|First hut from Magdiel (restored).|
This story, is not how my grandfather's sense of humor, and how he laughed at himself for wearing glasses which clung to his nose by a piece of tape. It's not about how he drove "a Mercedes" around the Kibbutz. After suffering heart failure, my grandfather was awarded a golf cart. He truly enjoyed the luxury of driving it around the narrow pathways and dubbed it his Mercedes. It's not how he wore his khaki colored shorts high above his belly button of his bulging belly and displaying his skinny legs. It's also not about how he kept his false teeth in a cup of water in the bathroom, the water magnifying the dentures and scaring the hell out of young grandchildren. It's not about any of those things, because those things I witnessed myself. They are my memories of my grandfather. This post is a continuation of the series of stories I learned from digging up the past, the pieces of the puzzle I discovered as I researched my grandfather's life.
In 1934 when my grandfather arrived in Palestine, he was part of a core group of Hanoar Hatzioni members who formed an independent settlement in Magdiel, called Magdiel beit. Magdiel, was a small agricultural community in the heart of Israel (now part of Hod Hasharon). This fall, my son will be spending three months studying in Hod Hasharon. Of all the places in Israel, his program is located in the exact same location where his great-grandfather landed in Israel almost eighty years ago. He will find not find the sand dunes and swamps his great-grandfather encountered there, but maybe he can visit the first hut of the settlement, now restored and nestled among the modern apartment buildings.
From its inception the Hanoar Hatzioni group, envisioned an independent Kibbutz belonging to their youth movement and not affiliated to the Histadrut Organization, the General Federation of Laborers in the land of Israel (Israel's Labor Unions Organizations, in charge of workers activities among them settlements). This was to be the first Kibbutz of the Hanoar Haztzioni and a source of pride for the passionate movement members. Remember those youth group summer camps my grandfather headed as part of the youth movement? (See Part I). The youth group was everything to them. The idea that a group of young people can actually have their own Kibbutz was revolutionary and they didn't want to give that up to the control of a the fast growing and powerful labor union. While awaiting a permanent location for their kibbutz, they worked and received support from the more established agricultural settlement of Magdiel. The intense preparations abroad, did not quite prepare these young, pale, urban intellectuals, for the hard physical labor involved in farming the land. When hunger plagued, they searched for supplemental jobs outside Magdiel. My grandfather to enlisted to dig trenches in Cfar Etzion, a settlement planned for newly acquired lands of Gush Etzion.
|Baruch Lavi top left with|
a group of fellow Magdiel settlers.
Baruch Lavi, bottom row, second from the left (with the cap).
|Making construction bricks at Magdiel|
Baruch Lavi, bottom left.
To be continued in Part IV and Part V