A Word from the Translator

I had not met nor known Nechemia Levanon prior to undertaking this venture. It is one of the luckiest and smartest things I ever did, because I discovered a man who is a kindred spirit. He really loves the kibbutz (as it was before all the changes of the last few years), and that is rare these days. And he is an optimist, an 87-year-old optimist! My daughter's request that I do this translation became transformed in a short time from "carrying a burden" to "bearing a gift." I hope I have done him justice... My thanks to my wife Varda, and my friend Alex for their assistance.

Aryeh Malkin, Kibbutz Ein Dor (2002)


I chose to live in a kibbutz in The Land of Israel sixty-five years ago, when I was still in High School and a member of a Zionist pioneer youth movement in Tallinn, Estonia. Upon my arrival in Israel I became one of the founders of the kibbutzim in which I matured and aged and where I experienced its earliest and finest years.
In the last few dozen years of the twentieth century the world has seen tremendous changes, and an "old man" like myself must get used to a different world than that to which he was accustomed. This does not refer only to the "outside world," but also to the circles smaller and closer to our immediate way of life. The State of Israel as I knew it, its regime, its economy, its social and cultural life, do not exist anymore. We are now living in a state whose characteristics are entirely different, a state whose society is divided by severe internal conflicts. The kibbutz itself is undergoing a period of confusion, doubt and fear of what the future holds in store.
I have decided to write the memoirs of my life during the first half of the twentieth century and of my kibbutz, up to the creation of the State of Israel, as I recall that period. I have utilized the kibbutz archives and spoken to a number of my age peers, and of course the number of those that are left is dwindling fast. No doubt there are those who will say that I failed to mention people and events that should have been mentioned, but time and space and my memory, are limited. I hope, nevertheless, that the atmosphere of the period has been to some extent captured and preserved in what I have written.
My thanks to Beba, who remembered much of what I had forgotten. Many thanks to Rita Naveh who, with infinite patience, typed all that I wrote, to Rivka Dukavevitch, for editing, and to Tamar Parsons and Ora Levanon, who organized all the computer work.

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