Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well!
Another week is coming to an end – another week of volunteering, of leading on camps, of struggling with the heat and of leading sessions for UK Israel Tours.
But what was different this week?
- We received Adam K.B. and Caroline back from Machaneh Chavaya!!! Yay!! It was lovely having them back, hearing some stories and anacdotes from camp!
- We had Shira Appelboom- the one and only, ex- shnatti, Netzer Australia Bogeret, join us for our Yom Chinuch
- The shnattim really wanted to have an outing as a group, so we took them all to the Spiderman movie
- On Wednesday, the shnattim were invited to go with the kids they volunteer with to a water park- both to help, and also to be thanked for their humble contibution.
- Adam K.B. led us through a Ma'amad, during which Adam asked us questions relating to each of the books of the Torah-
Genesis: the origin or mode of formation of something. בראשית: "In the beginning..." - In what ways has this year been a genesis for you? How have you begun anew?
Exodus: a mass departure of people, especially immigrants. שמות: Names - the book starts with the names of all the Israelites who came to Egypt- In what ways are you coming to be known this year that are different to before? What kind of name are you making for yourself?
Leviticus: of the Levites (Leviticus liber), ויקרא: And he called, referring to God (also sometimes known as torat kohanim, laws of the priests). What or who calls you? What are you called to do or to be? Is this a stressful or empowering sensation?
Numbers: referring to two censuses of the Israelites, במדבר (Bamidbar): in the desert. Draw/write what you think of on hearing "desert", and how it makes you feel
Deuteronomy: deuteros (second) + nomos (law), דברים: words. Sort of recappy of earlier stuff, three big speeches from Moses to the Jewish people. Free writing - " I've changed so much, and I owe a lot of who I am today to.
All is all, it was a lovely week, and is the one before last in Tel- Aviv. This afternoon, some of ourshnatti plan to come to Jerusalem- The Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance is taking place today- will we see you there?
"The Jerusalem community decided this year to march under the banner “LGBTQ and Religion”. We will shed light on the complex, deep connections between them and the struggles for partnerships, conflict and dialogue. In a city that has known bloody wars of religion, we have seen and borne the price of hatred against the backdrop of religion. Time and time again, we have seen their destructive consequences to our community and others. In Jerusalem, a city sacred to millions of believers, it is incumbent upon us to dispute and reallocate the power relations in the city, toward a freer and less violent society"
⚑ מצעד הגאווה והסובלנות בירושלים 2017
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!
Weekly update by Louis and Liat
Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay: Israel should recognize Reform conversions
From Hiddush's newsletter
Newly elected Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay has come out strongly in favor of religious freedom on issues ranging from education, to public transportation on Shabbat, and to marriage & divorce, as we reported last week [link]. More recently, he's expressed support for the official state recognition of Reform conversions.
Avi Gabbay's aim seems to be for the Labor Party pursue these issues differently than the party has in recent years. Of course, counter-voices have arisen against Gabbay, and explicit pressure has come in from the ultra-Orthodox political parties. Just this week, Gabbay met with United Torah Judaism Chairman Health Minister Yaakov Litzman who peppered him with challenges on his positions on religion and state matters.
Hiddush polling consistently shows that the overwhelming majority of Labor / Zionist Union voters support all aspects of religious freedom and equality in Israel. In the upcoming 2017 Israel Religion & State Index, Hiddush will measure whether political support and commitment by the Labor Party for religious freedom and equality will strengthen, weaken, or make no difference in terms of the likely continued support for the party. Stay tuned for this indicator.
As Hiddush has reported in the past [link], Israel's left and center parties have been pursuing a policy of avoiding any confrontation with ultra-Orthodox parties while directing all their fire at the settlers. This is so even as the ultra-Orthodox channel huge sums to seminaries for married men, which encourages them to remain outside the workforce, and to educational institutions in which children don’t learn core subjects such as mathematics and English. This is so even as they say awful things about Reform Movement Jews. This is so even when these parties have the exclusion of women at the center of their worldview.
