Monday, November 5, 2018
By Gil Landau, Kfar B’ir, Washington DC
Monday morning, we stood on a mountaintop overlooking the Kineret and the place where the earliest Kibbutzim were established. After hearing our guide James tell his moving personal story of coming to Israel and building an intentional community, we discussed each group’s goals, dreams for the future, and three questions we needed to answer during this trip to move our communities forward. Our community, KfarDC, an urban co-housing community to be built in downtown DC, discussed our goal of reducing loneliness caused by modern society, our dreams of creating a model for Jewish co-housing in America, and the need to learn about how to recruit serious volunteer and financing housing in a high-cost urban environment.
We then went down the mountain and heard from Muki Tzur, a pioneer of the kibbutz movement. Muki explained that the core principle for building just communities is to balance freedom and equality. All theory aside, Muki stressed that we need to stop discussing and start building. This was a lesson that was reinforced when we visited the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa and the young intentional communities there. We met with Shai Felbnik, who created an intentional community even though all the pieces were not yet there. He and his friends from national service and the military came together to rent apartments, first across the city and then in one building. The community uses an extra apartment for communal meals and Kabbalat Shabbat. They acknowledged that they were still unsettled, they have yet another move planned in the next year, but they know that they will continue to live and work together.
It’s only been one day, but the importance of execution was made clear. Communities will be forever imperfect as their human members are, and so, to create community, you need to stop discussing what will be the perfect community and build the imperfect community.
Learn more about Hakhel – the first-of-its-kind Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator