The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping




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

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


” Today we know that they were indeed making history. fascism rising in Europe and the first waves of Arab violence threatening the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. The movement has founded seven kibbutzim in Israel and played pivotal roles over the years in the labor. generating the passion. teaching the commitment and forging the lifelong friendships that drove everything else. Habonim camps have been the heart of the movement experience. civil rights. From that initial summer. but there was nothing inevitable about any of it. Habonim Dror and its camps have been a resounding success.Foreword There was little sense of history in the making during that summer of 1932 when fourteen teenagers moved into their single tent at the edge of a Labor Zionist bungalow colony in the Catskills for the first season of Habonim camp. The Habonim Dror youth movement. Jewish pride and progressive social awareness. They knew well that they were living in historic times—a Depression at home. But as movement veteran Saadia Gelb would recall years later. anchored in its summer camps. “none of us in the 1930s thought of himself as ‘making history’. Throughout the decades. It all started when the Young . They believed they had a role to play in these great dramas. 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. feminist and Middle East peace movements. has nurtured multiple generations of activists and leaders in Israeli and American Jewish life.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world.Foreword from Original Publication The year 1932 has an almost ominous ring in the ears of the Jew who cannot but remember the decade of barbarism and destruction which that date ushered in. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 . Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. * * * The Chay Commission. Aliya and Youth.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. * * * 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. 1932. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. Habonim started an important chapter in its youthful story–youthful and on behalf of youth–that was destined to play a significant role in the psychological struggle which confronted Jewish youth in the fearsome years of hatred and violence that were to follow.

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

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

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

The Beginning .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1943 44 . so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost. forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. The emphasis continues to be on translating into personal experience the concepts of individual and social living of the movement and on providing a wholesome and stimulating Jewish environment. rather than a single -unrelated event in the life of a boy or a girl. Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. Abraham Cohen. 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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is more powerful than city propaganda. Murray Weingarten. 1944 59 . 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. 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. The extent to which non-members of Habonim should be permitted to come to camp is also debatable. thus acquiring contact with our ideas and principles. am convinced that Camp Kvutza is the most powerful instrument Habonim has created for the attraction of young American Jews to its cause. more powerful than Hebrew schools. In general. is naturally desirable. it has been left up to the individual city to decide on this question although certain minimum principles such as no work on Shabbat have been adopted nationally. The extent to which the traditional element in Kvutza should be stressed is something which has caused much discussion. and its preservation and strengthening is perhaps the greatest contribution Habonim can make to the cause of Labor Zionist youth in this country. I. Concerted attempts must be made to acquire the greatest moral and material backing possible. That non-members should attend Kvutza. for one. All these questions must eventually be resolved.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING these and other responsibilities removed from us and given to our senior haverim.

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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


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

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

The need then is to bring our camps up to date in the physical.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING to aid him in his job. a time will come when our camps will be empty. and administrative spheres so that we can once again compete with other Jewish camps and be acceptable to the modern Jewish parent. 1954 71 . We must face up to the realities of the situation and solve the problems confronting us in a responsible and mature manner. If we do advance. we may once again find ourselves in a leading position in the field of Jewish camping in America. Habonim camping is now at a crucial turning point. whose first concern is with his child's health and safety. as we have set out to do. 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.

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We arrived at Accord amid great celebrating (and without a single flat tire on the entire trip). she served us through the entire summer.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Kvutzie was the cause of most of the joy and sorrow of that first season. how many flats she would have. we found four almost new tires for Kvutzie. our New York Kvutza. the source of the greatest fear. Then we decided to take a number of haverim 1000 miles to the seminar at Accord. But Kvutzie had been running on love and sympathy. Kvutzie became a legend. There. They dismantled her and used her parts on other trucks. and whom and what she would bring back with her. But we survived the 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. We played guessing games as to what time she would return from a trip. Her every arrival was the source of the greatest excitement. 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. aided by a Jewish girl of about twenty. We had her gear fixed so it would stay in high. and the sixty hours of traveling. Without them. There. Songs were written about her. who had inherited the junk yard from her father and who was sitting among old rims and tires and spare parts writing a book. the mountains. New Jersey. and everything was against our getting there. 93 . we'd see. at Accord. the rain. we sold Kvutzie to the Hehalutz farm at Creamridge. Then we went to buy her new shoes at an old junk yard about two miles from Michigan City. Miraculously. What a night that was! We packed eighteen haverim into the back of Kvutzie and started the trip! It thundered and rained. she soon died. her every departure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

