New Dror Israel Educators’ Building Making a Splash in Tel Aviv!
We are delighted that the kibbutz movement weekly magazine HaZman HaYarok recently covered the completion of our new urban kibbutz building in Tel Aviv!
The number one kibbutz periodical “HaZman HaYarok” recently featured an in-depth article about our Educators’ Kibbutz in Tel Aviv, which recently moved in to a newly renovated building in South Tel Aviv.
Here are some of highlights from the article:
"There’s a new kibbutz in the neighborhood"
In the midst of the pandemic, very quietly, a new building has been built in the Shapira neighborhood of Tel Aviv for another urban kibbutz from Dror Israel.
To get to know this four-story building constructed by Dror Israel in the Shapira neighborhood in South Tel Aviv as a new urban kibbutz for 60 members and their families, you really have to see it with your own eyes. But during this pandemic, we’re not allowed to leave our homes and it’s even too difficult to hold a real ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building, and so I found myself conducting an interview on Zoom with four people connected to this special project.
The four are:
Aya Dotan, mother of two, who lives with her family in the kibbutz. Aya is a youth movement graduate, a preschool teacher with some 20 years of experience, and a Hebrew teacher for 5th graders at an Arab elementary school in Jaffa.
Tomer Aboudi from Kibbutz Eshbal is the director of the Dror Assets Foundation, which establishes buildings for long-term rental for the purposes of kibbutz living. It has buildings in Akko, Mitzpe Ramon, Beer Sheva and now Tel Aviv. He says, “The idea is to create platforms for kibbutz living and free the members for their work in education and society, with a little less financial worries. The home we built here was planned as a kibbutz, with space for educational activities for kids and for larger gatherings.
Hadar Naim, another member of the kibbutz in Tel Aviv where he lives with his three children, is an elementary school teacher in the neighborhood and currently studying to be a school principal. Additional Dror Israel educators, some kibbutz members, also teach with him at the same school.
Tomer Shmukler is the fourth interviewee and Dror Israel’s spokesperson. He tell us that “the entire subject of communities and communal living is taking off in Israel, with needs arising in all kinds of places. A kibbutz in the city has the advantage of flexibility, which lets people choose the level of communality that suits them. The new home here is a whole new level for our efforts.
Is there enough money to live on? It’s not too crowded with 60 people in one building?
Aya Dotan: “I’ve been living in Tel Aviv for over 20 years, including in this neighborhood. We live modestly, but we’re not paupers either.”
Tomer Aboudi: “It’s a kibbutz made up of small groups. In terms of the lifestyle, a few apartments make up one group. There are nine apartments, some with 11 residents. They were designed for this in terms of numbers of rooms and bathrooms. Couples obviously have their own rooms.”
Hadar Naim: “We’ve known one another for many years and have learned to get along. I have been living with my partner with a group nearby for 14 years. We’ve learned to give one another the space everyone needs,”
Aya Dotan: “My group is made up of three couples with two kids. We live in three separate apartments. I can close the door and say I’ve had enough, or choose to leave it open.”
“The building has four floors of apartments, including spaces for meetings and an area in the lobby for educational programming for our kids in the afternoon. On Passover, we celebrated the seder via Zoom. On Shabbat and holidays, we eat together. Today, it’s complicated. We live in a “red” neighborhood, with a high coronavirus infection rate. I’ve been in quarantine for a while now. For twenty years we lived in different apartments all around the area, today we’re in one building. I just want COVID to be over already!
Hadar, “There are committees for different activities, a lot of information passes between the members. There’s our baker on the first floor who bakes bread for anybody who asks. During the lockdown we lowered buckets from the upper balconies with a rope and that’s how he delivered us bread. On Sukkot this year we didn’t build one big Sukkah, but rather a few small ones, in order to prevent crowding. We’re looking forward to a time when we can have large celebrations.”
Where’s the political benefit from your work?
Aya, “We work in the communities in which we live. There are communities of adults who are partners to the change taking place here. We influence our surroundings and are also influenced by them. It’s not politics in the sense of going to the Knesset, it’s politics of impacting our surroundings.”
Tomer Aboudi, “Many Dror Israel members are in key positions such as school principals, and other meaningful positions in Israeli society. Our voice is heard.”
Tomer Shmukler, “The question about our impact is an important one. If we manage to play a small part in keeping together our society during these difficult times, then we have done a lot, even if it’s not under the banner of any political party.”
Tomer Aboudi sums up, “I was one of the founders of Kibbutz Eshbal. I understand the advantages of communal living and the ability to build structures suited to this kind of life in the city. The initiative to develop the model of the urban kibbutz came from there. It’s a crazy procedure but we already have four buildings.”