From Kindertransport to Kibbutz

The Fellowship  |  October 21, 2019

Carpentry at Kibbutz Lavi
Carpentry at Kibbutz Lavi

The creation of the modern state of Israel came about, in part, because of the horrors of the Holocaust. So to this day, much of the Jewish state not only remembers that dark chapter in Jewish history, but came about as a direct result of it. Such is the story of Kibbutz Lavi, we learn in this piece from The Times of Israel, which became the home of many children who survived the Nazis and is today a producer of furniture and articles used by synagogues around the world:

Kibbutz Lavi, whose founders included children evacuated from Germany to the United Kingdom as part of the Kindertransport program before the Holocaust, has become the main provider worldwide of furniture for synagogues.

The community, in the lower Galilee, has exported its products to over 6,000 synagogues in 70 countries and has made furniture for most synagogues in Israel.

“I estimate that today close to a million people are sitting on our furniture,” said Micha Oberman, CEO of Lavi Furniture Industries, in an interview with Channel 13 broadcast on Sunday.

The business started when the fledgling kibbutz turned to its own carpenters for help setting up its first synagogue in 1950. It was during a period of austerity in Israel and the kibbutz could not afford to buy furniture. Soon after Lavi set up its synagogue, nearby communities started sending in orders.

“They invested everything they had and saved up themselves everything possible so that they would have the capital they needed to establish the factory, even though they didn’t have much,” Oberman said.

Many of the founders of the kibbutz were smuggled from mainland Europe and lost their parents in World War II, arriving in Israel without family…