some photographs. thrilling one for our haverim of those early 100 . Yad Ari. I believe that Tel Natan failed because the leadership in the mahaneh. names such Tel Hai. These are names that really bring back memories of our youth. or moved on to other personal activity. 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 . This was a new idea. All that is left of Tel Natan is fond memories. 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. 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. to other movement assignments. It was a concept of a place where young Labor Zionists would build their own camp with their own hands from the ground up. a bold. innocuous name. 1957 MIDWEST CAMP HABONIM Midwest Camp Habonim! A rather plain. Kinneret. of work and love and devotion. This void. where they would govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion and work out their plans for building a new Eretz Yisrael. created by a slowdown in activity during the war. and left a void. of bonfires and Shabbat celebrations. Wil Schoomer.the Labor Zionist Youth. of singing and dancing. which was mainly older. was probably the main cause of failure. And yet this name holds for us twenty-five years of memories-memories of other camps with other names. Nothing romantic or exciting or exotic or even emotional about this name. memories of a glorious. of exciting days and romantic nights. went on aliya.

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

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

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

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

Camp Program and Activities Our camp program consisted of a general camp theme. 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. on a hilly and wooded thirty-nine-acre estate." Through lectures. Situated. 105 . 173 campers availed themselves of our facilities and spent with us 498 camper-weeks. the several activities directly associated with it. A swimming pool was built and many other facilities added as late as last year. its original owner's home was remodeled into a dining room and kitchen. The camp has served Los Angeles Jewish youth for twenty years now and several thousand young people have gone through it. and the arts. as well as some that were specifically camp activities. games. as the camp is. Last year's camp was a typical Habonim camping year and the following report is characteristic of most of the others: Camp Duration and Composition Habonim Camp opened on July 1st in 1956 and lasted for six weeks until August 12th.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING fifty-five miles from Los Angeles. discussions. Arts and crafts were integrated into this program. models. Campers could register for a minimum period of two weeks. Our general camp theme was: "Jewish Heroism Through the Ages. was bought and the permanent home for Habonim camping established. the children at camp became acquainted with the heroic moments in Jewish history. fifteen percent of the campers stayed for the entire six weeks. literary trials. During the entire period.

