Israel Memories

Kibbutz Living And A Gas Mask

By John Carson

I lived on three different kibbutzim from 1989-1994. The longest time I stayed was for one year and it also happened to be during the first Gulf War, hence the gas mask photo during a scud missile attack on Tel Aviv!

I hated the kibbutz life for the first week -- it was so different and sparse compared to my life in London, England. But I had given up my job and saved money to travel to Israel for the experience, so I decided to stick it out.

Something clicked in my head and I realized that I'd be doing things that I would never have the chance to do, and would also not be doing again in the future.

Then I threw myself into the whole kibbutz volunteer experience and worked every job going, from the dining room to irrigation, from milking cows to raising chickens, from making flutes to picking dates, to working in the Dead Sea Mud factory to kibbutz gardening.

The last job was the best as I had my own tractor and scooter -- luxury for a humble volunteer!

Met some amazing travellers and Israelis who I still call friends today. Best times of my life. So much so, in 1997 I set up an information site to help potential volunteers called, http://kibbutzvolunteer.com/.

I also wrote a book about my experiences called, "Beer and Bagels for Breakfast".


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