Image Courtesy of First Run Features
In 1909 and 1910 more Jewish settlers left Palestine than arrived, mainly because there was no work to be had. To reverse the trend, Zionist organizations purchased Arab land and gave it to immigrants. It was the birth of kibbutzim — essentially communist collectives where everything was communally owned and everyone pitched in.
“Inventing Our Life,” Toby Perl Freilich’s excellent documentary opening April 25 at New York’s Quad Cinema, chronicles the rise, fall and possible resurgence of Israel’s kibbutz movement. It is clearly a heart-felt labor of love for the filmmaker, a daughter of Holocaust survivors and sister of a woman who became a kibbutznik in 1968.
Freilich has done a solid job acquiring archival footage and getting interviews with well spoken first, second and third generation residents. “We were creating a new Jew,” said one kibbutznik. “We were supposed to be proud fighters.”