Our Story

The Story of Habonim Dror Camping

Moshava is one of seven Habonim Dror camps in North America.  Habonim Dror is an international Labor Zionist youth movement that began in Europe over 70 years ago and has spread to 19 countries throughout the world.  The movement has played an integral part in the history of Israel and the Jewish people. In the ’40s and ’50s, young Jews from Habonim settled many of the kibbutzim and helped the Jewish state to develop and grow.  Members of North American Habonim have helped found several kibbutzim, including Urim, Kfar Blum, Gesher HaZiv, Grofit, Gezer and Lavon.

Today, Habonim Dror continues to teach the values of kibbutz: cooperation, shared labor, chalutziut (pioneering), social justice, Zionism and Judaism.  Habonim Dror has remained unaffiliated with traditional Jewish religious denominations in order to offer an open, inviting community for those of all levels of observance. In cities across the world, including Baltimore, Washington, Northern Virginia and Columbia, the movement holds activities throughout the year.  In addition, Habonim Dror sponsors leadership training and camping programs in Israel for its older members, including a summer program for rising 11th graders, and a one-year experience for high school graduates.  Many of the madrichim (counselors) at camp have lived on a traditional or urban kibbutz.

At Moshava, we live according to the values of Habonim Dror.  In this way, we are able to establish a society based on cooperation and equality.  We try to simulate the kibbutz experience while we learn about Israel, Judaism and social justice.


Kupa (Sharing, Cooperation, Responsibility)

Like all Habonim Dror camps, Moshava operates on a system of sharing and cooperation called kupa.  This value is the foundation for teaching the art of living together and is a fundamental part of Habonim Dror ideology and policy. 

Kupa sets the tone for every aspect of life at camp: sharing the facilities we use, the food we eat and the very ground on which we walk.  We also share the responsibility for maintaining camp and for the smooth functioning of the summer community.  And, of course, we share in the fun!

Campers need no personal money while at camp.  Each camp session, a small amount of each camper’s tuition is put into the kupa fund.  Part of this fund is used to establish a central canteen, from which campers can draw small personal necessities such as toiletries, stationary, etc.  Kupa is also used for special treats and activities.  Decisions regarding kupa funds are made by campers in a democratic process of elected representatives and committees.


Chinuch (Educational Programming)

Habonim Dror is world renowned for its educational programming.  Creative activities and informal discussion of Jewish history, social justice, Zionism and Israel foster positive attitudes toward a better understanding of our heritage and of our role as Jews.  Across America, there are thousands of Moshava alumni who attribute their identities as Jews and their connections to Israel to Habonim Dror. Many are leaders in the Jewish community.
 

Read the latest study summary about the importance of Jewish camping.