The first topics that come to mind are European survival and poverty, and Arab/Jewish poverty survival. We must work down to the basics of the survival pyramid and forego the
night vision goggle and satellite phone fantasies until we cover our basics… …like staying fed and housed! Not so romantic, but I don’t know how to to stir fry an image converter tube.
I suppose I should first enlighten you to my personal survivalist philosophy. I started out as a survivalist while living in a rural area outside Portland, Oregon in high school spending summers and weekends either working at the Army/Navy store or out shooting at the range or backpacking into the woods. I went to college part time and was a camping, fishing, and hunting salesman taking off summers to work for forest service fire crew and volunteering for fire department the rest of the year. After four years I went to firefighting and paramedic school in Bend [Oregon] and lived in Sisters [Oregon] working as a Firefighter/EMT to pay for school. After 3-1/2 years there I married my wife and returned to the Willamette Valley, wasting 2 years as a telco DSL NetOps center manager then quitting to be a Portland firefighter/paramedic. It was there that I really started to figure out my Jewish identity which I had dropped out of after Bar Mitzvah at age 13. After about a year I took a job running the EMS system of most of an eastern Oregon county, I finally bought my real survival retreat in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, had all of my gear and a budget to support more. Once there, I realized a major miscalculation–my wife and I are Jewish…
This is a major complication in a survival scenario. I was spending every third week (worked 2 weeks on 1 off) in Portland to be around my Orthodox Jewish community. The real problem was I didn’t fit in. Making the move to a rural community with no outsiders sounds fine to somebody who has lived there forever but often outsiders have one possible social “in” in a small town, namely the church. Without any kind of “in” and maybe even a big “out” (we keep kosher which precludes eating food from non kosher sources except in starvation situations) being unable to dine at the homes of our neighbors; our survival chances once the neighbors became stressed by trouble was just not as good. Never any anti-Semitism; just that without belonging to the social fabric we would need to be much more of an island than others when it came to neighborly favors in tough times. Our first experience with having a practical retreat had failed miserably and we returned to Portland for this as well as work-related issues. After trying to set up a .com during the bust and finish a Economics degree we decided partly for religious reasons and partly because of survivalist motivation that it was time to move to Israel.
Our first move was to an absorption center, basically a government cheap apartment complex subsidized until we found a place to live. After three months of bad ventilation and mold (in a stone structure mold can cause serious respiratory problems) we moved to our current residence in the west bank. The average response I would expect after reading the foregoing is how could a survivalist move to the West Bank? To survive you need a community. (Being a lone survivalist is dangerous and difficult.) I currently live with the cream of the Israeli crop, motivated and serious about their own survival as well as the survival of Jews everywhere.
The first settlers of Israel were said to be farmers with rifles on their backs, turning a desert into green, the future produce and flower grower for most of Europe. Sadly the grandchildren of these pioneers have lost much of this drive and have been weakened by their taste of American style greed and prosperity when they profited from the 1990’s tech boom (Israel’s economy is mostly high tech, military, and aerospace). Affluence after many rough years often leads to a spoiled generation. A spoiled pampered younger generation has trouble dealing with difficulty. The West Bank and Gaza were slightly different re-conquered after 19 years of Egyptian and Jordanian occupation these lands were much less settled than the northern coastal areas near Tel-Aviv or Haifa. Being unsettled weeds out the timid who moved to larger cities and left the more motivated–both Zionist and/or religious.
Back to survival: Live in a community which has your values and ideals this is one way to help you have a happier and simpler life. Choosing a community is almost as careful a selection as choosing your spouse. Choose wrong and prepare to lose a fortune and be miserable for many years. We chose a community for its high percentage of Americans as well as for its involvement in protecting itself through volunteer rescue and anti-terror teams but most importantly because we felt at home and accepted by the community. A community takes care of its own members first.
Depending on what happens with Gaza and Shomron (Samaria) which is on top of my priorities, I may be able to generate a few posts for you in the next three weeks until the Elul Zman where I will be back in Yeshiva.
All the Best,