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[Pages 154-155]

The “Kibbutzim”

By Tzila Gudelsky (Shub)

Translated by Judy Grossman

Tzila Gudelsky (Shub): There were three age groups in the ken [branch]: the younger ones - “habirim[1]”; the older ones - “tzofim”; and the oldest group - “shomrim”. In the “habirim” level there were “older habirim” and “younger habirim”, and the younger ones were divided into a girls' group and a boys' group. In a letter that we sent to our friend Henne-Belke in South Africa, we described how the ken was then organized:

“Head of the ken – Yoel Zeif. Lena Visakolsky - leader of the 'Trumpeldor group' (older tzofim), and deputy head – Mordechai Slep.

Leader of the 'Arlozorov group' (younger tzofim) is Ita Charit, and her deputy is Golda Melamed.

Leader of the 'older habirim' is Nechama Yudelowitz, and her deputy is Tzila Shub.

Leader of the girls' group is Golda Shub, and her deputy is Esther Yosman.

The leader of the boys' group is Yechezkel Steiman…”

The letter describes the delegate of the Hashomer Hatzair chief directorate who came to us, Shneor Blumberg, who was amazed at the Hebrew spoken by us and in the whole shtetl “where everyone spoke Hebrew”.

The “kibbutzim” [activities] in the ken began with “parade”. We sang the anthems “Tehezakna” and “Hatikva”. In the room we sat in a circle and began to sing. My sister Rachel used to teach us songs, and the songs went from mouth to ear… I recall the Hebrew song for which we adopted the melody of a fisherman's song from a Russian film:

In the lake “Mey Merom”,

In the Mediterranean Sea,

In the teeming waters of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee),

For food and for money

The fish are trapped…

From among the group games I recall the ball game between two teams – “quadrate”. I was injured at a game one Saturday, and I was afraid to tell my father the reason, as it was desecration of the Sabbath… We were a type of scouts. We used to go out into nature, learn the Ten Commandments (of the movement) thoroughly, and the purpose was not just to instill values, but also to teach a proper way of life: kindness, sitting habits, and even how to brush your teeth. The discussions were suited to the different ages.

Rachel Rabinowitz (Slovo): I was also a leader, and I recall with a smile that I had to talk about the subject of “love”, to explain about sex, and in those days that was a very tough assignment!

Rivka Levitt with a scout in full uniform


Oldest Group of the Dusiat Ken with the Emissary
of the Hashomer Hatzair Chief Directorate,
Daniel Prochovnik (Ben Nahum) (center)

Top, from right to left: Zelda Charit, Miryam Slep, Hedva (Freidke) Slep
Middle row: Rachel Blacher, ( -), Daniel Prochovnik, Chava Shub
Seated: Batya Shub, Rivka Melamed and her sister Sarah, Yoel Zeif



  1. From the Jews wandering in the desert Return


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