Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Photos of Kibbutzim (and of Towns) – Israeli Ministry of Tourism Site

I found a new site administered (amateurishly as per usual for an Israeli gov't ministry) by the Ministry of Tourism.

There are some pretty good pictures of kibbutzim on the site that show various aspects of life there. The kibbutzim shown are found from the north to the south (starting with the south) of the country and represent kibbutzim of various sizes, ages and types of agriculture, horticulture and industry.

Just go to Kibbutz on the first drop down menu (Location) and do not specify anything for the groupings. Thus, you will get all of the photos of kibbutz. Unfortunately, some of them should have been rotated.

The pictures of the celebration of "Pentecost" (Shavu'ot) are particularly interesting. Shavu'ot is the holiday of the bringing of the first fruits of harvest to the Temple. On kibbutz the members celebrate the holiday in their own special way. Except on the very few religious kibbutzim it is celebrated as a secular holiday, emphasizing the agricultural aspects. The kibbutz members throw in their own experience. Tractors, as pictured, have nothing whatsoever to do with the holiday. They are brought into the celebrations on secular kibbutzim because they are so much part and parcel of kibbutz everyday life.

The housing shown in the photo picturing the guest houses on kibbutz were once very typical. Today, much richer, the kibbutz tends to build detached villa-like houses. The types of houses seen in the photos are reserved for guest houses; young, single members; soldiers who call the kibbutz home base during their service for one reason or another; people learning Hebrew in the kibbutz ulpan program and volunteers.

The typical kibbutz is verdant, as you will see and very well kept. Kibbutz members are most meticulous about keeping the kibbutz aesthetically pleasing and very well gardened.

Of course, there are photos from the towns and cities and many walks of life on the site as well that are interesting viewing, but my heart will always remain with what I consider to be the crowning Israeli social achievement - Kibbutz and so I take this opportunity to share a very brief glimpse of a way of life so little understood or appreciated.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

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