Kibbutz Reshafim, 10905, Israel -

The laundry

Washing the dirty linen

laundry ... in public?

We did, in days of yore

And that's what it looked like.

Myrene, a volunteer, fascinated by the Mandala of spinning clothes.



Dinah B., the task of sorting her clothes accomplished.


I know why Dinah was smiling.

The thought underlying any laundry where you have to sort your clothes by yourself, is to teach you humility, by causing you existential doubts: Were those trousers too dark for that compartment? Does 30% of poly-whatever count as synthetic? Does 20? Does 10? Your silk pyjamas - pyjamas like all those common flannels or something better?

Yes, I do understand that smile: All's well with the world now. Hell! That shirt shouldn't have gone there!


Many people have bought washing machines and dryers and are doing their own laundry. The public laundry, after some necessary investments, is now only active part of the week. The so-called "communa", where for decades half a dozen women sorted and mended clothes (and kept abreast of current kibbutz events - one mustn't be sexist and call it gossiping), is now run by just one woman - who knows as little of what's going on as myself - working part-time.
The laundry is leased to Mazal, a clever move by our management who, instead of increasing efficiency simply close down or privatize everything still owned by the kibbutz. Mazal's "charming" personality and "sharp" business acumen have resulted in even more kibbutz members dispensing with her services.
I suppose we have nobody to blame but ourselves.
Mazal has thrown in the towel, so to speak. An outside operator does his laundering here now.
It didn't last. Now the building is standing empty, after all the machines have been removed.


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July 1999