What happens when six Brits, one German, one American and one Canadian meet in Jerusalem? Shnat Netzer!
Welcome to our Shnat Savion 5778 Weekly Update! Each week, two Shnatties will try to encompass what we have done as a group in the past week and hopefully give you a flavour of what our 8-month adventure through Israel is like.
The nine of us met for the first time in Beit Shmuel, where we stayed during our orientation, on Wednesday morning. Orientation was a week of bonding, laughs and looking forward to our future as a kvutsah (group), and it was fantastic to meet our wonderful Shnat director, Orit. We discussed our goals, both as individuals and as a group, had an enthralling 4 hour rules and regs session, and talked about our Jewish identities. During the seminar, we got to explore Jerusalem, both by foot and by segway - learning about the city’s history in the process. We also learned about it’s culture, although interesting, it was an excuse to eat a lot of Israeli food.
We shared our first Kabbalat Shabbat together as a kvutsah with the community at Kol Neshemah Synagogue. They led a unique service full of music, joy and dancing. We were all blown away by the passion of the congregation and it was a really special way to start our first Shabbat together. The morning after we led each other in a Shacarit service at the egalitarian section of the Western Wall. Later that Saturday, we ran a program for the students in Heller High (NFTY EIE). We all had a lot of fun and we hope to see them again. We finished off Shabbat with a havdallah service meant to share the best qualities of each other. We left that service as a family - ready to take on the year ahead of us together.
On Sunday, the orientation seminar came to a close and we were off to Hava Va’Adam, a beautiful ecological farm near Mod’im. The experiences so far at Have Va’Adam have been a welcomed culture shock for all of us in the group. Being part of this community means working hard everyday to sustain and support everyone living here. We’ve done this through toiling the land, mud building, weeding/repurposing farm land and even eating vegan! In our spare time, we’ve got to know the Israelis and Americans living here and hiked through the surrounding hills. We’ve only just begun our journey here at Hava Va’Adam and can’t wait to get more involved in the community.
We also spent a wonderful day in Jerusalem with the Australian Shnatties in the year above, who ran a day-long programme for us involving a scavenger hunt through the city centre and a moving ma’amad. We only wish that we could spend more time with the Australian Nof group, and we wish them a blessed ending to their Shnat year.
It’s been an amazing first week and we look forward to many more to come as a kvutsah. Tune in next week!
Gideon & Harley