The policy of disengagement from issues of state and religion, espoused by Labor, Meretz and Yesh Atid, is totally opposed to the position of their voters. Hiddush's Israel Religion & State Index in 2015 showed that 100 percent of Meretz voters, 87 percent of Zionist Union voters and 85 percent of Yesh Atid voters believe that all types of marriage should be recognized, including civil, Reform and Conservative. In addition, 86 percent of Zionist Union voters, 83 percent of Yesh Atid voters and 95 percent of Meretz voters said that they prefer a government without the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Hiddush will be reaching out to Gabbay to further discuss these issues, but it should be pointed out that repeated studies have indicated the correlation between fervent religious views and the political right (most recently in the Pew study of Israel religious views, in which most respondents who defined themselves as religious also supported the statement that Israeli Arabs should be expelled from Israel [link])
In recent years, communications between the Haredi parties and Labor were mostly used in order to jack up the Haredi parties' political demands to Likud, not as a sincere expression of willingness to join with the Left in implementing its peace and territorial policies. Therefore - it is clear to us that a strong and assertive position on the part of Gabbay on issues of religious freedom will not only better meet the preferences of his constituency and that of the majority of the Israeli public, but it would also reflect a mature and long overdue realization on the part of Labor that the Haredi parties of today are not likely to return to the long-gone partnership with the Left.
From IRAC's Newsletter
Rabbi Noa Sattath
The most important part of the car is the brakes. Without the brakes, you crash. In the most recent session of the Kneset, IRAC has been the brakes. Since May, our advocacy has put the brakes on bill after bill which threatens Israel's democracy.
The Knesset session, which ended last week, has been particularly hard for us. We have had to fight constantly to delay or stop bills from passing. Our current government constantly proposes legislation that not only risks our basic freedoms, but continues to drive a wedge between the Diaspora and the Jewish State. These include the nation-state bill, the conversion bill, the Kotel bill, and a bill to expand the scope of rabbinic courts to cover civil matters...just to name a few.
While these bills have come up for discussion in the Knesset session, so far nothing has passed. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that all decisions concerning anti-democratic legislation get pushed to the next Knesset session. We are holding on with both hands to keep these measures at bay.
While this session has been difficult, it has had some positive moments. We have taken part in several important Knesset discussions about gender segregation, gender discrimination in higher education, Channel 20 and the absence of progressive Judaism on TV, racism, and the decline in education. In each of these discussions, our lawyers have spoken and presented our positions on each of these topics.
We have seen in recent weeks that massive public pressure from Israel and Diaspora Jews can slow down, if not halt, government action. Between sessions we will run a public campaign to keep up the momentum of recent weeks so that when the Knesset comes back into session we have the support to prevent the passage of anti-democratic legislation that will continue to give power to the growing ultra-Orthdox monopoly and widen the rift already created between Israel and the Diaspora.
In our often turbulent political climate, sometimes a week is all it takes. Right now, our best strategy is to delay and hope that more favorable conditions take hold. Now is the time to resist.
Please support us as we continue to combat anti-democratic laws that affect us all.
Rabbi Noa Sattath
A Glimpse Into MachaNetzer France
Our camp is over, and I am exhausted! But before, I and my family take off on a much needed family vacation (to sleep a lot), I wanted to take a moment to count our blessings in having you around. Actually, I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude [...]
What really made an impact upon all of us who are working hard on the dream of this Summer camp was that we really felt that we are a part of something bigger than just our own communities… we feel the support of a wider movement ready to uses its resources and networks creatively, to aid our endeavors to create a strong and vibrate liberal Jewish community for French speaking Europe.
This year we were able to host around 130 campers plus another 30 or so staff and counselors. They came from all over our French and Swiss progressive synagogues constituents (and a few children from more Orthodox homes, as MahaNETZER gains the reputation of being THE place of joy and Jewish inspiration on the French scene).
The enthusiasm and the joy in living an open and dynamic Judaism could be seen in the eyes and laughter of the campers, in the grateful words and notes from the parents, and in the friendly post-camp banter of our counselors and specialists – as everyone is eagerly looking forward to next summer! That said, we indeed look forward to one of these coming summers having a visit, where you can see up front exactly to what you are contributing!
Toda raba for being our partners in this holy mission.
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.
*** Calling all Netzerniks around the world – New Jumpers\T-shirst design! ****
We are looking for a new design for the Netzer Olami tree! Think you have a great idea?? Please send it to us on FB or to Hinuch.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The chosen designer will be getting a Netzer Olami bracelet, the new t-shirt, hat, water bottle, the new Jumper & rise to eternal glory!!
Please send it to us by August 25th!
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