If I had to choose, from all of the places I have traveled, one place that is the most reminiscent of what one might think “paradise” or say, the Garden of Eden, is like, I would choose Ma’agan Michael. Ma’agan Michael is one of the few Kibbutizim (plural for Kibbutz) left in Israel still functioning today with its communal values. As an outsider visiting there, the energy in the community is calm and patient and everyone seems to knows everyone. There is a doctor, school, child care, dining hall, cafe, a small bar, and pretty much everything else you could think a community needs, and there it is all walking distance. One of its best features is that it is located right on the Mediterranean Sea (literally on the beach) and is full of flowers, cacti, and surrounded by their fields growing fruits and vegetables. I wish I could go into great depth explaining all of their systems and how the kibbutz functions, but honestly, I just don’t know or understand enough to do that. In fact, every time Ronen and I go to visit our friends there, a great deal of that time is spent drilling them with questions and learning about life on the kibbutz, which, we have yet to get sick of hearing about. For me, the intense community values and systems that are apart of life in Ma’agan Michael bring up questions like ‘what is truly important in life?’ ‘what is essential?’ ‘what feels essential and maybe isn’t?’ ‘what would I give up for my community?’ and ‘what could I contribute?’. Living there is such a contrast to living in our capitalistic economy and the communal aspects there sound both restraining and completely freeing. I don’t have a well formed opinion on what I think is better or worse (maybe neither!), or what situation would I prefer given the chance, but it is wonderful to have time there and get to entertain these questions and ideas and see our friends living there working their thoughts through the same questions.
While winding around the entrance to the Kibbutz, you come across the bizarreness of this alien like cacti garden. I’ve read that it has more than 1,000 species of cacti and I definitely believe it. I’ve always make a point to stop there when we visit, usually bringing piles of color film to use because, well….
…however, this post is for the one roll of black and white film that I have taken there because I love it more than I thought I would. Last but not least, a little shout out to Edna and Kichka, our friends living there, for always being the best people and hosts and entertaining our million questions. Thank you thank you 🙂
Camera nerd info: Yashica T4 & whatever film I had on hand 😉