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