Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,

We hope you are well!

Last weekend was a real celebration here on Shnat Netzer Nof. South and North finally met over a juggling workshop-

Our time together included interesting sessions, meals, tour to the old city of Jerusalem and peer- led activities.

After this wonderful Shabbat Beyachad (together, Etgar and Machon officially started. For the Southerners- the first period of the year; for the Northerners- the third and last. It is not easy being in suspense for a few weeks- shnattim usually just want this to actually start.

This week, however, is not the "actual" program. It is the intro week to the programs, which started with a three-day tiyul gibbush (bonding hike) to the south- each group on its own. It was time to hear about Etgar and Machon in depth, and understand the rational and vision of each program. It was also time to get to know the new homes of the groups- THE Etgar flat in Beit- Shmuel and Kiryat Moriyah campus. Next week the lessons will actually start- YAY!

We know this first week on Etgar and Machon was not an easy one, but nonetheless, a very good one. We wish us all the best of luck and know you will love the lessons starting next week!

Please note that next week, the weekly update might be sent later than usual :)

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!

Weekly update by Jess Mindel

So this week we finally got to meet the southerners and start etgar and machon! Beforehand we had a long weekend as a big Shnat Nof group. This involved circus skills, a Hebrew test and a very insightful tour of the old city of Jerusalem. We also went to Kol Haneshama for a lovely kab shab and engaged in a Shacharit service the following morning run by Becky, Emma and Asha. So many mixed emotions about being all together! Happy to finally meet everyone but it also means we are already so far through shnat. For the rest of the day we had a peulah and more kef involving havdallah and closing tekkes (ceremony).

Our etgar opening seminar started with a small hike due to the awful weather we are experiencing right now. We went to a few locations to see some incredible views and then headed to our campsite in which we stayed all 16 of us inside a Bedouin tent! We had a really in-depth and incredible discussion about kvutsa (group) which resulted in a few tears but nonetheless everyone on etgar is incredibly excited for the kvutsa we will have for the next 4 months.

The following day (Monday) we did a hike that would be considered too dangerous in England, Australia and South Africa! We were basically climbing down a rock face during the torrential downpour. A few of us ran up the "cliff" and raced to the front for BANTZ. We were then all pretty wet and miserable for the rest of the morning until we went to Ein Gedi and saw the ruins of an ancient synagogue that proved that egalitarianism existed back around the time of the second temple as there was no segregation of genders. We, being netzerniks and very proud feminists, were extremely interested by this. In the afternoon we had a very difficult but productive discussion about the rooms for etgar which, after two hours, was eventually all sorted. The rest of the day was more logistical stuff followed by a beautiful ma'amad surrounding a campfire in the evening.

Coming back to beit shmuel as half of a big group felt incredibly weird, especially because this is to be our home for the next 4 months. We spent the morning and some of the afternoon in a session with Amit, doing lots of communication exercises which definitely helped us to bond more as a group. We were then FINALLY let loose in the etgar flat and we all moved into our rooms. It's so nice reading all the notes that have been left on the walls, some as far back as 5 years ago! Slightly overwhelming however.

After settling in, Charley Katan (a northern Ma'ayan shnattie) gave us a session on religion and philosophy. Very insightful but also scary because big questions AHHHH!! In the evening we had a scavenger hunt kef run by Sara and Becky which was hilarious! My group lost but nevertheless we all had fun!

Today, we started with a different kind of scavenger hunt lead by Ady and Danit, in which we had specific tasks and riddles that would gain us points. Altogether a hell of a lot of kef! This afternoon we had a session with Rabbi Haim Shalom on kosher food which was very interesting and discussion provoking.

All in all we've had a great week and can't wait for the next one to start!

Weekly update by Morgan Baynash

This week the Netzer group was split in two as we delved into our separate programs of Machon and Etgar. Ten of us, a mix of Australians and Brits, headed towards our new home at Kiryat Moriah in Jerusalem. We went through enrollment before jumping on a bus towards Nitzana, a youth village and communal settlement in the Negev desert, adjacent to the Egyptian border. We spent the four hour ride meeting and getting to know the people from Habbo South Africa, Betar Australia, Noam England and Hineni Australia, that we will be spending the next four months with.

When we arrived, David Palmach, the director of Nitzana, spoke to us about the importance of what the community does in regards to the education of bedouin and refugee children as well as growing fruit and creating life in an otherwise barren desert. We ended the night with dinner, a bonfire, a guitar and some classic sing alongs.

