ShnUpdate - Savyon 03.05.18

Last weekend was a highly social one for us shnatties - we were forced out of the comfort of our lives in J-Town and ventured out into the scary and wild city of Haifa *gasps*. The visit was for a joint seminar with the Noar Telem shnat sherutniks (who are Netzer’s Israeli shnatties this year). While everyone was learning about Israeli-Diaspora relations on Wednesday, however, Nathan and Tahlia took a slight detour on their journey and attended an ANZAC memorial day event held at Mt Scopus, alongside politicians, Army representatives, some members of the Australian public, and other representatives of Australian youth movements. During the ceremony, they laid a wreath for the fallen soldiers on behalf of Netzer. They found it to be a very interesting amalgamation of Australian and Jewish memorial rituals that aren’t usually seen together, such as the Mourner’s Kaddish and a Rabbi’s sermon. Not to mention, it was great to hear some Aussie accents.

Back in Haifa, we continued learning about Reform Zionism, went on a social activism tour around Hadar, and were lectured to about neoliberalism within Israel. On Friday, we visited the Haifa University’s Hecht Ancient History Museum, which quite tickled the fancy of some of our shnatties! This was followed by a tasty lunch at an abandoned school (legally) in classic Shnat style. During our Shabbat prep time, a few of us spent some valuable time with the Shin shins (shnat sherutniks) at their communa (intentional community dwelling). The kef (fun) continued with an incredible Kabbalat Shabbat service on an apartment building’s roof - although there was an unfortunate lack of fiddlers in their live band! The service was run for intentional communities living within the area, which it was great to feel a part of. Following this was another lovely meal in the abandoned school and an Oneg Shabbat run for us by the shinshins. Since our music tastes have been entirely reduced to Jewish prayer this past year, we were in our element as we danced around while singing to new prayers that we are excited to take home to our own branches of Netzer. Then, the shnatties and shin shins all headed out for a night together on the town - a great advantage of being in Haifa during Shabbat!

On Saturday, some of the shin shins ran us a Shacharit Shabbat service in a beautiful park. Unsurprisingly, the serenity was ruined by Joe being attacked by a family of crows. Some may say that he deserved it for climbing up a tree with a crow’s nest in it, but what can we say? He’s only a tree-hugging Netzernik after all! Later that day, a few of us visited a dog cafe (much to Sal’s delight), while others visited the Haifa flea market… and we’re still debating which setting had more fleas! The late afternoon saw us all saying our sad goodbyes, particularly for the Northerners, as the Southerners will be leading on Noar Telem camp with them in July.

So far, this week has been classes as usual, aside from a change in Monday morning’s class from Reform Judaism and Zionism to Gender and Feminism. Our keen leftist shnatties attended this class with wide eyes and big feminist grins, to say the least. That evening, we both ran a banterful program for Zoë, who is unfortunately leaving Shnat early to return to Germany and continue her uni work, which we wish her the very best of luck for. She’ll be leaving with big hugs and love, and hopefully no fleas!

Tuesday was May Day, and consisted of various workers’ rights themed classes, to which, this time, our wide eyes were paired with big Socialist grins! In the afternoon, we watched the film Pride, which inspired us all to strive towards greater change within our communities. Speaking of which, as we write this weekly update, the other shnatties are sitting in our communal area planning an event to run at a worker’s cooperative that we are a part of and volunteer at here in Jerusalem. We’re now going to go and contribute, so goodbye for now!

Wishing you all a wonderful first week of May, and May the 4th be with you! (On Thursday, that is…)

Sal & Tahlia

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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