Research into Bachad
I first became aware of Bachad and its hachsharah training farm at Thaxted in 1987 whilst working as a violinist in the Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra in Israel. However, upon my return in the summer of 1988, resources and time did not permit me to act on my curiosity to find out more. But in 2010, I happened upon the following image (unfortunately, copyright does not allow me to include it on this site but here's the link: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=ghetty+images+bachad+thaxted#imgrc=-3_gCJ2qSuLNPM) showing a number of young Bachad gentlemen at Morning Prayers! This set me off searching in earnest!
This led to a visit to the farm in 2012, after which the farmer put me in touch with a wonderful gentleman, the late Max Kopfstein, who was manager of the Thaxted farm from 1952-1954. It was through him that I began meeting many more 'chaverim' from the Thaxted days in 2014. As time went on, I began feel compelled to document this history, all the more as I realised that memories of Bachad among Thaxted people were very few and nebulous. This history was in danger of being lost!
In 2016, the opportunity to study for an MRes at the Institute of Historical Research provided a good grounding and enabled the development of Oral History expertise which was useful for gathering further data about Bachad and its rich historical background. This resulted in a Distinction and the recommendation that I ought to take this research further! In 2018 I was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to study for a PhD at the University of Southampton under Professors Tony Kushner and Joachim Schloer. This is due for completion in June 2023.
Why is this history important?
Each community, people group and faith group tends to fashion its own history according to its unique interpretation of events and relationships. This is of course perfectly understandable and valid. However, to keep in mind a history that is from a different group to one's own - that is even more valuable, in my opinion. It is easy for our own version of reality to cut out what is strange to us, what we don't quite understand or what we assume is in opposition to our own view. What we don't realise though, is that we are the poorer if we don't take the history and experience of others on board - our reality is but a small part of a much larger whole. The other result of our insular mindsets is that we cease to engage with the 'other', retreating into a state of feeling threatened, misunderstood or anxious. Studying others' histories is but a first step in positively overcoming these barriers. It also, if one approaches others' history with due respect, showing an active interest, this fosters appreciation and understanding. There are many more reasons, of course! I'll be adding some more in due course.