The next day we were allocated a shinshin who led us through a collection of group bonding games and activities, followed by a long and strenuous bike ride through the desert that left everyone’s bums sore for days after. Later on three more shin shin gave up their time to talk to us about why they chose to defer from the army for a year and go on the Nitzana which opened up a very interesting discussion about the cultural differences in people our age across a range of countries. We collectively cooked a Potjie (lots of raw food cooked in a pot over a fire) over a couple of hours and exchanged some inter movement tunes with each other.

We spent our final day of Tiyul learning about sustainable energy and building in the desert landscape and innovative ways to collect water and keep the temperature down in summer. We then spent some time doing Outdoor Training which involved team bonding exercises through a low ropes course and activities.

We bused back to Machon and were allocated rooms. We were given the rest of the night to unpack, settle in and socialise. Our first proper day at Machon we were given a talk by Ilan, the director of the English speaking program, about taking opportunities and making the most of our time here. This was followed by a split into our chavurah groups to go over detailed timetables and class selections. Everyone struggled picking their classes from Zionism to Global Studies every one sounded amazing.

It’s been a bit of an adjustment being away from the other half of our group and being thrown into an environment of people from all over the world with such a range of views and opinions. However I think that it is this intense space that will force us to grow and develop our ideologies as leaders and as people.

I am really excited for the development of friendships and knowledge that is to come over the next four months.

A FB post by Emma Jacobs

Until a few months ago I barely knew the north of Israel was a thing. Despite my initial reservations, living here's been really funny and fab. Thanks to all the lovely, hospitable people we met- those who facilitated our fun volunteering placements, fed us a meal each week or got us out when we got locked in to our bedroom for 3 hours. I've also had the pleasure of sharing a house with these 11 grimy, loud, hilarious nutters (#WheresIlana). Now we off to jeru for next 5 months

We made it to J-Wire :)

Shnatties in Israel

February 14, 2017 by Hayley Hadassin

The Australian Zionist Youth Council (AZYC) under the auspices of the Zionist Federation of Australia welcomed the 2017 Shnatties in Israel in an opening seminar, full of ruach and excitement for the year ahead. Australia sent 96 shnat participants from Bnei Akiva, Betar, Habonim Dror, Hineni and Netzer youth movements to participate in their respective gap year programs. The yearlong programs focus on education, leadership training, Jewish learning, community service, touring, hiking and more. The programs are designed to give the participants skills to be educated, competent and passionate leaders in the Jewish and wider community.

Gabi Newman (former head of the AZYC) – “It’s always wonderful seeing the future madrichim of our movements in Israel and it will be a privilege to see them grow and develop into the future leaders of our movements and Jewish communities. The AZYC opening seminar gives the Australian shnatties a fabulous opportunity to connect across movements, to establish a communal unity, despite the various programs and ideologies they follow.

The AZYC Opening Seminar was a unique opportunity for all the youth movements to join together as they prepared for the year long journey ahead. They participated in daily activities and varied experiences, which were designed to challenge, encourage and help set the framework for the year ahead.

Yigal Sela, ZFA Israel Director: – “It was an honour to see how the movements came together over the opening seminar. The excitement, energy and participation was inspiring. They are a wonderful group and we look forward to having them in Israel this year and truly developing their potential.”

The opening seminar was about having an introductory Israel experience but it was also about setting goals for the year. It was a time to discuss and appreciate different ideologies and diversity, to debate topics relevant to Israel, to examine the mindset of being a Shnat participant and to be mentally prepared to make the most of the year.

Lior Aufgang from Betar said: – “AZYC seminar was a lot of fun, we had the opportunity to get a glimpse into Israel, though most importantly to meet our fellow shnatties and spend some time with them. We devoted a lot of time to talking about working as a united front and I look forward to seeing all the other movements later in the year.”The group has now headed out to their respective movement seminars..


Update by Jordan Werner- Hall, Shnat Rakaz, Netzer Australia

Shnat Update 2: Your kids are still alive and well!

AZYC seminar was fully packed, many new friends were made, relationships with other movements that will hopefully flourish over the course of this year and onwards. Over Shabbat the Shnatties led an incredible Kabbalat Shabbat and Shacharit services. For some of the chanichim (participants) from other movements, it was their first time experiencing a progressive Shabbat service. Jess and I were so incredibly proud to hear these chanichim acknowledge the service, some speaking up at the end to say how included they felt, and that they were enchanted by the tunes and atmosphere created.

