leave your routine. And you take the first lift you can get. And you come back to Moshava. Like a mad one, you run down the path to The Tree. And you sit upon its roots and rest against its trunk. For a long time we knew it had to come down. Let the truth be known: There is no time in our memory when The Tree did not "have to come down." Knowing full well we would not. Each year its roots protruded more and more above the ground. Each year it extended farther over the Cliff. If we stood on the beach below it and looked up, we could see its every vein straining at the earth around it. In March it snowed. A heavy, unkind, bitter storm that seemed to seek revenge on the coming spring with which it struggled. Limp and lonely and lifeless, it hangs down the side of its cliff. Its naked roots clutch at the earth like fingers that have lost their power to grasp at life. Around it we stand and we look down on it. And it seems strange to look down on something to which we had always looked up. It is The Tree. Miriam Biderman, 1942
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING
SO YOU WANT TO BE A MADRICH Perhaps you are one who wants to do more than his share at Tel Hai this summer, that is, become a madrich. Well, if you are new at this game, let me give you some timely advice. First of all, you must take into consideration your age. If you want to work with solelim whose ages range from ten to twelve, we suggest that you yourself should be at least thirteen so that they can look up to you to some extent. The same goes for the tzofim who are usually thirteen and fourteen. That means that you should be about fifteen, or if you wish to give a sage-like appearance, sixteen. The bonim, as our beloved rosh Kvutza, Harry, once said, are anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five. But for them it does not matter how old you are because the bonim never pay any attention to madrichim anyway. They consider them a mere formality. So you think you are old enough for one of these age groups. We shall therefore proceed to tell you just what will be expected of you in each age group. We'll start out with the solelim. and get them off our minds (as though that's even vaguely possible. To work with these little rascals, you must have a strong constitution and a stronger left hook, the endurance of a cross-country track star, and the patience of a saint. You must have the fleetness of a greyhound each evening to join the merry chase that occurs when it is time to put them to bed. A liberal education is a handy thing to have, too, for you must know everything from the latest processes of making apple butter to the social status of the Jew in Zululand. These little intellectual fiends can ask more brain-teasers in a day than Dr. I. Q. does in a year. Also, you bad better stock up on vitamin pills, for these charming youngsters have their own ideas of how to spend a restful afternoon. Now for the tzofim. These animals are slightly less energetic, all their vitality having been exhausted in their solelim days, though they are still more
Yes. after everyone else is in bed. On the whole. And finally. sleep. madrichim will find the bonim a group of sophisticates who have reached the stage in their development when they come to camp merely from force of habit. you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. gossip. You will be subject to nightly outpourings of their hearts and will be forced to promise them you will try to get the work committee to put them on guard or kitchen duty with their current crushes. And so. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur. and go on night watch. dear prospective madrich. there are the bonim. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. that is. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. however. if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. For example. you will be required. 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. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . And now.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. and if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich. to attend a staff meeting. Likewise. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology.
in back of 161 . who is pretty good looking so we had no trouble getting several girls to go. in two-hour shifts. If you do not fall prey to the sandman's charms.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING case of insomnia. We hiked two miles in the nice summer sun and began to climb the mountain single file. Two persons are appointed. Jerry. to rotate about the room pricking the madrichim with pins. but being out of condition. got no more than half way up. I decided to try it again. Jupiter-and here the story lies. Finally it does break up. You'll keep wondering if the cabin that's doing all the yelling is yours. and when the darn meeting is going to end. 1942 LOS ANGELES GLEANINGS Dear Mom: You know that right across the way from the camp there is a high mountain called Mt. you won't be able to keep your mind on the meeting anyway. 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 were to be guided by the forest ranger. so they let me carry all the lunches plus a first aid kit and camera. and when you're going to prepare the discussion you have to lead tomorrow morning. I once tried it. and they do quite a bit of hurrying about in an effort to keep at least three people awake at all times. but only on the condition that it be continued tomorrow when everyone will be fresh as a daisy. After such a fatiguing meeting. That was three years ago. and all troop over to the dining room. loudly shhh-ing each other although it's quite obvious that the whole camp is still awake." Well. one needs little convincing that a post-midnight snack is in order. but having become a fine physical specimen at Kvutza. someone found out that I had the only knapsack in Kvutza. As we started out. Jeannie Reisapfel. Sandy.
I stopped. Don't worry. Just as we got near camp. After waiting until we all gathered-including the loose parts-we began to hike home. we arrived at the top. I played soldier all the way down and it was very realistic. I want to stay longer. We sat around. It is made by big tractors which try to find the steepest part of the mountain they can go up without turning over. I shall explain: A firebreak is a long. Once you begin going down it is very difficult to stop. 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. I felt just like killing a rattlesnake. designed to stop a forest or brush fire. I almost became a casualty when I tripped. send me $7 and a snake-bite kit. took pictures (my film). If you don't know what a firebreak is. cleared strip through the mountain. Love. bad been eating garlic all morning and whenever we stopped. he would put his head over my shoulder to see what was doing. Norman 1942 162 . I am sure that this tractor found the steepest part of the whole range of mountains. goodbye now. Also it is quite uncomfortable to find that you cannot stop at the edge of a cliff. We went down a firebreak. Well. It is not true that it is easier to come down than to go up. too.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL me. How sorry I was. We finally got to the bottom drawn out over a half mile or so of ground. Your dear son. and then began to go down. After fighting our way through the brush (the ranger and I wore short pants and my legs are disfigured for life). sang songs which the ranger liked though he didn't know what they were all about (nor did we). and ate lunch (sandwiches and fruit from the knapsack I was carrying). There was of course no turning back. and made me sick. Oh yes. Mom.
some of us don't feel so easy about this packing business. play shirts. School will follow soon after. And once the Kvutza has been awakened from its winter's sleep. Therefore. and just between us. Our parents 163 . antiquated clothes that you have long ago forgotten about. because we play. let me-a veteran-give you a few hints as to what to pack and what not to pack. clothes. because by the time you go home. Drag out all your old clothes.they must be able to endure rough treatment. very little will remain of them anyway. Also make sure that they are washable. 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 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. we are in Kvutza! Yet. we are very active in Kvutza. But your clothes must have one important virtue . clothes that are too dilapidated for city wear. You see. too.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING NEED HELP PACKING? Spring is well along. Nothing is too bad for Kvutza when it comes to clothes. You are going to wash them yourself. First. and presto. we know what kind of a laundry man you are. and you will have a great part of your Kvutza wardrobe. Have your wardrobe include work shirts (for we all work). and dress shirts for Shabbat and Sundays.
