The Making of a Modern-day Urban Kibbutznik

In this episode of Journeys, we speak with U.K.-born James Grant-Rosenhead: How he moved from the path of a middle-class British legal practitioner to founding the world's biggest urban kibbutz.

James Grant-Rosenhead, born in Leeds in 1974, was already well on the path towards a life as a middle-class British lawyer. But after a few visits to Israel, including one year spent on Kibbutz Beit Haemek as part of a Zionist leadership training program, Grant-Rosenhead realized that life had other plans for him.

Involving himself in socialist Zionist activism, Grant-Rosenhead came to believe that the classic model of the kibbutz, which had been instrumental in the establishment of Israel, was no longer relevant. Shortly after making aliya with his wife, and inspired by the still relatively incipient model of the urban kibbutz, 25-year-old Grant-Rosenhead was joined by other immigrants and native Israelis and formed Kibbutz Mishol - an urban, activist kibbutz in the northern city of Nazareth Illit - which is currently the biggest urban kibbutz in the world. The 127-strong commune lives in a shared eight-story building, where they pursue their utopian vision for a more just Israeli society.

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