Life on the Razor Edge, the Kibbutz Kestory (Human After All)
Guy Pollack, Joe Rose and Resp ‘On the Mic’ Epstein-Tasgal
As we type this, the three of us are lying on Guy and Joe’s potentially bedbug-ridden double bed. Yuk. We’ve each just received our fortnightly 150 shekel allowance because our rooms were deemed clean enough, and tonight we shall tuck in to the large amount of fruit that we obtained from the industrial-sized fridge that we share with around 350 others.
We’ve chosen to spend our final two months of the Drachim programme on Kibbutz Ketura, an American-founded kibbutz deep in the Negev desert; we’re so close to Jordan that, if it weren’t for regular army patrols and a minefield, we could easily stumble out of Israel.
Ketura, like most kibbutzim, is a socialist community where all the members and volunteers live, eat and work merrily alongside one another. Residents, both permanent and temporary, provide all the required services, such as cooking, laundry and working on the Kibbutz’s agricultural projects. Like a Peter Ebdon snooker match, we all cue up and eat in the communal dining hall and take turns to help clean it up after meals. This approach is quite different to our life in Kfar Vradim, which was set up on right-wing values, though they both share a “you can’t piss on hospitality” attitude. As soon as we arrived, we were immediately integrated into native lyfe; on our first morning we were already making our best efforts to endure the vegetables that Josh had woken up early to chop. The situation has not improved. To rake up for this, Guy and Joe have had to work even harder in the gardens.
During our time in Israel we have been introduced to the idea of rosh gadol (big head). Unlike in English, this means to think about the bigger picture and consider things other than yourself and your own possessions. Straight famine or feast, there is definitely a sense of shared Responsibility here. This can be seen, for example, when everyone contributes to setting up the dining hall for Shabbat, or when a person takes our apartments’ shared recycling bin down to the central one for the Kibbutz.
Unfortunately, not everyone here can take on any given responsibility...
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