Neot Semadar - First Days
26 min. documentary
In 1989, 130 men, women and children left behind the comfortable city life in
order to create a new Kibbutz - Neot Semadar - in Israel's Negev desert. Neot
Semadar members took upon themselves to explore problems of human suffering,
alienation, prejudice and lack of creativity. By living and working
communally, each member turns the philosophic question of how one relates to
his/her surroundings into daily personal and relevant questions. Screened on
Israel Channel 2, 1990.
The establishment of the new Kibbutz came after years of self-investigation
and research. From the beginning, members of the group would meet for both
discussion and communal projects. The need to apply their interests to
practical action became clear in the process of meeting the obstacles that get
in the way of learning what cooperation truly means. In the course of their
activities, they discovered that what was really necessary was a radical
change in the way the individual perceives himself and the world around him,
and that for this transformation to occur, there must be some fundamental
change in one’s way of life.
It is through special projects that their common interest in forming this
learning community is truly expressed. A challenge to one’s preconceived
notions and fixed habits, these projects foster a conducive environment for
self-observation and provide the community with an opportunity to experience
the joy of being together.
These projects spread out to all aspects of life, and many have become a
source of steady income. For example, along with the cultivation of the more
traditional crops of the area, such as dates and citrus fruits, they have
developed bio-organic agriculture which includes vineyards, olive groves,
fruit orchards, vegetable gardens and grazing fields, as well as a goat farm.
Members of Neot Semadar have a special interest in the field of education and
have opened an elementary school for grades 1-8, as well as a nursery,
kindergarten and pre-school. The school operates with an understanding that
true learning can only take place within a fabric of relationships that are
based on mutual respect and caring attention to each individual, and not on
authority, conformity, competition or any kind of fear. Creativity is
emphasized in their studies, which include drama, arts & crafts, music,
writing and movement along with the traditional curriculum. The small classes
allow children of different ages to learn, eat and play together. The
intensity and intimacy which children and adults share as part of their
everyday interactions here is an ongoing opportunity for all of us to
understand what it means to take individual responsibility in our
At Neot Semadar the members live alongside one another as co-learners,
attempting to understand themselves as individuals in a dynamic community.
This film documents the first weeks of this unique community, giving the
viewer an insight into its members' visions, hopes and dreams.