2023 Hanukkah Spotlight: Moran Bar, Director of Kibbutzim Department of HH Israel

My name is Moran Bar, I am 33 years old, living in an urban kibbutz of the Hashomer Hatzair Bogrim movement in Nahariya. In the past, I led the boarding school of the "Tzafit Youth" movement, and in recent years, I have been leading the movement as a member of the “Hanhaga”, managing our activities and connections with communities in the kibbutzim.

I grew up in Kibbutz Ma’apil; my grandparents were its founders. I joined the movement in the sixth grade, was a madricha for all of the ages in the ken, and served as an editor in the movement's newspaper, "Al HaChoma." Since high school, the movement has been deeply rooted in my heart.

I participated in Hashomer Hatzair’s Shnat Sherut, a gap year before the IDF. After my release, I chose to join the Bogrim movement to live a socialist lifestyle, be a madricha, which I still consider the most amazing thing in the world, and live a life of meaning and service.

The movement shaped my identity and worldview. To live in a world for something greater than just myself, for the ideas of justice and peace, and to learn to live with others in the community. The movement is a part of who I am. I strongly believe in the movement's ability to give children, youth, and adults meaning and purpose in life.

The movement taught me the values of left-wing Zionism and living with the complexity it brings.

I love Israel very much. I have strong feelings of love for the Jewish people and Israel. I believe that the Jewish people should have their own state where they can live freely and defend themselves if necessary. However, I believe that the way to achieve this is through peace with our neighbors and not war. In these war days, there is a lot of pain, anger, and physical insecurity within us. There's a feeling that this vision is drifting away. I'm not naive; we have a real need to defend ourselves. But I think that in such a challenging time, the strongest thing we have against fear is hope. Hope for a life of freedom, safety, and justice for all free from guilt – both Israelis and Palestinians. And the hope for the Jewish people to live in their state. I strongly believe in Israeli society, its diversity, strength, and its people.

After the recent events in the Gaza Strip, we visited Eilat, the Dead Sea, and the north to meet our communities with whom we regularly work in the kibbutzim. We saw communities in a very difficult situation, full of pain, and brokenness. Together with many movement members of all ages, we started building educational frameworks in hotels for children from 0 to 18, operating as schools until the afternoon. Many volunteers, some from the bogrim movement and many from the bogrim network, joined us – people who grew up in the movement and now contribute when needed. We established 10 educational activity centers with our teams in various hotels where the evacuees were.

The educational framework allows parents to take a break, take care of themselves, deal with mourning for the community members who passed away, and cope with the struggle to bring back the captured hostages. For the children, the framework provides a place to be children again, to play games, with adult figures they connect to and trust.

It's important for us to show them that we are always by their side. They are part of the Hashomer Hatzair family.

Additionally, we set up a group for the city's children in Sderot in one of the hotels where we work. In this hotel, we try to create a historical correction in the relationship between the kibbutzim and development cities in the south, conduct joint activities, and build connections between children and adults. It's an opportunity for both populations to be in the same place under the same conditions, and very special things happen there.

The Hashomer Hatzair movement operates in two areas—the Israeli society and the Jewish world. Despite the physical distance and cultural differences, the movement shares the same values and identity everywhere. Every time I visit a Hashomer Hatzair Ken around the world, I feel tears of excitement in my eyes. We are one community, one home, one bayit. 

Hagshama today, as it was before, is a choice—to live your life for something great, for people, society, and ideas. To live a life with a sense of duty. My Hashomer Hatzair Hagshama is the State of Israel. Zionism has two meanings—the sovereignty of the Jewish people in their land (a feeling that was reaffirmed after October 7) and the second meaning, building and shaping Israeli society to be based on justice and equality. My life is a life of duty and a mission for these meanings, and that is the hagshama.

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