Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well!
This afternoon, Etgar and Machon ended, and in three days, the Jerusalem period as a whole will be over. As you can imagine, this is a major event for all of us- shnattim and staff alike. The level of emotions is sky high.
The week on Etgar was planned and run by the shnattim. The closing ceremony of Etgar was quite heartwarming. There were a few quite moving things, especially when the Southerners sang songs to the gorgeous (and very emotional) Northerners; when the educators on Etgar said how inspired they are by the group; and most of all- when Ady and Danit said their concluding words. These pair are just amazing, and we are all privileged to work with them and get some of their light and passion.
And while Etgar were very much in-house, Machon were taken to their closing Tiyul up north. They came back today and had their closing ceremony, which hosted an inspiring lady who was a participant on Machon before the establishment of the State of Israel! Her story was fascinating, and it is quite remarkable thinking of how different things were back in the 40s, and yet, the legacy keeps on- Machon is still here, and with it, an amazing experience. This is a great opportunity to thank the Machon staff for all their hard work! תודה!!! Lastly, we were very proud to hear Abraham was elected as one of six excellent Machoniks!
The shnattim have a lovely weekend planned by them, and will spend time together, have fun, relax, and be together as Nof- all 27 shnattim. The first activity tomorrow is us going to a water park! On Sunday, the Northerners will go on their final week of closing seminar up north, while the Southerners will head it to the Kinneret, for a camping trip around the Sea of Galilee.
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!
Weekly update by Louis and Jason
And here are a few photos from the passing week!
Weekly update by Tommy K.
So this is it our last week of Machon. What can I say, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times (just kidding, it was awesome). We are currently in Gidona, on our final tiyul (trip). Our week has encompassed both pure kef (fun) and reflection. From Acre beach to writing in our own machon "year book" this week has been an amazing end to an amazing program.
Anyway I'll come back to that, right now I want to talk about one day in the life of a machonik (and in extension etgarnik). We wake up quite early for a Friday morning. The air was in the cooler stage before it took a sharp turn toward apocalyptic heat. We hopped on a bus on the way to tel aviv. We were going to pride. We arrived in the cultural capital and were encapsulated by the sights, colour and vibe. It was liberating to actually be a part of the march, not just be there as a spectator.
After a breathtaking breakfast as a etgar-machon kuvstah. we actually entered the march. With the intense heat, the general emotional level followed. As the residents of the appartments sprayed water on us below, we ended up marching alongside IGI (Israeli Gay Youth). What a awe-inspiring experience to be a part of. As the heat overtook us, we decided to end the perfect day in a perfect way; the beach. So there you have it, an astonishing day filled with food, sun, sand and activism.
However, you know what was the best part of that day? It was the fact that every movement on machon was represented in the pride march. I think it says a lot that a group of individuals that belong to groups that are often intertwined in ideological conflict can come together and be a part of something bigger.
I also think that this is a great reflection of the program itself. If we take a look a back (using a pensive of course) we can see us young(er) more stubborn ideological warriors for our movements. Now we our more understanding of the other side of the argument
If i could give one message to anyone doing shnat in the future, it would be to not give up on machon. It was amazing to put a microscope up to my own beliefs and values (as well as Netzer's).
Thanks for the adventure Machzor 129, you will be in my heart for ever.
From IRAC's Newsletter
By Anat Hoffman
Breaking news! This past week the Jerusalemdistrict court ordered the Bet Shemesh municipality to remove three modestysigns within 30 day or else pay a fine of 10,000 NIS A DAY.
This decision is a breakthrough in our long struggle against modesty signs in Bet Shemesh! The city is covered in signs instructing women to stay out of certain areas and dress a certain way. Women who don't follow these instructions encounter violence and humiliation.
5 years ago we were asked to represent 5 Orthodox women in their case against the municipality. Although a reform organization representing Orthodox women may seem an anomaly, we found commonality on this issue as it is the joint struggle of moderates versus radicals.
We first filed a civil suit for damages claiming that there were no permits for the hanging of such signs. The court ordered our clients be paid damages, with no mention of the removal of signs. We then filed again for their removal. A year ago, the muncipality was ordered to remove all modesty signs. The municipality dragged their feet and when signs were taken down, they were immediately hung back up. It was not their "top priority", and their excuses made the plaintiffs furious. Four months ago, we filed for them to be charged with contempt of court, asking the court to order the municipality to remove the signs or pay a fine.