So don't forget these important items. you'll need a raincoat and boots. I'm sure to forget to bring some. because I'm warning you. we go to it (in the form of a swimming pool). But we don't let that interfere with our activities. 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. and FUN! But in order to get around in presentable shape. Besides. reading and study groups. And don't forget the shoe polish. So you might as well take along some sheets and warm blankets. We have indoor games in the dining hall. One item that should be carefully chosen is shoes. bless me. haverim. don't forget your pants. I'll have to use yours. You'll need a sweater. 164 . yet you can never tell. it can rain even in Kvutza. Shorts or slacks or anything that goes under that general heading by a stretch of the imagination will do. I almost forgot to mention the pants that go with the shirts. Yet. a cap. When it doesn't come to us (in the form of rain). I'm not going to lend you mine. Have a pair of hard-soled shoes for hiking and a pair of soft-soled ones for play and work. Although I know that you are not intending to do much sleeping (how often I've heard a haver shout into the face of his madrich: "Do you think I came all this way to go to sleep?"). and warm pajamas. in which case. By all means. and a bathrobe. a warm jacket. we don't always hide from water. Perhaps you'll feel like sleeping for some strange reason one night. That's just to remind you that you'll need a bathing suit.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. Brrr! Nights are sometimes cold in Kvutza. Oh. Mind you.
We remembered discussing leadership problems. The builders remember the watchtower-chopping the trees. That last night...ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING That's the general idea. We bade farewell to Kvutzat Kinneret. Our eyes remembered watching for the answering flags flashing in the sun. Our toes could feel again the sand rippling as we walked through the Farband camp on the way to 165 .. thought-provoking periods. tactics. Birdie Dekelbaum. About filling in the details. 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. We had slept under its benevolent shadow that summer of 1955. If she is unreasonable in the amount of underwear she makes you take. We recalled nights of Hagana. The message was received! We had talked to each other from afar. haverim remembered the discussions we had had. knotting the ropes. As we watched the torches for the last time. The soles of our feet recollected our nature walks. The scouts remembered how we had hiked through the swamps of Kinneret. We remembered lively. We remembered the arduous trek to the lake. And the memories engulfed us. constructing the frame. Our feet remembered all-day hikes. you will have use for the extra pairs on masquerade nights. We remembered sleeping through them. The haverim who had built Kinneret gathered on the last night of the last season. we remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us. my advice is that you comply with your mother's demands. 1944 KINNERET SHELI We stood quietly meditating in the gathering twilight of the field of Kinneret.
1957 166 .KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL swim. We swatted away at the infernal pests. In our memories we sang. We swam. We danced again to the familiar tunes. to the rhythms of Eretz Yisrael. The raft seemed to beckon to us anew. Once again we swayed and swerved to the sound of the shepherd's flute. We remembered Shabbat as dusk fell the last time at Kvutzat Kinneret. This was our camp. Kvutzat Kinneret. comfortable feeling of Shabbat. We remembered the mosquitoes only too well. We stood quietly in the gathering twilight. The cooling relief of the ointments soothed us. We remembered Kinneret and what it meant to us. Avraham Bass. we floated in a dream of memories. We had built it-Kinneret. We bade farewell to a friend. We relived the glorious. The beauty of the Shabbat celebration haunted us. We recalled how we had danced the hora hour upon hour. The clammy feel of seaweed lingered in our minds.
The last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire.In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still. the bombracks off. 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. this is called peace. comrades. The mighty of the earth decreed it so. But brothers resting in many lands. The aeroplanes overhead wing their way with peaceful cargoes. Brothers. the rifles are stacked. Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. 168 . resting in many lands. the sound of firing still is heard And the dazed survivors of your people flee before the same pursuing mob. there is no peace and your battle is not done. the uniform of their captors only changed.
And what avail soon crumbling stone carved in our sacred script to puzzle future archaeologists. From the Rhineland plains and woods. 169 . The hundreds upon thousands upon millions. From ghetto and from concentration camp. Where in the same wide war fell our sons defending Kfar Giladi. Only in a brief moment of council. The familiar faces missing from our ranks. The distant isles and seas engulf us with the magnitude of our loss. even from the waters of the seas. Majdanek. the roll call of the resting places from continent to continent. the hard-contested hills of Italy. The record of the graves. From every forest haunt and cave where desperate guerilla bands struck at the foe.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Even in this western land of liberty. yet calls afresh each loved one gone. From the bitter hedgerow battles of Normandy. Lublin. Bialystok. Brothers resting in the distant lands. the voices of the Nazi foe still echo and repeat the ancient vicious lies. From beachheads and from far Pacific Isles with strange exotic names like Iwo Jima. cry for memorial. the roster of our dead commands memorial. Auschwitz and Stryj. the battle. we pause to consider a fitting monument and to tell our losses. from Warsaw. for the remnant of the exile does not stop. the gaps that never can be filled.
And in the valley. oh brothers. behind. 1945 170 . shrunken. a line of valiant battles dearly won. these dried bones yet live? With loving hands and humbled spirits. The mounds and graves of the ending of our seed We pause as on a mountain top and see. the weary. D. Look and say. still further struggle.G. Ahead. December. The records of an extinct folk. into the ship that bears illegal freight out of the graveyard of Europe. from your graves look out! Look out upon your people! Look into the ghetto. O Brothers. And the monument we dedicate is their own people. Worn and weary but imbued with the flame which kindled them at the foot of Sinai's peak. Lying in fields throughout the earth. Habonim Convention. let us dedicate the memorial to our dead scattered through many lands.E. shivering limbs of the wasted few who somehow did not die. for we dedicate to you a monument eternalWe are your memorial. in graves of honor and in lime pits of shame. Rest. to the camp. Brothers.IN MEMORIAM Shall your memorial be the silence of forgotten history. will they live? Will this your people. strewn before our feet.
as rosh of several madrichim groups. Immediately. as rosh of our national funds work. Her primary concern was always the development of the individual. She was one of the few people who was ours completely. Nevertheless. unbelievable. she threw herself entirely into our work. During one of the war years. She strove for selffulfillment in our movement even before she went on aliya. Thus she worked closely with the individual haver.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING MIRIAM BIDERMAN We are a movement of young people. their purpose and justification being to instill values and attitudes within the haverim. all of us. upon him she centered all her efforts. and as editor of Alot (the national publication specifically for our halutzim)-all these at the same time. She understood her educational function not as one of directing the group. how to react. And she exerted a tremendous amount of influence upon those with whom she worked. even the old timers were able to learn a great deal from her. The number of haverim that we have lost is mounting too quickly. We are at a loss as to what to say or do. Sometimes it seemed as if she carried the whole burden of our movement and our people on her slight shoulders. the mahaneh activities. She was among our most devoted. 171 . Miriam was a school teacher by profession. Each time it seems that our best is taken. She came to us because she had decided upon the path of selfrealization. Miriam came to us late. Camp Kvutza-these she considered as means to an end. she served as rosh of the New York region. as rosh of one of the mahanot. Each time it seems impossible. She was a madricha in the true sense of the term. She brought a real understanding of the meaning of education into our movement. but as one guiding the individual. when we were suffering from a critical shortage of leadership personnel. The small group discussions. she had a great capacity for hard work. She joined us when she was already in her twenties.
