For many years the kibbutz movement and the communes lived in separate worlds. Socialist and religious communes preceded the rise of the kibbutz movement in Israel, but the founders of the kibbutz did not know of them, and their motivation in founding the kibbutzim was quite different. In 1919, Yoseph Baratz, a member of kibbutz Degania, went on a mission to Russia. The connections with kibbutzim in Japan, which began in the sixties, constitute a special chapter in the history of the links between the kibbutzim and communes in the world. In the 1950s and 1960s, articles describing visits to communes, particularly those in the United States, appeared in the journals of the kibbutz movement. In the early 1950s, the sociologist Melford Spiro, of the University of California at San Diego, carried out a research project on kibbutz Beit Alpha. The veteran kibbutz member Mordechai Bentov made a special contribution to the development of the contacts with the communes.