Kibbutz life and money
I´m volunteering at a communist kibbutz called Neot Semadar, which means that its finance is a common good. People here work at and for the kibbutz, all kibbutz´s profits are reinvested in the kibbutz. Originally, all kibbutzim functioned like this, but not now. Its system unfortunately declined, only kibbutzim with strong economical activities were able to maintain itself. Mine survives specially with dates products. It´s not the only thing we produce, actually it is quite amazing how such a small community of about 200 people is able to produce so many things: goat cheese (many types), goat yogurt, dates and its products, natural juices, cereal bars, olive oil, olives.
Since I arrived here, 19 days ago, I have not touched money or credit card. I just don´t think about money anymore because there really is no need. There is no need to buy anything here, even tampons are provided in the bathrooms. Quite odd, but also liberating. Of course it´s a humble life compared to the city live. I don´t even miss variety of clothes, I actually use basically the same clothes everyday, wash them and then the cycle continues without missing different clothing. This applied to other “needs” I had anywhere else.
I can´t even remember when I went so many days without even thinking about money. Even as a kid, I had either pocket money or was already interested in a chocolate bar or a Barbie house I had seen in the TV commercial, meaning, even when a kid, I wanted to buy something and, therefore, thought about money.
There´s no need for money here, it´s a bubble. However, there is need for money outside and to sustain itself. For the former, that´s why we work a lot, but everyone seizes the kibbutz´s earnings equally. Now, regarding the outside world, this is quite complicated. When one needs to do anything outside the kibbutz or even have vacations, money is needed. One can live in this bubble for years, however she or he will eventually interact with the outside world.
It´s a complex issue because if you don´t have assets outside here, you can´t really go out and about. People are here by choice and for a purpose, so the word stuck is too heavy. Many came because they got tired of the city life, of working really hard and never having time. Some of them have assets, which solves this problem with the outside world.
A young volunteer, who just left the army, told me she feels really good here because she doesn´t have to worry about bills, food and housing, specially being so young, where it would be hard to get a job that provides for all of these and time. It´s true. Although, at the same time, this is possible only here, at this place and with this specific lifestyle.
It´s liberating if you want to live in a small rural community and have a humble life. You work for the kibbutz, which means you do everything a bit, work positions here rotate, even houses rotate so that people won´t get attached. But this is a Neot Semadar thing. If you don´t, it can be suffocating. Either way, if you have the chance, I recommend this experience, of living in a community where everything is everyones, it is one of a kind and very hard to put it into words.