Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well.
This weekly update is dedicated to our beloved Shnat Nof North, who are now officially ex- Shnattim. After over eight months in Israel, it is time to go home, hopefully as more mature, knowledgeable and independent people. We have high hopes and expectations from you for the years to come, and feel so very honored to have worked with you and learn from you. We wish you the very best, and hope to keep in touch! Here is a short video dedicated to you, on your last day on Shnat Netzer!
This past week has been a roller-costar on so many levels- some expected, some- less so. Our Southerners headed on Monday morning to the Sea of Galilee, for a 4 day camping trip, planned by the wonderful Tilda and Abe, and accompanied by the brilliant Jade. Three bushfires down the road, together with a few other happenings, and it was time for them to head back home to Beit- Shmuel. Luckily, they are in high spirit, and have planned a Yom Kef (fun day) in Tel- Aviv today, which includes going to the beach, surfing and getting good food!
This is a great time to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the BRILLIANT tzevet (staff) of Netzer Olami- your passion and dedication is an inspiration. You are always there to help, and especially during this very challenging and emotional week. You are each simply amazing, and I am of owe to you all.
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!
Weekly update by Dan Apter
Good evening everyone and welcome to the last ever weekly-update from us Shnat Nof North.
I must start by saying congratulations to all of our dedicated fans and followers who have endured the bombardment of emails (which were borderline harassment!) for the last eight months. You did it, you made it through shnat!
Now with pleasantries aside I guess that I should write this weekly update!
This week started with a “Shabbat B’yachad” which meant that we got to spend the weekend with our fellow Netzer-niks from the south. We had structured weekend filled with fun activities such as games in the park, writing “warm and fuzzies” and spending the morning in a waterpark.
On Sunday we crammed ourselves onto a minibus, which took us up north to Achziv to have our closing shnat seminar. When we arrived to the stunning hostel on the beach never did we expect to encounter our biggest trial as a kvutzah yet!
The details of how we got to this predicament are unimportant but after a lot of crying, shouting, discussing, scratching, biting, gouging, hitting and screaming we made a decision as a group. This led to us changing the programming and replacing educational programming with horse riding and a speedboat ride. We may be changed and enlightened individuals but maybe kids will be kids (or is young adults will be young adults…?).
Anyway…last night when I (stupidly) volunteered to write this, I wracked my brain as to how I could do justice to and articulate all the thoughts and emotions whizzing around my head. After much deliberation I decided that it was impossible task as I’m not exactly the Shakespeare of my generation so I settled on an analogy.
Picture the scene: You have been waiting for months for this new film to come out. It is the climax and summary of your favourite franchise but before seeing it, you read the early reviews from the critics and they all said that it was the most fantastic film that they had ever seen. This was not enough however and you decided that you needed to see it for yourself.
You arrive to a packed cinema of super fans on opening night in the Leicester Square Odeon. The lights eventually dim and the film starts. You expected to see a good film but you never expected it to have such amazing cinematography, beautiful set design and special effects, emotionally wrenching acting and such an intricately crafted plot. The film eventually comes to an end and the lights go on.
You sit there in stunned silence at the spectacle, which you just witnessed when you get asked to describe it. Lost for words all you can muster up was “It was alright I guess”…
This analogy I feel, describes the task of what I have to do now. Being a “leader” and “good at delegating” (two things that I learned on shnat) I decided to get everyone else to do the work for me while I take the credit! So here are some words from my fellow participants!
• “The whole process of shnat has been the biggest process of destruction and reconstruction for me. I am now the most myself and the most happy I have ever been and cannot wait for this to carry me for the rest of my life”
• “Shnat has helped me mature and develop a more nuanced perspective on the world.”
• “My confidence has grown so much on shnat and it has made me believe in myself a lot more; that I can do anything I want to.”
• “I have achieved so much personal growth on shnat. I am so much more in tune with my own ideology and I feel so much more determined to try and change the world in any way I can.”
• “One of my main shnat goals was to beat my anxiety and gain confidence. I am so happy to say that I have achieved this and it has really set me up well for university and future life post shnat”
• “Shnat has allowed me to create or begin a messimah (mission) for life. I have achieved so much in personal growth on shnat but it has put me in a place intellectually and mentally to achieve so many goals when I get home. Shnat has been the most transformative year of my life.”
• “On shnat I’ve not just realised that I am very ideological but I have found purpose for what I want to do in my life which would not have been in my mind if I had not come on Shnat Netzer and now I cant get it off my mind.”
I think I speak on behalf of everyone but there are a few people that we wanted to thank.
Thank you to all parents and guardians who allowed us to take part and fund such a fantastic experience. Without your constant presence and support (and wallets!) at the end of the phone we would never have been able to go through.
Thank you to all of the external tzevet members- Mark, Debby, Amir, Netta, Elinor and all of the Machon and Etgar educators, who made shnat so comfortable, intriguing and free flowing.
Thank you to Ady, Danit, Orit, Rinat and Rodrigo. Without you all working with us and behind the scenes day in and day out, we could never have been able to take part in this amazing programme. Your dedication and passion has inspired us all and will continue to in years to come.
Last but certainly not least; thank you Lior! It’s as if someone had described what the perfect shnat director would be and you popped out of a futuristic looking computer. Your capable hands meant that we always felt loved and cared for, felt safe and supported and most of all you made sure that this year was formative and fun as it could possibly be!
None of these messages come close to portraying the level of gratitude and respect that we have for all of you but we hope that we have at least scratched the surface.
So to bring you all back to reality, I am currently sitting on my bed in our hostel listening to a sad playlist with tears streaming down my face as I furiously type. I am crying because the programme may be over and I’m sad to leave but they are also tears of happiness. I know that whatever difficulties I face in my future, I will be able to draw on the experiences from the last eight months to help and most importantly I am now surrounded by friend who I know will have my back for the rest of my life.
