a bit of history, part 3


What is a Kibbutz? In what way is it different from a normal village?

The name "kibbutz" means gathering or clustering and that's exactly what it is.
A Kibbutz is a collective community. You can read a more detailed explanation here. The first Kibbutz was founded in 1909 on the southern end of the Sea of Galilee. The idea was basically that the people will work for themselves and to build up the land themselves- kind of self-supporting. The ideology was to share everything- and I mean everything!!! Decisions were made together and everyone was supposed to be equal.

my father in law on the tractor
Everyone worked as much as he was able. All earnings were shared. You basically had nothing that was privately owned. They ate together, worked together and learned together. Each member had nothing more than a bed and some clothes. They shared simple wooden huts and in the beginning toilets and showers were communal too. Later they built stone houses but still toilets and showers were mostly shared. The "apartments" were called "rooms" and that's what they were. Mostly one room or maybe also a small "saloon" and a small sink, an electric plate and water cooker.

in the baby-house
The children stayed in the children-house in groups according to age. They ate there, played there, learned there and slept there. Their parents took care of them after work from four until it was time to go back to the children-house to sleep. It is something I can hardly imagine. My husband grew up like this too. Somewhere in the 80ies they changed the system a bit and the kids were allowed to sleep at home with their parents. New houses were built to accommodate families.
If someone wanted to study something the community had to agree and they mostly decided what was worth studying- what was helpful for the community.

Today things are different. In the last 10 years things changed quite a bit.
People get now their salary- means if you earn more you have more. Still you pay taxes to the Kibbutz. People own cars today- something unthinkable 10 years ago- where all cars belonged to the Kibbutz (kind of car-pool) and you had to sign up if you needed one for a trip. You pay now for all kinds of services that were free before- the communal laundry, the meals in the dining-room, the education and day-care for the kids, drinks in the pub, you need to pay electricity, gas and soon also water.

The houses still belong to the Kibbutz- even if you were aloud to build from your own money additions or renovations. There's still a list if you need a bigger apartment- depending on your status in the Kibbutz. It will take a while and we most probably will go through many more fights and meetings until the houses will be privately owned.

Still we are a community though. We are members and have benefits that non-members not have. Still things are decided together- you vote for or against important issues. Still we celebrate most of the holidays together.
I could not have lived in the Kibbutz of the past but I am quite happy in the Kibbutz of today.

More details about the different parts/ sectors of the Kibbutz will follow.

Here you can find part 1 and 2 of the series:
part 1: The beginning
part 2: Dalyiat-el-Ruha
part 4: The Dance-Festival


Wow, das Leben in einem Kibbutz schein ja wirklich stark reglementiert zu sein! Ziemlich anders, als hier in Österreich, oder wahrscheinlich auch in der Schweiz ;-) Wie lange hast Du da gebraucht Dich einzuleben? Ich finde toll, dass Du Dich auf ein so andersartiges Leben eingelassen hast! Alles Liebe! Eri
Petra said…
From my point of view that was a very harsh way of raising your children. Luckily, for you and your girls, a lot have changed since.
Liebe Rahel,
ich finde das so interessant!
Ich hoffe, du erzählst uns noch ganz viel von eurem Leben im Kibbutz.
Denn irgendwie fehlt mir schon noch eine genaue Vorstellung. Aber du fügst das Puzzle langsam für mich zusammen. Danke!
Liebe Grüße
rahel said…
Eri: Heute ist es ja zum Glueck nicht mehr so "reglementiert". Die Leute damals hatten einfach eine ganz andere Weltanschauung und dachten, dass dies der richtige Weg sei. Ich lebe seit 7 Jahren hier.

Petra: Yes- this way of rising children is not what I would want for my kids. But my husband grew up like this and has only good memories- as strange as this seems...

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