Culture and Judaism in the kibbutz are intertwined – in local, regional, and national circles. Kibbutz Judaism existed from the very beginning of the kibbutz, but was only defined in detail at the start of the twenty-first century, and is still grounded on kibbutz traditions from the past. In secular kibbutzim it is ‘mediated’ by variables of education, culture, and community; this is particularly the case for new residents, including kibbutz-born, in search of community life and good education for their children. The target populations of cultural activities are diverse and the prevailing spirit is secular/pluralistic Judaism and ‘Jewish renewal’. This Judaism is diffused in major centres of activity of the secular Kibbutz Movement as well as of the Religious Kibbutz Movement. The main impact of kibbutz Judaism since the 1970s is directed outwards, through frameworks founded by kibbutz members.
This chapter examines present-day ‘kibbutz education’ in the post-gemeinshaft kibbutz. We ask four questions: what is ‘kibbutz education’ today, in light of the changes in the kibbutz? Can it still be defined as ‘kibbutz education’, based on the generic principles that distinguished it – and which practices express them today? What attraction kibbutz education exercises on families? And what is this education’s influence on the environment and within society as a whole? The principles of kibbutz education that we examine are: (1) child’s personal and social education in group; (2) the community’s responsibility for education; (3) The uniformity of factors which are partners in education; (4) the uniformity of teaching; (5) active learning; (6) autonomy of children’s and adolescents’ framework; (7) the autonomy of the teaching staff and educators; and (8) the continuity of communal education from infancy to adolescence.