Shnat Savyon North
Our last days in Tel Aviv have been amazing. At Ulpan, we had a graduation ceremony in which we had to present skits with the Hebrew we'd learnt in our time there. I didn't expect to learn that much Hebrew in just 3 weeks. It was a lot of fun, and I liked singing songs, playing kahoot, and trying to ask for candies at the shuk using my new skills.
My volunteering at the special needs school inspired me a lot. The kids in my class opened my eyes and have now a little space next to my heart. I really appreciated the work which Ricky and Rosita (the teachers) do. They're passionate about the work and I hope I can use some of my experience for my future and career. On our last day I visited the mechinah (an educational gap year for Israelis before the army) with Joe. We went out with two of the people there who we'd met earlier in our shnat journey briefly. It was really great to see how nice they are and how much we bonded. We also ate Malibi, a strange dessert that we have mixed feelings about. On the final day of Tel Aviv, we went to the beach and we walked in the sand, thinking about all the great memories we made - we realised we hadn't spent enough time at the beach! I'm sure I'll return to Tel Aviv, but right now I'm really excited to meet the southerners and have a great time with them. -Sima
This week we came to the end of the Tel Aviv period. We've had much reflection on our Northern kevutzah as we wrap up this half of the program. Joining the Southerners will change our group dynamic hugely so we thought about what our strengths and weaknesses were and how we'd evolve into a larger group. Let's see where it goes from there! - Joe
The group ended ulpan on a high, performing in Hebrew for the whole group finishing at the SPCA was a sad point of the week, at the end of our working day we said goodbye to the dogs a departed, stopping of in Jaffa to have a final visit before we move to jerusalem. -Sam
Saying goodbye to our volunteering places were hard, me and Gideon hung out with the kids one last time and played a ball game with them. They all came to hug us and blow us kisses which was really sweet! The school gifted us and the others who volunteered in the school certificates and notebooks to say thank you. We are really gonna miss seeing them all and will hopefully visit again near the end of shnat. The ulpan graduation was nerve wracking but great. We will all miss our teachers a lot but have taken away lots of new knowledge to help us get around these next few months. -Talia
During my volunteering at the LGBT centre, I was able to listen to and meet members of marginalised communities. Although flag folding and sweeping was on the agenda for most days, I also had valuable time to talk to and meet many interesting members of the community, and I was even given free cake. - Jack
The highlight of my Tel Aviv experience was undoubtedly working at the Chimes after-school club. The school is an inspiring institution and has the most remarkable, unique atmosphere. Leaving the kids, and the staff, was difficult but we’ll leave with so many memories and real feeling of satisfaction that we made a tangible difference to these children’s lives. This period in Tel Aviv has taught me a lot and I can’t wait to bring this newfound attitude and outlook forward to Jerusalem and the Etgar programme. - Gideon
Finishing the time in Tel Aviv has been sad to leave behind lessons at Ulpan and the volunteering with special needs children. However although there are still some nerves meeting the southerns will make our group stronger and bring new exciting experiences. Shnat is going faster than I imagine and I am looking forward to the months in Jerusalem learning lots and leaving together with a big group. - Emily
This week has brought about many endings. We have finished at ulpan or, finished at our volunteering places, and spent the last night as a solely northern group. But we are all looking forward to the beginnings to come. - Alyssa
Wow I learnt a lot. I learnt more simple things like Hebrew and communal living, and I learnt more complex things like Israeli perspectives on the world and the ability to appreciate the people and things around me. This was a great wrap to half our shnat. - Harley
Shnat Savyon South
Last week on Tuesday the 29th of January, the Australian shnatties of Kvutzah Savyon embarked on a 23 hour plane journey before arriving at Ben Gurion Airport at 6am the next day. As we touched down in the holy land, our ruach and clapping soon instilled the energy we needed for the engaging and jam-packed week ahead on the Australian Zionist Youth Council Seminar for all of the 2018 Australian and New Zealand shnatties. It was on this seminar that we made friendships with chanichim our age from Bnei Akiva, Habonim Dror, Betar, and Hineini. These friendships enabled us to learn lots about the different branches of Judaism and Zionism, and to become more open-minded about the diversity of the Zionist movement within Australia.
One moment that really epitomised the whole purpose of the seminar for us was witnessing a boy from Habonim Dror offering a girl from Bnei Akiva his hand to help lift her onto the track after she had fallen on a hike we took to En Gedi. In doing this, he didn’t know that she practiced shomer nagia (meaning that she couldn’t make physical contact with any member of the opposite sex). Whilst this seemed like a cause for conflict, they managed to work together and around their differences by her suggesting that he used her water bottle to lift her up onto the path. At the time, many of us were shocked and surprised at the encounter, but looking back on it, it was such a unique and special thing to witness. This kind of team-work continued for the rest of the seminar, and all of us Netzerniks have made friendships that will definitely continue through the rest of Shnat and hopefully once we get back to Australia.
Following AZYC Sem, we headed to Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem, the next stop in our journey. It was here that we commenced Klita Sem and were joined by one of our German shnatties Zoe, who has joined us as a Southerner for the Etgar/Machon component of Shnat. Together, we all learnt more about Netzer’s ideology, began to question our Jewish identities, expanded our Hebrew vocabularies, segwayed around Jerusalem together, and ran peulot (programs) for one another, including an incredible ma’amad service at the Kotel. As Klita Sem draws to an end, we are all looking forward to meeting the Northern half of Kvutzah Savyon and continuing to bond as a family unit.