TRAVERSE CITY — Susan Bondy grew up on a kibbutz in Israel, but not just any kibbutz.
The kibbutz Sasa, created in January 1949, is a business success story. The Plasan Sasa, a company owned by the kibbutz, makes armor for American troop carriers, jeeps and hummers — vehicles being used in Iraq — as well as off-road vehicles used in Afghanistan.
"Plasan Sasa has saved and continues to save tens of thousands of American soldiers' lives," according to a statement.
A kibbutz is a communal settlement organized using collective principles; many are farms while others are businesses.
Bondy will talk about her childhood and her return to the kibbutz at the Dennos Museum Center at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 21. The talk is being hosted by Congregation Beth El.
Bondy, who lives half the year in Traverse City and half in Arizona, grew up in the kibbutz her parents help found. Being in the first group of children, she was one of the "guinea pigs" of communal living and education.
Her family moved to the U.S. when she was 13.
In the summer of 1967, Bondy returned for her first visit immediately after the Six Day War. She received a scholarship and attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem's Einstein Institute, where she studied math, physics, economics and computer science — all in Hebrew.
Bondy has remained active in promoting Israel and the Jewish people, including:
n Leading synagogue youth groups and teaching Hebrew.
n Writing articles on the kibbutz, Israel and the Middle East — including six cover stories for magazines and newspapers.
n Lecturing to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences — more than 400 lectures on Israel, 25 on the kibbutz, and at least 100 on the Dead Sea Scrolls, numerous radio and television debates and interviews on the Middle East.
n Participating in the American Israeli Public Affairs Committe for 20 years and, in 1999, leading the Michigan contingency to prevent a cut in American aid to Israel.
In 2004 she returned to New York, and volunteered full-time for the Israeli consulate and other organizations. She also is a co-founder of the Brand Israel Group.
There is no charge for the program.