The Twelve Tribes

During last summer, I spent a lot of time travelling around the city exploring new places. One day I dropped by an organic food store in the St. Boniface area.

While shopping, I was asked by a store employee if I needed any help. I started talking to him; his name was Colin. He told me that his Hebrew name is Jehu and the store is actually owned by his community called the Twelve Tribes.

Colin and I talked for more than an hour, and I soon learned that his community is actually a part of an international network of communities.

I came to know that the people in the community work together and all the money earned in their business is shared amongst everyone. It was something totally new for me; I was curious and wanted to know more about the community, so I continued listening.

Colin said that in a day and age when people are talking about things like sustainability and environmental impact, the Twelve Tribes of Israel like to talk about what it truly means to create a sustainable life. 

“Sustainability is much more than growing your own food; it begins with relationships,” said Colin. “Everything grows from there. Sustainable relationships spawn sustainable practices within a community. The main reason our society has so many unsustainable practices is because of the lack of respect between people.”

As an economics student I study a lot about equal distribution of income, and in what Colin described to me I see a great model to achieve equality in society.
I was introduced to some other workers in the store, including Colin’s son and a worker named Kohlev.

Colin continued, “We follow the Judean pattern found in the Bible in both the old and new testaments. We understand Acts 2:44 as the resurgence of the faith of Abraham found in Genesis 18:19. We are working to restore the same way of life we have read about in these scriptures.”

He noted that the tribe moved to Winnipeg from Nova Scotia about 15 years ago.
When I asked what he thinks about Manitobans, he responded that they are “consistent, stable and willing to help.”

“We have found Manitoba to be very accepting of us. We are truly grateful for the freedom we enjoy here to practise what we believe, and we are committed to investing and further establishing our roots here,” he said.

“We have found many friends and servants throughout our dealings in the province, and we are heavily indebted to help we have received here. Manitoba is a great place to be,” Colin added.

Before this life-changing meeting was ended, Colin offered me one of his company’s organic teas. This hour spent with the Twelve Tribe community of Winnipeg has taught me a lifetime lesson. It showed me the solution to many problems we face in this world. I am thinking how the world would look like if everybody followed this path: worked together, lived together and distributed the income equally.

Shuja Safavi is a news reporter for the Manitoban.

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