Sol Etzioni, Kibbutz Tzora, Dn Shimshon, Israel: другие произведения.

I am the Secretary of the International Communes Desk

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    Dear Alexander, I received your name and address from your friend Vesudeva, who thought that you might be interested in contact with me.But first, I had better explain that I am the Secretary of the International Communes Desk, the contact office between the different forms of communal living around the world. (The word "commune" in our name is there for brevity, not for exclusivity. It covers communes, kibbutzim, co-housing, eco-villages and other intentional communities - the last being the term for communities with specific aims and some degree of communality.)

  "Sol & Rene Etzioni"
  Dear Alexander,
  I received your name and address from your friend Vesudeva, who thought that you might be interested in contact with me.
  But first, I had better explain that I am the Secretary of the International Communes Desk, the contact office between the different forms of communal living around the world. (The word "commune" in our name is there for brevity, not for exclusivity. It covers communes, kibbutzim, co-housing, eco-villages and other intentional communities - the last being the term for communities with specific aims and some degree of communality.) We are the body which produces the biannual journal, CALL (Communes At Large Letter), which is written for, by and about communities. We also have an English/Hebrew website: , which you are cordially invited to visit.
  Perhaps I should introduce myself personally. My name is Shlomo Etzioni, but most people call me Sol (short for Solomon, my wise royal Biblical namesake.) Though born and educated in Australia, I have been a member of Kibbutz Tzora for the last 49 years. We are situated conveniently between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and are famous mainly for being the home of Samson of the Book of Judges. (If you"re interested, I will gladly tell you more about our commune - just say so.) Most of the time I have been a high school chemistry teacher, but previously was an orchard worker and a part-time shepherd. Back in Australia I spent years as a youth leader, and later worked as a youth educational emissary in New Zealand. Up till now, my main spare time activities have been stamp collecting and grandchildren. Not being a political or movement activist or a social scientist, I perhaps have the advantage of representing the "average kibbutznik" - if such an animal exists.
  We would very much like to hear some details of communal life in your community, so I would be very happy to correspond with you, or someone else of your members. For you, I can provide some insight into kibbutz life, as well as contact with other forms of communal living around the world. As I see it, all of us can benefit by closer contact between communities wherever they are.
  I would also be very grateful if you could send me the names and addresses of members of other communities in Russia or the former Soviet Union, who might be interested in contact with us. Past experience of writing to a community in general, without a person's name, hasn't been successful.
  We are also trying to deepen the awareness of kibbutzniks (and members of other communities in Israel) that there exists a worldwide "movement" of people seeking and living in a great variety of communal formats. Exchanging ideas and information can only enrich and encourage us all. You may know that many kibbutzim are searching for ways to change, in the direction of less communal living. The general atmosphere in the country, serious financial problems, and/or their next generation choosing not to join them, are strong catalysts in this process. Our website gives quite a bit of detail about this topic, which is relevant to all but purposely short-lived communities.
  "Sol & Rene Etzioni"
  You may not be aware that, even in these tragic times in this country, there are young people here who are seriously striving to make a better world and create new forms of communal living. Awareness of the environment and doing something about it is also spreading among the kibbutzim and in other circles.
  Looking forward to hearing from you and wishing your community all the best in your worthy endeavours,
  Sol (Shlomo) Etzioni,
  Secretary, International Communes Desk,
  Kibbutz Tzora,
  D. N. Shimshon,
  Israel, 99803.
  PS. Attached is an item from the last issue of CALL which will give you some idea of our activities. Please let me have your mail address if you would like to receive a copy of CALL.
  From the Secretary"s Desk
  Dear Reader,
  We received a fine selection of community greeting cards for the festive season. Among them, Solheimar's snowy Icelandic scene was especially beautiful, but perhaps the most symbolic was Niederkaufungen's buildings with a superimposed rainbow. (The latter is the Biblical sign that mankind will not be destroyed, despite all its efforts to the contrary.)
  Only one Community Calendar reached us, but it is outstanding. (Were any others published?) Damanhur has not only issued another most aesthetic calendar, but this time added lots of information about this very special spiritual/artistic commune in Italy.
  In Iowa, at the end of June, you will have an opportunity to meet with communitarians and community scholars from various parts of the world. The ICSA (International Communities Study Association) Conference will give you a chance to hear - and talk - about all the topics that concern you, plus others that maybe should. If it's half as good as the 2001 Conference at ZEGG, Germany, it will be well worthwhile. (See page??.) Unfortunately, no one from the Desk will be present - because of the expense to get there.
  Although "community tourism" to this part of the world has been very slack since the last report, quite a number of visits are planned for the near future. As always, the exception is the German Catholic communal movement, the Integrierte Gemeinde. Their members keep coming here and 4 of them are at the moment residing at their centre, Bet Shalmon, near Jerusalem.... At the Christmas/Chanuka get-together of the Urfeld Circle, some 40 Israelis met up with no less than 10 IG members! The official programme was about various types of education in community, but no less important was the personal contact.
  Last time I wrote about two separate attempts to set up Arab/Jewish communities. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, one has collapsed for lack of potential members. The other has found a couple possible sites, but here too there may well be a problem of membership. Good luck!
  I'm continually trying to establish new contacts, often without success. As a result, interesting letters have arrived from members of 2 different co-houses in Sweden, one of which is for over-40s only. (See page ??.) A promising start has been made in contact with Korea and Japan.... Old correspondents are no less valued. Do keep writing. I promise to reply.
