What Is A Chalutz

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 15-17
Group Size: 10-55
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal


To define the historical role of the "chalutz" (pioneer) in the rebuilding of Eretz Yisrael and to discuss the new focus and character required of the Jews returning to the Land of Israel, as personified in the chalutz.

Resource Contents


The last sicha revolved around the things needed in order to rebuild the Land of Israel. Now we will address the question of who was able to create the changes and what differentiated them from those who lived in Eretz Yisrael previously. The task undertaken of reclaiming the land and creating a State required a new dedication, spirit, and willingness to act on ones beliefs and work towards a common goal, which was personified in the chalutz. The chalutz was willing to make personal sacrifices in order to achieve for the good of the community. In practice this meant creating new settlements and reclaiming the land, defending Jewish lives, and working towards the in-gathering of the Jewish people and establishment of an independent Jewish State

After the establishment of the State of Israel certain roles in which the "chalutz" operated were taken over by the State. The spirit of the "chalutz" however has remained and represents a very positive role model. In Bnei Akiva and Camp Moshava we encourage these qualities (Machal = Machane Chalutzim) in a number of ways.

The "chalutz" is presented here as an entity and role model unto itself for the qualities he represents, and also as an introduction to the "religious chalutz" to be discussed in a following sicha who combines these qualities and achievements within the framework of the Torah.


Briefly explain who the chalutzim were (see enclosed background material)

Cut out the enclosed cards.

Three participants are chosen and each is given one of the enclosed cards.

The rest of the kvutza is split into two groups and each group is given an answer sheet.

In the form of a TV game show, three participants will each read their cards to the kvutza in which they describe themselves as a "chalutz".

Each candidate represents different aspects of being a chalutz. The task of each team is to determine which characteristics are represented by each candidate. After each candidate finishes reading the card, the teams should fill in their answer sheets with the characteristics of a chalutz which the candidate described.

At the end of the skits, compare and discuss the answers given by each team.

The answer sheets should be saved to be included in the choveret.

The qualities incorporated into the various personalities include:

Pioneering spirit

Self reliance

Willing to endure physical discomfort in order to accomplish goals

Physical labor/rebuilding Eretz Yisrael

Love of Eretz Yisrael

Desire to create a Jewish homeland

Self defense

Aiding Aliya

Aiding Jews who were in trouble

To the extent that time permits, use the following questions for discussion:

What was different about the chalutzim?

What did they believe?

Would you have been a chalutz if you had lived at that time - would you have done what the people described in the cards did?

Can you be a chalutz today? How?

Background Information

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel

Chalutziut (Pioneering) - Term that evolved in the wake of the arrival of Chalutzim (pioneers; singular chalutz), starting with the Third Aliya (1919-1923) and was used intermittently thereafter until the outbreak of World War two in 1939. In its broader sense it implied a return to the Jewish Homeland with the aim of pioneering in what was then the most arduous pursuit, settlement of the land, reclaiming the land, and farming it under the most difficult conditions. It further implied the renunciation of material ambitions and of attractive opportunities of self-advancement in favor of hard physical labor with little expectation of material rewards. Chalutziut was, therefore, in many instances an act of selfless dedication to a cause, with the pioneer identifying his personal happiness with the attainment of a national and social ideal. It later came to be associated with the act of joining a kibbutz, which was regarded as the highest level of chalutz self-fulfillment. In the final years of the mandatory era, service in the Hagana (the underground Jewish army founded in Eretz Yisrael in 1920 for the purpose of protecting Jewish life and property against attacks by Arabs, and precursor of the Israel Defense Forces), and carrying out missions, such as aiding illegal immigration, formed an additional aspect of Chalutziut.

Although representing only a minority within the totality of immigrants in the period from 1920 to 1939, the chalutz was the ideal type who left his imprint on the Jewish society that evolved in the National Home and in whom the Yishuv (Jewish population of Palestine) and the Zionist movement took equally great pride. He was the person who totally, and with unflinching dedication, lived up to the Zionist ideal. He was praised and extolled in poetry and prose and was a dominant character in the literature and the art of the period.

Idealism in its' ultimate form is action

Chalutz #1

My name is Moshe Landau and I am a chalutz.. In May of 1925 I was among the first settlers of Kibbutz Yonah in the Galil. We arrived in the heat of the summer to a site which had no water, electricity, or decent roads. For the first two years we slept in tents and had to bring water from a well which was a few miles away. We cleared rocks from the nearby fields and began the long process of reclaiming the land. It was a very difficult life but we didn't complain. Over time we began to overcome the difficulties. A dining hall was built, some running water and electricity was hooked up and we learned the ropes of living under difficult conditions.


Chalutz #2

My name is Dov Shapiro and I am a chalutz. During the years 1945 to 1948 when the British ruled over Eretz Yisrael, I spent my life helping Jews reach Eretz Yisrael illegally. I traveled to Europe on missions to purchase and fix up ships which were then used to smuggle Jews into Eretz Yisrael. It was dangerous and difficult work but we had no choice.


Chalutz #3

My name is Yitzchak Berman and I am a chalutz. While the British ruled over Eretz Yisrael I worked in the underground Jewish army called the Hagana. We protected the Jews living in Eretz Yisrael and prepared for the day when we would form our own country. I grew up in Brooklyn and before coming to live in Eretz Yisrael I finished college and could have taken a well-paying job and remained in America. Instead I decided that it was more important to help create a Jewish State.


What is a chalutz?

Team #1

Kvutza ________________________ Eda ___________ Tzrif ____________

Madrichim ________________________________________

Each of the three contestants represent different aspects of a "chalutz". See if you can figure out what they are.

Chalutz #1

Chalutz #2

Chalutz #3

List the names of the people who filled in the form ___________________________________


What is a chalutz?

Team #2

Kvutza ________________________ Eda ___________ Tzrif ____________

Madrichim ________________________________________

Each of the three contestants represent different aspects of a "chalutz". See if you can figure out what they are.

Chalutz #1

Chalutz #2

Chalutz #3

List the names of the people who filled in the form ___________________________________


Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Games > Social Games

» All > Eretz Yisrael > General

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