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ShnUpdate - Perach 27.02.20

This week marks Netzer South Africa & Australia’s one month since arriving in Israel, and three weeks since having met our Northerners. To sum it up briefly, it has been an intense yet eye-opening month in which many lifelong friendships have been established.

To start off our week, two of our northerners, Anna and Mia from the UK, ran a Shacharit for Perach where we expressed our appreciation for one another, leaving us with warm and fuzzy feelings for the day. It also reminded us how grateful we are to be experiencing this journey together. It was then followed by a yoga session run by Nyah and meditation run by Raquel to help us start our busy week with clear and refreshed minds. Our first class of the day was with the Executive Director of Women of the Wall, Yochi Rappeport, which left the group feeling empowered by the prospect of participating in the movement in the months to come. Throughout the week we have also continued our studies into learning the Hebrew language.

On Monday, we started our day with Lazuz (To move), playing all sorts of running games which reminded us of our primary school days, serving as an opportunity to embrace our inner child. Following that, we had a class with former Shaliach of Netzer Australia, Uri Levin, where we listened to many different Israeli songs and further immersing ourselves into Israeli culture. In the evening, we had a “date night” where we paired up with a fellow Shnattie who we wanted to get to know better and spent the evening strengthening our friendships.

On Tuesday morning, we started our day with a class on the Israeli Palestinian conflict which encouraged us to reflect on the current political climate of Israel and our position as young Jews. It helped us establish a more in-depth understanding of Israel’s history. Later on, we had a Siddur class run by Lior where we each chose a prayer to reflect on and share our understanding of its significance and meaning to us. At the end of this article, there is a poem attached that was written and shared by Nyah during this class.

On Wednesday morning, the Shnatties got up bright and early to attend a service at the Western Wall, run by Women of the Wall once a month on Rosh Chodesh. This was by far one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences that we have experienced together as a group, as individuals and as young Progressive Jews. The members of this movement successfully brought a Torah into the women’s section of the wall. The girls of the Netzer proudly surrounded the Torah to show our support (with the boys nearby) towards the service and the cause, and to secure the rights of women to pray at the Kotel, singing, reading aloud from the Torah and wearing T’fillin. Following this eventful morning, we had an engaging session with Shani about the history of the women's right movement.

Overall, this week has been event-filled and empowering one. The further into Shnat we get, the more excited we become to learn more about, not only Israel and its magnificent culture and history, but critical issues that are relevant within today’s world.

Nyah’s poem:

(Reflection on the Kaddish prayer and its meaning / assignment for ‘Siddur’ class)

Know that I had to go, but I am not gone,

It’s healthy to mourn but you must move on,

A loss can mean pain but don’t leave yourself in strife,

I promise you can find me in every part of life

Like the way your chest rises and falls,

or every morning in the beautiful bird calls,

In the colours of the sky each morning and day,

I’m no longer here but my essence will stay,

The wonder of my life will always carry on.

Please learn to see that instead of thinking that I’m gone,

And remember every perfect moment that we shared,

This broken feeling of loss won’t last, one day you’ll feel repaired

think of our memories of tears, laughs, love and hope

Slowly the pain of losing me will numb and you’ll be able to cope,

But for now see me in the beauty of the world,

And feel my essence within yourself, until the mourning is unfurled,

Learn to say good bye, and please let me go,

But remember that I love you, and to you my essence is bestowed,

I know that it might be hard to accept and believe,

But G-d, She is waiting for me, so let’s both go be free

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