ShnUpdate - Savyon 30.11.17

Shalom! One week on and the Shnatties are loving life on Kibbutz Lotan. We are now fully immersed in Kibbutz life and beginning to feel at home in the desert.

We started the week on Thursday by going on a hike in the surrounding area. With a packed breakfast and plenty of ruach, we left the Kibbutz at 7:30 and walked until lunch. After reaching the army bunker at the top of a hill we sat down to admire the view, eat our breakfasts and took part in a Desert Island Discs session run by Emily and Gideon. Shnat Savyon may not be remembered for our aptitudes for sports or fitness, but we all managed to complete the hike, despite the heat. After a session from Mark on the ecological footprint of the Kibbutz, the rest of the day was mainly spent complaining about tiredness and physical ailments from a few hours of walking.

Our second Shabbat on camp was just as beautiful as our first. We enjoyed two sessions on Torah study and sustainable development, given by members of the Kibbutz. The famous Kibbutz Lotan Shabbat dinners are a wonderful experience, with many of the Kibbutz members all eating a delicious dinner together, and afterwards celebrating the Shabbat with tea and cake in the Moadon. It has been a fantastic way for the group to get to meet members from around the Kibbutz and its a great Kibbutz tradition.

After a tiring week, most of the Shnatties took full advantage of Saturday as a day of rest, spending the majority of the day lying in hammocks, reading, making music and playing our weekly game of disc golf. For dinner on Saturday evening, the Shnatties demonstrated our cooking credentials by making pizzas from scratch. The process took many hours (cooking is difficult when mainly using solar panels) but it tasted fantastic and was a lot of fun to make.

On Sunday we spent our first full day off the Kibbutz travelling to Eilat. It was great, if not slightly strange, to see a bustling city having been in the Kibbutz for a couple weeks, but we had a lovely day. We brought food, relaxed by the beach and people stocked up on the essentials: Israeli trousers and hand-cream. After some cheeky bridge-to-sea jumping, the Shnatties travelled home for the real excitement of the day - Jack’s radical, and undeniably stylish, new haircut.

Monday, we had the opportunity to meet with Michael Livni, a prominent figure in the reform zionist movement. We discussed what Zionism is, specifically reform Zionism and how it has changed. Later we had a workshop on effective communication. Our group met with family trying kibbutz life and they shared their story with us. We also had a kef session centered on acting. We also discovered how much we have come to trust each other in the last month.

Tuesday we spent the morning with the shinshinim starting off with a dance and hame session and moving to mud building. We were then joined by Orit. The later half if the day was spent dancing. Tuesday eveningwas a soup potluck with the entire kibbutz.

Wednesday began with a session on how to live together with other people. We then planted two rows of lettuce. Later we met with Mike Nitzan, a founding member of Lotan, and discussed what it takes to make a dream a reality. We then met with another founding member who recounted his story and thoughts about the kibbutz. In the evening there was a bonfire for a bustan members birthday with roaated marshmallows and cake.


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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