Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Some Randomness

So for this post I'll update you on all the random things that I haven't bothered to tell you all about yet.

Living Situation
Last week Thursday I finally got a roomate. He's a serious hippie from the Washington DC area. By serious hippie, I mean he doesn't wear shoes except at work where it is required. I'm not talking about sandals or flip-flops here...completely barefoot. He's a pretty nice guy regardless of the footwear thing. (If I comment on the footwear that's pretty wierd.)

Work Stuff
Work has become very strange. As soon as I become good at one job on the floor they send me to do another. I guess its nice to have different jobs, but I never know what to expect from work. Its rather strange also that I'm always the last volunteer to leave work. This is not just leaving at the end of the day. I'm also always the last one to leave for any breaks. Damn my work ethic...its not getting me anywhere here.

So there are two types of Kibbutzim in Israel today. The first is the kind in which socialism has given way to a more market based economy. Its sort of like an extremely close knit town. There's a dining hall and shared facilities, but no actual shared property. The second kind of Kibbutz is a truly socialist commune type setting. Everything is owned collectively by the kibbutz and is shared. Wages are equal no matter the job. Ein Hashofet is the second type of kibbutz.

There are people who live on Ein Hashofet who have never left for a significant period of time other than their Army service. That service was as part of a Kibbutz unit as well. These people don't have bank accounts and don't seem to live in a modern world and yet enjoy the conveniences of one. Its a strange dichotomy which I'm still exploring.

I had an epiphany at work the other day. The life here is strangely comforting to those who live and work here. They don't have to imagine what job they will do or when to do anything. Their lives are planned because the Kibbutz needs them for something. The community is paramount over the individual. The only other community I can think of where this type of control is exerted over its members is that of the Ultra Orthodox community. Their lives are also planned out and have little free will of decisions. Strange that two communities on completely opposite sides of the social coin can be so similar.

All my life I have heard amazing stories of going to Israel and making the Zionist dream come true. Now that I've been here for awhile I know that I can't make Aliyah. Why you ask, with only a three week stay can I confidently say that? This country is a Jewish State, that we have all been taught since childhood. However, as a Reform Jew from America I crave Jewish Community. Israel, from what I have seen, is a community of Jews. While everyone here is Jewish, there is a serious lack of middle ground on anything religious or spiritual. The kibbutz where I live actively puts down anything religious. I've only seen 2 קיפות (Yarlmukes) the entire time I've been on the Kibbutz. I know they are around, but I have yet to see a synagogue of any denomination. Strange that in a Jewish State, I am yearning for a truly Jewish experience. The people who live on the Kibbutz can't understand why I would 'waste' my life on being a rabbi. They don't do anything but study and drain society. I seek Jewish Community not just a community filled with people who say they are Jews. I hope that I am eventually proven wrong and find that spirituality when I leave this kibbutz.

Until next time...

P.S. New camera today! Lots of pictures soon! :D

1 comment:

Phyllis Sommer said...

*you* commenting on footwear...what is this world coming to!?

your comparision of kibbutz life to ultra-orthodox life is compelling and thought-provoking. i'll consider and get back to you...but for now, i like it.

i, for one, am slightly glad that you've decided not to make aliyah just because it's so far away. if you ever do, though, i'd be happy with that choice, too, becuase then we'd have an excuse to come visit you in israel reglarly! not that i need much of an excuse to go to israel...

can't wait for the pics!