LIFE IN ISRAEL
Special to The Jewish News
ne of the things that drew
me to Kibbutz Hanaton in
the Galil (Galilee) was my
attraction to work in the
fields, and that is what 'I do,"
says Bruce Davidson, a former
Southfield resident who has lived in
Israel for the last six years. During a
recent visit to Michigan, he spent an
afternoon discussing his reasons for
going to Israel, why he stayed and
what his life is like in the Jewish
Raised in Southfield, Bruce, now
26, participated in USY at Cong.
Shaarey Zedek and was president of
his chapter. At age 16, he spent six
weeks in Israel on a Camp Ramah
seminar. As camper, and then
counselor, Bruce spent summers at
Kfar Ivri, part of Camp Tamarack. He
credits these experiences with the
awakening of his feelings towards
"My initial motivation for going
to Israel was to live in a total Jewish
Bruce Davidson: "I wanted to get in on the ground floor."
environment and to study Judaism;'
he says. "I was uncomfortable with
the celebration of Halloween,
Christmas and Easter holidays
around me and I like celebrating the
Jewish holidays nationwide. I went to
an ulpan to study Hebrew in order to
prepare myself for study at the Pardes
Institute of Jewish Studies. I chose
the ulpan at Kibbutz Sde Eliahu, a
religious kibbutz. At this point I
wanted to keep Shabbat and kashrut
and I felt that kibbutz life was a more
comfortable arrangement for a single
"The Lebanon War began while I
was on ulpan and all the men on the the army. There is no romance in the undeveloped. I came to Hanaton and
kibbutz left to do reserve duty. It. army, but just knowing you're helping there was all this potential. I felt com-
made me feel more needed.
to defend the country is satisfying. I fortably religious by then and the kib-
"I studied at Pardes from the fall don't want to sound self-righteous, but butz filled my needs!'
of 1982. Then I changed my status to serving in the army attaches one to
Kibbutz Hanaton, which is af-
become a new immigrant and volun- the state and also provides a certain filiated with the United Kibbutz
teered for the army. I didn't have to perspective on political decisions:'
Movement, is also the first kibbutz to
but I saw it as an important part of
Bruce served in Nahal, a branch be affiliated with the Movement for
combining army service with work on Mesorati (Conservative) Judaism in
_ the socialization process in Israel.
"I was actually opposed to the war a kibbutz, often a new outlying kib- Israel. The outlook is based on com-
in Lebanon at the time, although I butz. Following his army service, mitment to Jewish law and tradition
understood the original objectives. It Bruce explored the kibbutz option, in a tolerant atmosphere.
"The kibbutz is quite diversified.
was emotionally damaging to the seeking a kibbutz which met his
country. However, my political cons- needs. "I wanted to get in on the People fill jobs according to the needs
cience is not connected to serving in ground floor, to be part of something . of the kibbutz. There are actually
A native Detroiter finds
personal fulfillment in
a Conservative kibbutz
more people than jobs and so some
people work outside, such as in fac-
tories on neighboring kibbutzim.
Hanaton comprises about 70 peo-
ple, including 30 members, 20
children, 10 candidates and 10
volunteers and other temporary peo-
ple. "We will never be a large kibbutz.
I can project us growing to a max-
imum of 150 members;' he adds.
Hanaton operates an educational
seminar center to expose young peo-
ple to kibbutz life and to provide a
base from which they visit some of the
major historical and archaeological
sites in the area of the lower Galil.
Davidson says that up to 1,500 people
visit the center annually.
The kibbutz also raises field crops,
some for its own use as fodder for its
300 head of milk sheep. The surplus
is sold for income as are the male
lambs. They have income from the
sheeps' milk and also from a factory
which produces needlepoint and rug-
Regarding Arab-Jewish relations,
Davidson says the kibbutz has reach-
ed out to create goodwill with
neighboring Arab villages, Kfar Man-
da and Bir-el-Maksur. He and some
other kibbutz members have begun
studying Arabic and one of the
English-speaking kibbutz members
has been teaching English at the local
Arab high school.
Davidson's cultural life includes
singing with a choir in the neighbor-
ing town of Tivon once a week, play-
ing chamber music with a group in
Hanaton (he plays violin, saxophone
and mandolin); singing with a small
kibbutz choir; and reading.
When pressed to elaborate on
what is missing in his life, he
answers: "Life isn't perfect and com-
promises have to be made. However,
it suits me. The kibbutz is an efficient
way of living. There is a good distribu-
tion of responsibilities. I like the fact
that the cook and the financial ad-
ministrator have equal status:'
Regarding the future, he sees
potential for personal development.
"Although my Jewish and spiritual
needs are fulfilled, I would like to
send more time learning. I also have
the opportunity to study additional
languages. There are things I haven't
done yet, but I have a lot of time
ahead of me?'
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS