Cite: Lieblich, Family Life in the Kibbutz

Lieblich, Amia. "A Century of Childhood, Parenting, and Family Life in the Kibbutz." Journal of Israeli History 29,1 (2010): 1-24.


A vast amount of diverse works in various genres have described, analyzed, and interpreted the experience of childhood, parenting, and family life in the kibbutz’s hundred years of existence: quantitative and qualitative studies, real-time or retrospective accounts, both factual and fictional, and in a variety of art forms. This article presents a brief history of the kibbutz’s system of communal child rearing and education, and then examines the multi-angled perspectives of the body of work about it. The main results of the objective studies are that only negligible differences exist between children raised on kibbutz and those from a more traditional upbringing. The qualitative studies, however, indicate that children raised in the kibbutz’s communal living system, especially females, carry significant scars into adulthood. Kibbutz mothers, too, express regrets regarding their past parental behavior. This is most apparent in case studies from therapeutic settings. While memoirs present kibbutz childhood in a heroic and entertaining vein, most works of fiction exude pain and criticism. Because all these works are serious and significant portrayals of kibbutz experiences, we can infer that a comprehensive image of childhood and parenthood in the kibbutz is multicolored, and that this image is indicative of a complex social and psychological reality.


Keywords: Israel: Society, Education, Family Life and Culture, Kibbutz Movement, Israel: Children and Youth, Motherhood, עמיה ליבליך

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