Drugs, sex, rock n’ roll… and Jewish hippies
Probably everyone knows about the old moshav, the first in Israel, which was founded before Petah-Tikva. Fewer know that 50 years ago in Rosh-Pinna, the largest hippie commune in Israel was founded, and existed for decades, becoming a nationwide refuge of free thought and love.
Hippie — a philosophy and culture that first arose in the USA in the 1960s.
The movement had its heyday in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Initially the hippies were opposed to the puritanical morals of Protestant churches, and also advocated a return to natural purity through love and pacifism. One of the most famous hippie slogans was “Make love, not war”.
that a person should be free;
that freedom can be achieved just by changing your inner soul;
that the actions of an internally liberated person are determined by the need to protect their freedom as the highest value;
that beauty and freedom are identical, and that achieving both of them is a purely spiritual problem;; that everyone who shares the above values forms a spiritual commune;
that a spiritual commune is an ideal form of living;
that everyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken.
Opinions vary as to the precise date. Wikipedia states that the commune was founded in 1964, while the exhibition booklet gives the date as 1966. In any case, it all started when the head of the local council offered the newspaper photographer Abi Nave to live for free in one of the dilapidated buildings on Upper Street (“Ha-rehov ha-elyon”). Nave’s family moved there, and their friends and acquaintances joined them.
This is the street
This is the house
And here’s another house. Members of the commune also lived here. It’s the so-called “American house”. It was built by an Arab from the USA who in 1900 decided to open a hotel in Rosh-Pinna. The house was built in an unusual style for Rosh-Pinna, using Mamluk masonry called “Ablaq”, with alternating rows of dark and light stone. There are quite a few houses of this kind in Jerusalem. But that’s just by the by.
In 1902, the owner left for New York to buy furniture for the hotel, but never returned. The abandoned house slowly fell into disrepair, and over time hippies began to live here. Today a world-famous clinic for autistic people is housed here. Symbolically, perhaps.
The commune ceased to exist a long time ago, but a few former members still live in Rosh-Pinna. This is Guta, one of the last members. She runs a handicrafts store here, on the once famous Upper Street.
This is how it used to look at one time.
Drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll. Just like in the best houses. But actually young people lived here, artists, sculptors and musicians. Many of them later became quite famous.
The most famous, of course, is Ehud Banai, who spent about a year here. But he didn’t live on the street itself, but off to the side, on the slope of the wadi. It was about these places, although much later, that he wrote the wonderful song “This path begins here” (“Ha-shvil ha-ze mathil kan)
Banai says that once he shared his dream with his neighbor Nakhman Farkash, who lived in the ruined house next door – to move to Crete and start a new life. “Your road begins here,” Farkash replied, and waved in the direction of the wadi.
Wadi is the Arabic name for dry river beds and river valleys of temporary or seasonal water courses, which fill up during times of heavy flooding, for example. Wadis can be many hundreds of kilometers long, and usually end in drainless hollows, and the bottom of them is covered in proluvium. When there is no water, it looks like this.
Farkash, incidentally, is also famous – he’s a champion of escaping from Israeli jails. Here he is.
Photographer Asher Svidensky: Story is the only thing that matters
The 25-year-old photographer on his inspiration, Mongolia and secrets of capturing a good image
Our Jewish Hollywood: 5 facts about Mel Brooks, alive and loving it
The master of parodies and farce who became famous thanks to Hitler, wrote rap lyrics and left a six-finger handprint on the Walk of Fame
Our Jewish Hollywood: 5 facts about Marty Feldman, the young Frankenstein
The author and screenwriter who was a vegetarian, smoked five packs of cigarettes a day and could act with his eyes