Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well!
This weekly update is even more packed than usual. Therefore, the intro will be very short, stating that the shnattim are doing well, learning how to make dishes, how to do the laundry, how to cook, but much more than that- how to live communally and pull their weight.
An important focus of this period of the year, aside from becoming more independent, is the opportunity to volunteer and do some Tikkun. The shnattim volunteer most of the week and getting to know some interesting people. Once a week they travel to a different village on the border with Lebanon, to meet the people there and run an activity. We refer to it as "Tea on the border". Last week they visited a village called Goren and met not only people…
This week I joined the shnattim on their Yom Siyur (day tour) in the North- thank you Amir for oganizing such a lovely day for us!!
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!
Weekly update by Max Klass
This week was our first full week back since returning from our Chofesh adventures. Those who volunteer in the Western Galilee school finally carried out the project they’ve been working on since they got here. The kids “flew” to England, went to Glastonbury and met the Queen. According to Josh: “It went down an absolute treat”. That day, the four of us who volunteer at the Kerner School received an absolute beauty of a message from Amir telling us that we had the day off meaning we could lie in, It didn’t go down that well with the rest of the group.
Every Tuesday is Yom Tiyul, and this Tuesday we started off by traveling to Mount Meron. We were told it would be cold so obviously we ignored this warning as we are on our gap year in Israel meaning it can never be cold. When we got off the coach we were all very confused to see a layer of snow covering the ground. Some people were more excited than others so decided to make snow angels (E.G Jayme).
Because of these conditions our hike took us longer than expected but nobody fell over and we got some great pictures of the views from high up. Tuesday was a very busy day for us because straight from the hike we went to Tzefat and had a very interesting tour of the city and learnt about their Kabbalistic beliefs.
We then went to the Faculty of Medicine where we learnt about the treatment of Diabetes. Even though this isn’t everyones biggest interest, we all got to hold an Australian Tree Frog which means more pictures and more likes on Facebook.
A few weeks ago all of us travelled to Braam to meet 18 year old Israelis who are part of the Mechina programme (Preparation for the army). On Wednesday it was our time to host them for four hours. This wasn’t an easy task as there are 50 of them compared to 13 of us, but it went extremely well and we were sad to say goodbye to them after. It is always easy to amuse people when there it is a sunny day and we have a football.
Alongside these planned activities we are planning on having a House Sheshbesh (backgammon) and Spit tournament whereby the winner of both tournaments will play each other to be crowned the ultimate winner and will win a prize of some sort. Sometimes we have to put ideology aside and focus on KEF.
Progressively Speaking: We can learn from each other’s Torah
Deborah Blausten reflects on this year’s Limmud Conference
By Deborah Blausten (RSY- Netzer and Shnat graduate,) January 5, 2017
In tractate Chagigah of the Babylonian Talmud (15b), our sages are faced with a problem. It appears the great Rabbi Meir, to whom all the anonymous statements in the mishnah are attributed, had continued to learn from his teacher and friend Elisha ben Abuya, after Elisha had turned away from Judaism. Elisha is the Talmud’s archetypal apostate- some would call him a heretic- and so the idea that Rabbi Meir learnt from him is challenging.
The rabbis feared exposure to certain ideas, and were left to explain how Meir could have done this and come away ‘unscathed’. Their conclusion is Meir was able to distinguish words of Torah and the essence of God’s word from their packaging. He could learn without compromising something fundamental about his own values.
Leaving the language of heresy aside, I wonder what the rabbis would have thought of Limmud Conference. Limmud challenges people to learn from each other and it does not make a value judgment about what is right- it is for each of us to make decisions based on how we see the world. Hearing this text taught twice at conference reminded me just how radical a Jewish proposition this is, particularly because it takes place in our community, where denominationalism still dominates.
My experience as a student rabbi at Leo Baeck College has been enriched by the chance to learn from teachers of all Jewish backgrounds – Orthodox rabbis, secular scholars, and non-Jews. Our identities form part of our conversations and learning, but that difference is not a threat. We can learn each other’s Torah without becoming the same as each other- and if anything the discussions we can have as a result of that are deeper.
In Pirke Avot, Ben Zoma teaches, “Who is wise? The one who learns from every person.” Limmud provides us with a chance to really take that to heart and consider ways to continue to hear each other’s Torah when we return to our daily lives.
