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What Happens on Kibbutz Stays on Kibbutz

Updated: May 27

When it comes to unique places and ways of life in Israel, there is no better example than the Kibbutz, where everyone shares everything they own with one another to create a community that trusts and relies on one another. Of course, when you’re that close, shenanigans are bound to ensue.

Bales of hay on a kibbutz stacked on a wagon and on the ground

Since the first kibbutz (#Degania) was established in 1910, thousands of people from all over the world have come to volunteer on a kibbutz, including famous personalities like Jerry Seinfeld, Bernie Sanders, and Sacha Baron Cohen. And though it may seem like kibbutz is all hay-baling and cow-wrangling, all work and no play is not the kibbutz model. There are parties, trips around Israel, and of course, new friendships that hold strong years down the road. Find out more about the ‘real life’ on a kibbutz in Israel with some of the wildest stories we’ve ever heard!


Working in the Dairy

My second day working at the refet (dairy). Someone told me to get a Swedish key (a wrench). I turned around to ask what size.. when I fell right into the zevel (garbage) pit. They wouldn't pull me out until they took pictures. After I got out I headed to the showers but I couldn’t take my boots off and they had to cut me out of my boots.” (Hesh Meyer)



The Rat Picker

I was working in the banana groves by carrying banana bunches to the tractor. While I was carrying the banana bunch, I was removing rats on my way to the tractor without losing a stride.” (Trace Harris)




My Greatest Honor

My greatest honor was actually on a kibbutz: I could speak in Russian and Hebrew so I was assigned to work in the children’s houses. But that led to being asked to help take care of one of the kibbutz founders. He was dying of liver cancer, that tough dude. He was a child soldier of the Warsaw Ghetto. He passed away in a few weeks…” (June Derlachter)


A Panicked Rush

During the First Gulf War, I was in the shower when the missile alarm went off. A little panicked, I rushed out of the shower and dashed around doing everything I had been taught to do (check the seal on the door and windows, put on a gas mask (I have asthma, so had one of those plastic hood gas masks, put on socks, etc.). I caught a glimpse of myself in the tall mirror and collapsed laughing; I had managed to get my socks and gas mask on and absolutely nothing else!” (Anne Klimatosse Wunsch)


Pimp That Tractor

We got in trouble for pimping the tractor used for the bananas the night before. The head of the bananas group wanted us thrown off the kibbutz but every other member thought it was a great improvement!” (Alan Taylor)




Early Morning Surprises

I had a night shift for cow milking. I was called to be a helper of a midwife. In order to help with the birth, I had to put my hand deep into the cow, pull the legs of the baby calf to try and help him make his way out. It was an amazing and insane experience I'll never forget.”


*Stories have been edited for clarity

What is a kibbutz, Anyways? learn more about Kibbutzim here

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