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December 28, 1984 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-12-28

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10 Friday, December 28, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NOTEBOOK

Twice handsome.
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Going against the kibbutz grain

BY CARL ALPERT
Special to The Jewish News

Haifa — Each one of the several
hundred kibbutzim in Israel has
its own story, some better known
than others. A few weeks ago I
visited Nof Ginnosar, lyina along
the western shore of the b Sea of
Galilee. Thousands of tourists
spend time at its comfortable
guest house, enjoy its delicious
meals and admire the view, but
few are aware of the story behind
the place.
The most distinguished
member of Nof Ginnosar was
Yigal Allon who, if not for his un-
timely death in 1980 at the age of
61, may have been prime minister
of Israel today. His grave, in the
kibbutz cemetery very close to the
settlement, is marked by a large
Galilee boulder. Alongside it is a
young, struggling oak tree (allon),
intended as nature's symbol of the
man. Earlier saplings died. The
climate is too warm and the soil
too damp for an oak, which prefers
higher and drier land. The latest
effort seems to have succumbed to
the love and devotion of the family
and the kibbutz members, and it
may yet take root.
In a sense, the tree also sym-
bolizes the difficult and unusual
beginnings of the kibbutz itself.
The group of young people who
established the settlement in the
mid-1930s were moved by a
pioneering spirit, and at a time
when similar groups were laying
the foundations for their kibbut-
zim in scattered and remote sec-
tions of the Galilee, these people
"invaded" the land along the
shore of Lake Tiberias, squatted
there, and proclaimed it their
home, oblivious of the fact that it
belonged to PICA, the organiza-
tion founded by Baron de
Rothschild many years before.
Indeed, for a long time Nof Gin-
nosar had no legal existence, and
even though it grew, it was not
mentioned on any of the official
maps of the area. It had been set
up in defiance of the authorities,
and as a result it did not qualify
for any of the usual grants given
to new settlements. _Recognition
came at last, much later.
Those early rough and tumble
days were marked by other prob-
lems as well. In a clash with a
neighboring Arab village during
the 1939 riots, the Arab chief was
killed, and eight of Nof Ginnosar's
leading members were sent off to
jail, where they spent up to four
years.

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The economy of the kibbutz was
based on cows and chickens, on
cotton and bananas, but there was
need to diversify, and proposal
was made to open a tourist guest
house. Egalitarian-minded mem-
bers objected on the grounds that
it was unbefitting a kibbutz
member to be servile and wait on
people. Yigal Allon responded. If
they saw no objection to washing
down their cows, he said, how

The crowning glory
,of Nof Ginnosar is its
contribution to the
popuarization and
advancement of the
Galilee.

could they object to providing
services to human beings? The
guest house was set up, beginning
with 42 rooms. The level of the
service and the quality of the food
were so good that it grew and
today can accommodate 350
guests, with an average 80 per-
cent occupancy rate, which is con-
sidered excellent.
Not all members work in the
guest house or in the fields. Meir

Aloni, a veteran member of 30
years standing, said that one
member, a physician, serves as di-
rector of the Poriah Hospital, in
Tiberias. That is his contribution
to the economy of Nof Ginnosar.
The kibbutz sent Aloni through
law school, and he is now serving
his apprenticeship with a Tel
Aviv firm. Next year he will set up
law practice, in the name of the ,
kibbutz, of course, and the domes-
tic economy will be even more di-
versified.
The crowning glory of Nof Gin-
nosar is not a commercial venture
but its contribution to the
popularization and advancement
of the Galilee. This is a major edu-
cational instutution, now under
construction, designed to stimu-
late a knowledge of the history of
the area through the ages. The
many-faceted museum will in-
clude a full-scale reconstruction of
the historic old synagogue from
adjacent Kfar Nahum. The large
auditorium, with its ancillary
facilities, will transform this into '-
a major convention center. The
program of activities will also
emphasize co-existence with the
Arabs, which had always been one
of the central themes in Allon's
philosophy of Zionism. Under-.
standably, the place will be
known as the Yigal Allon Educa-
tional Center.

NEWS

Town gets its synagogue

Bonn (JTA) — The city council
of Darmstadt has decided to pro-
vide funds to build the first
synagogue in that Hessian town
since Nazi mobs destroyed the two
old synagogues there during the*
infamous Kristalnacht nearly a
half century ago.
It will serve the 120 surviving
Jews in Darmstadt and several
other small Jewish communities
in the southern region of the State
of Hesse. Ruediger Breuer, a
Darmstadt official who initiated
the project, explained, "We are fed
up with paying lip service to the
suffering of the Jewish commu-
nity in our town. It is high time to
take action and we intend to do
just that."
The projected opening of the
synagogue is Nov. 9, 1988, when
Jews in Germany and throughout
the world will be marking the
50th anniversary of carnage
against German Jews organized
by the Nazi regime.
On that date in 1938,
Darmstadt had fewer than 2,000
Jews. Their two synagogues, one
built in 1737 and the other in
1850, were gutted. By April 1939,
only 258 Jews remained in
Darmstadt. Most of them later
were deported to death camps in
Germany and Eastern Europe.
Breuer, a member of the Social
Democratic Party (SPD), said the
project originated at last month's
commemoration of Kristalnacht,
when he asked the chairman of
the local Jewish community why
no synagogue has been built since

the end of World War II almost 40
years ago. The reply was that thr:
town's Jews could not afford one.
Since 1946 they have been wor-
shipping and giving religious in-
structon to their children at var-
ious temporary locations, none in
good condition or with basic
facilities. When this was brought
to the attention of the city council,
it was decided that Darmstadt
would see that a synagogue is
built in the city where Jews have
lived since at least the early 14th
century.
No estimate has been made yet
of the cost of the project. Town of-
ficials said they will try to get the
Federal government and the gov-
ernment of the State of Hesse to
share in the cost.

AJC seeks aid
against assault

New York — The American
Jewish Committee last week
urged the U.S. government to in-
tensify its investigation of in-
creasing acts of violence against,
women's health and abortion
clinics. \ -
Stating that "there can be no
question that these violent acts
are not only illegal but danger-
ous," Susie Elson, chairperson of
AJC's National Women's Issues
Committee, called on Adminis-
tration officials to "step up" their
investigations.

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