I thank you for the opportunity to address the 13 th International Communal Studies Association Conference at Camphill Colonies in NY State. Since I am no longer able to make the long journey from my home in Kibbutz Palmachim,
Israel, I've asked Anton Marks to read my greetings to you.
40 years ago I attended the NHCSA Conference being held at that time in Omaha, Nebraska. I was in the USA to undertake my research on American communities and by chance had heard about the conference. I contacted the
organisers and was delighted when they agreed that I may attend as a guest.
I was very impressed by the conference and by the topics addressed during the discussions, many of which were so similar to those experienced by the kibbutz researchers. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the then
President, Professor Donald Pitzer, and in our conversation we discussed the need to organise a meeting of researchers of kibbutz together with other researchers of communes from around the world. We agreed to try and
promote this idea – each one from his place of work: Don as Director of the Centre of Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana and me as part of my work at Yad Tabenkin, the Research Documentation Centre of the
Kibbutz Movement and as Professor in the Department of History, Tel-Aviv University. Our efforts were successful and in 1985 the first conference of researchers from all over the world took place at Yad Tabenkin. It's topic was
'Kibbutz and Communes – Past and Future' and proved to be very successful.
During the conference a group of researchers from various countries discussed the need to continue with these international meetings on a regular basis and it was decided to create an international association for this purpose
to be called The International Communal Studies Association – ICSA. At that time it was also decided to establish the ICSA Office within Yad Tabenkin, a non-profit organisation, and so it remains until today. The rest is History…….
And here you are 35 years after the establishment of the association and 12 international conferences held at many different venues throughout the world including communes and universities. These conferences have brought
together researchers from varying backgrounds and countries, kibbutz and communes researchers. The meetings have often led to personal contacts which enriched the various research projects as well as the formation of close
friendships over many years.
During this period I continued my research whilst attended many conferences and my close connections with many researchers were enriching and rewarding. The period during which I was active in the ICSA and attended its conferences was undoubtedly one of highlights of my long academic career in addition to enjoying close connections with people from whom I learnt much as well as friendships which have lasted for many years until today.
I believe that amongst the participants of the Camphill Conference are some of my veteran friends who have made this long journey with me in our joint venture to research communal life. I send them my personal thanks and appreciation for the many years of cooperation and contribution to the field of communal studies.
I also greet all the other participants and hope that you will enjoy this conference and that you will also be able to establish connections and friendships which will enrich future activities. In particular I hope that the Camphill Conference will strengthen the ICSA's future and the many challenges which lie ahead for us all.