The Story of 25 Years of Habonim Camping




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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Aliya and Youth.” It is worthy of note that in that same year. Perhaps it is an indication that the latter are more normal. and to all those who have cooperated in 14 .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. 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. takes pleasure in making the publication of this book possible and expresses its gratitude to the editors to whom this has been a labor of love. the Labor Zionist Commission on Halutziut. 1932. historians are prone to deal with those events much more so than with construction elements which make for progress in the world. Because of the tragic impression brought on by the forces of evil. whose purpose it has been to develop further the ideals which the Habonim camps have been inculcating. * * * It is good to participate in the celebration of twenty-five years of Habonim Camping and to help make possible the historic task of “keeping the record. * * * The Chay Commission.

to Chana Haklay and Zelde Krulewitz for their work in preparing the manuscript for printing and to Josh Schwartz of Leeds Advertising whose assistance in designing the book was invaluable. * * * Twenty-five years of Habonim camping will undoubtedly afford mixed feelings of reminiscence and of nostalgia to those who have experienced the pleasure and the vicissitudes of summers within the orbit of these camps.the research and the compilation of Adventure in Pioneering. 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 . The Chay Commission wishes to thank our patrons whose greetings appear in a special supplement which accompanies Adventure in Pioneering.

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

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

The Beginning .


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

Russian revolu- 21 . We were conscious of the stirrings of new forces in American literature. Some homes were "Bundist. and its absorption of the downtrodden and poverty-stricken millions of human beings who flocked to its shores.all this was part and parcel of our day-by-day living. and moved one to closeness to all people of the Book. the awe of Niagara. its lakes. I tried to understand why the chaverim chose this ideal. the politics of the country. Or again. it dawned in a crowded college auditorium as the Twenty-third Psalm was read by a Christian clergyman. rivers. and saw ourselves in our mind's eye with our comrades in the Promised Land. the charm of the South. We were overwhelmed by its vastness. There were before us the grandeur of the West. its pioneers. 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 night club in Harlem. the beauty of the Appalachians. What moved these few to meet for a study of Poale Zionism and ways and methods of bringing this ideal to others? So I asked and found that one's Jewish consciousness was awakened by the haunting sadness of the Kol Nidre melody. The life of America was our life: the jazz. I learned that often the home and the parents were in opposition and added nothing to these unknown deep springs which lived in the consciousness of our comrades. the new theater. In some homes. Yet we dreamt dreams away from all that America was. the new forms of the dance. Another was fired by the tales told by a recent arrival from Eretz Yisrael who worked in Petah Tikva with the Chaverim of the Second Aliya. it was important to know the reason. and oceans. the stirrings of the vast labor masses ." motivated by the thought that Jews need to build a Jewish entity wherever they may be. its mountains and plains. art. Why? What moved us? How did we come to these thoughts. and music. the breadth of the Hudson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth of an Idea .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

forming a part of a continuous year-round program of a youth movement. Through such experience the campers learn how satisfying and enriching a cooperative society can be. 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. Camp Kvutza is the climax of an organic educational experience. small tent villages with a few "communal" structures. Abraham Cohen. 1943 44 . 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.GROWTH OF AN IDEA The camps remain physically primitive and unadorned. so that the pioneering spirit may not be lost.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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


For instance. issue of The Reconstructionist. "At a Work Camp of the American Jewish Society for Service. The children were started on this imaginary trip by applying." This could be a description of a very successful work project at a Habonim camp. to private camps charging high tuition rates. . Others are busily mixing mortar and cement for the foundation of the house. 1954. one can find a strikingly familiar description of a day at camp in the March 14. Today.. such as the one described above. our camps are no longer unique. and shared by. Now the plumb line and the level go into action. from the point of view of progressive educational techniques and values. The monopoly we once had in the field of creative Jewish living" is no longer ours either. The foundation is about to be laid. This is a key job. and their children returned from camp none the worse for wear and full of enthusiasm for the type of creative Jewish camping which they had experienced over the summer-an enthusiasm which to varying degrees was communicated to. Emanuel. He begins to see the value of working together with his fellow camper for a common goal. the parents themselves. Here. They visited the cities. " The day's work is beginning . . is a description of a B'nai B'rith camp: "The most popular of the subjects studied was the imaginary trip to Israel . in an article entitled. Sankel. The cement is ready. realistically enough.. Cooperation is essential.. with its emphasis on the dignity of labor and cooperation among men. The camp individualist.. cannot do the job alone. for example.. He must ask for help. Two boys and a girl start to saw wood for the flooring of the house they are erecting ." by Hyman R. 69 . Every year. ranging from agency camps. Still others are digging a ditch to lay the sewer pipe.. for visas at the Israel Consul's office. new camps come into being which stress similar approaches to the very ideals in camping which were once almost exclusively ours. It is actually a description of a typical "work camp" of which there are many.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING their children to our camps.

