One of the ways we learned about Israeli society was to spend a few nights at a kibbutz. A kibbutz is a collective community, traditionally based in agriculture, that was the way many Israelis used to live. Even though the kibbutz life was outside the comfort zones of some students initially, hanging out in the evenings together brought lots of laughs, memories, and a great development of our own class community.
Alexa Callahan shares one of her more humorous moments.
A kibbutz is an Israeli agricultural community where members live collectively amongst each other. In Hebrew, Kibbutz means “gathering” and “clustering.” We stayed at Kibbutz Hukuk near Tiberius our third and fourth nights in Israel. Upon arrival, the Kibbutz reminded me of summer camp. We stayed three to a room and each group had their own individual quarters, which included three twin beds, one pillow each (Israelis must not use a lot of pillows, as there was a shortage of them throughout the whole trip), and a small bathroom that included a sink, toilet, and shower. If you still cannot picture this Kibbutz, here is another analogy: Have you seen Lost? It is like the Dharma Initiative village, which made staying in the Kibbutz even better.
[Our first night in the Kibbutz, we hung out with a group of Jordanian teenagers who happened to be on vacation there. YouTube videos, it so happens, can bridge all sorts of divides.] Our second night in the Kibbutz took an even funnier turn. As I mentioned earlier, the shower, toilet, and sink were all in the same, very small, room. There was a small drain in the center of the room, but the floor was flat, thus, it did not promote a lot of water drainage. I had been warned by Ellen, our constant voice of reason, to continuously squeegee the floor while showering so the water did not leak out. However, I did not see a squeegee and knew my shower would be quick. I turned on the water, which had a kickback equivalent to a .45 caliber shotgun. It was the strongest water pressure I have ever experienced. Again, I knew I was taking a quick shower, so I did not worry about it. I got out of the shower and headed into the room where Molly was relaxing in her bed. It was then that I noticed that the floor was flooded with water. Not just a little bit of water, but about a half-inch deep puddle throughout our whole Kibbutz cabin. Molly had no idea this was happening. Avery, our third roommate, then came in and started to squeegee and we enlisted Ethan and Nick, our two heroes, to help. We finally got the water under control and squeegeed most of it out. Shortly after, while Molly, Avery, Luke, and I were hanging out, I got up to close the curtains and the residual water on the ground catapulted my toe into a night stand. I thought my toe had detached from my foot; fortunately, it was still attached. We laughed for a long time and had a great evening in the Kibbutz. Overall, it was an experience I will never forget.
After thinking the Kibbutz would be my least favorite place to stay, those were my favorite few nights and one of the most memorable evenings of the trip. I loved the camaraderie the Kibbutz promoted and felt like that was the most time we got to spend together as a group at night. This goes to show that no matter the living conditions, when you are with people you enjoy, that is all you need!