WEEKLY REPORT - 8.9.16
Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well.
After a great and stimulating weekend seminar on the topic of socialism, the shnattim had a typical "normal" week. You can read all about a day in a life of a shnatti these days below, in the "Southern Corner".
This week the month of Elul started, which is a time of repentance and preparation to the High Holy Days of Tishrei, as well as searching. Hopefully, each of us can find time to do just that, and think about the coming year. For our shnattim, who in two months' time will be on their closing seminar, it is definitely THE time of year to try and think of all the things they want to do in the next couple of months, so that their experience is the BEST it can be, and there is nothing they regret later on.
Chdesh Tov :)
Weekly update by Mia and Ella
A day in the life of a professional date picker:
5:30 - rise and shine ma'ayan! This early hour of the morning is the time our chalutzik journey begins. We as Young pioneers are mirroring (kind of) the work our future ancestors did, fulfilling our true Zionist dreams. The morning begins with a mixture of energetic and disappointed faces from the group. The early wake up is definitely not our DNA to say the least.
6:00 - Whilst driving to the fields we witness, the sunrise over Jordan creating pink and orange watercolour background. Half the car is asleep and half the car are checking their snapchats from the night before
6:25- The first date is eaten, and the fruits of our labour (ironic) are eaten. This is the first of many to get us through the 8 hours ahead
8:30- BREAKFAST! We drive to a random sukkah in the middle of the desert where Penny is waiting with chopped onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, cottage cheese, eggs, cookies tea and coffee. Food truly never tasted so wonderful before.
9- unfortunately back to work and no more food...
11:00- The hardest part of the day, too far from the finishing line but close enough. Dehydration and exhaustion kick in, but the background tunes of Kanye, or Israeli rap power us through
11:30- The continual stabbing of the Palm spike, injecting poison and realising blood is felt, but no time for pain, or if really bad hide behind a tree so that Chaim and Andrew can't see you anymore
1:00- The call of the final tree, and unbelievable euphoric feeling seeps into all of us
2:00 - We finally leave the packing station after carrying crates of dates and pack I go a minivan. The minivan's safety is arguable, we aren't really sure how long it's been since the car has been serviced, but we're too desperate to go home to care.
2:20 - The Cheder ochel is in view, and we rush out of the van and hurry into the air conditioned room. We fill the sinks with brown water before we stuff our faces with average to good food, which seems amazing at the time.
3:00 - After a long, cold shower, we are ready for our mid-afternoon shloof which will last all afternoon really.
4:30 - It's still 39 degrees, and the only way to escape this heat is the 25m lap pool that Lotan offers us. After socialising with random new kibbutzniks that just seem to arrive every single day, we're ready for dinner.
6:00 - With the expansive ingredients of pasta, tomatoes, cucumber and tehina, we make the classic tomato pasta with Israeli salad and tehina, accompanied by hilarious dinner banter or some intense conversation that captures the whole kvutzah.
8:00 - To ensure our brains are stimulated amidst our physical fatigue, we end the day with a peula that relates to some social issue in the world or kvutzah bonding, both of which leave the kvutzah feeling happy and fulfilled.
10:00 - The daring Ma'ayan members are still sitting the communa, chatting away with the shin shins and volunteers with either broken english or broken Hebrew, but determined to continue the conversations despite this.
10:30 seriously, Layla tov. We've got business tomorrow x
Mia Gottlieb and Ella Sandler
Stop the Train Wreck
Israel’s railway system provides service to a quarter-of-a-million weekday commuters. Over 1,000 miles of train tracks connect our country. Plans to expand service—including a new high-speed line connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem—are a sign of progress and economic development.
But as Israelis learned last week, even trains are no match for ultra-Orthodox gamesmanship. Regular train service shuts down completely throughout the country from Friday night to Saturday night as a political accommodation to the Sabbath observances of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox politicians. Only maintenance, repairs and infrastructure work is allowed. There has been repair work every Saturday for the past decade to make sure that our trains run smoothly the rest of the week.
Even that seems to be too much now. Ultra-Orthodox members of the government demanded last week that all Saturday railway repairs be cancelled. The Prime Minister gave in and issued a stop order right before sundown on Friday, leaving no time for railway employees to reassemble the tracks that were being serviced.
By Sunday morning rush hour, the trains were still in their stations. Chaos ensued. Thousands of stranded workers and soldiers scrambled to find other ways to get to work or to their army bases. Highway traffic was backed up for hours. Commuters took to the streets to protest.
Ultra-Orthodox Knesset members claimed they simply wanted to help deepen Jewish connection to the Sabbath. Ironically, their actions only deepened resentment towards Judaism by Israel’s secular and non-Jewish citizens.
Make no mistake. This latest political ploy is part of a larger agenda by the ultra-Orthodox community to maintain control over Israel’s public sphere. Over the past several months, the government has been kowtowing to the ultra-Orthodox political parties, and their appetite is only continuing to grow. We have seen it with the stalled Western Wall compromise becuase of objections over egalitarian prayer, with demands that ultra-Orthodox communities be exempted from teaching their children Israel's core school curriculum, with legislation to ban Conservative and Reform converts from using public ritual baths. The list goes on.
IRAC sent a letter today to the Prime Minister, the Labor Minister and the Attorney General to demand that scheduled maintenance resume next Saturday, and that there be no repeat of this past week’s fiasco.
The widening rift between ultra-Orthodox and mainstream Israelis is a train wreck waiting to happen. We are minding this gap. The power grab by ultra-Orthodox Israelis has been going unchecked. It’s time to apply the emergency brakes.
Dear DOMIM-aLike friends and colleagues, Last summer we launched DOMIM-aLike, a joint initiative of the Israeli Reform Movement and the Israeli Government. The main objective of the project is to develop and strengthen the connections between Reform congregations in Israel and around the world. We see you – rabbis, professionals and lay leaders in Israel and worldwide – as the most important asset in delivering the message of Klal Israel to your communities. Following the requests you raised in a study we conducted a couple of months ago, we will be sending a monthly DOMIM-aLike Newsletter beginning September 2016. The newsletter will include stories about culture and society in Israel, a spotlight on Israeli Reform rabbis, new programs and opportunities for DOMIM-aLike communities, and more. May the month of Elul bring with it true repentance and forgiveness. Chodesh Tov, Yours – Rabbi Nir Barkin Smadar Bilik
In the Parashat Hashavu'a corner, we will direct you to the World Union for Progressive Judaism's column "Torah from around the world", where each week another Progressive Rabbi writes about the weekly portion. For this week's portion- http://www.wupj.org/Publications/Newsletter.asp?ContentID=1121
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,
Lior and the Netzer staff
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