Celebrating 70 Like Only Kibbutz Can

Our kibbutz was founded during one of Israel’s historical pioneering campaigns on Yom Kippur eve, 1946. The operation would come to be an important chapter in the history of the Negev Desert, and of Israel, in general, known as “The 11 Points” . (Note: The link here is old, written for the jubilee celebration 20 years ago, but the history is the same and I preferred the way this was written to the less inspiring Wikipedia entry).

Last night, as those of the original pioneers still left reach the ripe old age of 90, we celebrated our 70th year anniversary. Our community designated substantial funds for this entire 70th year, dedicated to activities that would help celebrate, but also unify and heal the people who live here, and have been through so much. We held “Children’s Day,” a Community Mosaic Project, and special, highly subsidized kibbutz trips, just to name a few.

And finally, at the end of the Sukkot holiday, we culminated our year-long celebrations with a grandiose production which had been planned from the beginning of the year, and has been actively in the making for the past few months. Based on the history of Nirim, interspersed with songs, dances and local anecdotes and flavor, we danced, sang and joked our way through the ups and downs of life in this little corner of the world.

We hired a professional director, choreographer, and musical director. A huge stage was erected in the heart of the kibbutz, including tens of projectors, two side screens for live streaming and an enormous LED screen in the center for audio-visuals that had been filmed throughout the year, as backdrop. The performers, ranging in age from 4-90, were all members and residents of our constantly evolving and blossoming community. Anyone who wanted to, could have a part in this extravaganza. In addition to weeks of rehearsals, the final five days leading up to the celebration were spent congregating on the lawn patiently waiting on chairs and blankets for our turns on stage, until the wee hours of the mornings. There were microphones to be balanced, last minute adjustments and finishing touches on the performances to be made. We were provided with dinner, running coffee and cake. The process was magical, providing us with priceless opportunities to interact with people in our community with whom we don’t usually, and invest quality time with our neighbors, for our neighbors. It reminded me of why I love this place, and why, like the others who live here, we are willing to raise our families on Nirim, despite the threats and dangers.

There were around 1,000 people in attendance. First a delicious dairy dinner on the lawn, and then, the performance. It wasn’t “Broadway.” It couldn’t be considered “quality theater.” But it was “us.” It was fun, and authentic, and a true celebration of our existence, done as only a community like this, can.

nirim-70

If you wish to read more about what it is like living on the border with the Gaza Strip, you can follow me on Facebook, join the FB group I moderate: Life on the Border and “like” The Movement for the Future of the Western Negev

I am also happy to be in contact via Twitter @AdeleRaemer

About the Author
Born in the USA, Adele has lived in a Kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip since 1975. She is a mother and a grandmother living and raising her family on the usually paradisaical, sometimes hellishly volatile border. She is affiliated with "The Movement for the Future of the Western Negev", for sanity's sake. She also moderates a FB group named "Life on the Border". Adele is a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, as well as a teacher trainer and counselor for the Israeli MoE for EFL and Digital Pedagogy. She blogs here about both Life on the Border, as well as about digital pedagogy, in "Digitally yours, @dele". She has recently become a devoted YouTuber, churning out about a YouTube a week on the topic of digital stuff. (https://goo.gl/iBVMEG) Her personal channel covers other issues close to her heart (medical clowning, Life on the Border, etc.) (https://goo.gl/uLP6D3) In addition, she is a trained medical clown and, as any southern clown would do, clowns as often as she can in the pediatric ward in the hospital in Ashkelon. Adele has 4 children, 6 grandchildren (and counting) and two dogs. She has yet to acquire a partridge in a pear tree.
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