Well, I got a little behind on my blog. We had a crazy last few weeks of sightseeing and final exams! I'm still working on it. I plan to catch up on everything. I fly home tonight, crazy!
On our next free day in Galilee, we visited the kibbutz Sha’ar Hagolan. Kibbutzim are socialist communities. People work on the kibbutz, and everyone receives the same amount of money no matter what they do. They live, work, and go to school on the kibbutz, and share all belongings.
This particular kibbutz was founded even before the state of Israel. We learned a lot about kibbutzim when we talked about Israeli history and culture in my Hebrew classes, so it was interesting to visit one and to see how it works. A few of us know a BYU student from our Hebrew classes who actually lived at Sha’ar Hagolan before moving to the U.S. He’s visiting Israel for the summer, so he offered to show us around his hometown.
Every kibbutz has to have a way of making money to sustain itself. Sha’ar Hagolan’s has a dairy farm and a plastic factory. I enjoyed socializing with the newborn calves.
A few decades ago, kibbutzim had Beit Yeledim (children’s houses). Every child, even newborn babies, lived away from their parents at the children’s house. They really took sharing to an extreme. The idea was that children belonged to the entire community, and not just to individual families. It also freed up parents to work. Children still saw their parents, but they never lived with them. This was eventually done away with. Children now live with their families, but our tour guide showed us the building that used to be the Beit Yeledim. This was where his parents lived!
Another interesting socialist aspect of the kibbutz was the laundry room. Here’s a picture of the laundry slots. There are different categories of clothes to be washed together. Some of the ones in this picture say ‘children’s clothes- white’ and ‘children’s pajamas’. So even laundry is done communally, and everyone shares clothes! This would be a nightmare for a person like me who develops deep emotional attachments to my clothes.
You can see Jordan from Sha’ar Hagolan! As an American, it’s always exciting to be able to see other countries. I’ve never seen Canada or Mexico :( This kibbutz is also VERY close to Syria. Syria used to bomb Israel (for no reason) all the time between 1948-1967. So something else that was interesting was seeing lots of old bomb shelters all over the kibbutz.
Stay tuned for more posts about the rest of my trip!