The kibbutz movement in Israel started in the mid 60s as a hippie movement, as our tour guide Lydia Aisenberg would say. Kibbutz is best defined as a combination of socialism and Zionism. There are two types of Jews in Israel today. There are the practicing, religious Jews, and the secular, cultural Jews. It was these secular, cultural jews that initiated the kibbutz system. Our tour guide told us that it was largely a movement of young people to both get away from global anti-Semitism and to embrace their Jewish heritage without embracing its religious aspects. This kibbutz was essentially a glorified farm. Glorified be an understatement. It manages a large company called Tama, which has a multi billion dollar contract with John Deere. This kibbutz is so competitive to get into these days that pretty much the only way to join is to marry into membership. While the kibbutz was certainly interesting to learn about, it was not the core of the day for me. Even though it occupied most of the time, I was more intrigued by one of the statements my guide made. She said “for every story in this conflict, there is always a counter story.” So far this statement had proven itself to be true, so I kept it in my mind as I continued forward.


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