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

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

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

influenced by their anarchist background. one of which leaked from the luxurious 109 . They formed committees. and soap. Camp Tax became the byword. a site for camp. 1939 GALIL'S FIRST YEAR It was after their return from the 1937 Accord season that the Philadelphia haverim realized the necessity for their own Camp Kvutza. They slept and ate and grew gray hair over pledges. and nagged the National Executive. buckets. So the determined Quakers set to work. Far and wide they traveled. worked with characteristic irregularity. "Mosh" Diary. Through mosquito-ridden New Jersey to mosquito-ridden Pennsylvania until they came upon Camp Germinal . They transformed a chicken coop into a habitable shack. Then came the eventful day when fourteen haverim. The manor house after being scrubbed from top to bottom revealed an immense dining room.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING It is also on this trail that we find the path leading to the new cliff. The scrubbed and rubbed. The central field is not far ahead and soon one can be in the midst of activity again. the first expedition set out armed to the hilt with mops. and ten stall showers which. three kitchens. It was a crime to travel hundreds of miles for the inspiration and learning we could achieve on our own grounds. hot and cold water. the Sunday of the 23rd. contacted sympathizers. And now. printed stationary. and a rosh Kvutza set foot on forty acres of poison ivy studded with two outhouses. But soon the cash thermometer rose and $250 became a realization. They screened and painted.former anarchist hangout and spiders' hideout. In May. brooms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal. however. by temperament David Biderman was no one-job man. Daniel Isaacman. Winni- 122 . In one of those strange wartime transmutations. But miner or airman. David Biderman. MANITOBA Camp Kvutza hit the plains of Manitoba in the summer of 1941 when Canada was already at war and the "United States was still waiting for Pearl Harbor. Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. In cannot be changed without destroying the very basis for which our camps were created. It was David Biderman who wrought the miracle of Habonim in Winnipeg and set the stage for the first camp. The Winnipeg movement was young and vigorous then. He became a military aircraft inspector for the RCAF stationed in Winnipeg.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval. he went out to organize Habonim at night. Once Winnipeg Habonim reached mahaneh status they could settle for nothing less than a Camp Kvutza of their own. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day. Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kvutza and the Individual .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stunt night. Yehiel's determination is of some avail because the shower suddenly stops. it's off to Minewaska we go!" And amid the cheers of the remaining campers. Finally the sun breaks through the clouds just in time to set. The elements. Tonight we have a camp fire with singing. July 12th We are awakened this morning by reveille blown by Harriet on her trumpet. begging Dave for an extra hour of sleep tomorrow. And then to bed.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING Sunday. July 13th Kvutza seems empty this morning with only half the haverim here. The grass is very wet as we walk up the hill to bed. Each tent presents a skit or a like exhibition. It is decided that haverim of fifteen and over will take an overnight hike tonight after supper. So the younger haverim go to bed. Tuesday. Wednesday. heigh ho. Later. 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. This afternoon it rains and. All the haverim are back for a delayed lunch. however. July 11th Today we are settled again. 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. 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. the group sets out. "Heigh ho. as on previous days. Parents begin to arrive. Monday. we gather in the dining room for songs and games. July 10th This morning there is a talk and discussion conducted by Shlomo on the present situation in Eretz Yisrael.

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

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


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


after everyone else is in bed.KVUTZA AND THE INDIVIDUAL active than their mild looks indicate. you have underestimated the wide range of their capabilities. sleep. while a guest speaker sits under a tree talking to the few staff members disguised as bonim to save the reputation of the camp. 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 if you don't think that kids of this age are concerned with such problems. if you reach the end of the day a fairly sane person. But the modern tzofeh brings new problems with which the madrich can expect to cope. gossip. On the whole. their non-appearance at work does not mean that they are lazy. They are not antagonistic to culture and education-the only reason for their nonattendance at discussions is evidently that they know it all. being a madrich of tzofim is a splendid occupation. dear prospective madrich. These very exclusive affairs can do wonders for the worst 160 . 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. Yes. to attend a staff meeting. and go on night watch. Likewise. And finally. there are the bonim. that is. you may be sure that the bonim are lounging comfortably in their tents and cabins holding discussion of their own-of a different sort. And so. For example. 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. however. And now. They thrive best if left to themselves to eat. you will be required. These languid creatures have neither the solelim spirit nor the tzofim trust and confidence in a madrich. if you are interested in practicing some early teen-age psychology. you will be requested to solve all their little affaires de coeur.

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

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

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

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

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

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


In Memoriam HAZKARA The cannons are still. The mighty of the earth decreed it so. resting in many lands. The aeroplanes overhead wing their way with peaceful cargoes. On the coast and in the valleys of our promised land battle-girt intruders bar the way to wander-weary brothers seeking to come home. the uniform of their captors only changed. this is called peace. But brothers resting in many lands. the rifles are stacked. there is no peace and your battle is not done. Brothers. 168 . comrades. The last prisoners of Theresienstadt still stand behind barbed wire. the sound of firing still is heard And the dazed survivors of your people flee before the same pursuing mob. Over the blood-soaked plains of Poland. the bombracks off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful