Kibbutz Reshafim, 10905, Israel -

A Map of the Kibbutz

Map of Reshafim Back in the year 2000: Like all good things ever since Julius Caesar, Kibbutz Reshafim ss divided into three parts, which are where we sleep, where we eat and where we *sigh* work.

Accommodation

The flats were mostly built in the glorious days of what used to be called communal education, when the children lived most of the time in the children's houses under the supervision of trained educators. They received their meals there, they slept there and played or studied there. Parents saw their children about four hours a day, but the time spent together was dedicated exclusively to their children, so called 'quality time' (what an awful term) .
Since then we have abolished the dormitories in the children's houses and the children sleep at home in the flats which, as we've already said, were not built to accommodate a whole family. Cramped conditions ensued and following them much bad blood. A number of well known phenomena began to occur such as the beating of children or the organizing of gangs, things we could easily have done without.
batchelors flats We were luckier than many other kibbutzim in that we had a number of empty flats, and by breaking down a few walls we were able to solve the most serious cases. The flats range in size from 40 square metres for bachelors to 120 for families with children. A strange quirk of the kibbutz system was that once you'd lived in a large flat, nobody could force you to move to a smaller one, when there was no objective need for a large one any more.
With privatisation we've become proud houseowners and nowadays new members have to buy land to build their own house on.

Public Service Buildings

Again, these were built, when needs were different. On the one hand the dining room, where people were served three meals a day was too big when it closed at breakfast and supper time and then it was finally shut down in Autumn 2005, an abandoned architectural monster right at the heart of the kibbutz, and on the other the administration, which in the best of Parkinsonian traditions would have done any conquering general manager proud. A home for the elderly and invalid was built a few years ago, but but had yet to see its first inmate. It has since been turned into a children's house. A clinic deals with light medical cases and dispenses medicine. The dental clinic being underused, there were thoughts about opening it up to outside patients, a scheme which has come to nought. Our public library with its tens of thousands of books used to be very busy until a few years ago, but its customers grow ever older and die off. Now most of the books have been gotten rid of and the library shares the space with an afternoon activity centre for toddlers.
clubhouse, coffeehouse or what? The clubhouse has for a long time been an unfortunate white elephant. Many attempts have been made to find some use for it, most have failed quite miserably. It's still used for the increasingly rare kibbutz meeting and the occasional cultural evening.

The clubhouse: The seven blind wise men might be in doubt as to its colour, but whether white or pink, it's an elephant.

In the summer of 2006 the clubhouse has undergone major repairs: an access ramp for wheelchairs has been added with a clever 90 degrees turn half way up to improve the coordination of wheelchair users, toilet doors have been widened, the floors have been re-laid, the leaking roof has been fixed, cracked glass panes have been replaced. Now we just have to find a purpose for the bally thing.

Bringing Home the Bacon

We used to, literally. Until the 1960's Kibbutz Reshafim was the proud owner of a piggery. The religious parties put a stop to that, and we began growing turkeys instead, until during a turkey meat glut the bottom fell out of the price barrel. For a while we relied on the plastics factory to pay for the old age pensions but had to sell it to pay off our debts. Agriculture is doing a bit better than it did ten years ago, although wages in this sector are only a third of the national average. Still a few people earn their living that way. We have one of the more successful milk dairies in Israel, the battery chickens continue laying the occasional egg in a chicken farm shared with another kibbutz - far enough from home to not encumber anybody's conscience anymore, wheat, potatoes and a few other crops grow on the fields surrounding the kibbutz [1], but we had to abandon growing cotton. The fish ponds to the north of the kibbutz and at the foot of Mount Gilboa are stocked with carp, St. Peter's fish and others. We used to grow and export Cichlids and other aquarium fish, but that proved to be unprofitable. The subtropical fruit we grow include mango, avocado, grapefruit, dates and a few unidentifiable citrus fruit with ever changing names. In the year 2000 you would have found a carpenter's shop [2], a garage, an electrician's and a few other, but all of them shut down by 2009.


[1] Update April 2003: We used to. After years of dismal results we have joined an agricultural cooperative which has resulted in a modest gain for the first time in a decade.
[2] Note please: I said carpenter's shop not carpenters.

 

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Updated January 2000, August 2006, January 2017