One Hundred Years of Kibbutz Life: A Century of Crises and Reinvention

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The years 1909-2009 mark a century of kibbutz life-one hundred years of achievements, failures, and challenges. It is undeniable that the impact of kibbutzim on Israeli society has been substantial. During its one hundred years of existence, the kibbutz as a concept and as a reality underwent many changes, as did Israel as a whole both before its establishment in 1948 and since then. One Hundred Years of Kibbutz Life describes a host of changes that have occurred and describes their meaning. The kibbutz population has increased in terms of demography and capital, a point that frequently is overlooked in the debate about the institution's viability. The kibbutz has become a very attractive place for young people who want community life. Like the founders who tried to establish a particular society grounded in certain principles, so too, newcomers to the kibbutz want to establish a new idealistic society with specific social and economic arrangements. The combined voices of the contributors to this volume discuss the ideals, hopes, frustrations, disappointments, and reconstruction efforts that brought a few solutions to the fading kibbutz ideals. These solutions are not always popular among kibbutz members, but they demonstrate growth and development of the kibbutz. Through the inclusion of a variety of studies, this book clarifies the role of this dynamic institution.