Date of Award


First Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain

Second Advisor

Quincy McLaughlin


This thesis seeks to define the Children’s Societies of the classic kibbutzim as a successful system in which to raise children. It explores the history and construction of the classic Kibbutz, as well as the development of its ideology. It reviews, in detail, the practices of communal child rearing and education that were put in place to satisfy the ideology of the kibbutz pioneers. The thesis reviews the way that these structures were formed and how they functioned. It discusses the critiques made about the negative and positive impacts that this structure had on the psychological and sociological development of the children growing up inside of these Children’s Societies. Most importantly, it includes a discussion of the relationships that individuals who grew up within these societies had with the communal ideology, both as children and adults.

It is commonly assumed that the fact that communal child rearing no longer exists in kibbutzim means that it was not a natural or a healthy lifestyle for children. This thesis argues that the reason for this ideological fallout was more circumstantial. The Children’s Societies were entirely effective for their purposes, and perhaps in another place and time these systems will thrive again.

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