Kibbutz Tirat Zvi was the first to realize the combination of two ideals that were, at the time, percieved by most Jews as very foreign to each other: Socialism and Jewish religion.
The first religious kibbutz was established south of Beit She’an in 1937 and was named in honor of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalisher. Its founders were members of the “Bachad” youth movement of Religious Pioneers established in Germany. The movement later merged into World Bnei Akiva which shared similar ideals of Torah and Avoda.
The kibbutz was relatively isolated, with a hostile population surrounding it. It suffered from numerous attacks, but always managed to repel them.
Tirat Zvi is known today mainly for it industry of deli meats (sausages and salamis) sold throughout the country and abroad, but it entered that field only due to necessity. The terrain and climate in the kibbutz were not suitable for the development of classic agriculture, so it turned to alternatives. It was decided to develop the industry of sausages since the supply of kosher meat in the area was very limited. At first the work was done manually, without machines and was therefore very difficult. In 1948 one of the kibbutz members was sent to the Jewish community of Chicago where he recruited the support of the “Hapoel HaMizrachi Movement” and they purchased factory machinery for the production of meat.
In the year 2000 Tnuva purchased 50% of the Kibbutz’ meat industry.
Kibbutz recently opened its doors for residents who aren’t full fledged members, but if you are thinking of moving there please beware that in 1942 the highest temperature ever measured in Europe or the Middle East was measured in Tirat Zvi: 54° Celsius (130 Fahrenheit)