And wherever she worked." Her many letters to haverim gave us an insight into this devoted. she sought out young haverim with devotion. to synthesize the old and the new. Miriam wrote prolifically and she has left us a rich legacy of her written word. passed away. 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. She continually championed traditional practices in our movement. the lack of traditional observance caused her a great deal of discontent. in Winnipeg. The volume of her Shabbat and other program material. Thus. troubled havera who "before her time .. indicate to us the creative being whose "life song" was "suddenly cut off. in Baltimore. Miriam was brought up in an Orthodox religious home. or Tisha B'Av program in which Miriam had a hand always made a powerful impression. She was able to put meaning into Jewish tradition. and worked with them.. for the tasks of movement leadership and self-realization. understanding. she came to us with a deep appreciation for Jewish tradition. in New York. a Third Seder. of her articles in our various publications. with. with ability.IN MEMORIAM Her aim was to prepare younger haverim. Shabbat celebration. 172 . sensitive. she left her heritage: a corps of responsible haverim. Wherever she went.
By 1934. 173 . who toured the New England region in 1933. His task was to go into a community. but he knew how to train people to follow in his footsteps so that there was a second and third and fourth. By 1934. . The stories of organizers struggling and living on peanuts refer to Ben Cherner. shortly after Habonim was established.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING BEN CHERNER Many of you know Ben Cherner. But the National Executive (four people we were. get together the remnants of the YPZA. It was at that time that we decided to be heartless toward Ben. We wanted organizers to establish our new system of education. He had done his duty. and was supposed to receive permission for aliya. though you may not know his name or you may not realize that you know him. There is always an aura about the figure of a man who carries the title of "first" but who we do not remember. Many usages prevailing in the movement to this day are traditions which had their inception with him. The outstanding "first" in relation to Ben was that lie was the first organizer of Habonim. It was in 1934. and transform them into a mahaneh of Habonim. We didn't think of shlihim from Eretz Yisrael. he was a veteran. We were very modest. all told) decided that he must remain for another year to help in the transition from Young Poale Zion Alliance to Habonim. as we subsequently have been to every organizer and shaliah. By 1934. I am certain that he took no courses in leadership technique. I do not think that Ben went to college or had much formal training. he had had his fill of peanuts and of traveling for the movement. The adjective stuck to Ben because he had the faculty of attracting people to himself to carry on. Ben Cherner had not only served his apprenticeship in the movement but had already acted as an organizer for the Young Poale Zion Alliance. that we felt that one way of its taking root in America was to send out emissaries. contact parents and prospective madrichim.
He spoke quietly and intimately. That trip in 1935 was the first link in the chain which ultimately led to the development of the Los Angeles mahaneh. the Buffalo movement waned. of a Far West in which Folk Shulen graduates knew Hebrew. the summer Kvutza. from Joey to Moshe Goldberg.IN MEMORIAM Ben was not much of an orator. Ben was a simple. 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. Naturally. soft-spoken boy. his home town. Hence a good deal depended on whom was sent. He went to private homes and got 174 . Then Ben went to Chicago. We were getting news of a growing community in Los Angeles. There existed a loose connection between the New York center and the groups. His first stop was Buffalo. After negotiations. He set up several mahanot. the stream of organizers. When Moshe was called to New York. The organizer for whom Ben paved the way made Chicago the center of our movement for many years. He went into a city without benefit of publicity notices or mass meetings. He established a mahaneh in Buffalo so well that not only did Buffalo become the original stronghold of Habonim but gave us two organizers in succession. The mail was inadequate. To understand the significance of Ben's organizational tours. we called on Ben to make the trip. we obtained $75 from several Los Angeles haverim. The movement was kept alive by personal contact. one must visualize the years in which these were made. The visitor was the warm link representing the movement. There was not too much money for printing. It was a dynasty: from Ben Cherner to Joey Criden. There is a "first" in connection with Ben which relates to the Pacific Coast. He knew how to sing and he knew how to gather people around him.
No course in leadership or technical training or knowledge could have made 175 . to live in it. to go to Eretz Yisrael was a feat. We felt that we were committing a crime against Ben by holding him back but there was no alternative. and refined. We had held him back two years beyond his time. and to introduce a new atmosphere. He tried to maintain the agricultural training center in Illinois. At that time. There was no other candidate who could have done the organizational work. When Enzo Sereni came. It was into such conditions that Ben plunged to try to clean up the place. were serious. his. a useful service. He loved people. in a sense. Ben's was a permanent influence because he did not talk only of Eretz Yisrael. He liked young people. Perhaps this accounted for his ability to gather young people around him. poor. For a/person who is normal.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING people around him to sing with him and talk with him. The repercussions of the action of the Detroit group. That too was a service. It was in 1936 that he finally left. inadequate. we consolidated all of these farms into the one at Creamridge. They were small. he set an example. which was paradise by contrast. his primary one was his humanity. He was young himself. there were training farms in Baltimore. It was more than a one-man job. in Minneapolis. The fact that Ben failed is not a reflection on him. who returned from Eretz Yisrael and spread stories to justify themselves. When he left. The senior leaders of the Labor Zionist movement set a disheartening example by not permitting their children to remain in Eretz Yisrael. There was one specific job Ben tried to do which ultimately resulted in failure. Even his leaving was. there was a nucleus which somehow carried on. A large percentage of the "halutzim" were malcontents who could not earn a living. Of Ben's many qualities. unsanitary farms struggling under extremely difficult conditions. American halutzim who could not adjust to the rigors of pioneering did not help the atmosphere by returning home. approachability. and one in Illinois. adjusted.
