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Study and Theory/

Eti Sharabi

The Book of Ruth - Kibbutz Version

In the days of the great war, when the Likud Party in power, the Elimelech family decided to emigrate once and for all from Israel, and make easy money abroad.

Mr. Elimelech was a rooted moshavnik, whose entire land holdings had been confiscated and taken over by the creditors.

His wife – Naomi, a hard-working woman who will no longer gather eggs, milk cows, weed fields, fix flat tires or fry schnitzel and fries day in and day out.

Machlon – their eldest son, PhD in nuclear physics, laden with academic degrees and a high work ethic, decided to join his emigrant parents when he got sick of being a waiter, washing dishes, working as a gigolo and eating his mother’s schnitzel and fries.

Kilyon – the younger son, PhD, lecturer on genetics, is packing his bags too, after being fed up with serving 60 days a year of reserve duty, and conducting fertility experiments on his mother’s chickens. And besides, he likes tall blonds.

Thus, the family emigrated to Silicon Valley, USA. In the USA, the boys found employment, money, and mainly voluptuous gentile women. Machlon married Orfa (Lucy), a slim blond girl with her head in the clouds and checks bouncing.

Kilyon married Ruth (Krystle), she too a stunning blond whose pretty head was busy with charity, giving anonymously – all from her husband’s modest salary.

Then, when everything seemed good and nice, like a dream come true, everything went wrong. In one year Naomi lost her husband and both sons.

Naomi, a strong tough woman, decided to return to Israel, her homeland, afflicted by patchwork coalition governments, Palestinian rocks and collapsing industries (“bread and labor” protests).

On a cold rainy day at JFK, Naomi tried to part with her daughters in law but they insisted on going back to Israel with her.

Naomi succeeded in convincing Orfa / Lucy that she had no place in the Holy Land, and that she’d be better off finding a wealthy groom from Texas. Orfa / Lucy nodded her golden head and bid farewell.

Ruth / Krystle insisted on changing her country, her G-d and atmosphere in general. Naomi succumbed to Ruth Krystle’s (see Dynasty every Sunday) tears and so, on a stifling, sweaty day of a heat wave, the two landed into a Lod Airport workers’ strike.

On their way to the Tel Aviv central bus station, they used all the perfume they had, in order not to smell the rising piles of uncollected garbage in the city.

Ruth / Krystle tried not to regret her decision to change her life, wiped her brow and followed Naomi, who was determined to ask for the help of her husband’s kibbutznik family.

The creaking bus let them off on the kibbutz. Ruth / Krystle began to feel a bit better when she saw the nice lawns and neat gardens of the kibbutz. This good feeling ended when they went up to the dining hall and all eyes became fixed on them.

“Who are they?” People whispered to each other.

“What wedding? It’s a new volunteer girl and her grandmother!” The sworn bachelors chuckled.

As Ruth / Krystle wondered whether to faint or flee, they wer approached by a tall fellow with curly hair, green eyes, broad shoulders and a tan, in short, a typical Palmachnik.

Naomi fell all over him, slightly wailing: “Oh Boaz, Boaz, how you’ve grown!” Boaz cleared his throat and thought of all the juicy gossip that would soon break out on the northern wing of the dining hall. Ruth / Krystle too began to sob by her very righteous nature and objective amazement at the Israeli specimen in front of her.

Boaz sat them down and called his parents, who were overjoyed to see Naomi who finally, forty years after her discharge from the Nahal, decided to ‘realize’ and settle on her original designated kibbutz.

From here to there, matters worked out for the better. Naomi went back to gathering eggs and once in a while frying schnitzel and fries in the kibbutz kitchen. The shy and modest Ruth / Krystle went to work in the wheat fields, mainly preparing breakfast and different treats for the branch workers. Boaz became her bodyguard and didn’t let anyone get too close to her, and threatened the work supervisor not to make her work anywhere else.

Ruth / Krystle gradually fell in love with Boaz. He, however, chronically shy as he was, did not dare take any initiative. Naomi, who observed the couple from afar, began designing the wedding dress and planned how Boaz would propose to Ruth / Krystle.

The days of summer were scorching, and the nights even more. The field crop workers celebrated the end of the season with drink, dancing and volunteer girls. Boaz got drunk like a fish and Ruth / Krystle (who got a bit tipsy herself) took him back to his room where they both fell asleep.

The young couple got married in July with joy and merriment, lots of drink and a lot of cheesecake.  All’s well that ends well.


Boaz and Ruth had a son, Yishai, and Yishai had a son named Dudu Ben Yishai, who became the best Secretary the Kibbutz Movement ever had.

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