The families surround long tables covered by white tablecloths. Festive decorations line the walls, and the kitchen is free of chametz, the leavened foods forbidden on Passover. Seder plates sit in front of hungry participants.
America is not a kibbutz, Mitt Romney said in a bid to underscore his commitment to individual liberties.
“Ask Israelis who have never seen a kibbutz before in their lives and who know nothing about the movement,” remarks Aya Sagi, director of the Volunteer Department at the Kibbutz Movement Program Center. “They at least know about the volunteers and are nostalgic.”
Back in the 1930s and ’40s, when Diaspora Jews desperately needed a symbol of Jewish strength and pride, the brawny, sunburned kibbutznik became the poster image for the new Jew emerging in Palestine.
Yoav was my kibbutz brother, secular and an ardent Zionist. He had an encyclopedic mind that could recite in detail kibbutz history, lore and socialist ideology. Today, Yoav is an equally intense, knowledgeable and ideological Charedi guy living in the Midwest. He recently offered to pay me money for introducing him to the woman he married more than 25 years ago.
Whether it is the imprint of the Israel Defense Forces' unit cohesion, the Jewish sense of a shared destiny or the remnants of a socialist system, Israelis strongly -- and genuinely -- care about each other. It's simply lovely to know there is always someone who'll be there to help you out and that you're never truly alone
When Lori Schneide was 16 years old, she lived in India for the summer.
"I had this deep impression of calling," she said. "There's something we all can humbly contribute."
In real life, Leo Goldberg doesn't dance and sing.
But at Camp Gilboa, where he's spent summers for the past 9 years, Leo Goldberg dances. And he sings. A lot -- and loudly.
Despite the fact that Orman has not been associated with Judaism in any traditional sense for decades, this search for purpose continues to inform her work. She says she is still a spiritually inquisitive person and that she has never stopped contemplating the concept of God.
The goal is to give young, secular Israelis an education that will show them that they too have a rich culture to tap into and explore.
Is this simply Israel's war to win or lose?
Visitors to Israel are often looking for a spiritual uplift, and one of the country's best-kept secrets for achieving that transcendent state is not found in Jerusalem's Old City. Perhaps it is the oxygen-rich air coupled with the high-concentration of relaxing bromide. Or maybe it's the lure of natural therapeutic essences in the surroundings of scenic beauty. Simply put, there is no better place to unwind and rejuvenate than in Ein Gedi country.
Kibbutz Ketura, in the south of Israel, is a small, quiet agricultural settlement, with a rich tradition of community celebration.
Israeli director Eytan Fox makes films that open on a rousing patriotic note of rugged Israelis battling the enemy, before gradually exposing the chinks in his country's macho culture.
It was a sign of folk singer Naomi Shemer's importance to Israel's national psyche that her death relegated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the inside pages of the nation's newspapers.
From Los Angeles, Israel is 20 hours away by plane and 10 hours ahead on the clock; it's also a world apart.
This is not Kibbutz Ein-Hashofet or Kibbutz Nahsholim in Israel. It's Malibu, Calif., at Camp JCA Shalom, and these "kibbutzniks" are not even Jewish.
First they made the desert bloom. Now they want tomake it pay eight-to-one in the fifth.