He showed his enthusiasm by explaining his idea and then setting about carrying it out so well that the job seemed easily done. the rest of us did not believe in it either. it was in the line of duty. He had stuck to Naan no matter how strongly he was urged to join the American kibbutz. but Ben was stubborn. it was realization.IN MEMORIAM up for that basic human element. Ben did not believe in the concentration of Americans in Eretz Yisrael. They sat and sang without moving or talking. His singing had a good deal to do with his influence in the movement. 176 . In our relationship to Ben. He considered himself a soldier. Yet when he sat with a group of people around a camp fire. That was one of the reasons why he did not return to America as a shaliah. he held them for hours. Similarly. so solid that perhaps they account for one of the tragedies of his life. Our attitude was changed by the realities of life. For good or for ill. Ben had very solid convictions. His singing possessed an enchanting. or anyone to refer to. Ben never thought of himself as a leader. When he went to do organizational work. quality. Many of our songs are versions which he taught to the first groups of Habonim. We did not want an American landsmanshaft in Eretz Yisrael. In that period. 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. when he went to Eretz Yisrael. it was in the line of duty. Only during the last two years did he begin to waver and to talk of transferring to Kfar Blum. some camp fire traditions and some of the stories reprinted by us in Haboneh have their origin in Ben's fertile mind. himself as a leader. He was by no means a professional singer. He never permitted himself to think of. when he helped to organize the Union of Jewish World Combatants. we appreciated his enthusiasm. He would not get excited or rush off to his work.
it is the realization that they represented a continuation of the Jewish struggle for survival which began before them. The knowledge of his irrevocable loss to us is difficult to comprehend. "one must see his life in terms of a personality that was unfolding. "To understand Danny." wrote one of his friends from the Midwest. January. Saadia Gelb Furrows. and ever expanding . and he would finish by saying that. developing. His role in Habonim for more than eight years is invaluable. of the trials and tribulations of training and of self-realization in Eretz Yisrael. At first he saw one important objective ahead -that was the establishment of a real Jewish institution in the heart of the American scene. 1947 DANNY GINSBURG Once again the battlefront has claimed the life of one of our haverim. 177 . He had become widely known and loved-he was no longer Danny Ginsburg of Detroit. If there is meaning in the memory of our haverim and of their services. in the long run. That.. He would talk of the needs for another Kvutza and another mahaneh and of dogged perseverance in organizational work. 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. his future was inextricably bound up with the highest hopes of the movement..ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING If Ben were here and could talk to us. that we carry forward that struggle today. and that those after us will not falter. where he made his most specific contributions to the life of Habonim. it seems to me. he was Danny Ginsburg of Habonim. is the fitting memorial to Ben Cherner. impossible to console. this kind of obstinacy would succeed. he would talk of simple and prosaic tasks.
and under his energetic leadership. He continued. nothing could stop him. "Those who saw Danny at work in Kinneret. He was one of those exceptional individuals who throws himself into every activity with the completeness of a passionate spirit. as a leader in discussions. that would be built by and for Habonim. lie arrived at the personal decision to join Kibbutz Aliya and prepare himself for a true realization of his burning idealism. sincerity. His personal influence over others was so strong that many who might not have taken the same road followed it upon his leadership. find it difficult to separate the two. to take part in the solution of prob- 178 . near Detroit. All who came in contact with him were imbued with his spirit of idealism. well remember that it was not only physically that he worked hard. through the mails. he became rosh of the Detroit Habonim. There was always a glow about him as he worked. When Danny danced. to contribute to Kibbutz Aliya discussions. and above all. when he participated in a discussion. Danny's was truly a constantly developing personality. When he went into active service more than twenty months ago.IN MEMORIAM This goal was the establishment of a summer Kvutza. Sometime later. a determination that held out until he convinced or was convinced. Kinneret. Danny continued to participate in Habonim life. Yes. of hard work. After his initiation of the work for a summer Kvutza near Detroit. the movement there flourished remarkably. " The many members of Habonim throughout the country who remember him at conventions as chairman at sessions. through going to Eretz Yisrael. strong determination. His influence was felt as well among the haverim in the neighboring cities. it was with the determination born of his intense sincerity. who have known him at seminars and other movement gatherings. and his place and importance within Habonim grew as he did.
it's the machine that counts. I hope that I'll be able to come back safely and put into practice those things in which I believe and about which I've written to you and the others so much. in the minds of all of us. but we who are carrying on. "I guess I haven't done much in my short life so far. 1945 179 . After all. then I think my life so far has been worthwhile. perhaps the leading member of the future. But in case I don't. But if I've served as a stimulus to even a few kids to try to reach higher. we're all only little coos in a machine and if some of us have to fall by the wayside in order that the machine should continue to run smoothly. I haven't learned very much-just enough to realize that I still have a great deal to learn." He has not been granted the chance he hoped for. one of the leading members of Habonim. I only hope I'll get a chance to make it more so in the future. can prove the true worth of his short life. he wrote to his Detroit haverim in these words: "Naturally. through embodying his spirit in our work in Habonim. He continued to be. When Danny learned that he and his men were to take part in the invasion of Iwo Jima. May. not the little cogs. Furrows. to bring some good into the world. it's all right too.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING lems of the local groups he had led as well as those of national Habonim.
hard-working boy who became so close to them. Louis. Halutziut came easily for Nate. He was killed in an automobile accident on his way home from a meeting of Habonim. he entered the Navy and served two and a half years. he left home and began training at the National Farm School. On his days off. At the time of his death he was making plans to leave for Eretz Yisrael in the spring. he threw himself into movement work more vigorously than ever. he was a frequent visitor at the Hehalutz Training Farm at Creamridge. One of his first activities was a visit to the training farm at Creamridge. At sixteen. working ceaselessly. even those who had never met him.IN MEMORIAM NATE KANTER Every haver in Habonim knew Nate Kanter. The things he wanted for himself will never be realized-but the fulfillment of the things he wanted for his haverim and for his people lies in our hands. February. He was preparing for life in Eretz Yisrael at an age when most haverim are just beginning to consider halutziut. New Jersey. He came to be one of the most active and respected haverim in the machaneh. Those haverim now in Eretz Yisrael will remember the quiet. On his return to St. largely in the Pacific. because he personified the ideals of our movement. He was a complete halutz-devoted. unassuming. His loss is a tremendous blow for all of us. to him it was the natural way of life. When he reached eighteen. unselfish. both in his work in the movement and in his relations with his haverim. He has left a gap which cannot be filled. Furrows. 1947 180 .
carried and driven to the little cemetery near the garden. The entire kibbutz was shocked and stricken by his death.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ARI LASHNER It happened yesterday between 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning. Kieve spoke about his years in the movement. on the other hand. While he was working. Rose Breslau Furrows. I cannot really describe the great feeling of despair that took hold of us at his going and the manner of his going. the desire to come to Eretz Yisrael and take part in its upbuilding. That picture of Ari. . various pictures of Ari flashed through my mind. young and vital. Kieve said a few words before the coffin was lowered into the ground. He spoke about the conflict in Ari's nature: How he loved beautiful things a good book. It is still incredible. his years at sea. 1948 181 . and his work with the ships He spoke simply and beautifully. The quietness and stillness were uncanny. art. His body was taken to the Mazkirut building. . Only the clump-clump of hundreds of boots walking through the mud could be heard. a trigger happy Arab from Salchia shot him in the back. April. No one said anything. He was helping to set up electricity for some of the houses and so strapped himself to a pole in the fashion that such work is done. There was an escort of men with guns to protect us. music. a glass of wine-and how he had. And all the time. will always remain with me. and from there. The people followed near and behind the coffin. People gathered and stood together in small groups for comfort. 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 .
