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