WEEKLY REPORT - 15.9.16
Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well.
This week we are doing a makeover to our weekly updates, which will now look even better than before!
This week's update is comprehensive enough for me to relax and let you enjoy it, without adding too much :) The only addition is that this week we all got a chance to be super starts for a bit, as we were filmed for a documentary being made for the G.A. (General Assembly of North American communities) to be held in Washington D.C. this coming November. The crew travelled to Kibbutz Lotan and filmed them working in the date fields as well as conducting several interviews. We were told by the crew that the shnattim were GREAT and wonderful (nothing we don't already know!)! Hope to share the final video with you in November!
Weekly update by Bec and Ayanda
Tommy Grantley - Shnat Netzer 5776
The last year of my life is one that I will never forget. I sit here today as a different person due to the experience that I was privileged enough to take part in, not only different n the way i act but the way I feel and the way I think. All of my opinions and critical thoughts about the wider world are guided by my time in such a small part of this large world.
In this report I will be focusing mainly on the second half of my year, arguably the most intense and stimulating part, on a programme called Etgar. This comes in the educational part of the year where participants of Shnat Netzer can pick between Machon (a pluralistic educational programme with other movements) and Etgar (a Netzer run communal educational programme only with Shnat Netzer participants).
Etgar translates from Hebrew as challenge, and it really lived up to its name. Firstly on the shallowest level, the education itself was challenging, it was all guided by Netzers ideology upholding the values of Zionism, Judaism and Tikkun Olam. Classes ranged from ‘Gender studies’ and ‘Chinuch and Hadracha’ to ‘Zionist Dilemmas’ and ‘Jewish bookshelf’. The different teachers were all Israeli or had a youth movement background meaning they engaged us on a personal level, each lesson you could see their enthusiasm for their subject shining through as they taught. It wasnt that the classes themselves were challenging, but more the things we were learning, the challenges of the Jewish people, the challenges of Israel today, the challenges of the LGBTQ community around the world. Each topic showing us the miracles and issues of the world, inspiring us to do more to help those in need.
The deeper ‘Etgar' came with the communal side of the programme. From February to June I lived in the centre of Jerusalem with 13 other people from England, America, Australia, Germany and South Africa, these people became friends and then family, but the journey to becoming family was difficult although very rewarding. In youth movements there is an idea called Kvutzah, it translates as group but it means more than that, and what it means is actually quite hard to put into words. Kvutzah is a group but its one where everyone is aware of everyones strengths and weaknesses, one that works together to support internally and works together to achieve and change externally, it strives to always be better and looks critically at itself to see what can be done to more effective and efficient. One of the aims of the programme is to build a kvutzah, which in 4 months is unrealistic, yet we still managed to lay the foundations of what could one day become a home for us all. In a weird way although the idea is to learn about those around you, you actually end up learning most about yourself, something I found very personally valuable, and something that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Finishing Etgar and Shnat was one of the most surreal things I have ever experienced, the mixture on emotions where overwhelming, the sadness to be done, the excitement to see my friends at home again, the regret of things I didn’t do, the pride of the things I did. When I reflect back on my year in Israel I see the faces of the amazing, inspiring people I met, and the beauty of the land I call(ed?) home, and I think they are the most important thing, engaging young Jewish people with Israel, and creating global links between likeminded Jewry from communities around the world.
Fourteen-year-old Samuel Gumeniuk lost his father when he was eighteen months old. His mother died when he was six. Since then he has lived with his aunt and uncle, Xenia and Valentin Kravchenko, and their three children. For years, the family lived in Ukraine. Xenia and Valentin wanted to adopt Samuel, but because local law would have required him to live in an orphanage during the two-year adoption process, they settled for legal guardianship instead.
Two years ago, Xenia, whose grandfather is Jewish, made arrangements to obtain visas under the Law of Return for the family to emigrate to Israel. When they arrived in the country, government officials advised Xenia and Valentin that Samuel was not eligible for a visa. While the rest of the family has received permanent residence and citizenship, Samuel has been without any legal status since he stepped foot in Israel.
The Kravchenko family came to IRAC’s Legal Aid Center for Olim (LACO) for help. We filed a petition seeking legal status for Samuel a year and a half ago, and have been waiting ever since. The answer finally arrived in the mail last week. Samuel was notified that there were "no special humanitarians reasons to even justify a further internal review of his file." He was to be deported, and had two weeks to pack up his things and leave the country.
LACO attorney Naomi Kessel prepared an immediate appeal and informed the local and national press that Israel was about to deport a fourteen-year-old orphan. She and Xenia were interviewed throughout the day yesterday.
What a difference a day can make. By yesterday evening, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced that he had cancelled Samuel’s deportation and would give Xenia and Valentin six months to adopt Samuel here in Israel. Samuel would then be eligible for citizenship like the rest of his family.
Every year, with your support, IRAC and LACO serve thousands of immigrants like Xenia, Valentin and Samuel, making sure that they do not fall through the cracks, and that Israel is a place you can be proud of.
One boy. One family. One LACO attorney. One day in the news. One happy ending.
Fostering Long-Term Engagement with Israel is Simpler Than You Might Think/ by Liran Avisar
Posted on SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 Written by EJP LEAVE A COMMENT
For all the Jewish day schools, summer camps, trips to Israel, anti-BDS conferences, and campus advocacy trainings, the American Jewish community continues to grapple with how to successfully foster long-term Israel engagement among the next generation of Jewish leaders. In recent years, countless resources from all corners of the community have been devoted to helping form or reinforce lasting bonds between young Jews and the State of Israel. And yet, from a political, spiritual, cultural and public relations perspective, most communal stakeholders remain mystified as to how to make Israel matter for millennials in the long run.
At the risk of stating the obvious, there is one proven solution to creating a solid foundation for a lifetime of engagement: spending months living, studying and working in Israel.
Liran Avisar is the CEO of Masa Israel Journey, the leader of immersive international experiences in Israel, including gap year programs, study abroad, service-learning and career development opportunities.
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=1122
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,
Lior and the Netzer staff
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