A brief history of Operation Kibbutz Yarok:
In the summer of 2009 Camp Newman began Operation Kibbutz Yarok (OKY) on a beautiful piece of land just under a mile away from main camp. OKY’s creation is a result of the longstanding connection between the URJ and Kibbutz Lotan (http://www.kibbutzlotan.com/creativeEcology/ga/index.htm), one of Israel’s two Reform Kibbutzim located in the Arava Valley in the Negev.
In ’09 Ido Maor was brought to Newman to start OKY after spending a lot of time on Lotan.
’09 brought OKY a mud structure and a great foundation for the years to follow. In 2010 Ido became a certified permaculture designer (http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/key_concepts/) at Lotan and met me, Sophie Vener. We arrived at OKY to work during the summer of ’10 exploding with ideas from our course on Lotan. This is what happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqOWeadWGI4&feature=player_embedded.
This summer, while Ido is off gallavanting in Europe, Persephone Rivka joined the OKY team.
(Persephone on left, Sophie on right)
Persephone received her permaculture design certificate through Lotan’s semester abroad Living Routes study abroad program (http://www.livingroutes.org/). This blog is going to track what has been going on at OKY this summer and follow us into the year as Persephone and I move in and work on OKY year round.
Before I begin backtracking and posting about what we’ve done this summer I want to share a poem Persephone read at a ceremony we had with our funder Rabbi Sholom Groseberg and the Avodaniks (the 16 year old campers who work at OKY). It is the same poem Mike Kaplin, our teacher on Lotan, read during her closing ceremony on Lotan:
To Be of Use by Marge Piercy
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.