Thank you Nof for being so great and good luck to our Southern friends for the rest of your shnat.
Good luck to Savyon and we hope that our shnat will be everything that you dream of.
Now after all this, I think I am better able to describe shnat like I would with the aforementioned hypothetical film.
Shnat is not just a year; it’s the rest of your life.
Shnat is not just informative; it’s transformative.
Shnat is not just emotionally challenging; it’s an emotional rollercoaster.
Shnat is not a year off; it’s a year on!
Shnat is not a purchase but and absolute privilege.
So, Shnat is ending…
By Emma Jacobs
It’s hard not to be cliché when it comes to something ending. Whether that ‘thing’ has been long or short, dreadful or full of joy.
It’s hard not to be nostalgic and romanticise your friendships and even the mundane every day things. I’d promised myself I wasn’t going to write an ‘end of shnat’ blog. Partially because who other than you cares about a glorified holiday (gap year).
Partially because I don’t want to admit that living with my best friends is over. While I’m so excited for all university has to offer, it’s strange to realise I won’t be living in a mudhut, moshav or dorm.
I wanted to document my emotions and what this year had been. Think of it as a poor mans therapy. Or a snapshot full of too many emotions and too many words. I want a ‘thing’ that people who are going on shnat can access. I wanted it for myself for the gloomy days in the North of England when I want to remind myself of what this was and how raw it felt.
Like any gap year, it’s really just a year. The beauty of Shnat is that it just becomes a year of living in another place.
I’ve found comfort in recreating ‘normality’ in a strange foreign country. My shul has been replaced by one full of diaspora Jews and tunes so beautiful that I feel privileged to have heard any Friday night I wanted. Or prayer has become sitting above my friends flat, on the roof, looking over the Old City in that golden hour where you forget about the politics and just see beauty. Or in their lounge surrounded by love and odd socks.
My weekend has started to start on a Thursday night, with a drink at a ‘socialist bar’ or a boogie on Ben Yehuda. Things I didn’t dream of when Thursday night meant homework or possibly a chily pub in North London.
I’ve started to both loath and love Shabbat as I’ve learnt what it is to live with a one day weekend and a Saturday with no public transport. Quickly my feet learnt to take me, following the walls of the old city back to Baka on auto pilot. Once I didn’t even know these roads existed. Now I count them down as thought they’re stops on the Northern line. Each full of hilarious (and hideous) memories of picnics, nights out, sunbathing, heated debates and long hot summer strolls.
The people I couldn’t tolerate to talk to about politics have become my best friends. Nationalist, Religious, right wingers who speak of a philosophy of pride and protection of a land they’d never visited. Leftie, socialist humans who speak of respect for those who oppose everything they believe in. All whom speak with such passion and determination. People who ‘do things’ and do them thoroughly.
The ‘other’ at protests (just not the ones who spat and threw things at me) have become the people I love going out for malawah with. Nothing will change my perception more than seeing a beaming Betari on the other side of the barrier on Yom Yerushalayim asking if I’m safe and ok.
As it came to the god awful goodbyes at the end of Machon another Betari whispered in my ear “I thought you were a communist” and as we held each other while low key sobbing I admitted I thought she was a fascist.
Now I find these are the people who ‘get’ me. Who know how to stop me crying and make me laugh so hard tears stream down my face.
I’m not sure if I can claim to be tolerant or to have changed. I know I definitely haven’t ‘found myself’. But I want to thank my friends. You guys have taught me about my own prejudices. About how easy and lazy it is to give in to stereotypes. How they could get in the way of you meeting the people who need to teach you the greatest lessons. You’ve grown my heart in an irreversible way and I didn’t know I was capable of feeling what you’ve made me feel.
I tried to ’emotionally constipate’ myself. I know this isn’t a goodbye just a pause but it’s not an easy one. I don’t know how to articulate some feelings I have over this year and the people I’m ‘leaving behind’.
But there’s a sense of comfort that people on the other end of the world are fighting the same battle. The world feels a lot less scary when it’s populated by such passionate people.
There’s a comfort also in knowing that similar people are waiting at home. That my friends from school at Christmas opened their hearts again and let me moan about the lack of good shows on Israeli Netflix. I’m excited to catch up with life before this year, to hear how much everyone’s become ‘who they were meant to be’ this year. But most of all the thing making my flight being booked for the 25th ok is the prospect of semi decent Mexican restaurants. Thanks for the laughs and love. I’ll see you all again soon.
Weekly update by Mathilda and Abraham
Sela productions presents: Machon closing ceremony
Honoring Elie Wiesel - "What will you be a witness to?"
This week marks the one-year yahrzeit of the death of Elie Wiesel, conscience of the world.
"When you listen to a witness, you become a witness"
- Elie Wiesel z"l, 1928-2016
Elie Wiesel was a noted Holocaust survivor and an award winning novelist, journalist, and human rights activist. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. In May 1944, the Nazis deported 15-year-old Wiesel and his family to Auschwitz, a German concentration and death camp in Nazi occupied Poland. Wiesel’s mother and the youngest of his three sisters died at Auschwitz, while he and his father later were moved to another camp, Buchenwald, located in Germany. Wiesel’s father perished in Buchenwald just months before it was liberated by Allied troops in April 1945.
Following the war, he broke a self-imposed vow not to speak about the atrocities he witnessed at the concentration camps and penned dozens of works of fiction and non-fiction, lectured widely and crusaded against injustice and intolerance around the world. His seminal work, “Night”, published in English in 1960, has sold well over six million copies in the US, and has been translated into 30 other languages.
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.
Being an Aussie
Remember this photo??
Now watch this!
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