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