The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping




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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in. * * * The Chay Commission. 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.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. Aliya and Youth. Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. 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. 1932. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. * * * 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.

the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well. 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. to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering. Bert Goldstein Chairman. Chay Commission 15 .

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

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

The Beginning .


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

and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores. the new forms of the dance. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book. and music. and oceans. the breadth of the Hudson. its mountains and plains. art. Some homes were "Bundist. In some homes. What moved these few to meet for a study of Poale Zionism and ways and methods of bringing this ideal to others? So I asked and found that one's Jewish consciousness was awakened by the haunting sadness of the Kol Nidre melody. the night club in Harlem. Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. There were before us the grandeur of the West. and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. The life of America was our life: the jazz. this tiny group out of the millions of American Jews? Again and again at the Camp Kvutza.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING dignity and freedom. the new theater. the politics of the country. Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts. Or again. its pioneers. the charm of the South. it was important to know the reason. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. the beauty of the Appalachians. its lakes. the awe of Niagara. Russian revolu- 21 . I learned that often the home and the parents were in opposition and added nothing to these unknown deep springs which lived in the consciousness of our comrades. the stirrings of the vast labor masses . 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. rivers. We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. vivid with the hope of the liberation of the Jew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jacob Katzman and Leo Krown at Accord.

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

Ready for overnight hike, Accord, 1936.

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

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

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

Washday at Accord.

Outdoor discussion, Accord, 1935.

Campers, Accord, 1935.

Waterfalls, Accord, N.Y.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and its preservation and strengthening is perhaps the greatest contribution Habonim can make to the cause of Labor Zionist youth in this country. 1944 59 . It is more powerful than city propaganda. Murray Weingarten. 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. All these questions must eventually be resolved. I. In general. for one. That non-members should attend Kvutza. is naturally desirable. 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. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim. more powerful than Hebrew schools. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. lies the road to the establishment of a really alert Labor Zionist youth. 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. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles.

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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


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

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rather than giving them an opportunity to do work which they would find more interesting and which would require a certain degree of skill. chickens. The agricultural discussions were conducted by members of the farm and were intended to give a general picture of the various branches of a farm 134 . Although we were rather skeptical at the beginning. The group was a rather heterogeneous one. a number were students of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism. The campers participated in both cultural and agricultural discussions. The life of the camp was. gradually began to adopt the outlook and standards of intimate collective groups. garden. and so on. we found that almost without any conscious guidance on our part. such as picking tomatoes or cleaning chicken coops. Fifteen boys and girls between the ages of fifteen and seventeen attended the camp.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT CAMP AVODA. prepared the daily work schedule. built around work. while several had almost no knowledge of Eretz Yisrael and Zionism. the campers. This was partly due to the assignment of routine jobs to the campers. The campers were given an opportunity to participate in the various branches-barn. in the course of the summer. together with us. High school-age boys and girls came to Creamridge to live and work with an established collective group. To our surprise. cannery. by the end of last summer. of course. most of us were ready to admit that. CREAMRIDGE Camp Avoda at the Hehalutz farm in Creamridge. Working six or seven hours a day under the hot sun was a new experience for all of them and it was occasionally difficult to maintain good standards of work for the group. The campers elected their own person to assign the work who. it is possible to expose successfully young American Jews to collective agricultural life. began as an experiment and ended as an established institution. New Jersey. within reasonable limits. where they received an education along Reconstructionist lines. not to mention halutziut.

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

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

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

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

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. after everyone else is in bed. gossip. sleep. madrichim will find the bonim a group of sophisticates who have reached the stage in their development when they come to camp merely from force of habit. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich. and go on night watch. you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. And now. that is. there are the bonim. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. And finally. while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. dear prospective madrich. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. On the whole. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. you will be required. if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . Oh no! The bonim are of the opinion that work was created to give the solelim and tzofim a chance to work off some of their excess vim and vigor. Likewise. to attend a staff meeting.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. Yes. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. And so. and if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. 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. For example. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation. however.

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

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

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

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

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

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


the bombracks off. The aeroplanes overhead wing their way with peaceful cargoes. Brothers. 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. 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. resting in many lands. the rifles are stacked. But brothers resting in many lands. 168 .In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still. The last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire. the uniform of their captors only changed. Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. comrades. this is called peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and his work with the ships He spoke simply and beautifully. carried and driven to the little cemetery near the garden. . While he was working. No one said anything. It is still incredible. various pictures of Ari flashed through my mind. And all the time. 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. art. and from there. young and vital. the desire to come to Eretz Yisrael and take part in its upbuilding. He spoke about the conflict in Ari's nature: How he loved beautiful things a good book. His body was taken to the Mazkirut building. 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 . music. Rose Breslau Furrows. Kieve said a few words before the coffin was lowered into the ground. on the other hand. a glass of wine-and how he had. a trigger happy Arab from Salchia shot him in the back. 1948 181 . That picture of Ari.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING ARI LASHNER It happened yesterday between 10:30 and 11:30 in the morning. Kieve spoke about his years in the movement. There was an escort of men with guns to protect us. The quietness and stillness were uncanny. Only the clump-clump of hundreds of boots walking through the mud could be heard. People gathered and stood together in small groups for comfort. April. will always remain with me. The people followed near and behind the coffin. his years at sea. 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. .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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