This week, as Savyon approached our final fortnight of shnat, the countdown began. It all began on Tuesday, when it was mentioned that we had about 16 days left. Reflection on the year ensued, as well as planning for our final days of the program. However, just as we started assuming that we knew exactly what would lie ahead for us, thinking that any unpredictable aspects of shnat were behind us, we found ourselves standing amongst a field of diaspora Jews, hollering (or as Jess would say, challah-ing) the lyrics of a bobby pop song-turned-choir arrangement as we attempted to follow the conducting directions of an unfamiliar, sassy, vigorously dancing man. But we’ll get more into that a bit later…
Last weekend was a lovely, restful one for most of us, with the exception of Michael L, who partied it up in Tel Aviv with his Machon cohort. Meanwhile, Nathan enjoyed visiting his family in Kfar Saba. The rest of us were joined in the flat by one of our ex-leaders from back in Australia, Eden. Whilst Sal and Leigh prepared a wonderful Kabbalah shabbat service for us all, Jess, Michael S and I prepared some Shabbat dins and treats for us to enjoy afterwards. Although one of our challot did not rise to the occasion, we all definitely made up for it with high spirits as we sang along to prayers, feasted on our three course meal, and then sang some more alongside Michael S’ self-taught guitar accompaniment.
This week also saw us all having our second last volunteering shifts at all of our respective non-for-profits! Nothing particularly out of the norm happened at Robin Food, but over at the animal shelter, Sal and Michael took to naming all of the dogs that they walk. Our favorite name is Oingo Boingo, and although I’ve never met this dog, I can confirm that this dog’s name is very fitting, as Sal returned home from work that day with ripped holes very high up in her T-shirt. Michael L said his last goodbyes to his friends over at the WIZO second hand shop.
On Tuesday, we all headed to Tel Aviv with Orit to participate in a very special and exciting Koolulam event. To give background on what Koolulam is/does, in their own words, “Koolulam is a social-musical initiative aimed at strengthening the fabric of society. The project centers around mass singing events in which large groups of non-professionals come together to form a collaborative musical creation. Koolulam brings together people from all walks of life to do one thing: stop everything for a few hours and just sing – together.” Indeed, we stopped everything to belt out their arrangement of Clean Bandit’s, ‘Rather Be’, amongst many others around our age who are participating in programs in Israel. We’re all eagerly awaiting the final video of the performance to be uploaded to see if any of us were lucky enough to get caught on camera, so we shall keep you posted when it eventually is!
Wednesday was sadly our last hinuch day, but nevertheless a great and informative 6 hours. We discussed Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) with Rabbi Leora, and then learnt about Israel-Diaspora relations, as well as delving into one of Amos Oz’s texts to explore what it means to be a Jew with our educator Benji. Our last Hebrew lesson was great kef (fun) and filled with many laughs, although not always for the greatest reasons! An unfortunate, tiny drawing error saw our thank you card for our teacher implying that she was fat, as opposed to thanking her very much… How did we make this seemingly large mistake, you may ask? Well, Hebrew has a tough alphabet, and it was genuinely the difference between the following characters; ד and ר!!
Arriving home that afternoon, we were met by the sight of four non-shnatties napping in our living room. Although I’m sure our flat would be all the rage for squatters (we always keep to our weekly cleaning rotor, I promise!), it was actually four of the leaders from Netzer Australia, who are currently in Israel attending a World Zionist Congress event as representatives of ARZENU. We were lucky that they had enough time to visit us, and in fact on Thursday they ran us a really nice ma’amad and program about what to expect when we return home, and what us integrating into the Netzer leadership body will look like. We all really enjoyed having them around, not to mention the sound of four different Aussie accents!
And with that, we wish you all a Shabbat Shalom, and an enjoyable weekend of unwinding!! :)