Finally on the seminar, the Shnatties got a private performance from Cafe Shachor Hazak, an Israeli rap duo. Quite a way to start their year.

With Seminar finished, the Shnatties have finally arrived home, to Beit Shmuel, the centre of Netzer Olami. From opening up spiritual and ideological questions to finding the best places to restock on deodorant, this first week of Orientation seminar will set in motion much of the rest of the year. So far they are having many first encounters with some of Jerusalems best experiences, including the view of the old city from Beit Shmuel's roof and eating at Ben Sira Hummus, a long time favourite of many generations of Shnatties. Now they wait, not so patiently, been awaiting the arrival of their Northern counterparts, who will be joining them this Thursday!Keep tuned for more updates!

Israel's president on land-grab law: We will look like an apartheid state

by By Yossi Verter | 12.2.17 | Ha'aretz

President Reuven Rivlin strongly opposes a law, passed by the Knesset last week, allowing private Palestinian land to be expropriated in order to retroactively legalize settlements.

The passage of the so­­­-called “Regularization­ Law” could cause Israel to look like an apartheid state, Rivlin said in a meeting he held last week, only two days after the law was passed.

“Israel has adopted international law. It does not allow a country acting according to it to apply and enforce its laws on territories that are not under its sovereignty. If it does so, it is a legal cacophony. It will cause Israel to be seen as an apartheid state, which it is not,” he said. “There is no question here. The government of Israel is simply not allowed to apply the laws of the Knesset on territories that are not under the state’s sovereignty,” added Rivlin.

The law passed last week allows Israel to expropriate private Palestinian land in the West Bank where Israeli settlements or outposts have been built. While it does not grant the settlers ownership of the land, it allows them to remain there and denies the Palestinian owners the right to claim the land “until there is a diplomatic resolution of the status of the territories.”

Rivlin also expressed his opposition to a law that would enable the Knesset to override the Supreme Court. The right may demand such legislation if the Supreme Court rules that the regularization law is unconstitutional. That would allow the Knesset to pass for a second time laws the Supreme Court overruled, while limiting the court’s power to reject them again. This could include passing a law requiring the Supreme Court to have a majority of at least 9 justices out of 11 in order to overrule a law; or by allowing the Knesset to reenact the law for a limited period of time despite the court’s decision.

Most Knesset members and ministers assume the court will overrule the law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. In such a case, the party Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) would probably demand passage of a law enabling the Knesset to override the Supreme Court when it rules that a law is unconstitutional.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told Haaretz last week that he and his Kulanu party are still firmly opposed to a law that would weaken the authority of the Supreme Court. “As long as we are in the [government] coalition, there will be [no such law]. We have no other Supreme Court and it must not be harmed.”

Immediately after the present government was installed in April 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he aspired to advance a law giving the Knesset the power to override the Supreme Court, despite Kulanu’s opposition; but since then nothing has been done.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Channel 2 on Saturday that the “Regularization Law” has no connection to the settlement enterprise. The law “harms settlements and strengthens the legal establishment,” he said.“ Those who have misled the settlers and promised them that the illegal outpost of Amona would not be removed, are now telling them that the regularization law will solve the problems of the settlements. This is an incorrect law, and it just complicates the situation,” said Lieberman.


Letter from Jerusalem: Trump, Netanyahu, and the Fight for Tolerance


Greetings from Jerusalem.

Like many of you, we here in Israel are waiting to see what signals will be sent from today’s meeting between our two leaders – President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu – later this week. Regardless of the outcome, we are not going to let growing incitement and discrimination remain the new normal in Israel.

While we wait, we at the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the legal and advocacy arm of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, will continue fighting for the rights of non-Orthodox communities in Israel, Jews-by-choice from abroad who want to make aliyah, and ultra-Orthodox women who do not want to be silenced in public. We also – as we always do – will fight discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens and other non-Jewish minorities.

We are the living actuality of Reform Judaism’s values in Israel, combining the legal prowess of the ACLU, the public education of the ADL, and the URJ’s commitment to Reform Judaism, all wrapped together with a unique brand of Israeli chutzpah. When there are threats to Israel’s democracy, we intervene. We are a voice for all Reform Jews in Israel, and your voice – no matter where you live.