but left such deep impressions on all whom he met. and a springtime era of the movement. 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. of 'music. The ignorant Arab sniper's bullet that cut short his life at Kfar Blum on March 16th caused far more than a personal loss. He had 182 . For he was a central figure. of drives into the country. a ship that ran the blockade and then returned to Europe for a second load. diverse individuals have felt impelled to communicate with others who knew him. He went away many times before-to distant cities for the movement. an inexhaustible source of reminiscence and humor. of strolling about the city. His wife and child had gone to Eretz Yisrael before him. We feel more alone in a darker world.he inspired in others a sincere and warm recognition of his own capabilities. You would never have guessed from Ari's quiet work-day.just because of these qualities . America. and he was destined to contribute in important measure to the Jewish State in the future. and the movement produced.IN MEMORIAM ARI LASHNER Ari Lashner has left us. 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. He went through life so unassumingly. good-humored greeting again. bringing in thousands on his Hagana ship. There will never take place that meeting in Eretz Yisrael to which I looked forward so greatly. From all parts of the world. the pleasurable interludes of gentle conversation. there was his smiling. A cohesive group that grew up in the movement and had planted firm roots in Eretz Yisrael feels shattered. For Ari exemplified the best that the combination of Judaism. someone on whom we all leaned. Everyone who knew him would agree to this. unchanged. With him went a whole period in the youth of those who grew up with him. But always before. to Europe and to Eretz Yisrael.
and respecting feeling in others. He was never heard by anyone to shout in anger. Thus he could not consider the fate of the Jewish people without including himself in the solution. yet not your own. or to descend to the vulgar or unseemly in any way. He had strong passions. Ghandi could not have abhorred violence more than Ari Lashner. and under the pressure of very wide experience. He did not enjoy the conscious role of "organizer" or even of halutz. there was a definite mellowing in him. But he never drove others. But he longed for the day of peace when he could realize himself in some way in the Jewish Land. and impatience. which all who experienced him felt. to gossip in malice. or seeking a way out by processes of rationalization. anger. for which he was too naturally gifted). 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. Not that he was a "gentleman. this realistic tendency intervened even in his enjoyment of abstract beauty in painting and poetry (never in music.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING not known when or how he would see them again and he wanted to be with them desperately. What he could not tolerate in himself and others was covering up the problem. If a keynote is to be sought in his pervasive influence. For a time." unless "gentleman" is redefined to be what he was. In this connection. it is his insistence that the individual search for his own truth and act in consequence. He assumed you were wrestling honestly with your problems as he was with his. tolerant and receptive 183 . tempering the feelings. He died in war. And there was frequent cause for anger and impatience in those years. excusing oneself. But in recent years. he gave full credence to the role of the irrational in life. by the development of universal theories which solved all problems. who hated even the raised voice.
his favorite was Levin. but he weighed things relatively and he knew the enormous importance of the measure of basic civil liberties enjoyed here. but he would take any capitalism over a Socialism that gave a whit less of individual liberty. He felt humble and inferior to the point of discomfort before anyone with special talent. He muttered to himself: "What on earth is this endless hodgepodge?" It was announced as the Kreutzer Sonata. walk in cities. after our Young Poale Zion Alliance meetings. we went driving out on Long Island until dawn. when we drove into New England. He was a Socialist. His greatest pleasure was to drive through its countryside. 184 . He loved honesty and simplicity. He knew it well to California. too. the enjoyment of beautiful things in many forms became a welcome release for him. He loved to stop at roadside inns. into formal molds with neat tags was foreign to his mind. The very casting of whole societies. The man with a "reputation" as a music lover doesn't tell such stories about himself with detached enjoyment. and of complex ways of life. While he understood and admired a Vronsky and an Anna Karenina. He enjoyed greatly the scene of the “visit to the uncle” in War and Peace. whether in art or in farming. stores. The piece went on interminably. observe people. of people. concert balls. I associate him with trips into the green countryside and 1 recall his avid appreciation of it. From the earliest days when. He saw the evils of America. but without the slightest trace of the envy that stems from vanity and leads to pretenses and false emulation. parks. Any account of Ari would be incomplete without mentioning his love for America. visit galleries. until almost the last full day together.IN MEMORIAM by nature. He once told of hearing a musical work on the radio while working on something.
ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The 1930's were a difficult test for radical youth. He was always ready to admit that the paths others were following were right. Here. without some trustworthy reference point in reality. These have been called his "doubts" and his "conflict. Robinson era at City College. another essential characteristic is illustrated. just drifting. and every week saw demonstrations. He felt like a victim of himself. actually. It was the Frederick B. expulsions. Impossible. He was unaware of the courage it took to drift with the tide of one's being. Their solutions for the whole world still left him uncomfortable as an individual. We Labor Zionists participated in all radical activities but as a collateral thing. There never were any dramatic announcements or obvious soul struggle. He dropped his teacher-training course when it gradually became apparent to him that his future lay with the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael. He saw the Jewish people again singled out for persecution and he felt that concrete' special efforts by Jews themselves were demanded. and thought uneasily himself that he was. But they were a little above him. The concept of doubt in the sense of debating one's path by purely mental processes cannot rightly be used for him. Ari admired the courage and the intellectual acumen of the radical leaders and even admitted that their panaceas might be right. He spoke nostalgically about the interesting careers others were following. His life was the result of an evolutionary process. Ari Lashner's reference point was his emotional Jewishness and Labor Zionism to which he attached significant weight." But he spoke about the other things that were nice to do with a certain detachment. In the rarefied atmosphere of college. and counterdemonstrations. He seemed to be. and it was difficult to perceive at what stage this process actually became a form of reduction ad absurdum. What it was and what had gone into it was flowing irrevocably in a certain 185 . Socialists and Communists drove the black and white stereotypes of doctrinaire radicalism to absolute extremes.
desires. emphasis on Hebrew. the expanded hachshara farms. It is futile to try to recreate by words the vital essence of a complicated personality like Ari. in the conventional sense. for my part. Furrows. there are those to whom the loss is a terrible reality. increased aliya. but the epitome of us. and acts known and beloved somewhere. as every individual was in life. I am rendering a faint duty inadequately because I knew Ari. No hero picture. 1948 186 . of thoughts. working. is true. April. Every one of those good Hebrew names we read is only a symbol of a face smiling to someone. A great deal more will be written by those who worked with him of Ari's influence in the formation and development of Habonim and in the Labor Zionist movement generally. And he did it as usual-well. one of us. Labor Eretz Yisrael and the ideals of halutziut proudly became the central educational idea of the movement. And so for every one of those who are dying in Eretz Yisrael. by virtue of his great truth to himself. Ari would not want to be singled out or separated from his comrades. So he followed the path of the halutz. I do not think of Ari as having died. It is not possible to believe and. all these have come about through the vision. sometimes looking wistfully back at the green fields of America. There is a whole generation of young people who remember how Ari led them in song and dance. faithfully. Every soul is precious. But the Yishuv has always commemorated its dead lovingly. Harry Levtow. and energy of the small group of which Ari was a central figure. how he spoke at camps and conferences-vital and human.IN MEMORIAM direction and be would have thought it absurd that some sudden idea should be able to change it. I merely consider that he has crossed another boundary before us as he did so often before. nobly. no analogy with anyone else. Camp Kvutza. courage. It is probably reserved only to those who knew him to feel the true loss.