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

We must face up to the realities of the situation and solve the problems confronting us in a responsible and mature manner. Dex Srauss. Habonim camping is now at a crucial turning point. If we do not advance technically. whose first concern is with his child's health and safety. 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 . as we have set out to do. and administrative spheres so that we can once again compete with other Jewish camps and be acceptable to the modern Jewish parent.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING to aid him in his job. The need then is to bring our camps up to date in the physical. technical. we may once again find ourselves in a leading position in the field of Jewish camping in America. If we do advance.

History and Development .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but happily there were no experienced campers in Winnipeg and no one withheld his enthusiastic approval. when he was through inspecting aircraft for the day. changed overnight from an explorer of the earth's depths to an inspector of flight. 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. Only experienced campers would have balked at such a plan. But miner or airman. 1957 KVUTZA IN CANADA GIMLI. MANITOBA Camp Kvutza hit the plains of Manitoba in the summer of 1941 when Canada was already at war and the "United States was still waiting for Pearl Harbor. and no one would have suspected that it came about as a sort of by-product of work for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Daniel Isaacman. The Winnipeg movement was young and vigorous then. by temperament David Biderman was no one-job man. Once Winnipeg Habonim reached mahaneh status they could settle for nothing less than a Camp Kvutza of their own. however. He became a military aircraft inspector for the RCAF stationed in Winnipeg. the program we offer has been tried and tested for twenty-five years and reflects our philosophy of life. The only clue to his earth-bound past was slyly concealed in his home address: He lived on Burrows Street in Winnipeg.HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT Educationally. he went out to organize Habonim at night. David Biderman. Immediately a camp plan was drawn up and presented to the community. In one of those strange wartime transmutations. Winni- 122 . who had received a mining engineer's degree from McGill University in Montreal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the garden should develop. 1940 133 . Other projects can be postponed from day to day. and here is a grand opportunity. Little by little. Danny Ginsburg. gardening entails certain responsibilities which every camper should experience. 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. Those who work on the garden in the spring will naturally be more interested in Kvutza than those whose first connections with camp begin when the season opens. however. Flowers and shrubs can transform a barren piece of land into a beautiful scene. The garden might even be developed to such an extent that after a few years.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING or May. Gardening also furnishes a permanent work project during the season. 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. In short. A feeling for aesthetics should be inculcated in Habonim. one or two vegetables could be grown in larger quantities to be sold to neighboring markets. It is unreasonable to expect a crop for consumption from the vegetable garden the first season. This should rather be spent in gaining experience and learning which crops grow most successfully.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Soft winds rock The trees. 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.NIGHT WATCH Two o'clock The raindrops fall. 1937 142 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

long regret his untimely loss to us. the background that molded all his discussions of our problems. Habonim will remember Irv. and all of these he applied in his work for Habonim.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. In 1939 Irv received some measure of reward for the work he had done so devotedly for so long. conceive new ideas. the type of material he assembled when he served as editor of Haboneh last year. His exceptional ability in artistic handwork led him to organize Habonim crafts groups. 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. July. his passion for the unique. His love of literature and art. Furrows. were reflected in those things he wrote. 1944 200 . At the founding convention of Habonim in Buffalo. seek new methods of educating others in it. and long be grateful for the share he contributed to Habonim. His knowledge of the essence of the movement led him to create programs. Irv was a haver with diverse and intense interests. He combined his deep love for the printed word and the cooperative way of life in the establishment of a cooperative printing shop for Habonim in Philadelphia. Irv nevertheless translated his Socialist Zionism into his personal life.

1944. Harry Brumberger Furrows. We must believe in the things Johanan died for and fight for them. of the work we did when he was my rosh mahaneh. of the dreams we had together of Eretz Yisrael and "our" kibbutz. That is the best tribute I can give him. I can only wonder at the empty space that is left in my life and try to fill it with memories of Johanan and of the days we spent at Kvutza." He was my friend. I shall endeavor to do what my friend Johanan wanted to do-I will try to realize his dreams. November.ADVENTURE IN PIONEERING JOHANAN TARTAKOWER "Johanan Tartakower was killed in action in the European Theater of Operations on September 29th. and I call to all those others who believe as Johanan did to rouse themselves. I cannot transform and reduce this intangible thing into pitifully inadequate sentences. We must fill the gap. lest the Jewish people never find their future. so that the vision of which Johanan was symbolic shall find new strength and fervor. to accept the task of the halutz. He was one of our best haverim. 1944 201 . 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. too-that is why these words are meaningless to me. And I can say with a determination which I have never felt before that we must not let the chain of halutzim be broken.

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