Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The First Kibbutz Just Celebrated Its 100th Birthday!

Shalom Yeladim:
Kibbutz Degania Alef – the first kibbutz ever – just celebrated its 100th birthday. Wow – that’s a lot of years! For us, the kibbutzim are like the Wild West for you. Your pioneers went out West in covered wagons and fought the Indians to settle your land. Our pioneers fought deadly raids by Arabs and deadly mosquitoes spreading malaria. They had no farming experience at all, but that didn’t stop them. They came to Israel to work the land and turn it into a Garden of Eden. You see the black and white picture above of people from way back when standing next to a building. They were some of the pioneers who founded Kibbutz Degania Alef near Lake Kinneret. Back then a kibbutz was a communal farm which made its living from agriculture. They grew all sorts of fruits and vegetables, raised chickens, turkeys and cows. No one was paid for the work. The income went to the kibbutz so that everyone could continue living there. These farms grew into beautiful communities, where everything was shared – even eating together and taking care of the children. Look at the other black & white photos I’ve posted above. There’s one of an original kibbutz dining hall. And, take a look at the second picture. A bunch of children are getting ready for bed. You won’t believe it, but many kibbutzim (not Degania Alef) had the children living together, visiting their parents during the day.

All of that has changed, as you can see from the colored photo with the Hebrew sign. That’s the way Kibbutz Degania Alef looks today. The kibbutzim no longer rely on agriculture for making money. Most have advanced industries dealing in just about everything – from fancy eyeglass lenses to wet wipes. Several even operate beautiful hotels located on kibbutzim, with lots of fun-filled activities for kids. Every adult earns his or her own salary. Children live with their parents, and families eat together, each in its own home. Still, the original kibbutz concept plays a very special role in Israel’s history. There is even a Kibbutz folk singing troupe called “The Gevatron”. I’d like you to listen to some of their songs. They are SOOO popular that two years ago on Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – they performed with an Israeli Rap singer. See for yourself and get ready for this year’s Israel Independence Day Celebration in your school.
Tehenu. Enjoy…Zvuvi

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