Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kibbutz volunteer program reviving, but kibbutzim are not

Every kibbutz volunteer has fond memories of drinking ersatz coffee at 4 AM and similar. A bonding experience you won't ever forget. It is not surprising that the volunteer program is reviving, but kibbutzim, like everything else, are not always what they used to be.
Limited space for overseas kibbutz volunteers
Aug. 24, 2009
The Kibbutz Movement is trying to convince kibbutzim to reopen their gates to overseas volunteers.
Since the Six Day War, some 350,000 young foreigners have come to work in the fields, dairies and dining rooms of Israel's kibbutzim. At the height of the program's popularity, nearly every kibbutz hosted volunteers.
Changes in the kibbutz movement have also brought changes to the volunteer program. Most kibbutzim have long since deviated from the socialist ideology of "from everyone according to their abilities, to everyone according to their needs."
There are some 270 kibbutzim, 180 of which are referred to as "renewed kibbutzim." These usually have differential salaries for members, and they may lack shared facilities, like the once-ubiquitous dining room.
Many kibbutzim have been undergoing economic difficulties. Nowadays, as most can't afford to provide living quarters and jobs for temporary volunteers, and see foreign workers as a cheaper and simpler way to fill their needs for labor, only 25 host overseas volunteers.
But after hitting a low of only about 100 volunteers during the terror war in 2001, some 1,500 foreigners were hosted on kibbitzum in 2008.
The number of volunteer spots can't keep up with the demand from people who continue to seek the much-storied kibbutz experience.
This is why the new head of the Kibbutz Movement's Overseas Volunteer Program, Aya Sagi, has made it her goal to convince at least five kibbutzim to return to hosting volunteers.
However, the question remains - with all of the changes on kibbutzim throughout the country, how much traditional communal life is left for volunteers to experience?
Sagi still sees the program as important both for volunteers and kibbutzim, but realizes that the changing face of kibbutz life also means dealing with new challenges.
"[The program] is important from a Zionist perspective," she told the Jerusalem Post on Monday. "The volunteers come out of a desire to live the kibbutz experience at the same time as they are traveling and exploring Israel... When they go home, they become ambassadors for Israel."
"There are many advantages for the kibbutz [to hosting] young people with a different culture, different language... It brings life into the kibbutz, and [forces] those living on kibbutz to open their minds."
According to Sagi, one of the changes since the volunteer program's heyday in the 1970s is that the kibbutz isn't the "bubble" it used to be. "But [volunteers] still bring the kibbutz to life," she said.
Kibbutz Movement representative Aviv Leshem wrote, "Volunteers bring with them joie de vivre, a spirit of youth, and cultural variety, as well as assistance in different work areas, some of them temporary, which allows kibbutz members to do more permanent work. In this program, we see true Zionism. It gives a beautiful perspective of Israel for the youth of the world, who return to their home countries as supporters of Israel."
Many volunteers seek to live on "conventional" kibbutzim, said Sagi. "When there is a dining room, you can meet the population [of the kibbutz] in the dining room. When there is a pool, you can meet the population in the pool."
Kibbutzim without these shared features necessarily offer fewer opportunities for community life, and for volunteers to build personal connections with kibbutznikim. However, with "renewed kibbutzim" becoming the new reality, Sagi said she planned to try to bring volunteers there also.
An open mind and creative thinking are the keys to convincing kibbutzim to come back to the program, she said. Workplaces and accommodations for volunteers are the main obstacles, but Sagi said she plans to search the country for host communities and then help them to find ways to make it feasible to bring in volunteers - whether this meant bringing in trailers for volunteers to sleep in, or finding ways for them to work with the elderly kibbutz members.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by

Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog

Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Isfake lobby

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory