I consider myself very fortunate for growing up in a Kibbutz, and I am grateful for all I experienced and learned there.
In a way, I carry the kibbutz with me, and am finding ways to create of a Kibbutz atmosphere anywhere I live.
People who visit Niños del Sol often remark that something about it reminds them of what they saw or experienced in a Kibbutz.
What is a kibbutz?
As the Jewish immigrants began settling the land of Palestina/ Zion/ Eretz Yisrael/ the Holy Land (Israel became an independent state in 1948) starting over 100 years ago, many came from Russia and brought with them the ideology of socialist farming cooperatives.
They established small communal agricultural villages, of idealistic young pioneers who owned nothing and shared everything.
They called it Kibbutz, meaning a gathering, or a group.
The oldest Kibbutzim in Israel are over 100 years old, and the youngest are around 40, there are about 300 of them scattered all over the country.
Starting in the 1970’s, young international volunteers would come to work on a Kibbutz and help as they experience the unique lifestyle and ideology of the Kibbutz. These volunteers usually had a life changing experience, often considered a highlight in their life.
The KPC, or Kibbutz Program Center is the liaison between interested International volunteers and about 20 Kibbutzim who still accept volunteers.
Doris was the first from Ninos del Sol who went on that program, and now many are interested and planning to go when their time comes.
We hope that Guadalupe and Ray Shael will be the first of many of our kids to make this trip.
Why are we offering the youth that option?
Why do we think it’s a good idea for them to take a year and go to the other side of the world to volunteer on a Kibbutz?
Growing up on kibbutz Kfar Hanassi, in the Galilee, is what formed me, and instilled in me what I consider one of the most important skills — being community oriented.
Living on a Kibbutz is somewhat of an ongoing school, learning to engage and exchange with others, learning to give and receive, learning to be involved, to participate, to partake in communal life.
I am grateful that the youth that Viviana and I are caring for here in Peru have met many Kibbutznikim, including my family and friends, and some Israeli volunteers who came to work at NdS, and all left an impression, and that many of the youth are dreaming of traveling to Israel, connecting with family and friends, and spending a year on a Kibbutz.
Viviana and I are doing what we can to support the youth in becoming their best, happy and healthy in body, mind and spirit.
We give them all we can so they can become leaders, educators, and visionaries that the world needs, if they choose so…
The Kibbutz experience allows the volunteers to learn about themselves, to grow and transform, and evolve as a healthy human in community.
In my experience, spending time living and working on a kibbutz gives an opportunity to learn important values that are so necessary for everyone and for humanity.
The values of hard work in a community, of living a simple lifestyle, of sharing time and resources with others and of helping one another, are some of the values that benefit profoundly the young people who volunteer on the kibbutz.
Thanks again for helping in any way you can for our youth to thrive!