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. and dishes (slightly cracked). people who were tired of civilization and routine. He used to spend many days and nights with hoboes and his stories were remarkable." One of the advance crew was Hayim Rambam. salvaged from Unser Camp for whose guests they were not deemed worthy. old farmer's stove. he gave up that kind of life and returned home. open fieldsthe sort of boy that can develop into a hero or an adventurer. Tired after a day of hard work. and the old Ford that we were barely able to purchase for $10. We saw a different world. The camp consisted of a hilltop cluttered with tents which had obviously seen better days in the army. We were most impressed with the big. Hayim could be found on one of the cots in the tent. a few boxes of cups (without handles). We knew then that he was moody and ready to tell stories of his adventures throughout the United States. the walls of his home. On closer acquaintance. Once he admitted to me that only because of the deep love for his father. He had a leader's qualities and could influence people either for better or worse. I well remember the delightful evenings and sunsets in the camp which were so inspiring. and the discipline of a school.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. you learned that a few warm friendly words could easily quell the storm raging in him. always seeking new thrills and experiences. He was an adventurer. He was drawn to the broad. They felt free as birds and so did Hayim. For the stormy nature of this boy. even in early childhood. We were met by the advance crew of a few boys. We also found some boards for the future kitchen. And 187 .
Hayim and I. Our ancient army tents. knee-deep in water. 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. Hayim showed himself to be the second sort of person. without a path to follow. willing servant in Hayim's skillful hands. was an obedient. on the other hand. The Ford that had not the least desire to climb the smallest hill.IN MEMORIAM many a time I thought that perhaps Hayim may turn out to be another Jack London. 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. because of whose caprices we always had to bring along a couple of "footmen" to help push when the inevitable need arose." to whom many campers literally owed their lives. that constantly refused to get back to camp on time. He was also our "life saver. destroying many houses in the neighborhood and flooding all the valleys. 188 . when a person may forget about and sacrifice himself for the general welfare. We all gathered in our one "building. Incidents of that summer keep coming to mind." squatting on the tables with only a roof overhead while the torrent of rain drenched us through the open sides. How well I remember that procession in the thick blackness. I am sure that it was solely to Hayim's credit that we came away that summer sound in limb. riding in the Ford. Hayim was the driver of the Ford on which we depended for supplies from the nearby town and water from the well. a hurricane suddenly pounced upon us. Here we are. so we decided for safety's sake to make our way to a nearby boarding house. Towards the end of the summer.
and now Joseph Rosenberg is reported missing in action at sea. The fourth of our haverim is gone. When he did not receive a certificate. more serious in outlook. his zeal. But a month later he was dead. under the hot sun. I was impressed with his youthfulness. I also went to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Jerusalem with my husband. I met Joey for the first time when I was sent to Detroit to represent the Young Poale Zion-Habonim at the National Convention of the Farband. a second was lost in a mission over Germany. He dreamed of participating in the defense of the country . I did not see him for a long time after that but heard he was employed as a tractor driver in Mikveh Yisrael. . his devotion. and he hoped to obtain a certificate to go to Eretz Yisrael. a third while performing his duty in the Near East. He was about to become rosh mahaneh of Detroit and he spent hours 189 . less restless. 1942 JOSEPH ROSENBERG There will be many vacant places in our ranks when this war is over. Hayim showed up in Jerusalem during a holiday. he went on his own. It was clear that Eretz Yisrael had had a marked effect upon him. I really learned to appreciate his character at the Leaders' Seminar in Pipersville in 1940. He was much changed-more mature. Suddenly.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The work in Camp Kvutza became a form of training for Hayim. he drank from a spring he did not know was contaminated. It did not occur to him that tiny microbes would conquer his powerful body and quiet his stormy nature for eternity. One died flying in this country. Leak Brown Haboneh June. . his enthusiasm. In the meantime. While working in the fields.
* * * * * Joey joined Habonim in 1935 at the age of eleven. 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. we talked about his doubts and his ambitions. Joey joined the local union and made himself heard there. We remember how as rosh mahaneh of Detroit Habonim. when we grow older. he led us through one of the strongest years of our existence.that during the period that he was stationed at San Diego in training. He showed me his neat notebook. Joey entered a trade school to prepare himself for the life of a halutz. D.IN MEMORIAM with me discussing his plans. he would do more work than others had done all week. But those who stayed with the group remember that while others were spouting high-sounding phrases about becoming halutzim. B. his plans. I read his outlines. June. he was certain that he would be able to organize a Habonim group. We remember that while others were delving into deep discussion about the problems of labor. You may not know. Joey was one of the first to join and carry out its program. he spent every spare moment making contacts and speaking to people. We remember that when a Kibbutz Aliya was formed in Detroit.. his ideas. It is an irreparable loss for the movement here and for Kfar Blum in Eretz Yisrael. D. We remember that when Joey came out to camp weekends. G. 1944 190 . Furrows.. He lived his life in search of a better world and gave his life in the struggle for it.
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. The details of his capture are not known. led to the concentration camp at Dachau. 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. through a search conducted by Ben Zion (now a sergeant in the Jewish Brigade). was dropped by parachute into northern Italy in the late spring of 1944 in the uniform of a British captain under the name of Shmuel Barda. engaged in the search for prisoners of war and concentration camp inmates in Germany. I obtained permission from the British army bureau in charge of these searches to institute a search for Enzo Sereni. we are finally beyond any question of doubt certain that Enzo is dead-dead at the age of thirty-nine. Today. Eretz Yisrael delegate to the American Habonim. about whom relatives in the Allied countries had made inquiries. Together with Ben Zion Ilan of Afikim who was then an Eretz Yisrael delegate to the youth movement. whose energy and imagination made Habonim possible. Ben Zion Ilan. 191 . as you may know. missing in action for over a year. 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. when the best part of his contribution to Zionism surely lay ahead of him. 1944. one-time halutz from America. A letter from Kieve Skidell tells the following story which ends all hope that Enzo. and now a sergeant in the Second Battalion of the Jewish Brigade. Sereni. Together with another member of the team. after his capture by the Germans. as Hehalutz delegate. His mission was to work with Italian partisans behind the German lines. and together with American haverim. might still be alive: “On the streets of Paris I ran into Sgt. but traces of him.
