Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Name: Aaron Levin
Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA
  I was on the ulpan and then a volunteer at Ein Gev from November, 1969 to March, 1971, with three months off in the summer of 1970 to work on an archaeological excavation. I mostly worked in the bananas and dates. I’ve returned to Israel many times over the years since and have always visited Ein Gev. I just spent three weeks in the country and I thought my fellow ex-volunteers might be interested in what the kibbutz is like today. (I’m grateful to Dina Hoffman, who grew up on Ein Gev, for many of the details below.)

The whole kibbutz movement has changed since most of us were there. Many have become totally privatized, essentially turning into small villages of homeowners. Ein Gev has largely resisted that trend. People do get salaries now and have to pay for things like food out of their earnings. Many young people, either new or returning children of members, are coming to the kibbutz, but they have to buy land and build their own houses. The dining room is now only open for lunch and is closed on Saturdays, but holiday celebrations still bring out most kibbutz members. (Because of my personal schedule I did not get to the dining room during meal hours.) 

Ein Gev’s economy still largely revolves around bananas, dates, the dairy herd, and tourism. The latter includes a large holiday village south of the kibbutz and an expanded (since my day) fish restaurant next to the harbor. However, there are also extensive groves of lichees, mango, and grapefruit. Ein Gev still has a small group of volunteers, with many coming from Asia.

The tall palm trees still stand by the shore of the Kinneret, but the lake has been extremely low for years, due to a lack of rainfall coupled with increased use of lake water. The old airplane has been repainted and maybe made a little safer to climb on. You can drive most of the way up to Sussita now. The top has been excavated by archaeologists for a number of years and there are very impressive Roman and Byzantine structures now visible. All in all, while there are some new buildings here and there, I’d say Ein Gev still resembles the place we recall from our days there in the 1970s.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Name: Bart Proctor
Location: Port Edward, British Columbia, Canada

I was in Ein Gev from July to November 1973. I worked in the banana fields, restaurant and even got a chance to work on a boat on the Sea of Galilee catching St Peter fish. After a while I worked with one of the lead kibbutzniks, Hime Brosh, who was a Moroccan Jew doing maintenance -- which was an interesting experience as he did not speak English and my French was limited.

I still remember the first day of the 1973 War vividly as we had partied very hard the night before and the next day low flying jets were hard on our hangovers. We soon realized what was happening and how precarious our situation was, with tank battles just down the road from us.

It was a long time ago but I still remember it as a very special time. I was 20 years old and I still remember a lot of the people there who were either Israeli or volunteers. Some of the people: Pam and Penny, Anigred, Tom, Ruth Gailea, and my buddy Danny from St. Louis who worked on tugboats on the Mississippi.

It was great to read the stories on this website.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Name: Jeremy Stanton

Location: UK

I was in En Gev in 1978 for about 6 months. I used to hang around with 3 Scottish guys, if anyone remembers. Also Lisa and Judith. I worked in the kitchens and the camping site. Coming out to Israel with my wife, love to hear from anyone who was around then. Gadi, Ofra and Scmul were about at the time. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Name: Linley Wetton nee Shute

Location: Blenheim, New Zealand

Hi there, my name is Linley Wetton nee Shute. It's a wet day here in Blenheim, New Zealand so I'm inside surfing the net and for some reason entered Ein Gev into Google and here I am.

Ofra Ben Shetrit was instrumental in my decision to try kibbutz life after I met her in England, and although I only spent a matter of months on the kibbutz it was nevertheless a very memorable experience.

I remember cooking lambs fry (liver) for breakfast in the communal kitchen. Got it down to a fine art. The other alternative for breakfast was avocado and toast. Preferred my lambs fry. Also remember banana cake made by an American girl - laced with a rather medicinal herb!!!!  I remember playing basketball on the courts with a group of Mexicans - in particular one called Aaron. Heaps of fun. The birds that roosted in the trees and shat everywhere is another lasting memory.

I was at Ein Gev in 1976-77 and the Six Day War was still very real in everyone's mind. Some of the volunteers were treated to a very bumpy and dusty trip around the Golan in an army type truck. We were protected by several fully armed guards. It was amazing to look down on Syria and Lebanon and have the kids throw stones up at us.

My thoughts go to all those in Israel who are preparing at this moment for more conflict with your neigbours. 

Shalom. Peace be with you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Name: Ian Davison

Location: Leeds, UK

I shared a room with Syd at Ein Gev from October 1972 to spring 1973 and he was a brilliant bloke. Most shabbats Syd, Tom MacFee and I would play Scrabble then Paddy would arrive and we'd listen to the soccer on BBC radio World Service. I think Syd worked for a while in bananas, then he moved to working in dates. A year or so ago he told me the story of how, one day, he'd climbed up the date tree and was just about to lower a branch full of dates when an Israeli jet flew over, very fast, very low and very loud. If I remember the story rightly, Syd came down the tree almost as quickly as the branch and it took him a minute or two (and a few swigs of orange juice) for him to regain his composure and go back up again. For some reason Syd enjoyed keeping a record of the names of all the volunteers coming and going since he'd arrived at Ein Gev, and after 5 or 6 months it was quite a long list.

After Syd went back to New Zealand he worked (at the pensions office?) in his home town of Dunedin. Unfortunately, in September 2001 he had a stroke that left him paralysed down one side, and so he had to finish working. Undaunted, Syd obtained a little mobility scooter that helped him go to shops and also go on little jaunts along the sea front. Last year Syd developed a degenerative illness and had to move into a care-home. From messages coming from his sisters, I understand that he was still able to enjoy reading and watching sport on television until very recently.

Syd was a thoroughly decent bloke and as we all remember, a character. Whatever life threw at him in recent years, he never said "Why me?", he just got on with things and regarded each problem as a challenge to be faced and dealt with, rather than a tragedy.

RIP Syd. We won't forget you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Memoriam

Sad news comes from Dunedin, New Zealand.

Fellow 1970s Volunteer Syd McAra has passed away after a long illness. He is survived by two sisters who live there in New Zealand.

Syd was in contact with old friends up until his final months, and will surely be remembered and missed. An online tribute web page is available at: