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The Virtual Kibbutz (Israeli short stories) [Kindle Edition]

Ellis Shuman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Israeli short stories from the kibbutz.

For over fifty years, the magnificent oak tree stood as a solitary landmark in the middle of the valley, witnessing the cool, wet winters and the hot, humid summers. Young pioneers established a new kibbutz nearby, celebrating their collective way of life in the shade of the tree.

Decades later, the kibbutz is not the same. Its members' idealism has changed. Can the community still be considered a kibbutz?

In this debut collection of stories, the author introduces you to kibbutz residents challenged with adapting to new realities. Along the way you'll see how kibbutzniks face up to the violence of the Intifada, cope with the Internet, and struggle to have more control over their lives.

Meet a clown who uses magic to heal the wounds of terror victims, a veteran dairy worker who has difficulties bidding farewell to an albino cow, a farmer who must decide what to do with the prize money of a lottery, and a reporter who is researching comedian Jerry Seinfeld's kibbutz past.

These are the stories of Israel's unique society, of the changes and dilemmas it faces, and of the hopes, challenges and dreams of those who continue to call the kibbutz their home.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ellis Shuman, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, immigrated to Israel in 1972, served in the IDF and was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel. He is now Editor in Chief of the online daily newsmagazine Israel Insider. Ellis lives with his wife and three children on Moshav Neve Ilan.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2347 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ASK6VA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,028,780 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and moving stories of the kibbutz today June 14, 2004
"The Virtual Kibbutz Stories from a Changing Society" by Ellis Shuman i Universe Inc. 209 pp.
For many years, the kibbutz was the model institution of Israeli society. It represented the world's most successful example of socialist communal living, a near utopia of democracy and egalitarianism. In Israel itself, hard-working kibbutz members were seen as the 'new Jew,' freed of complexes of the Diaspora. They cultivated the land, were physically strong and independent, and engaged in productive labor. Kibbutz sons took on more than their share of command positions in the Israeli Defense Forces, where their dedication and sacrifice were an example for the society as a whole.
In recent years, however, the kibbutz has, like the socialist and in some cases communist ideology on which much of its principles were based, suffered a great decline. As Israel became a more capitalistic and free-market society, kibbutz ideology seemed outdated and less relevant. The kibbutzim themselves became, in many cases, non-profitable and had to be subsidized by huge government grants. Many of the young people, stultified by their small, closed world, left the kibbutz. A new political leadership arose in the country that no longer saw the importance of the kibbutz; settlement priorities were elsewhere. And the kibbutzim themselves evolved, with many of them adopting capitalism and becoming nothing more than bedroom communities.
As Israel changed, the general conception that developed was that the kibbutzim have had their day, and no longer have a real place or role in Israeli society.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Changing Kibbutz June 26, 2003
By A Customer
This is a provocative exploration of the gains and losses sustained by the kibbutz movement in relation to Israel's tumultuous history and fragmented culture. The author, who has experienced years of communal life as both a kibbutz member and now a moshavnik, has a great deal to say about ideology, continuity, and the fragile dream of the Zionist communal movement. A well-written and exciting collection of stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Pleasant Read January 31, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was more interested in what a Kibbutz represented in the past, rather than what they are coming to be.
In any case, the most gripping book I've read in quite a while.
Twists and turns in every story, expertly written.
Real characters, real everything, real book.

Let me use my second favorite sentence in the book: "Let me quote your own words." to summarize what I managed to learn, from a single paragraph:

"In the early Kibbutzim, members had little, if any private possessions. They shared everything, including clothing. In this innovative, pioneering utopian society, there was no need for individuality. What belonged to one, belonged to all."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars absolutly.. May 9, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is a set of stories about a life in Kibbutzim for several decades. You can learn about the people and the way of living from inside, not from encyclopedia. Stories are interesting, very different each from other but all the characters are full of humanity, even rare "negative" ones are warm and we can understand their motivation. Development of Kibbutzim is in fact very similar to our own lives and societies and we can see that one can not evade his life and duty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Idealism in a Changing World March 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The history of Israel, its people and the land has long been a subject which has captured my imagination. I’ve been inspired by stories of a shepherd boy who became king, of a Jewish maiden who became the queen of Persia and of a Jewish carpenter who changed the history of the world.

Little known to me in the history of Isarel has been the story of the Kibbutz, those early outposts in the desert wastelands founded by pioneering Jewish immigrants from all corners of the world. After reading The Virtual Kibbutz I have better understanding and new appreciation for those early pioneers who, after escaping the horrors of WWI & WWII returned to their roots in a nearly forgotten land.

In a series of personal and touching short stories the author Ellis Shuman gives a rare glimpse into the thoughts, hopes and dreams of these early idealists. With insightful candor he shares the successes and failures of these collective societies through the eyes of their founding members, their children and the occasional outsider.

One theme that seemed to call from the pages of this book was the importance of seeing people of different ethnicities, faiths and backgrounds as fellow human beings, each unique and special in this wonderful journey we call life.

This was a bitter sweat story which well captures the human spirit and the complexities of life in a changing world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant July 20, 2013
By maffism
Format:Kindle Edition
A collection of sophisticated and beautifully written tales written by a Times of Israel journalist.

The characters, kibbutzim, are well developed and multi-faceted to the extent that one begins to feel one actually knows them.

I recommend this to all.
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More About the Author

Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army's Nahal branch. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava Valley in Israel's south. On the kibbutz he worked in agriculture, industry, tourism, the dairy barn, and served as the kibbutz's general secretary.

After moving with his wife and three young children to Moshav Neve Ilan in the Judean Hills, Ellis received formal training in the hotel industry. He worked in a variety of positions at the Neve Ilan Hotel and later was Food and Beverage Controller at the Jerusalem Hilton. He served as the moshav's general secretary during a period in which the community underwent major social changes.

As a hobby, Ellis began writing on the Internet. He wrote extensively about life in Israel in his position as the Israeli Culture Guide at He designed and maintained websites for the Neve Ilan Hotel and for Indic--Independent Israeli Cinema. For two years he was webmaster for Yazam, an international financial firm that provided support for technological start-ups.

Ellis served for three years as Editor in Chief of Israel Insider, an online daily newsmagazine that developed new technologies as it posted the latest news and views, from and about Israel.

Starting in 2004, Ellis began working in a marketing company servicing the online gaming industry. In the years 2009 - 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. During those years, Ellis and Jodie traveled extensively in Bulgaria as well as in the countries of the region. Today Ellis continues working at this job, based in Ramat Gan.

Read about Ellis and Jodie's Bulgarian Adventure at their blog:
Ellis writes regularly on his blog at:

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