Hi I worked on the kibbutz 1961( aged 21) for 9 months- fantastic experience. I befriended a kibbutz member, married with one small child, who was very good at table tennis. We played a lot and he invited me to play for the kibbutz in a match. I was not so good but we won the match. Is he still there, aged about 70 to 80. I would love to rekindle old times.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was times.
Like a cool prison, and then I got kicked out. Toda Raba :)
I will forever feel at peace with the world, knowing the lunch-lady will keep saying "bevakasha" every day for all eternity.
Hi members of the kibbutz
I'm wondering if you'd be interested in some impressions of your kibbutz given my my father, James McIndoe Mackay, in a letter to his parents while he was on leave from Egypt from the New Zealand army. He was a gunner and took part in the battles of Tobruk and El Alamein. The letter was dated 15 September 1943 but he was visiting Palestine as it was then towards the end of July 1943. Here is what he said
"I think I told you a little about the size of the settlement we were on, its situation and the number of people on it. (This letter was lost. ed) They have about 10 to 90 acres of garden where they grow lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cabbages, peas, beans, and potatoes and other vegetables as well as strawberries, which we sampled of course. About fifty acres of orchards where they grow plums, apples (very poor), olives etc. They have about 2000 to 3000 fowls, cows, sheep and goats, and the rest of the place is plowed up for grain, that is, what is worth plowing. There are huge piles of rocks all over the place which have been cleared off the land, and you have to see them to realize the task they have performed. The annexes are built on a strategical point in such a manner as to be used as block- houses if necessary. Also the whole homestead area is surrounded with a high barbed wire defense fence, and the whole area is still patrolled by armed men on horses. They still don't trust the Arab you see and have prepared themselves for any contingencies which may arise. While we were there we listened to the choir which has been formed between Ein Hashofet and two adjoining settlements. It was practising for a concert which they give periodically. They were excellent and were being trained and conducted by a Hungarian Jew who knew his job. We also saw a show put on by the children of the other settlements combined with Ein Hashofet and they performed folk dances and songs. It was very good and it was rather strange to see and hear the whole performance without applause. They don't believe in it as it may induce a spirit of competition, which they do their best to eliminate. Similarly in their schools where children don't get any kudos for cleverness but they do for effort. For example, the paintings of the least artistic child may be hung on the wall even though it's an awful looking piece of work, so long as the teacher believes that the child has put his or her best efforts into it. A very good method I think. Their outlook towards sex is very sensible and lacks any prudishness, children of both sexes up to the age of 17 swimming and bathing in the nude and sleeping in the same rooms, and so we were told they have had no trouble of any sort in 12 years. Here I'm referring to a High School which serves the settlements and which is run by them on a communal basis. We spent a day there and had our eyes opened in regard to modern education. The children's knowledge of the arts and sciences is remarkable. All have a general knowledge of music. Scientific agriculture they specialise in, having land adjoining which they work themselves and experiment with. They learn three languages Hebrew, Arabic and English, the first two they concentrate on the spoken word and the last the written. They are a marvelously healthy looking crowd and it's no wonder when one considers the conditions in which they live."
It's always interesting to read other people's impressions. I'm transcribing all his letters from 1941 to 1944 from North Africa to Italy and finding it fascinating reading. I decided to look up your kibbutz to see how it had changed and could see that you're continuing to be innovative. I've been to Israel myself a few years ago as I have friends there and visited a few kibbutzim. I found my experiences of Israel unforgettable.