Two weeks ago, our case was heard. The municipality claimed that certain areas were too dangerous for municipal workers to enter to remove the signs. Our response was that it is just as dangerous for the women who suffer from modesty-based violence to walk those same streets.
The judge ruled in our favor. She wrote that she believes that it is unacceptable that violence rule the streets of Bet Shemesh instead of the law. This decision serves as a ray of light giving us hope in these dark times.
Support us as we continue the fight to make sure that all modesty signs are taken down and the rights of these five brave feminists, and all the women of Bet Shemesh, are respected.
We need to talk about Gaza
By Emily Gian, ZFA
Some events of note have happened in Gaza in the last week or so, not necessarily related, but they make up a part of a bigger problem, one that is not being sufficiently aired and dealt with in the public domain.
I will move chronologically.
The first event was the discovery of a tunnel underneath two schools in the Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The discovery was made by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), a UN body which was set up to assist Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA Spokesman, Christopher Gunness, released a statement condemning the existence of the tunnels but adding that the tunnel under the schools “has no entry or exit points on the premises nor is it connected to the schools or other buildings in any way”.
This should not in any way strip Hamas, or the UNRWA, of any responsibility in the situation. The fact that such tunnels do not open up into schools does not remove the students from being in harm's way. The digging of such tunnels and their placement in sensitive areas such as schools, hospitals and mosques is a well-known device used by the terrorist groups of Gaza and constitutes nothing less than the cynical use by them of their own people as human shields.
For its part, Hamas denied the allegations and even had the nerve to strongly condemn the UN for the revelation, saying that by exposing the tunnels, Israel would be able to exploit them to “justify their crimes”. Sounds a lot like someone is justifying their own crimes here, no?
And to UNRWA, one has to ask how can these tunnels be built directly under the schools – at a depth of only 2-3 metres by their own admission – without raising any sort of suspicion? It simply is not possible for the terror-tunnel building machine to work so quickly and quietly.
To continue reading please click here.
Why All Jewish Conferences Should Include Shabbat
By Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, JUNE 13, 2017 By EJP
At this point in my career, I have attended countless Jewish leadership conferences. In many instances, I have even been on the steering committees responsible for the selection of a theme, the development of programming, wrangling speakers and overall logistical planning. While each conference’s audience, agenda and timing create unique challenges, those responsible for scheduling always grapple with the same old question: what do we do about Shabbat?
In too many cases, conference organizers avoid programming over Shabbat like the plague, scheduling their programs between Sunday and Thursday. Shabbat is seen as such a logistical nightmare and religious tinderbox that international conference attendees are most often left to their own devices. But this is a missed opportunity.
The intrinsic power of Shabbat is its ability to bring people together – family, friends and complete strangers. As such, it is the responsibility of conference organizers to harness this power and use it to unite their participants and further their conference’s Jewish objectives.
In the months leading up to May’s CONNECTIONS conference in Jerusalem, the four-day biennial event hosted by the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), our steering committee decided to embrace Shabbat rather than work around it. After all, with 450 lay leaders, rabbis, students and congregants from Progressive, Reform, and Liberal communities around the world in attendance Shabbat provided the perfect opportunity to bring them all together to network, study, pray – and eat.
I will never forget how we embraced Shabbat, and what it meant to all of us.
To continue reading, please click here.
Cape Town Represents at TaMaR Conference in Israel
Marni Riese, SA
What do you get when you put 60 twenty-something year olds from 17 different countries into one conference room for three days? A whole lot of fun, learning, laughter and new friendships equalling one totally awesome TaMaR conference!
TaMaR (Tnuat Magshimim Reformit) is the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s international movement of Progressive Jewish Young Adults. The sessions were wise and wonderful - from learning about leadership from a classical music point of view with internationally acclaimed Israeli conductor, Roni Porat, to doing an interactive workshop with the concept of “rented minds,” to having a Eurovision-style karaoke night where each country’s representatives had to sing a song from their country.
Every year, a conference is held with the idea to strengthen TaMaR communities around the world by creating networking and learning sessions with leaders of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. The main focus of the conference was young adult leaders responsible in their Jewish communities and our place in WUPJ as a whole. Other aims of the conference were to learn how to engage other young adults in our communities, how to be better leaders and how to encourage participation amongst our peers.
All in all, this was an amazing conference organised and hosted by TaMaR leaders and everyone who attended the conference gained amazing new knowledge and skills.
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.
Etgar's closing ceremony
Southerners singing to their Northerners, soon returning home
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