Exploring the Impact of Habonim Dror

A Study by Steven M. Cohen & Steven Fink, 2013


This Section presents some of the 100 pages of quotes submitted by the 2000 Habonim Dror alumni as part of the Survey responses in this Study.

Bogrim frequently mentioned the role of Habonim in forming close relationships with friends, a deep sense of community, and the feeling of “family.”  Bogrims’ positive sentiment included such phrases as “life-long relationship”, “connectedness,” and “sense of belonging.”  Many also wrote that the Habonim Dror experience contributed to their sense of identity and feeling accepted, often in ways different from their non-Habonim Dror friends. Bogrim specifically mentioned the role, impact, and experiences that camp (as opposed to Habonim Dror) provided for them.  For many bogrim, camp represented an opportunity to explore and learn about themselves.  Specifically, camp was a “coming of age experience,” an opportunity to live Kupa (organized group sharing and decision-making), learning about leadership, and learning how to get along with others.

We asked respondents to assess the extent to which their experience with Habonim Dror affected them in a variety of ways … political views, life-long friends, attachment to Israel, and engagement in Jewish life. In broad terms, solid majorities, ranging from 53% to 68%, provided the most positive response (“to a great extent”). About a quarter or more (25% to 34%) answered, “to some extent.” Only a few (5% to 20%) answered, “a little or not at all.”Indeed, selected comments enrich our understanding of how bogrim believe Habonim Dror made a significant impact of their lives. ​

"I can't imagine what my life would have been like without Habonim. Going to camp gave me a place where I felt like I belonged completely- a place that I loved fiercely. When I felt like I didn’t belong in middle school and high school, I always knew that there was this other place where I belonged, where I had friends that loved me. Habonim has also been a huge influence in terms of values and ideology."