we filled an urn with ashes from the crematorium. 192 . Born 22 June 1905 at Jerusalem. He remembered that he was usually together with one French and two other British officers. Died 18 November 1944. It turned out that he had been the secretary of the block Sereni was in and he remembered him well. “ ‘One can only surmise from this information that he was brought to his death by torture. Sereni impressed him as a man of extremely high intellectual acumen. those ashes will be placed there together with those of our other martyrs. " 'Before leaving Dachau. his own tormentors no doubt among them. His body was cremated at the local crematorium. who had been in the same block with him in Dachau. Taken to Special Punishment Cell for interrogation. He remembered well the long discussions they used to have on philosophical as well as world political and Jewish topics. 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. Entered 9 October 1944. and there we found a card with the following information on it: “ ‘Prisoner No. Block 23. and he couldn't forget how even in the environment of Dachau. he was bubbling with energy and intellectual curiosity. 113160. 17 November 1944. Those were not his ashes alone but they were sacred. all of whom have disappeared without a trace. V3 (code for member of the British forces). Barda. Resident at Tel Aviv. When the projected memorial to the Gola is erected in Jerusalem. we turned immediately to the card index of all those who had ever been in the place. Shmuel. “ ‘We then looked up the pastor. “ ‘When we came to 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.
One day.M. Another blow to my own pride was the way he went through the Hebrew press-or any other reading matter.' " To those who knew Enzo there is no need to define our loss. I remember. to find Sereni sitting opposite me at his desk. I came back from a trip out of town in the wee hours of the morning. 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. I determined not to go home to clean up but to get the rest of my sleep on a bench in the office. Austria. would appear at the office bright and early to greet the first-comers and shame the others. 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. only a few months ago. In this way I hoped to find out when Enzo did come in. as I recall. we went out there and got permission from the Russian commandant of nearby Linz to visit the place. when a report reached us that Sereni had been seen alive in the concentration camp at Mauthausen. But there is no one there today but a number of Russian troops who are billeted there. between 7:30 and 8:00 A. but to make sure. going through the Eretz Yisrael press. I never did find out when he arrived. We all 193 .ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING " 'For us the search seemed ended. he would sail through texts like a swift Italian breeze. I woke up. We were skeptical because some Brigade boys had been there around that time and had said nothing about it. Everywhere he went. he. he left an indelible impression. Soon after his earliest appearance in America. Even those who lived with him at that famous Bet Hehalutz on Riverside Drive probably never knew when he awoke. as far as that goes. it became a current story that Sereni spoke the best broken English anyone had ever heard. Whatever the language. I had been rather vain of my speed in reading but Sereni was insufferably superior.
efficiently marked to indicate the essential items for digesting or writing up. Sereni would be able to deposit it all on my desk. in conversation. of course. even made them rather suspicious. and with assured status in the academic and professional society of contemporary Rome. 194 . Then afterwards. A scion of a rather wealthy. in all his dangerous missions for the Histadrut. He never counted costs-one of the things. with roots in Italy as far back as 70 A. and a strong sense of the direction in which he wished to go.IN MEMORIAM harbored dark suspicions about how thoroughly he had read. according to repute. that the German youth-Enzo had a great share in the creation of Hehalutz in Hitler Germany during the early years-were equally flabbergasted at Sereni's mental speed. Sereni was so clever that slower minds distrusted him. a fighter in a certain sense. prominent Roman Jewish family. He had a firm viewpoint. In fact. but one might even say a daredevil. Sereni was. which set him apart from many comrades was that in certain things. which have recently appeared in the Eretz Yisrael press. Sereni enjoyed many elements of ultimate security which enabled him to be not only daring. he had less need than they to count costs. It was not only the Germans with their gruendlichkeit who were uneasy at his mental athletics. He threw himself with unlimited devotion-perhaps the proper word is abandoninto the cause he wished to serve. perhaps. Others smuggled Jewish money out of Nazi Germany but I am sure no one ever did it with as much assurance and enjoyment as Sereni. he 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. I noted in the comments on Sereni's death. the flashing play of his wit and thought.D. They were inclined to worry about his most innocent proposal for fear of some ingenious trap. but after a halfhour with a huge batch of literature. his paradoxes and rapid-fire patter. I was a witness to the same phenomenon here.
In spite of a frantic search they could not find Sereni until midnight. 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. They found him in the midst of a lively discussion with his guards. gave him another formidable advantage in debate which only increased the confusion and unfounded suspicions of many opponents. He was indeed a man whom an opponent had to know to love. indeed. He was also capable of using an argument largely for its effect. I can well believe that he sustained an intense mental activity in his last days at Dachau. In the most furious argument. In the utmost heat of contention. never were they more wrong. and they could not get him to leave until he had made a few last points. because in the most opposing statements he could appreciate the grains of truth. which it seems to me must represent an unsurpassed peak in Sereniana: Prinz and Sereni one day were both pulled in by the Gestapo in the course of a routine raid on Hehalutz quarters. Sereni's fundamental open-mindedness. the product of a scientifically-trained mind. Rabbi Joachim Prinz tells this story of Sereni. was almost fantastically reflected in his volatile whims and witticisms. It is true that he used his opponents' lower resistance to fire deliberately. This. He boiled rapidly but only on the surface. At last they discovered the prison where he was kept and were permitted to see him. Sereni was basically cool. covering the theory and practice of both German Nazism and Italian fascism. Opponents often mistook his vehemence for vindictiveness. He was capable of the most astounding self-contradictions and mental flexibility.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING The same lusty combativeness marked his fights for his ideas within the Histadrut. After a while she found Prinz and he was released. 195 .
Enzo shot back: "What do you think I am. What particularly upset the assurance of some of us was that 196 . I remember when he was in this country. of course. 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. Reluctantly. on the theory that the Arab's must be raised to the Jewish level. Practically rubbing his hands with glee. meant either deferring such solidarity to an indefinite future if one took the Mapai view. experimental hypotheses. so to speak. and often went to practically fantastic lengths of logic in this matter. then?" Outraged. and we never knew how seriously to take them. just off the boat. I'm a first-rate expert at arguing Zionism from a Marxist basis.IN MEMORIAM Shlomo Grodzensky tells this of his first encounter with Enzo: He met a sturdy little Italian." Said Grodzensky: "Do you believe in Marxism. or simple selfdelusion if one took the Hashomer Hatzair view. He therefore argued that the Jewish worker must have the idealism to come down to the Arab level in order to meet him and. were in reality tentative statements. of course. 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. raise the standard of living by cooperative methods of consumption and mutual aid. Shlomo admitted that this was the case. Enzo was always a strong adherent of the idea of a Jewish-Arab collaboration. All these. 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. a simpleton. in Sereni's mind. Sereni said: "Excellent! You know. who at once asked whether it were true that there was a current vogue for Marxism in America. he used to argue that only in the framework of the Arab Federation would it be possible to come to an understanding with the Arab on Eretz Yisrael.
