The Religious Kibbutz

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 14-17
Group Size: 10-55
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal


To discuss the purpose and accomplishments of the religious kibbutzim in settlement and security during the founding of the State and since, combination of technology and halacha, and social contributions.

Resource Contents


As an extension of the religious chalutz, the religious kibbutz has contributed greatly to the physical, religious, and social formation of the State of Israel.  After discussing the philosophy of Torah v'Avoda, we now turn to one of the frameworks in which the religious chalutz lived and contributed to the larger society in which he lived. 


Discuss the distinct lifestyle of kibbutz - communal work and living...

Read the announcement on the enclosed 'journal page' which asks the kvutza to determine the most significant contribution of the religious kibbutz in the last sixty years. Hand out the cards to be read (consider handing them out before the peula so that the chanichim can practice) and have each chanich read his opinion of the largest single contribution.  Discuss the options and decide on a choice.  You may want to rank the other three items in order of importance.

Discuss the connection between the religious kibbutzim, the religious chalutzim, and Torah v'Avoda

Project TvA

The Religious Kibbutz



Kvutza ________________________ Eda ___________       Tzrif ____________

Madrichim ________________________________________




60th Anniversary Journal of Kibbutz Hadati


Commemorating the largest contribution of the Religious Kibbutz  -



(fill in title of journal after decision by Journal Committee)



Kibbutzim of Kibbutz Hadati



Be'erot Yitzchak

Ein Hanatziv

Rosh Tzurim

Sde Eliyahu

Kfar Etzion

Tirat Tzvi

Migdal Oz



Malki Shua


Beit Rimon


Ein Tzurim


On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Kibbutz Hadati, the religious kibbutz movement, you have been chosen by the Journal Committee to determine the greatest single accomplishment of Kibbutz Hadati in the last 60 years.  The committee will use this accomplishment as the theme of the journal.  Please listen to the various opinions as they are presented and fill in the groups decision on the line indicated above.  Thank you for your help.

#1 -The greatest contribution of the religious kibbutz in the last 60 years was in creating settlements.  These settlements were established both before and after Israel became a country.  Religious kibbutzim were established in parts of Eretz Yisrael which had no Jewish settlements and along the borders of the new State.  This helped to populate different areas of Eretz Yisrael with Jewish settlements and it created more secure borders for the new country.  There is no doubt in my mind that the greatest contribution of the religious kibbutz movement should be listed as

Settlement and Security


#2 -The founders of the religious kibbutzim undertook the challenge of finding a way to operate the kibbutz in a way that was halachically permissible.  For example, they had to figure out ways of milking cows and watering the fields on Shabbat.  In other countries Jews were able to arrange for non-Jews to do things like turning lights on and off.  In Eretz Yisrael the religious chalutzim spent a lot of work and commitment in order to figure out ways that would allow them to  accomplish their work in a way that was accepted by the Torah.  This was part of creating the philosophy of Torah v'Avoda  I feel that the greatest contribution of the religious kibbutz movement in the last 60 years should be listed as

Halacha and Technology


#3 -Religious kibbutzim have hosted many thousands of Jews and helped them in their Aliya and absorption into Eretz Yisrael.  Before Israel became a country the kibbutzim took in Jews who had escaped from the Holocaust, and children who arrived from Europe without their families.  The kibbutzim continue to provide a framework for many groups who are visiting and studying in Israel and for those who are preparing for aliya.  The religious kibbutzim have also provided many volunteers to be sent to all parts of the world to work on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish nation.  I think that the greatest contribution of the religious kibbutz movement in the last 60 years is

Aliya and Absorption


#4 -The religious kibbutzim have served as a testing ground for new ideas on forming the ideal community.  The members of the kibbutz commit themselves to work for the betterment of the kibbutz and the kibbutz as a whole watches out for each of its' members.  The religious chalutzim took the  idea of the kibbutz that the non-religious chalutzim had formed and added in the religious aspects to work towards finding a life of Torah V'Avoda.  In my opinion, the greatest contribution of the religious kibbutz movement in the last 60 years is

Social Justice

Background material

Adapted from the Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel

Although the religious kibbutz adopted the communal form of living as an integral part of the Zionist kibbutz movement, it sought from its very beginning to effect a synthesis between this form of living and religion.  On one level this synthesis found its expression in the religious ethic of brotherhood and social justice in interpersonal economic relations, coupled with self-labor.  This ethic had originally been propounded by the Torah Va'Avoda movement, founded in the 1920s as the ideological movement of HaPoel Hamizrachi, but it was developed in the context of communal living principally by the Eastern European element in the religious kibbutz.

