A new documentary entitled, “Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz
Experiment,” reflects on the outstanding contributions,
accomplishments, trials and tribulations of the pioneer movement
which, due to the efforts of idealistic, steadfast and dedicated
individuals, succeeded in “making Israel’s deserts bloom.”
The 80-minute documentary by Toby Perl Freilich includes interviews
with first, second and third-generation kibbutzniks, as well as
commentary from Israeli scholars and vintage footage from the 1920s.
The collective agrarian communities, founded on Zionist and socialist
ideals, came to symbolize Jewish aspirations of establishing a
homeland in the Land of Israel.
The first kibbutz, Degania, was established in 1910, approximately 40
years prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, by a group
of young Eastern European Jews who moved to the Jordan valley, which
was under Ottoman rule at that time.
These pioneers came to reclaim the land and forge a new way of life.
They were faced with desolate terrain that had been neglected for
centuries, a lack of funds and rampant disease. Yet, despite the
almost unbelievable hardships, they succeeded in building thriving
communities that came to play a leading role in the founding of the
state of Israel.
All members of the community were treated equally and no one had more
than anyone else. There was a communal dining room, individual
possessions were turned over to benefit the group, and often children
were not raised by their parents, but were housed and educated in