This is a photograph of members of Kibbutz Hazoreah in 1940. In the centre of the picture, two of the kibbutz members are carrying a bunch of grapes, imitating the image of the spies sent by Moses to scout out the Promised Land. This large bunch of grapes is a symbol of the richness of the produce of Israel. Next to the men are other members of the kibbutz, holding hands with children who are wearing keffiyehs – headscarves seen as traditional Israeli dress.
The photo was taken at the bikurim (first fruits) ceremony, a very common Shavuot celebration on kibbutzim. The purpose of the ceremony is to demonstrate the gratitude and pride of the kibbutz members in the produce of the previous year – both the agricultural yield and the new children born on the kibbutz.
These pioneering kibbutz members showed courage and perseverance in spite of the difficult conditions in Israel before the establishment of the state: there was no electricity, water, or roads, and they confronted many threats to their security. The pioneers were mostly young people who came to the kibbutz for ideological reasons, but very few had experience of working the land. All this made the bikurim ceremony even more special, since the pioneers felt they had much to be thankful for.
Who are the people in the photograph? Why are they carrying grapes?
What are the children wearing on their heads? Why do you think they are wearing these?
Describe the buildings. Are there many buildings? Are there any other settlements in the background? Is this a densely populated area? Are there trees and gardens? What does this tell you about the place?
Compare between kibbutz conditions in 1940 and today. How do you explain these differences?
This photograph is of a bikurim ceremony. What are bikurim? What was done with bikurim in biblical times?
Create artistic versions of this photograph, using different mediums such as collages, dot painting, etc.
Plan a bikurim ceremony using produce grown on kibbutzim today.
Kibbutz Hazorea, 1940