On a second level the synthesis was effected with the aim of creating a modern self-contained community governed by religious law.  the goal sought was to reestablish the close link between religious law and the Jewish community life which had been severed by the emancipation and this ideology was particularly propounded by the German element.  By applying religious law to life in a viable community embracing and integrating the major social institutions, the religious kibbutzim sought to bridge the gap between this law and modern self-contained community life by means of the centralized authority and rational organization of communal living.

Thanks to its ability to control the total economic resources of the community, including the economic roles of its members, the kibbutz is in a position to bring into sharp focus on a community level the problems deriving from conflicts between the spheres of self-contained social life and religious law and to press for the solution of these problems on that level. A number of religious problems confronting the early settlers of the kibbutzim which have been satisfactorily solved - for example, the milking of cows and guard duty on Shabat - are examples of the success the religious kibbutz has attained in this area.


Adapted from " A Century of Torah Life in Eretz Yisrael" published by the AZYF Religious Department

One of the most original and unique institutions to emerge in the early stages of the Zionist movement is that of the kevutza or kibbutz as it is know today.  In general a kibbutz is a settlement, operating on the socialist theories of equality in job status and a decision making process which includes every member of the kibbutz.

The Kibbutz Hadati or Religious Kibbutz movement functions according to the general principles of a socialist society and religious society.  The Kibbutz Hadati movement was the first modern pioneer in the field of religious socialism, and created a strong political force out of its member kibbutzim.  One of the main goals of the movement was to show that the land could be built and reclaimed by following halachic principles, which are a viable and intrinsic part of Jewish life.  To be sure, the kibbutz (as well as the agricultural Moshav) faces daily problems because adherence to halacha is the primary condition upon which the functioning of the kibbutz is based.  The laws of the land (shmita, kelyaim, trees in the first three years etc.), technological problems (milking cows on Shabbat and holidays, irrigation of the fields on Shabbat and holidays) and problems posed by communal ownership of all property (payment for a wedding ring which according to law must be owned by the husband and given to the wife) have been solved according to halacha as well as socialist standards.

These principles known to the Kibbutz Hadati by the slogan "Torah Va'Avoda" have been the  guiding force behind all its actions in every sphere of life.

The Kibbutz Hadati movement became known as a national organization in 1935 and was at first called "Chaver Ha'Kevutzot Ha'Datiot Shel Ha'-Poel Ha'Mizrachi" (Union of Kvutzot of Poel Mizrachi).  It began with the arrival of four religious pioneer groups in 1929-30.  Three groups arrived from Germany, known as 'Rodges' part of the Brit Halutzim Datiim (Bachad) and one came from Poland, known as 'Shachal', part of the Chalutz Mizrachi (Mizrachi Pioneers).

Before the War of Independence of 1948, the Religious kibbutz movement boasted ten functioning kibbutzim and six more in the last stage of planning.  Many of the kibbutzim settled near the borders and as a result suffered the brunt of the attacks of the Arab armies.  They also settled in blocks for reasons of security and in an attempt to create a religious atmosphere over a large area, not simply within the four walls of a single kibbutz.

The following is a list of those kibbutzim settled before 1948:

1.   Bet Shean: consisting of Tirat Tzvi, Sdei Eliyahu, and  Ein Hanatziv

2.   Gush Etzion: consisting of Kfar Etzion, Masuot Yitzchaak, and  Ein Tzurim (as well as a fourth kibbutz Revadin which belonged to the Ha'Shomer Ha'Tzair movement)

3.   Gaza: consisting of Be'erot Yitzchak, Sa;ad,and Kfar Darom.

4.   The tenth kibbutz was Yavne, near the city of Ashdod

During 1948 two more kibbutzim were established: Sheluchot in Emek Beit Shean and Lavi in the lower Galil.

However, because of their location on the borders, the war took its toll and six of the original ten kibbutzim were destroyed.  Among these were the entire Gush Etzion block (which remained in Jordan's hands until the 1967 war) and Be'erot Yitzchak which was subsequently moved to Lod.  Alumim, a member of the Kibbutz Hadati movement moved to the grounds of the old Be'erot Yitzckak before the 1967 war.  After the recapture of Gush Etzion, the area was once again populated by two kibbutzim, Kfar Etzion and Rosh Tzurim, both of the Kibbutz Hadati movement.

Related Resources can be found under:
» Alles > Spelletjes > Sociale Spelletjes
» Alles > Eretz Yisrael > Normaal
» Alles > Geschiedenis > Normaal
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