This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding in what is now Israel of the first kibbutz, called Degania (“Wheat of God”). From there, the kibbutz movement took off, and though kibbutzniks never comprised more than 4 percent of Israeli society, they went on to play an outsize role in the country’s politics, military, economy, and national identity.
In Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment, a documentary film-in-progress, Toby Perl Freilich looks at the evolution of the kibbutz from its inception to the present, drawing on the memories and reflections of members from five kibbutzim. Perl Freilich spoke to Vox Tablet’s Sara Ivry about the kibbutz movement’s ability to cultivate leaders even as it alienated women, non-Ashkenazim, and, ultimately, its own offspring.
Throughout August, to commemorate the kibbutz movement, Tablet Magazine will post a weekly clip from Perl Freilich’s film, beginning today.
TO WATCH THE FIRST INSTALLMENT, CLICK HERE.