  ... If you find English too difficult, we may have the answer. If you write in German, French, Spanish, Dutch or Portuguese, we'll be able to translate your letter.
  Communal interest in Israel centres on the urban kibbutzim and the newer communes of the youth movement "graduates". The kibbutz movement press gives them a lot of attention and even the general media has discovered them. Simultaneously, new "private" communes - that is, not linked the youth movements - are being set up, but are not easy to contact.... In this connection, the Desk held a well-attended forum of community representatives at a big get-together on the Festival of Sukkot. (See p??)
  At the same time, the problems of the kibbutz movement are receiving not a little publicity, most of it not positive. How Israel has changed and become more like the big wide world! (See page ?? for an up-to-date survey.)
  A new discussion forum for intentional communities can be found at This, of course, by no means supercedes the veteran forum .
  The last issue of the excellent literary/ideological journal "Kibbutz Trends" is on the way. We will really miss it, the only vehicle of kibbutz expression in English. The financial problems of the Kibbutz Movement have caused drastic cutbacks all round. Old issues are still available at Yad Tabenkin, Ramat Efal, Israel 52960. First come, first served.
  The hard-pressed Kibbutz Movement was also forced to cut our modest budget. So, a small donation from YOU, instead of a subscription to CALL, will be very welcome indeed. And if you know of someone (or some organization) who might be prepared to make a more serious contribution to our activities, do let us know and we'll do the rest.
  Yours ever hopefully,
  Sol Etzioni, Kibbutz Tzora, DN Shimshon, Israel 99803
  Please note! Because of the budgetary cutbacks, our old e-address is no longer valid. You'll have to use mine from now on. The phone number too has changed to (972) 3 5346 078. Sorry about the mix-up!
   On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 18:43:18 +0200, Sol & Rene Etzioni wrote > Dear Alexander, > Please accept my apologies for the long delay in answering your very > informative letters, for which I am very grateful. You have given me > lots of basic information, which - unfortunately - I haven't had the > time to follow up. But at least I do have a picture of the start of the > eco-village movement in Russia. I do wish you every success. >
   > The earth is such a vital and fragile being and I gather that the > previous regime didn't consider nature and the environment at all. > However, to be fair, not only in the USSR did this happen. In the > past, no one (almost) saw the world this way - except the close-to- > nature, so-called "primitive" native peoples - so one shouldn't > judge it by present day standards. By the way, we shouldn't idealize > the past and "primitive". Not all native peoples preserved nature. > This country - which was the biblical Land of Milk and Honey and > later the granary of the Roman Empire - was almost completely > devastated over the centuries. When I came here exactly 50 years ago, > the only shade in our whole valley was under one lonely tree, full > of thorns so the Arabs' goats couldn't eat it. You should see us > now! I hope that one day soon you will come here and visit and see > for yourself. >
   > It is excellent that you are in touch with the European organization > - GEN. Who is your contact person in ZEGG? I was there at a > conference 3 years ago, so I know most of their active people. >
   > I must say that the list of the projects of Lubinka is very ambitious > and I wish you every success with them. You must have some very talented > people among you. >
   > Your mention of Dances of Universal Peace was quite a surprise to > me. I had never heard of it. Looking at their site, I found to my surprise > that it is quite a universal movement. Back in my days in Australia (50 > years ago) and New Zealand (40), nobody danced folkdances - except > foreign students and we of the Zionist youth movements. I noticed > that Israel does not appear on the list. This is interesting because > folkdancing is very popular here. (My kibbutznik daughter, for > instance, travels over half an hour twice a week to participate in > an advanced folkdance group. It is not for performances but for > enjoyment.) I should mention that Israel is probably one of the few > countries in the world where folkdances are being invented all the > time! When the Jews first began to return to the Land of Israel, the > earliest folkdances and folksongs were all Russian-based, but as > immigrants came from all over the world, a unique, very rich Israeli > folk culture was developed. In particular, the Jews from Yemen, in > southern Arabia, have contributed much towards this. In their > relative isolation, they probably preserved more of the original > culture from biblical times. (I have a son-in-law from this > community.)....I do hope that I haven't bored you with all this detail. >
   > Back to Dances of Universal Peace, I noticed that the Middle East was > included. I shall definitely try to find out where it exists in this > area. Any avenue that could contribute to peace should be explored. > Sadly, I have not found any eco-villages or other intentional > communities in the whole Arab world. These too - if they existed - could > help advance the cause of peace.... My oldest grandson was in Germany > last summer with a joint Jewish/Arab youth delegation. Every little > helps! >
   > This has gone on long enough! I hope not too long. Please don't be > shy to ask me any questions. >
   > Wishing you all the very best, > Yours fraternally, > Sol Etzioni, > Secretary, ICD >
   Greetings, Sol! It is glad to your letter. My weak English language complicates our contacts. My questions: I know, that immigrants live in Israel from Russia. Whether they live in киббутсах? In Russia now many ecological projects for life in a countryside. Economic difficulties do not allow to develop these projects quickly. Our project - экопоселение Любинка is designed for young people which yet are not weakened by a city civilization. We now build only the first house. It will be our first commercial project which will help us to develop further.
   You can look at photos which will show our Russian projects eco villages:
   Eco village "Kovcheg" = "The Ark" - < http: // 2.shtml >
   Eco village "Muraviovka Park for sustainable Land Use"- < http: // .shtml >
   School village " School of academician ShChetinin "- < http: // shetinina04.shtml >
   Our festival-2004 on Lubinka- < http: // st_2004.shtml >
   We already can receive in this year visitors - youth groups, for a close acquaintance with our life, with our nature, with our people. Come on a visit!
   eco village Lubinka
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