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

We hope you are well!

שמחה רבה, שמחה רבה- אביב הגיע, פסח בא

Such happiness, great joy, the spring arrived, Passover is here.

Pessach is on the horizon, spring is in the air! Time to refresh, take some time, consider the meaning of the holiday and enjoy what's ahead.

Traditionally, it is also time for spring cleaning, but most of our Shnattim never heard of the concept…. not too surprising, as we are speaking of 18 year olds, that are mostly away from home for the first time for such a long period. Hopefully we will be able to see the floors in their rooms :)

For the Etgarniks this has been probably one of the most meaningful weeks of Shnat, with the Conflict and Hope seminar, planned and run by the AMAZING Danit and Ady- the Etgar super- team. You can read about it below in Jayme's wonderful update. The Machonks had a great week as well, especially as they had a personal meeting with the inspiring Anat Hoffman from the Israel Religion Action Center (IRAC).

Yesterday we participated in an event called VIA- Values in Action- a yearly gathering of hundreds of youth movement participants from around the world currently in Israel. This year's theme was innovation and entrepreneurship. It gives hope to see such engaged young adults committed to youth movements.

Please note that next week we are all on Chofesh (vacation)- shnattim and staff alike. Therefore, the next weekly update will be sent in two weeks' time.

Weekly update by Jayme Garland

The past few days have undoubtedly been one of Etgar’s most intense, empowering, emotional and interesting weeks so far. We started with a closed Shabbat which lead into the Conflict and Hope seminar.

This week has not been easy for any of us. We have faced many struggling moments of realisations, big questions and in general the complex and diverse situation of the conflict. It was too much to try and explain all that we've done this week, so here are some opinions and highlights from Kvutzah Nof:

“I really enjoyed listening to such a wide range of opinions and life stories from the conflicts over the years this week. Etgar is really opening my eyes to all of the issues and tension that surrounds Israel and it being a state and although I have been challenged a lot this week (whether it was keeping my cool when talking to settlers or struggling with the idea of conflict) this has been one of my favourite weeks of etgar, educationally, so far.” - Jess

“My favourite thing this week was meeting the lady today and finding out her views on the whole conflict and how her life was during the conflict. Also when we went to the peace wall it was really emotional but also really interesting and inspiring to see what is actually happening in our lives today.” - Sara

“I've been sick this week, but I've really enjoyed getting into Amos Oz's In the Land of Israel. It's about Israel and its immense complexity, and paints an evocative picture of a country overflowing with contradiction and passion.” - Adam B

“So this week has been one of the most engaging, educational weeks. Hearing about personal stories of how the conflict and current situation has influenced the individual has allowed me to understand it on a personal level. It's helped me understand how this has deeply effected the whole nation. The people who have educated us have been so inspirational in displaying the power of community to fulfil their ideology” - Mili

“Speaking with the Israeli-Arab lawyer who also identified as part of the Palestinian people was a truly fascinating experience. His account of life in Israel as a minority was both enlightening and slightly shocking. Listening to someone talk about their own identity conflicts (both a proud Israeli and Palestinian) struck many parallels with me (Jew/Brit/Zionist) and helped me develop my own opinions with a new perspective.” -Dan

I have felt so detached from the conflict in Israel, even since I've been living here. It is hard to process something so complex. But a major realisation for me was that I can’t judge the conflict as one whole thing. It requires the careful and resilient analysis of specific events as well as individual people. Something which emphasised this for me was on the tour with Givat Havivah:

We finished in the town of Barta-a, that sat on the green line and we had the chance to speak to a few of the residents there. It was a surreal experience when they were more interested in quizzing us on why Brexit happened! To stand a few metres away from the green line and engage in a political conversation about the UK seemed strange at first. But on reflection, it’s clear the conversation, despite not being long, was so real. This man was going about his day, in the situation he is inherently a part of, simply trying to create a life round it. Our conversations with people don't always have to be about Israel’s problems, and those few minutes created a unique interaction I will never forget. I left feeling humbled that Brexit is pretty much the extend of our political issues.

Another really important moment from this week was on our penultimate day when we travelled to the other side of Israel; to Gaza. Whilst we never entered, but going right up to the wall was so powerful and overwhelming in itself. It was a huge, heartbreaking realisation to know this beautifully decorated, 10ft wall was what separated us from the people inside this open air prison. Its hard to describe the immense feeling of helplessness that staring at this wall can give you.

We are concluding this week with a peaulah on hope and justice. An important sikkum that will hopefully allow us to leave this heavy week with an empowered, well informed view, and the ability to utilise our positions within the movement to educate and inspire others.

Weekly update by Josh Rossiter

Growing frictions between religion & state in Israel

From Hiddush' Newletter

Israel's Supreme Court has handed down two decisions that demonstrate the critical importance of an independent civil judiciary, but the Government Coalition continues to capitulate to the ultra-Orthodox political parties.

The last two weeks have provided us with yet another nasty mouthful of the growing conflicts between religion and state in Israel. The good news is that Israel's Supreme Court has handed down two decisions that demonstrate the critical importance of an independent civil judiciary. Also, since both decisions were written by Justice Rubinstein, an Orthodox Jew who has repeatedly spoken for and acted in strengthening the Jewish character of the State of Israel, we see how artificial the fundamentalists’ claim of "the Israeli Supreme Court is out to destroy Judaism in Israel" truly is.

One ruling deals with a high visibility, controversial case regarding the intention of Israel's Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef (the Head of Rabbinic Court of Appeals) to convene a special panel of the Court to hear an appeal submitted by a third-party individual with no connection to the divorce case who attempted to challenge the validity of a gett (religious divorce document) rendered by the Safed rabbinic court in a case where the husband had been comatose for 10 years.

To continue reading...


Towards CONNECTIONS 2017, Orit and Rodrigo from Netzer Olami are running a session about the “young adults problem", and they need your help!

If you are 20-30 years old, we would appreciate it if you could answer this very very short survey .

PLEASE SHARE it with relevant people from the entire Jewish rainbow!

About Pessach

Orit Shoshani, Netzer Olami educational coordinator

Pesach, known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning "order") and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread).

On the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, Jews gather with family and friends in the evening to read from a book called the haggadah, meaning "telling," which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings, and songs for the Passover seder. Today, the holiday is a celebration of freedom and family (read more here).

"In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt" says the Haggadah. What is Egypt? Is it a symbol to the things that hold us, our community, our snif and our movement back? Pesach is a great opportunity for some spring cleaning (sorry for the southern hemisphere, you can clean for fall as well ;) and with that to get rid of all the things that keep us away from freedom. But what is freedom? All around us there are groups of people that their freedom is limited in different ways: physically, mentally & cognitively. Is it our mission to making this world more free and are we even free?..

Pesach raises educational opportunities to talk about the meaning of this holiday from different perspectives.

Berry Sacharof, a famous Israeli musician wrote a great song that always remind me of Pesach – I welcome you to check it out-

Wishing you, your family and your community (that all basically sums up to Netzer ;) happy Pesach!!



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.

As next week we will not send an update due to the Pessach break, please find here next year's portion.



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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