Dear parents, shnattim and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well.
In life, we experience highs and lows, sadness happiness, laughter and cry, and at times- all of the above at the same time and much more. Being in Israel during this time of year is quite reflective of this roller-coaster. Our shnattim returned for a really good Pessach break, which was deserved and needed. The shnattim travelled, danced, spent time with friends and family, and are now trying to settle back into routine. This week we have also been commemorating Yom Hasho'a (Holocaust memorial day in Israel)- talking about these hard events in Europe almost a century ago. Although this is a challenging time, there’s lots more fun to come for our Shnat Ma’ayan group who we know will come together as a community to enjoy the next few weeks of Etgar and Machon.
Speaking of our group, I'm sure you miss them, so here is a cute photo of most of them at Zorba-
These are very unique and special days here in Israel- Next week we will have Yom Hazikaron- Israeli memorial day for the fallen soldiers and victims of terror, followed shortly by Yom Ha'atzma'ut- Israel's 68th Independence Day.
+ Here are some things our shnattim posted today, which I came across:
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). It's the day we remember the deaths of over one third of World Jewry, who were systematically murdered during WWII. We remember the 6 million Jews, the 5 million non-Jewish victims, as well as all those that survived the genocide.
We must remember that these are not just numbers. They represent people. An unfathomable amount of people. Each with their own name.
As history moves further and further into the past becoming a distant memory, I feel that it is not only my obligation to remember the Holocaust, but also to carry the burden. I was raised in the shadows of the horror of WWII, inheriting the traumas which were passed down from my grandparents to mother, which in turn shaped my personality. Their scars became my scars, engraining the importance of every crumb and magnifying the fear of being cold.
I don't know if I will ever truly understand the magnitude of the loss and suffering my grandparents and their generation experienced, but I recognize the importance of never forgetting.
We must never forget the tragedy of the holocaust because we need to learn from it. We must open our hearts, hands, homes and states to those in need because we know what it is like to be a displaced person or refugee.
As my grandparents always said, "nobody can ever take away your education". With this, I urge you to carry on educating future generations to make the world a better place.
my nana grew up in a small town called Chelm in Poland. her and her parents escaped and hid in Siberia and then Uzbekistan and when the war ended, were let into Australia. they had no other family left.
my other bubba and zeida escaped from Polish towns to Russia, where my bubba worked in an orphanage. they were both amongst the only ones of their families to survive.
today is Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and I am in Jerusalem. today I stand and hear the siren. today I remember my grandparents' siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, family who could not escape.
today I remember my relatives among the six million.
we must never forget.
This morning I watched Israel stop. I watched as Israeli's got out of their cars and took a moment to remember the holocaust. Being able to stop as a people and remember, whether it is your own family, or people from your community, is an incredible experience that us as the Jewish people can take advantage of.
I keep hearing how we are the last generation to hear from people that experienced it first hand, so we have to listen and ask questions, because they won't be here to tell these stories, and it is up to us to keep the memory alive.
May we never forget.
I'm sure next week you will hear more about the experience of being in Israel during this time of year on our weekly update.
Weekly update by Bec Szabo and Daniel Parker
We have had a great week here on shnat!
When we last checked in, we were halfway through our chofesh. The majority of us were either at zorba (the festival of Buddha), with family, or having some much appreciated leisure time. Then, on Saturday we came back together, sharing stories and prepared for our classes.
Sunday was a classic etgar day filled with much learning in our amazing classes Gender & Us, Tikkun Olam (global and local action) and Hebrew! On Monday we finished writing our peulot on different aspects of the Israeli- Arab conflict after the conflict seminar a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday we got into chevruta and learnt together about different topics that each group had chosen. We will be in these groups for the rest of Etgar and will write a program on what we have learnt and run it for the rest of the group by the end of Etgar. On Wednesday we had classes as well as an incredibly interesting session on Reform Halacha which was eye opening and opened up a bunch of new questions about Reform Judaism! We then went to a Yom hashoa service at kol haneshema.
Today (Thursday) was Yom hashoa and in commemoration of that, we went on a tour of the holocaust memorial museum, Yad Vashem. This was an intense, emotional and informative experience and we intend go back there again to experience it individually.
Daniel and Bec signing off!!
