Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
In the past couple of days, Shnat Netzer took part in a Pioneers Seminar in the Negev, organized by the World Zionist Organization, the JNF and the Zionist Youth Movement' participants currently spending a year in Israel. The purpose of this seminar was to show the different Zionist enterprises in Israel, and in specific- in the Negev, which is a desert, covering 60% of the land of Israel. I surprised the Shnattim in the middle of the desert, in a place called Sd'e Boker. You may have heard of it, as it was Ben- Gurion's home, and where he is buried as well.
We toured Sd'e Boler, learnt about Ben Gurion and the erea. We hiked for a couple of hours, taking some alone time in the desert as well. Later, we heard a lecture from past- soldier who took part in the Entebbe Raid. It was quite fascinating! To wrap the evening, we headed to Han Shayarot, a huge Bedouin style hospitality area, where we had a lovely dinner followed by a main event. In it we stood for a minute of silence to remember Shimon Peres, who passed away the night before (more about the man and his story below) and saw a short video about him. We heard a few speeches about the Jewish people, and us, as Zionist Youth Movement members being the future of it. And lastly, we had great two performances- one by the Israeli Scouts Caravan, and one by Hatikva 6, a well-known Israeli band. It was great seeing over 700 youth movement' participants all gathered in one place- gives a lot of strength and hope.
It was really great seeing them and spending time together. I only now realise how much they grew in the past month on Kibbutz and how much more mature they are.
May this year bring much more growth and stability. May we be happy and content with what we have, and aspire to be better.
Shana Tova from Shnat Ma'ayan South-
It is with great sadness that the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) joins the world in mourning the passing of Shimon Peres. His many titles befit a legend who is now no longer - former President of Israel, former Prime Minister, one of the youngest Defense Ministers in Israel's history, founding father of Israel, statesman, politician, activist, advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Shimon Peres was a man of extraordinary vision, great passion, and great eloquence who brought much honor and respect to each of his roles and to the country of Israel. His love for Israel and of all Israelis, no matter their background or faith, knew no bounds. His genuine belief in peace, stemming from mutual respect between warring parties, led to his shared Nobel Prize for his work on the Oslo Peace Accords.
Mr. Peres was, in his own words, a dreamer, who foresaw in Israel's technological innovations its chance to bridge peoples and nations, in the Middle East and around the world. He devoted over 70 years of his life to Israel and Jewish communities around the world, advancing economic, defense, cultural and social platforms through his various initiatives in the private and public sectors.
In 2009, the World Union had the privilege of honoring Shimon Peres with its International Humanitarian Award (IHAD) at the celebratory closing gala of its CONNECTIONS international convention. This World Union honor celebrates an individual's extraordinary contribution to advancing Progressive Judaism and its values. Presented by former Chairman of the World Union, Austin Beutel, the award recognized Mr. Peres' "lifelong vision and leadership in building the State of Israel and [his] commitment to peace, humanitarian causes and the timeless values of democracy, pluralism and freedom".
Shimon Peres at the World Union CONNECTIONS 2009 in Tel Aviv, Israel
Rabbi Richard Hirsch, Honorary President of the World Union and close friend of Mr. Peres, reflected: "Shimon Peres was the premier statesman of the State of Israel, and the vibrant symbol of the highest values of the Jewish people. While other political leaders, frustrated by the complexities of the Israeli-Arab conflict, projected pessimism, he remained the persistent optimist. In keeping with Jewish tradition, he not only sought peace, he 'pursued' it."
In this week's Torah portion, Nitzavim, we read, "It is not in the heavens... neither is it beyond the sea... No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart." Devarim 30:12-14
לא בשמים היא... ולא מעבר לים היא... כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשתו
Shimon Peres lived the message of this parasha: for him, the safety of Israel was not found in the heavens, nor was it for some other country or politician to ensure. Peres took the responsibility of visioning the future of Israel into his own hands. Let us honor his memory by carrying his dream forward.
We in the world movement of Reform and Progressive Judaism extend profound sympathy to his family.
May his example continue to inspire us to forge the State of Israel into an exemplary society.
May his memory be for a blessing.
יהי זכרו מבורך
Rabbi Daniel Freelander, President Carole Sterling, Chair
In a few days the whole Jewish world will celebrate together Rosh Hashanah, the anniversary of creating of Adam and Eve, the first people.
I see Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as an opportunity for us, as individuals, as a community and as a movement, to think about the past year and re-evaluate our acts, thoughts and missions. It is very interesting to see that from all or the monotheistic religions, the Jewish year starts at the 6th day of creation, the creation of people, and a symbolic act to the responsibility we have towards this world.
“When the Blessed Holy One created the first human, He took him and led him round all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: “Look at My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are! And all that I have created, it was for you that I created it. Pay attention that you do not corrupt and destroy My world: if you corrupt it, there is no one to repair it after you. [Kohelet Rabbah, Parasha 7:13]
"..בשעה שברא הקב"ה את אדם הראשון נטלו והחזירו על כל אילני גן עדן ואמר לו ראה מעשי כמה נאים ומשובחין הן וכל מה שבראתי בשבילך בראתי, תן דעתך שלא תקלקל ותחריב את עולמי, שאם קלקלת אין מי שיתקן אחריך..." (קהלת רבה, פרשה ז’, י"ג(
I wish us all to learn and to be able to take responsibility to make this world a better place to live in, to have the ability to keep on doing good and to know how to stop and reflect on the righteous of our acts, not just on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
I wish you all to be surrounded with people you love and have shared goals with and most of all, I wish you Shana Tova U’metuka!
For more information about the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – check out our choveret: https://goo.gl/hLmft0
Orit Shoshani | אורית שושני
Branch Relations and Education Coordinator
Netzer Olami | TaMar Olami
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-
Check this HILLARIUS girl, teaching Hebrew!
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and SHANA TOVA,
Lior and the Netzer staff
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