Deborah Blausten is a rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College
Taken from http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/progressively-speaking-we-can-learn-from-each-others-torah/
European Officials Changing Tack on Israel Terror Attacks?
By Cnaan Liphshiz
(JTA) — Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel?
When a Palestinian terrorist used a car to ram and kill an Israeli soldier in eastern Jerusalem in 2014, the European Union urged “restraint” and, without condemning the attack, called it merely “further painful evidence of the need to undertake serious efforts towards a sustainable peace agreement.”
The statement by EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini was “a typical EU reaction, which blames the victim for getting attacked,” Oded Eran, a former ambassador of Israel to the European Union and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said at the time.
Two years later, however, European officials had a much different reaction to a similar attack in eastern Jerusalem, which killed four Israeli soldiers on Sunday. “The European Union condemns the murder of these four young Israelis, as well as any praise or incitement for terrorist acts,” Brussels said in a statement, which unlike the 2014 communique omitted any reference to the fact that the attack happened in an area of Jerusalem that it considers occupied.
To read more: http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/359741/is-europe-s-jihadist-problem-generating-empathy-toward-israel/?attribution=articles-article-listing-3-headline
(Taken from the Times of Israel)
Israel Court Suggests Women Have Right To Read Torah at Western Wall
Dave Goldiner Jan 11, 2017
Israel’s high court suggested in a ruling Wednesday that women have the right to read from the Torah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The court ordered the rabbi of the Western Wall to explain within 30 days why women “should not be allowed to pray in accordance with their custom at the traditional plaza.”
Women of the Wall called the ruling a breakthrough for pluralistic prayer at the holy site in Jerusalem. “We have come much closer toward implementation of the Western Wall agreement on gender equality and religious freedom at the wall,” said Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall.
The court also ordered authorities to stop body searches of women entering the Kotel, which were implemented to prevent women from bringing Torah scrolls to the holy site.
However it was not immediately clear what the impact of the ruling might be on the broader question of pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall. The court gave the administrator of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, and state agencies including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Religious Services Ministry, 30 days to submit their response to the injunction.
The parties “must explain why the petitioners should not be allowed to pray in accordance with their custom at the traditional plaza, or alternatively allow them to pray in accordance with their custom at a place which has access to the Western Wall similar to [the access] at the traditional site.”
The petitioners include the Original Women of the Wall, a splinter group of the Women of the Wall group, who want to pray in the women’s section and not at Robinson’s Arch. The court combined the OWOW petition with two others. The petition challenged a 2010 directive issued by Rabinowitz, barring the women from bringing to and using a Torah scroll on the women’s side.
Women of the Wall have brought hidden Torah scrolls into the women’s sections several times for their monthly prayer service in honor of the new month. They have held several bat mitzvahs with the Torah scrolls, as well as bat mitzvah services without Torah scrolls when they have been caught. The women have been denied access to the some 100 Torah scrolls stored on the men’s side of the Western Wall Plaza.
An agreement passed by the government last January for an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall was negotiated by the Reform and Conservative movements, the Women of the Wall organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government. Under that agreement, which was approved by the Cabinet, the egalitarian section of the wall near Robinson’s Arch would be expanded and placed under the authority of a pluralist committee. The plan called for solidifying haredi Orthodox control over the site’s traditional Orthodox section.
Haredi Orthodox lawmakers and some from the Jewish Home and Likud parties in December submitted a bill to the Knesset to prevent non-Orthodox public prayer at the Western Wall.
Please join us for the Netzer Olami Veida Olamit opening!!
MachaNetzer Australia 2017
As you read these lines, the Netzer Australia Federal camp is taking place in far far down under. This camp has over 150 participants, making it one of the biggest camps ever in Netzer Australia!!! Well done!
“Inspired by Israel” Video Contest 2017
The competition launched January 3, 2017. The grand prize for the best video is $8,000. There is a total of $20,000 in cash prizes!
For more information please register here. Make sure to sign up by the February 1 deadline. The video submissions will be due on or before March 6.
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-
Celebrating Shabbat in Me'ona :)
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,
Lior and the Netzer staff
This may be the first weekly update you receive directly from us, and is part of our goal to have more direct and open communication with all our partners in this program
if you think there is anyone else that should receive this weekly updates, please send me their details
As always, the local Netzer Branch is always there for you as well