Based on documents retrieved from the Kibbutz Hazorea Archives in Israel, The Guardian / Sycamore Group provides a unique insight into the inner-workings of children’s homes in the 1970s. The shomeret (in Hebrew, female guardian or caretaker) was an important role at the children’s home. This duty fell to the women of the kibbutz and consisted of a week’s worth of night shifts, twice a year.
The shomeret would sit alone in a small, 15sqm room and do her ‘rounds’ or ‘checks’ each night to ensure everything was okay. Any child in need of attention, whether because he or she was sick, sad, bullied or just had a bad dream, could call the shomeret through a small receiver hung on the wall. The call for help or attention began almost always with the words “shomeret, shomeret”. Once the shomeret attended to a child, she noted the event in a “shomeret’s diary” that was kept in each and every children’s home.
The Guardian / Sycamore Group is an illustrated short story based entirely on information extracted from these diaries entries.