From Kibbutz to Skyscraper: How a Southern Community Adapts to Urban Life

On October 7, 2023, a horrific attack by Hamas terrorists shook the southern region of Israel. Hundreds of people were killed and abducted in a rampage that targeted the Nova music festival and the nearby kibbutzim. One of the hardest hit communities was Kibbutz Re’im, where 12 members were killed and 18 were kidnapped. The kibbutz, which had been a peaceful and pastoral home for over 400 people, was left in ruins and uninhabitable.

The survivors of Kibbutz Re’im were evacuated by the government to Eilat, where they spent more than two months in hotels. There, they tried to cope with the trauma and the uncertainty of their future. They also faced challenges such as finding jobs, schools, and medical care in a new city. Some of them felt isolated and disconnected from their kibbutz culture and values.

The Tel Aviv Transition

In December, the kibbutz members received an unexpected offer from the Brothers in Arms movement, a grassroots organization that was helping the victims of the October 7 attack. The movement had secured two newly built high-rise buildings in south Tel Aviv, where they could accommodate the entire kibbutz community. The buildings were fully furnished and equipped with amenities such as a gym, a pool, a playground, and a communal dining hall. The kibbutz members decided to accept the offer and move to Tel Aviv, hoping to find a temporary home until they could return to their kibbutz.

The Urban Kibbutz

Since their arrival in Tel Aviv, the kibbutz members have been trying to adapt to their new surroundings and maintain their kibbutz identity. They have organized themselves into committees and subcommittees, responsible for various aspects of their communal life. They have also established a daily routine, which includes morning prayers, breakfast, work, school, lunch, leisure, dinner, and evening activities. They have decorated their buildings with banners, flags, and photos of their kibbutz, and have named their complex “Re’im Towers”.

The kibbutz members have also reached out to their neighbors and the local authorities, seeking to integrate into the urban fabric and contribute to the society. They have volunteered in various projects, such as cleaning the streets, planting trees, and tutoring children. They have also invited guests and visitors to their complex, sharing their stories and their hospitality.

The Future Hope

The kibbutz members are grateful for the support and the opportunity they have received from the Brothers in Arms movement and the Tel Aviv municipality. They are also proud of their resilience and their solidarity. However, they are still longing for their kibbutz and their loved ones who are missing. They are waiting for the day when they can return to their greener pastures and rebuild their home. Until then, they are determined to make the best of their urban kibbutz life.

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