LITERATURE

We Were the Future: A Memoir of the Kibbutz

Overlook. Nov. 2016. 256p. tr. from Hebrew by Sondra Silverston. photos. ISBN 9781468313567. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781468313864. MEMOIR
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The kibbutz ("communal settlement") movement in Israel was a radical reaction to the Holocaust, an attempt to create a society that was not based on traditional norms. Neeman's (Orange Tuesday) memoir is surely one of the few written in the first-person plural ("we"), a wonderful choice, as it perfectly captures the collective experience of life at Kibbutz Yehiam, near the Lebanese border. Without judgement or sentiment, Neeman shows rather than explains, through the most minor details, what a kibbutz is or should be. One of the more compelling sections describes smoking and its ubiquity at Kibbutz Yehiam. In this community, it seems even ordinary acts take on highly significant, even ecstatic, meaning.
VERDICT A highly recommended introduction to the kibbutz movement.

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