Our history is more than just a summer camp, it’s a movement.
Hashomer Hatzair has impacted the world today, from extraordinary philosophers, to leading the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, establishing Kibbutzim and schools for refugees. Our education and philosophy have inspired notable figures, including Dr. Ruth Westheimer and David Broza, and we continue to empower youth today.
Hashomer Hatzair was founded in Galicia, Austria-Hungary as a socialist-Zionist youth movement. It is the oldest Zionist movement still in existence. The movement was, and still is, largely guided by the ideas of Ber Borochov and Martin Buber; anyone who grows up here has read and debated their philosophies.
The movement first arrived in North America with European immigrants, who established chapters (known as ‘Kenim’) in major cities around the US and Canada, including NYC, LA, Toronto, and Montreal. The first summer camp in North America was established in 1928 on a farm in New Jersey for the purpose of preparing groups of young adults for communal farming and life on kibbutzim in Israel-Palestine.
Hashomer Hatzair took on a new meaning during WWII and the Holocaust, with over 70,000 members of the Tnua. Mordechai Anilewicz, head of the Warsaw Ken, led the largest Jewish insurrection against the Nazis, known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Haviva Reik, from Slovakia, parachuted into Nazi occupied Europe in the resistance. These are just two of many stories of Shomrimot heroes of the Holocaust.
Until then, Hashomer Hatzair had created its own political party that called for equality with Palestinians living on the land, in a binational state. After ‘48, they joined with other parties to form Mapam, and today are affiliated with Meretz. Hashomer Hatzair members founded 75 kibbutzim in the years surrounding the creation of Israel, with the help of members from North America. Our Moshava was the training ground for Olim who created 14 kibbutzim.
Shomrimot in the US were active in the Civil Rights Movement, along with the anti-war movement in the Vietnam era. The infamous Woodstock celebration took place just a few minutes drive away from Camp Shomria. Our campers and counselors, at the time, went over and handed out sandwiches to concert-goers!
Hashomer Hatzair and Camp Shomria continue to grow with time. Today we have Kenim in the tri-state area, with summer camp and weekend reunions at Camp Shomria. There are also many leadership opportunities for our Mamshichim, in the form of leadership seminars, hadracha, and international seminars. The Bogrim have established projects including the School of Peace for refugees in Greece, and Achvat Amim- a program delving into establishing solidarity with Palestinians.