ShnUpdates - Savyon 23.11.17

Welcome back to the Shnat Savyon blog! We’re now a month into our program and we’re still having an incredible time! This week we’ve been settling into Kibbutz Lotan, making friends with the Shinshinim and the community.

We’ve had a few sessions on Kibbutzim and communal living. It’s such a vast change in lifestyle to our normal lives and fully appreciating it and the reasons behind why everything is set up how it is takes some time. Lotan was one of the last Kibbutzim to be set up, and only recently went through privatisation, so almost everyone remembers the older ways it was run and the process/reasons for the change. Many of Lotan’s founders are still around, and we were given the chance to hear one of them speak to us. The ideas that he talked to us about such as building a sustainable and intentional community had been floating around in all of our minds throughout Shnat. To have learnt that he was nearly our age when he set out to create a whole new kibbutz was inspiring - it showed that it was possible for young progressive Jews to really make a mark in Israel.

We’ve done some work on the ‘Eco-Kef’ section of the Kibbutz, a small community garden where ethical agriculture is pioneered. We’ve planted potatoes, coriander, and built mud walls. Many of the techniques that Chava & Adam use were actually invented in Lotan!

We were also lucky enough to have a talk from Rev. Gary Mason. He’s an expert on disaster resolution and has done some amazing work in the past on the Northern/Republic of Ireland border. It was a fascinating talk as the religious and political tensions that helped lead to the conflict showed that other issues such as the Israel/Palestine conflict are multifaceted and need to be approached with an understanding of not only the political situation but also the historical context.

Our first Shabbat on Lotan was lovely, and provided a much need break to settle in. We played Disc Golf and very quickly realised we could do with some practice, and in the evening had a peaceful sing around a bonfire in the Papachanga, an open geometric dome a little way out surrounded by the desert.

Kibbutz Lotan is incredibly welcoming and friendly community, and we’re so happy to be here! They make a great example of how a group of young people can live an ideology. We’re all inspired to try to make a similar impact on the world! See you next week for more Shnanigans!


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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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© 2016 Orit Sagi, Netzer Olami, Photography by Danit Ariel & Roy Elman