In recent years, one of the main opponents to democracy in Israel has been a group called Lehava. The name is an acronym for LeMeniat Hitbolelut B'eretz HaKodesh, meaning “Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land,” which may evoke a sense of shared mission, since we all are trying to promote a strong Jewish identity among those where we hold sway. However, do not let the name fool you. Lehava is a hate group in every sense, and its members employ tactics that are pulled from the pages of other extremists’ handbooks.

They claim to protect Jewish women from being led astray by Arab men. If that were true, it would be offensive enough, but their activities and tactics include arson, vandalism, harassment, and even assault. Every Thursday, their leader, Bentzi Gopstien, sends his small army of black-shirted youth into the streets of downtown Jerusalem to find Arabs. Their goal is to make the downtown shopping area of the city “clean” of Arabs and therefore “safe” for Jews. When they find Arab workers, they fall on them like a swarm, and the police almost always sit on their hands. Watch video testimonials from victims attacked by Lehava.

We are fighting this group in the courts, but we also are taking our struggle against this hate group to the streets. Their animus is not reserved only for Arabs, but also for Jews – including Reform Jews – whom they view as a threat. Last Wednesday night, a small group of 20 Lehava supporters, waving their yellow flags, approached our rally, which was more than 300 strong, and began shouting at us, calling us traitors, and finally began hitting people in the crowd with their large flagpoles.

Yehudit, one of our staff members, was beaten by one of them. I ran to a police officer “guarding” the rally and told him what happened, but he did nothing. In his eyes, a man beating a 24-year-old woman with a flagpole did not merit any action on his part. As we marched for tolerance with other like-minded Israeli organizations, we were met with violence, which the police answered with indifference. Through our work, we are going to hold the police accountable for not doing their jobs, and we are going to force Israelis to view the ugly face of intolerance that is growing among us. Bravely, Yehudit ended the evening on her feet; she did not let their hate deter her for even a second.

Liberal Jews in Israel and North America face many of the same challenges, and we need your partnership to prevail. In Israel, our movement might seem small, but we stand on the shoulders of 1.8 million Reform Jews around the world. We need your voice to be part of our work promoting pluralism and safeguarding our democracy. Please join us in our online advocacy endeavors.

As lovers of Zion, we are determined to ensure that Israel remains an open and democratic state, offering welcoming arms to its citizens and to Jews the world over.


Rabbi Noa Sattath

Director, Israel Religious Action Center

TaMaR Conference in Jerusalem

Dear TaMaR Members, Netzer Bogrim and progressive young adults from around the world! If you haven’t heard it yet, CONNECTIONS 2017 is coming soon and two days before it starts: TaMaR Olami worldwide conference for young adults is taking place in Jerusalem!


CONNECTIONS 2017 is an international conference hosted by the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). CONNECTIONS offers opportunities to learn, explore and engage in the diversity of our Progressive Jewish world. This year’s focus, Milestones & Innovation, honors 200 years of Progressive Jewish history while exploring innovation in Jewish life and its impact on the future of our Jewish peoplehood.

What Is TaMaR?

TaMaR (Tnuat Magshimim Reformit) is the World Union’s international movement of Progressive Jewish Young Adults. In order to strengthen the TaMaR communities around the world, the TaMaR International Conference is held annually in Jerusalem for delegates from each country. Coinciding with CONNECTIONS 2017, TaMaR conferance will weave networking and training sessions with WUPJ members and leaders alongside specialized activities, workshops and site visits.

What Is The Seminar About? This year we will focus on young adults responsibly for the Jewish world as leaders of today and our place in the adult movement and if it is really existing?

When? May 15 – 17, 2017 and then we join the adult conference: May 17-20, 2017

Where? Beit Shmuel, Jerusalem

Who Can Participate? Progressive young adults from all around the world.

How Much? $180 for everything besides the flight (need financial assistant? Contact us!)

How Do I register? Please contact Orit Shoshani, our Rosh Hinuch!

Feel free to contact us in any matter!

See you soon!!

Please forward this email to relevant people



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 click here.

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


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Masa Gap Year programs offer college-bound high school graduates a year of valuable life experience before college, with Israel providing the perfect environment for them to explore their interests, identity, and future steps. Through a combination of academic coursework, volunteering, traveling, and an immersive experience in Israeli society, Fellows return home with the life skills to make the most out of their college experience. Learn more about Masa here.

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© 2016 Orit Sagi, Netzer Olami, Photography by Danit Ariel & Roy Elman