Weekly update- Jordon Woods
On the 26th-30th the majority of our group went to a Buddhist festival called Zorba in the desert Ashram, and it involved things such as meditation, yoga, sweat lodges, rebirthings, and other crazy once in a life time experiences.
In a rebirthing you basically force yourself to hyperventilate through continually breathing through your nose at a fast pace. This went on for two and a half hours although it felt like seven minutes. During this process I felt very weird emotions and experienced a weird sensation, I felt like I was paralysed and could only move my neck, which was a very frightening thing to go through, but after I regained feeling to my limbs I felt very calm and relaxed. And in the few days after I felt very rejuvenated which was a great feeling going back into routine.
During the nights at Zorba there were various different performances that we all went to. One night there was a performance of 2 people playing trance music through didgeridoos - this was a very cool thing to experience and it will be something that I remember for many years.
After Zorba finished we went back to machon and started our preparation to go back to classes and our normal routine, but the end half of the week was preparation for Yom ha'shoa, which is today. We just got back from experiencing the siren that stops all of Israel and allows everyone to have a minute of silent reflection for the people lost in the holocaust. This experience was very moving and it was a time that allowed me to think about my family and all the stories that I have heard from survivors.
Shabbat shalom, Jordon woods
Here is a short video of one of the pieces presented at the ceremony- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8giJKp-k4Y
Remembering the Six Million: Yom Hashoah
Today, May 5th, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany, and for those who fought back. Called Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah in Hebrew, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, or colloquially Yom Hashoa, the country comes to a standstill as sirens wail for one minute. It is a moment of individual and collective introspection, questioning our responsibility and our pledge to ‘never forget’.
Communities and congregations in Israel and around the world come together in discussion groups and ceremonies; some include testimonies from Holocaust survivors and discussions about historical events, others feature Jewish text study around the issues of social action, persecution, faith in the face of suffering, memory and conviction.
Between Memory and Forgetting – Berl Katznelson, Revolution and Tradition
We have been endowed with two faculties: memory and forgetting. We cannot live without both. If only memory were to
exist, then what would be our fate? We would be crushed beneath the yoke of the memories. We would become slaves
to our memories, to our ancestors. Our countenance would then be a mere copy of earlier generations. And if we were
ruled entirely by forgetting – would there be any room for culture, science, self-awareness, and spiritual existence? Archconservatism
would like to strip us of our faculty of forgetting, whereas pseudo-revolutionism regards any remembrance
of the past as the 'enemy.' If humanity had not preserved the memory of its most highly valued assets, noble tendencies,
periods of prosperity, and efforts to achieve liberty and heroism, no revolutionary movement could have been possible.
We would have languished in our meagerness and in our ignorance, slaves to the world.
+ Israel Update by Ady Blum (Etgar Director)
This is my family' share of the Holocaust: my grandfather was the head of the Zionist students group in Warsaw University. In 1936 he got the feeling of what is coming on Europe and he decided to make Aliya. He left behind 7 siblings and his parents. When he arrived to Israel he worked hard to save money and buy immigration certificates from the Brits for his family in Europe. He managed to buy one and bring his sister to Israel, and tried to save more in order to bring his mother as well. However, very soon the Brits raised the fee continuously. My grandfather never managed to raise the growing amount of money needed. When he was nearly there the Nazis already murdered his mother and the rest of his family.
My grandfather, Moshe Blum, refused to talk about his mother and the Holocaust. He held his pain and sorrow deep inside. Later on, me and my sister went on school journeys to Poland being the third generation to the Holocaust. Like many across the Israeli society, our generation tried to learn about the Holocaust by asking our grandparents more and more questions.
After my grandfather passed away I kept asking my father if he would like to have a "roots' journey" to Poland to see where our family lived and, unfortunately, where it was murdered. My father dismissed me time after time. Finally, when I was too stubborn, he answered me: "Ady, stop bothering me, I have no history to find there. Our family history begins in 1948. The only root we have is Israel"
+ Israel Update
Article by Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi of United Synagogues of UK on AS in Labour.
+ The weekly portion
In the Parashat Hashavu'a corner, we will direct you to the World Union for Progressive Judaism's column "Torah from around the world", where each week another Progressive Rabbi writes about the weekly portion. For this week's portion-
+ Shabbat Treat
What a better way to wrap up the week with some great tunes and prayers by our shnattim!
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,
Lior and the Netzer staff
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