one might even say heuristic. But this was no final stand for Sereni. Sereni had obviously considered that factor already for he promptly replied that there were also instances. the first few times he had gone out without a rifle. As a member of a kibbutz which. I remember an instance by which I was particularly impressed: In America. Even the most fleeting adherence to an idea. even to a notion of provisional. entailed serious consequences in action for Sereni. Sereni knew very well what the costs were of Arab terrorism to the Jews. He would never wait for a bus to take him home and he scoffed at the danger from Arab 197 . suffered its casualties like any other rural settlement. and what he thought. during the period of my own stay in Eretz Yisrael (1939). where peace and mutual forbearance had ensued between groups after a decisive measuring of strength. Sereni argued that the disturbances of 1936-38 were a good thing in the history of Arab-Jewish relations. as I learned. though the kibbutz would not assign him to stand watch. Be he was considering the hypothesis that no basic change in Arab-Jewish relations was possible until the Arabs were convinced that the Jews were unalterably bent upon establishing themselves in Eretz Yisrael and that their will was a factor to be reckoned with. When I came to Givat Brenner. But these hypotheses were also formative elements in his own thoughts. value in his life-course.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. I was astonished to hear that Enzo was not allowed to stand his turn at guard duty because. However. it could not stop him from breaking the rule against walking through certain officially designated dangerous areas between Rehovot and Givat Brenner. he acted. if only in order to make them think on their own. notably the British-Boer case. It was brought up in discussion that bloodshed between groups had historically tended to implant mutual hatred that long outlasted the fighting.
He always had a childlike look. In a late picture taken in Eretz Yisrael and published in the memorial issue of Hapoel Hatzair. bravely but with solemnity. But what was it which put those omens of fear into Sereni's eyes in his latest pictures? We can only guess. outstanding and phenomenally smooth. volunteered for sabotage and underground work behind the lines in Italy. Products of fascism. Later. I remember Sereni loved to propound this question: "Tell me. 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 was completely aware of it. and I can attest to it. 198 . confronting unforeseen and portentous immensities.IN MEMORIAM neighbors whom he had known. when I spoke to him. But he took his bearings by love. taking delight in the explosive effects of his intellectual gunfire. Sereni presents an altogether different aspect from what was familiar to us. Far deeper than his intellectual constructions was a deep. This was the man who. childlike. We saw him as the "happy warrior" child. for this reason he would often mock us by declaring himself nearer a Christian than a Jew in religious sensibility. Solemnity was a look I often saw in him at Givat Brenner. deracinated Jews-yet under Sereni's ministrations their success as kibbutz members was. No. and another claimed her-her husband. ~ he looks like a lost child. he would acclaim you a Zionist. romantic strain of love in Sereni. he had swung towards pacifism. He told me that having had long conversations in America with Hayim Greenberg. I learned the basic intellectual reasons for these new meshugassen of Sereni's. let us say-would you give her up? " If you answered. full of fire and sparkle. approaching forty. if you loved a woman. In the recent picture. if I may abuse a phrase. moving mountains of apathy and mental torpor with a logical witticism.
Irv Sternberg. he contributed inestimably to the formulation of the program and policies of Habonim. was a veteran in Habonim and its predecessor. are shaped and influenced by those few who conceive and develop the ideas which give it birth. to learn to meet the inevitable situations of adult life. the Kibbutz Hameuhad. the Young Poale Zion Alliance. we see that it was able to put a reflection of fear even into those eyes. as in the life of an individual. December. Jews-Eastern European Jews. Ben Halpern Furrows. his own home and family. Givat Brenner. a member of the National Executive. He had invested far more than a lifetime of labor. his metaphysical moorings. his friends. One of the first organizers. and the Italian people. to learn to mourn the death of a comrade. Irv. Lithuanians and Germans alike. German Jews. and never had he failed to realize what he risked. 1945 IRV STERNBERG The early days in the life of a movement. his own kibbutz. which he barely knew. He used to say that everywhere he went-to Eretz Yisrael. We know from writings that reach us from Eretz Yisrael how deeply the split in the Mapai affected Sereni. the Yiddish language. though only thirty-one when he died. he had invested his love. Italian philosophy. and later the Merkaz. to America-he invested his money in the Histadrut.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING These things he loved: Italy-Italian art. was one of those who contributed to the conception and development of Habonim. As a movement grows up. even Italian historiography. it must begin to accept the responsibilities of maturity. Mapai. the Histadrut. 199 . who died early in June. From his latest picture. but to take new strength from the spirit he displayed. to Germany.
IN MEMORIAM A halutz who knew that because of his serious illness he could never realize life in Eretz Yisrael. His love of literature and art. At the founding convention of Habonim in Buffalo. Irv nevertheless translated his Socialist Zionism into his personal life. His exceptional ability in artistic handwork led him to organize Habonim crafts groups. and long be grateful for the share he contributed to Habonim. the background that molded all his discussions of our problems. Habonim will remember Irv. seek new methods of educating others in it. those who were with him will remember Irv's insistence that we not water down the ideas of the Young Poale Zion Alliance but make them the basis for Habonim and devise the methods by which this new movement of younger people might be taught the ideas of the Poale Zion: Self-realization as halutzim in their homeland and the eventual achievement of Socialism and a more productive Jewish life throughout the world. were reflected in those things he wrote. long regret his untimely loss to us. Irv was a haver with diverse and intense interests. 1944 200 . July. Furrows. his passion for the unique. His knowledge of the essence of the movement led him to create programs. the type of material he assembled when he served as editor of Haboneh last year. and all of these he applied in his work for Habonim. when he was elected on the Poale Zion list as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress. He combined his deep love for the printed word and the cooperative way of life in the establishment of a cooperative printing shop for Habonim in Philadelphia. conceive new ideas. In 1939 Irv received some measure of reward for the work he had done so devotedly for so long.
We must fill the gap. too-that is why these words are meaningless to me. 1944 201 . of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh. of the dreams we had together of Eretz Yisrael and "our" kibbutz. 1944. And I can say with a determination which I have never felt before that we must not let the chain of halutzim be broken. Freedom and peace are meaningless if we are not conscious of their worth and do not accept their responsibilities-and freedom and peace must prevail lest future Johanans shall die. November." He was my friend. so that the vision of which Johanan was symbolic shall find new strength and fervor. He was one of our best haverim. Harry Brumberger Furrows. to accept the task of the halutz. I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences. 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. lest the Jewish people never find their future. I shall endeavor to do what my friend Johanan wanted to do-I will try to realize his dreams. That is the best tribute I can give him. and I call to all those others who believe as Johanan did to rouse themselves. We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING JOHANAN TARTAKOWER "Johanan Tartakower was killed in action in the European Theater of Operations on September 29th.