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