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Kibbutzniks in the Diaspora

Naama Sabar

Publication Year: 2000

Explores the search for identity under changing conditions by examining the lives of kibbutz-born young people living in L.A. Under what circumstances would kibbutz-born young people leave a society which symbolizes, more than anything else, the Zionist dream? Naama Sabar explores this question by examining the lives of a group of Israeli emigrants living in Los Angeles in the 1980s and early 1990s. Through extensive interviews in which these “kibbutzniks” share their life stories, she uncovers what pushed them to leave the kibbutz and what pulls them to remain in L.A. The underlying leitmotif is the search for identity under changing conditions.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies

Title Page

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pp. iii

Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iv-v


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xii

At the end of the summer of 1988, I went to the University of California for a sabbatical, together with my family On my arrival, I visited the home of friends from my student days at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a physician and she is a biologist, both of them born and raised on a kibbutz. In 1972, they settled in Los Angeles with their...

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pp. 1-13

Fifty years ago, the State of Israel was established as the fulfillment of the Zionist dream and a response to the Holocaust. However, even after fifty years of independence, the permanence of the state is not assured. To survive, Israel needs manpower and it invests enormous resources in recruiting newcomers from around the world....

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Part One: Getting Started

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pp. 15-22

When I first thought of doing a study on kibbutz-reared yordim,1 I asked Amos, originally from a city in Israel, whether he could help me meet with some former kibbutzniks; as a representative of a large Israeli company, he had contacts with many "I'm sure I can," he replied without any hesitation. "I'm ready to call some right away I...

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Part Two: About Themselves

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pp. 23-84

Most of my meetings with the kibbutzniks took place in the San Fernando Valley-a part of greater Los Angeles where many Israelis, including former kibbutz residents, live. It's a developing area that promises employment. The climate is similar to Israel's; the population is young, mainly middle class; and compared to the...

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Part Three: Permanent Temporariness

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pp. 85-114

"Emigrant kibbutzniks"? The combination of words is an oxymoron. The born-and-bred Israeli, the antithesis to the Diaspora Jew-that's the image of the kibbutznik. What connection is there between this image and that of an emigrant? What are the characteristics of the emigrant kibbutznik? The life stories of my interviewees...

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Part Four: Life Cycles

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pp. 115-138

The life stories of my interviewees showed how their belonging to a family, an age group, a society, and a state, in a cyclical hierarchy, influenced their lives in the past and in the present: the close community (the person and his/her family); the school community (the children's society in the kibbutz and all those active in the school); the local community (the territory of the kibbutz); and the distant community...

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Part Five: Push and Pull Factors

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pp. 139-143

The major questions discussed in this book have been: What are the main factors motivating kibbutzniks to emigrate from Israel?; How do they cope with their identity as immigrants?; and, What causes them to remain in L.A.? The findings of my research show evidence of two opposing forces: those pushing these young people to leave Israel,...

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pp. 145-150

When I had nearly completed this book, I decided it would be a good idea to find out what had happened to the subjects of the study When I contacted their families in Israel and introduced myself, they readily answered my queries. I found out who had married, who had divorced, who had had children and how many, and that the names...

Appendix A: The Research Methodology

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pp. 151-156

Appendix B: Recent Changes in the Kibbutz

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pp. 157-160


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pp. 161-171

Works Cited

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pp. 173-182


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pp. 183-189

E-ISBN-13: 9780791493106
E-ISBN-10: 0791493105
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791444719
Print-ISBN-10: 0791444716

Page Count: 189
Publication Year: 2000

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies