The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping




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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . Aliya and Youth.Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. 1932. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. * * * It is good to participate in the celebration of twenty-five years of Habonim Camping and to help make possible the historic task of “keeping the record. 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. * * * The Chay Commission. whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating.” It is worthy of note that in that same year.

* * * Twenty-five years of Habonim camping will undoubtedly afford mixed feelings of reminiscence and of nostalgia to those who have experienced the pleasure and the vicissitudes of summers within the orbit of these camps. We are especially indebted to David Goldberg for reading the manuscript. Chay Commission 15 . to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable. The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. It is the fond hope of the Chay Commission that its courageous story will find the appreciation of a much wider circle as well. Bert Goldstein Chairman.

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

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

The Beginning .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and problems of the organization. It was mainly due to their stand and influence that this convention decided upon the reorganization of the Young Poale Zion. and to lay the groundwork for what later became Habonim. held immediately after the close of the season on the Labor Day weekend. while giving the campers a practical demonstration of communal living. Jacob Lemberger. Most of the campers attended the Young Poale Zion convention in Philadelphia. to introduce tzofiut. It was most gratifying when months after the close of the first season. 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.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING suit of serious study of the ideology. history. participants got together to evaluate their achievements and to speak of their experience with a yearning and nostalgia of summer months well spent. 1957 29 .

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Considerable success has been achieved in this area. discussions of current events. the evening closes with folk dancing in the open or in the cleared dining room. they have drawn those which lit particularly the spirit of Shabbat. There may be also a story or brief talk on a subject related to Shabbat. the dining room is furnished with fresh flowers and ferns. and from their extensive repertoire of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. The ceremonies may begin at flag-lowering. Some experiments have been made with developing new forms for Saturday morning and with the Havdala 41 . On Saturday. reading circles. they do not stiffer from that coldness and remoteness which so often characterize the reformist or "non-sectarian" services in vogue in many Jewish camps. The use of the traditional Kiddush has spread in recent years. laundry is done. being original. and a special menu is prepared. all work projects are in abeyance. These ceremonials. Camp is cleaned up.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING of observance which will give meaning and significance to the holidays. The Friday evening at Camp Kvutza is the highlight of the week. The day is characterized by more leisure. and when this is done the first hint may well appear in the blessing of the candles. sports and swimming for longer periods than usual. Specific themes may be used as the foci of the program." Groups have prepared special readings from the Bible and the Prophets. give to the observance a spontaneity which is so often lacking where the traditional orthodox customs are practiced. and continue in the dining room before and after the meal. and which will be emotionally and aesthetically satisfying. At the same time. Invariably. Preparations for Shabbat go on all day. tables are covered with white table cloths. symptomatic of the swing back from an earlier rejection in radical Jewish circles of all that smacks of the old and "outworn. After the meal the singing normally continues. with or without choral group to provide direction.

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

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

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. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. Abraham Cohen. 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. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. Concurrently they acquire information and emotional attitudes toward their Jewish heritage and contemporary Jewish life which help to make of them healthy mid creative Jewish personalities. 1943 44 .

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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


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

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

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

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then you’ll see how much spirit and how much program we had in the early days of our Kvutza. I guess I haven’t the space to tell about the revolution at Tel Hai. 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. We survived the event of course. 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. 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. Maybe someday I’ll write a book of memories. None of us noticed the gathering clouds as he spoke. Let me tell you–I was proud of our campers during that real danger. As one man. safe summer resort. we still made time for our cultural programs. the truck–or even midnight swims. I’ll always remember the time we had two visitors from New York. People from the village of Accord came out in cars and trucks to take our baggage to safety. the wind tackled one tent after another until five tents toppled over–two of them torn to shreds. A howling wind and flashes of lightning accompanied the rain. One of them related his experiences in Eretz Yisrael to us. all responded to the emergency. He described a storm which he had once seen blow down and rip five tents there and he sort of made fun of our Kvutza as a comfortable. Well. 1942 86 .HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT And with all the work we had to do. Celeritas. Saadia Gelb.

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

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

it was the high point of the season. evening program presentation. and songs were based. 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. a new dimension of education had been added to the Maccabia which made its meaning even fuller for the participants. the New Yorkers won. with a large number of participants. Once again held at Galil. What is to happen to New York camping in the future? That is in the hands of the haverim themselves. Ziffy Entin. 1956 saw the revival of the Habonim Inter-Kvutza Maccabia. 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 ." 1955 saw a new venture in Habonim camping-that of a successful Leaders' Training program. at camp. 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.Yehuda for Red Hook.both wanted to "rip up the score sheets.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fully censored to exclude any derogatory material about the opposing camp.upon which the cheers. though not until a contest had been waged in which every point was in doubt. In addition to the spirit of comradeship which grew up in the three days. and Negev for Moshava .cold-water stage to the cabins-hot water stage. As usual. Galil for Galil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in honor of sixteen-month-old Donny. Pipeline HaNegev. was rosh in 1946. In 1948. Abba (Cherniak) Tzuriel was rosh. Detroit's United Hebrew Schools provided a number of full scholarships and there was a large enrollment." and Blue-White Day was distinguished by its blood and gore. There was an ambitious work program mainly centered about maintenance-there were no new projects. Several more cabins were built. Of the season. 97 . the greatest stunt ever at Kinneret. modern dance. There were many midnight "Arab attacks. including many younger children. with Dave Katz as his right-hand man." and also a year of strong emphasis on scoutcraft. Haim Stopak was rosh. 1947 was the year of Joey Criden. This was the year of the "flexible schedule. the Detroit United Hebrew Schools said that more Hebrew was learned by their students that year than any other. and the discussion program centered about the False Messiahs. A madrichim camp was held after the regular season. Doodle Horowitz led Kinneret in its first year as a Hebrewspeaking camp. Joey named his quarters. Murray Weingarten. In 1951. Joey brought the overnight hike back to Kinneret and the innovation of naming the tents-remember the famous Dorot and Mishmar HaNegev? And not to be outdone.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING annual brick to the storage cellar and spent the rest of the season looking for work. That was the year of Doris Dombey's bouncing bed. The season gushed with culture. Dvora Frankel was rosh in 1949. and Evvy Weingarten made her famous leap from rooftop to Ann Arbor hospital. The emphasis was on speaking Hebrew. Camp doubled its enrollment on weekends-an ambitious weekend program. drama. In 1950. art.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

three kitchens. Camp Tax became the byword.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING It is also on this trail that we find the path leading to the new cliff. and ten stall showers which. hot and cold water. printed stationary. The manor house after being scrubbed from top to bottom revealed an immense dining room. The scrubbed and rubbed. the Sunday of the 23rd. Far and wide they traveled. It was a crime to travel hundreds of miles for the inspiration and learning we could achieve on our own grounds. They screened and painted. brooms. Then came the eventful day when fourteen haverim. and nagged the National Executive. buckets. So the determined Quakers set to work. Through mosquito-ridden New Jersey to mosquito-ridden Pennsylvania until they came upon Camp Germinal . the first expedition set out armed to the hilt with mops. In May. worked with characteristic irregularity. And now. and a rosh Kvutza set foot on forty acres of poison ivy studded with two outhouses. They formed committees. They transformed a chicken coop into a habitable shack.former anarchist hangout and spiders' hideout. "Mosh" Diary. The central field is not far ahead and soon one can be in the midst of activity again. and soap. They slept and ate and grew gray hair over pledges. one of which leaked from the luxurious 109 . contacted sympathizers. But soon the cash thermometer rose and $250 became a realization. influenced by their anarchist background. a site for camp. 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 Shlomo and his hat. Cookie and the chocolate pudding. 1938 110 . Leslie and his hair washing. Sossy from Chicago. Edi and Brown Betty. Tzip and her hatred of kitchen duty. music room. Yak and his travels in Ferdy. Clara's operetta. could be persuaded only by Schmeer up to the hill again to camp. the bull. and then after a sojourn with the flowers. and dance studio. who often stopped to admire the flowers by the wayside? He carried our haverim down to the swimming hole in the Shamony. And their famous idiosyncrasies. Or can we forget our staff-rising and falling like the stock market? One week ten and the next week four. Ernst who drowned you trying to teach life saving. Galil Diary. Yona and her trying girls. The office served as a lounge. Who of us can ever forget Sir Ferdinand. or on a line to the Delaware.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT bath upstairs every time one of the girls decided to miss a discussion. named for his predecessor. Leo and his driving mania. The six master bedrooms did come in handy when the fourteen pioneers increased to sixty. and the other which had a natural waterfall coming from the center roof every time the dishes fell. Aba Kibbile's drama group.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The impetus of the Camp Kvutza. whose membership came from ex-Habonim members. this pattern was repeated. Conditions brought about by the imminence of war 'unfortunately dictated against a camp of our own in 1941. supplied the necessary labor and technical knowledge to begin im- 117 . it became clear that the local mahaneh could not really grow. was shared by one haver of the senior movement of Philadelphia. or returned to Moshava. When the war ended and Habonim haverim. The young branches. Abe Segal spurred on the efforts of the movement to raise the necessary funds to purchase a most beautiful site at a relatively small cost. It can truthfully be said. whether as a culmination of a year's work. and the water supply was dependent upon an old gasoline engine which worked on occasion.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING paved the way toward the utilization of the summer camp for serious and intensive discussions of mutual problems which were to transfer themselves to each city and each Camp Kvutza in the country. The camp was purchased for the sum of $30.000 from the YWCA. the kitchen had an old wood-burning stove. this dedication to the importance of the summer Kvutza soon manifested itself. without whom there would have been no Camp Galil today. Most of our haverim spent that summer either at Killingworth. or as inspiration for a new year's activities cannot be minimized. this dream of having a camp of our own. that the young Labor Zionist movement of Philadelphia grew and was strengthened because of a program which revolved around the camp. From 1941 through 1945. returned from the service. The movement suffered accordingly. 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. The camp was quite primitive-there was no electricity. Happily for Habonim. Almost singlehandedly. All efforts were bent toward getting a camp for Philadelphia and vicinity. Abe Segal. Connecticut. for without a camp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


1937 142 . Soft winds rock The trees. A promise of The day ahead Of quiet Five o'clock A sun so bright Has replaced The dim of night In quiet Six o'clock The day is come But at Kvutza Till day is done No quiet! Rita Greenberg.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. 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 last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire. 168 . the rifles are stacked. comrades. resting in many lands. this is called peace. Brothers. 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. The mighty of the earth decreed it so. the bombracks off. the uniform of their captors only changed. But brothers resting in many lands. there is no peace and your battle is not done.In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

too-that is why these words are meaningless to me. to accept the task of the halutz. 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. We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them. 1944 201 . lest the Jewish people never find their future. 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. I shall endeavor to do what my friend Johanan wanted to do-I will try to realize his dreams. 1944." He was my friend. November.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING JOHANAN TARTAKOWER "Johanan Tartakower was killed in action in the European Theater of Operations on September 29th. I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences. He was one of our best haverim. so that the vision of which Johanan was symbolic shall find new strength and fervor. We must fill the gap. of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh. 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. That is the best tribute I can give him. Harry Brumberger Furrows.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful