Mizrachi Worker’s Party: Happy May Day

Many German Orthodox youth became the backbone and ideologues of the socialist religious Kibbutz movement. So in honor of German Orthodoxy- happy May Day, the workers day.  It seems that there was only one Orthodox training camp to go on Aliyah from Germany so the members of Mizrachi and Bnai Akiva were together with Poalei Agudah and Ezra, and both with Blue-White. They replace Torah im Derekh Eretz with Torah ve Avodah, except for Breuer himself who said he was Torah im Derekh Eretz Israel. They formed Brit Chalutzim Datiim (Bahad). They traveled and settled together and all moved onto Keren Kayemet lands.

They taught, preached, and published that Torah and socialism go together. It was mainly a libertarian socialism like Buber or his student Akiva Simon except for Breuer who wanted a national socialism by libertarian organic means. The one exception to the deep connection of socialism and Torah was Yeshaya Leibowitz, who thought Judaism has no social doctrine – we choose socialism as a practical means.   We have a whole generation of socialist Orthodox rabbis. So spend some time today and look at the publications of Bahad, especially those that appeared in English for the German Jews who took refuge in England.

Torah and social order.by Joseph Heinemann

Social legislation in the Talmud by Isidore Epstein

ha-Tsedek ha-sotsyali veha-tsedek ha-mishpati veha-musari shelanu  by  Moshe Avigdor Amiel

Hazon ve-hagshamah /Sh. Z. Shragai with Yesodot u-maskanot/Y. Bernshtain

They all spent a decade farming on the kibbutz. They avoided the use of non-Jewish labor as part of their return to the land, allowing themselves great leniencies for milking and running a farm on Shabbat. They also allowed free mixing of the sexes, changed the dress code, and prayed without a mehitza for many years –see the  extensive article by Lilach Rosenberg-Friedman- here.

They were generally liberal on Settlement -Arab issues. The predominate voice of the unified party of the religious parties was German immigrant Moshe Unna who advocated division of the land as well as just and flexible negotiations with the local population. (The secular labor party were the hardliners in those days.) Seven out of ten settlements did not survive the war of independence. (They were re-founded with different personnel a decade later.) Hence, after the war, the German Orthodox intellectuals all found their way to Rehavia and Talbiah to positions in education. Their way of life formed the basis for Bnai Akiva in the 1950’s and the textbooks of the 1960’s.

4 responses to “Mizrachi Worker’s Party: Happy May Day

  1. Dayan Epstein’s essay is posted online here: http://www.come-and-hear.com/talmud/babamezia.html

  2. Interesting seeing a Sefer Torah in Orthodox Jewish iconography. Today one would expect a sefer, no?

  3. According to this http://www.kfarnoar.org/pages/noar/zeire.php Ezra was part of BaHat, but was Tzeirei?

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