Last week, HDNA took a leading role in Remember the Murder, Stand up for Democracy, a coalition of Jewish and Zionist groups in New York City that came together to commemorate the anniversary of the murder of Yitzchak Rabin. The event welcomed participants from across the political spectrum for a rare and important chance for dialogue, a way to commemorate and resist the incitement that led to Rabin’s death. Below is the text of a speech read at the event by HDNA’s own Sadie Fowler (WS 68), which she read at the close of the event.
Last year I was in Israel on a gap year program with Habonim Dror called Workshop. I spent the year living out my values of socialism and Shivyon Erech HaAdam, or equality of human value, with my kvutza (group). While I was volunteering at a youth movement center, I got to participate in Asepha Isarelite, together with other youth movement members.
Asepha Israelite was an amazing experience for me. When I first got there, I was immediately overwhelmed because there were so many people. All of the youth movements in Israel had chanichim there. The sixteen of us from Workshop got separated into different circles. Each circle aimed to have people from each movement there. Every circle was tasked with debating a topic about Israeli society and coming to a common decision among them.
Check out what Habonim Dror North America chaverimot have been up to this year in our annual report. Thousands of participants engaged at ken events across North America, a thriving teen activism program, and trailblazing Progressive Labor Zionist education…the stories are all inside. Happy reading!
Liz Raider, bogeret (graduate) of Habonim from Workshop 8 and former president of NA’AMAT USA, shared her reflections about how her time in Habonim has influenced her life and work.
I was recently asked what were some of the most outstanding events during my time on the 8th Habonim Workshop (year program in Israel). This was not a simple question as Israel was so “new” in 1958 – and I thought about the excitement and pride of sitting on a rooftop in Tel Aviv and watching the National 10th Anniversary Parade of the State of Israel, and the opportunity to meet Ben Gurion in person as he was taking his morning walk in the Negev – the reality of a dream come true.
Joining Habonim was a major factor in setting me on a path that has influenced my life in many ways, including my long-time membership in NA’AMAT USA and the Labor Zionist movement.
I met my husband Dave in Cleveland Habonim, we were on the 8th Workshop together and we still maintain very close ties with many of these Workshop friends (“our chevra”) and other Habonim members from all over the USA and Canada.
Our three children were all active in Habonim as campers and counselors.
Mark was 12 when a friend invited him to a Habonim camp weekend, and soon Danny and Lani became campers at Gilboa. Throughout their junior and senior high school years they all actively participated in local meetings, activities and seminars.
Those years were defining moments for all of them as they spent great summers at Camp Gilboa, learning about Habonim through communal work, sharing, and discussions about Israel, while forming lasting personal friendships.
Betty Rath, president of Detroit Pioneer Women, addressing the 33rd Veida of Ichud Habonim in December of 1978.
Our house was always a gathering place for Habonim and NA’AMAT USA, with much of our lives revolving around support for the 2 organizations. During the school year, the many local LA activities of Habonim, the preparations for the annual Habonim play/musical production (Neshef,) and getting Camp Gilboa ready for the summer camp season were major events.
Then came their own Workshop experiences: Mark (31st Workshop, 1981-82, Kibbutz Urim), Danny (33rd Workshop, 1983-84, Kibbutz Gesher Haziv) and Lani (35th Workshop, 1985-86, Kibbutz Gezer). Mark was very involved in LA activities and other Habonim camps in the early ‘80s, and took time off from his university studies to become the North American Mazkir (Director) for Habonim Dror in the late 1980s.
Fortunately, Dave and I and our kids have all visited Israel many times, including the experiences of other numerous long-term stays, affording us the opportunity to see Israel evolve into a dynamic country and to know that we all had a part in working towards this goal. For all of us, our active involvement with Habonim Dror still remains a basic focal point in defining a connection with the American Jewish community and Israel.
Lani Raider on a tiyul on Workshop 35 (Kibbutz Gezer, 1985-1986)
NA’AMAT USA, originally known as “Pioneer Women”, was founded in 1925, and was the basis for the senior movement support for Habonim, with many of our members active on both levels. The Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley Councils of Pioneer Women/NA’AMAT USA were staunch supporters of Habonim activities, lending financial and moral support to the annual Habonim Neshef, encouraging summer camp enrollment and volunteering for work weekends at Gilboa. Habonim’s dance group was featured in numerous Pioneer Women/NA’AMAT events.
From 2010-2016 I served as the National President of NA’AMAT USA, the American “arm” of NA’AMAT Israel. We are a worldwide movement with nine other countries, ensuring the dream of continuing to build a strong and secure Israel through our efforts of creating a myriad of social services: day care centers, community centers, youth villages for education and training, scholarship programs for advanced education for women, and family counseling. We are known as the “go-to place” in Israel, with NA’AMAT as the largest provider of social services after the Israeli government. We work in tandem with NA’AMAT Israel to maintain a network that reaches every level of Israeli society.
Habonim Dror and NA’AMAT USA have been partners in both the United States and Israel in promoting the goals and ideals for the continuity of building a progressive and growing network for a new generation of “builders and dreamers”. This is a bond that remains a unifying and important effort in realizing our mutual efforts to sustain a strong connection with Israel and a commitment to ensure that future generations will experience our unique legacy.
Habonim-Hashomer Birthright is a 10-day program in Israel for individuals aged 18-25. Explore your connection to Israel as a shared society and engage with peers working towards a more just, equal, and democratic Israeli state. It is completely free and spaces fill up quickly!
Friday 22nd, January 2016 Written by Mira Sucharov
On a little corner of Gabriola Island lies an enclave of old-style Jewish utopianism. Modeled after a kibbutz, campers (chanichim) and counselors (madrichim) talk about heady topics like radical justice, equal worth, unionization, socialism and Labor Zionism.
They learn Hebrew, engage in physical labor and debate topics like whether O Canada adequately addresses the reality of First Nations, the fate of the Palestinians, and how to make a radically inclusive society within Israel. It’s Camp Miriam, part of the network of Habonim-Dror camps across North America. Among the founders of the camp was my grandmother, Marian Margolis, and I spent one memorable summer there as a counselor in 1990. Read more …
Building Progressive Zionist Activists: Exploring the Impact of Habonim Dror, authored by Prof. Steven M. Cohen and Steven Fink describes evidence of the life-long impact that the Habonim Dror youth movement has had on its participants. The report draws upon a survey of nearly 2,000 alumni of Habonim Dror camps and other programs, ages 20 to 83.