Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Small Bit of the Kibbutz

My Ulpan is still going on, and with it they are celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the establishment of the Kibbutz. We have been shown films, text, and other various presentations regarding the establishment of the Kibbutz, Kibbutz life, shared life, living, sleeping, shared education, and the eventual breaks among the Kibbutz and among the movement.

I am definitely not the expert of a Kibbutz. I’ve read Batya Gur’s ‘Murder on a Kibbutz’, which was illuminating, heard the words of various Israeli writers on the subject, and recently watched the documentary film of Ran Tal- ‘Yeldei HaShemesh’.

Ran Tal spoke personally to the group afterwards, and mentioned an interesting point- that before one judges the kibbutz society, and how they lived, with the minimal time spent with parents, and the shared environment in general- one should see that in families where there are problems among the family itself- a broken home, an abusive home, and so on- that the family model is not necessarily perfect either. The Kibbutz model has different problems, but neither model is perfect.

In R’ Mattisyahu Solomon’s recent book, ‘With Hearts Full of Love’, on Chinuch, he discusses the interesting idea that before a Jewish marriage, no one presents the young couple a certificate, or even a training course, saying that they are fit to become parents. He questions why not, and his answer is that he believes that within each person, within in each Jewish marriage, they are equipped with all the necessary tools to educate their future children, albeit if they need advice or so on- but they have the tools necessary.

The kibbutz movement felt to eliminate these problems would be to create this shared environment, to make sure that the children would be educated and so on in the way that they wished, without these problems. I can see their point- from their side, but watching this movie brought tears to my eyes.

To see these young parents not being able to relate to their own children, because they were not brought up with love from their own parents, to not being able to even give them a kiss or a hug from true feeling, simply because they were brought up in the kibbutz lifestyle. To see a sobbing child being brought back to the shared children’s room, and crying for their Ima, until the wee hours of the night, or to stay awake all night, afraid to go to sleep- it’s the saddest thing in the world. To see a child, sneak out of the children’s room, wandering outside in the dark till they found their parent’s room, and then to sleep outside the door, or to clutch their parents’ sheet, but not wake them at all- simply because their parents would bring them back- just to be in the same room with them- it literally made me cry.

For one, I am glad that the Kibbutz movement eventually got rid of shared sleeping spaces- but it taught me something powerful: there is nothing more important in a family than the loving relationship between a parent and child. And how blessed I am to go home to my daughter, to hug her and to kiss her, and to be a true family with her.


Anonymous said...

You're so right in your view, though perhaps the separated upbringing was not the primary intention, but was instituted in order that the parents could be more productive in their working tasks.
There may be a connection between idealistic young people starting kibbutzim before they themselves had become parents and the way the early kibbutzim were set up.
G'mar chatima tovah

itsagift said...

That's such an interesting way to look at it. I never thought of that but wow, I can imagine how emotional it must have been to you, as a parent, watching it.

nmf #7 said...

Anon613- Of course it was so that both women and men could work equally hard in the fields- but afterwards, the ideology was built up around it.
And- I agree with your second point.

Itsagift- It was very emotional. Most of the students are single.