Founded in 1935, Habonim Dror is a Progressive Labor Zionist Youth movement based on Zionist and Socialist teachings. In addition to semi-regular meetings among kenim (a ken is a local group based on a location, i.e. "New York Ken", "Philadelphia Ken"), the movement has several summer camps where Jewish youth gather and learn the same kind of values and live in a similar manner as children in an Israeli kibbutz would. Although it is Zionist, Habonim Dror has generally supported the Palestinian's rights to their homeland, and has always supported the peace process in Israel.
Habonim Dror was actually the combination of two separate movements: Habonim, meaning "the builders", and Dror, meaning "freedom". So Habonim Dror loosely means "builders for freedom".
Habonim Dror has grown in the past few years: currently, there are seven summer camps in North America (Machaneh is the Hebrew word for camp): Machaneh Galil, located in Ottsville, Pennsylvania; Machaneh Gesher (one of the few camps that was originally part of the Dror movement -- most were from Habonim) in Toronto, Ontario; Machaneh Gilboa in California; Machaneh Miriam in Vancouver, British Columbia; Machaneh Moshava (affectionately known simply as Mosh) in Rockville, Maryland; Machaneh Na'aleh in New York (well, actually, the camp for Na'aleh is actually located in Pennsylvania, but the original Machaneh Na'aleh, located in New York, was closed down for many years and now, just having opened again, is fiercely identified as New Yorkan even if it's not located there); and Machaneh Tavor in Three Rivers, Michigan.
The five pillars of Habonim Dror are:
- Judaism - strengthening the relationship between North American Jewish youth and Judaism through involvement in Jewish activities, including pluralistic religious expression.
- Progressive Labor Zionism - To upbuild the State of Israel as a progressive, egalitarian, and cooperative society, at peace with its neighbors, actively involved in the Peace Process with the Palestinians, and as the physical and spiritual center of the Jewish People
- Self-Actualization - to develop in its members the will to realize their own capabilities and worth
- Social Justice - to actively participate in activities in the North American community that improve the community as a whole
- Socialism - to participate in the creation of a new social order based on the principles of self-determination, individual freedom, political democracy, and cooperative economics, the equality of all people and the equality of human value.