Dear parents, shnattim, bogrim, bogrot, communities and friends shalom rav,
We hope you are well.
This week was a packed one- there is certainly not much more we could have added! Etgarniks spend every minute rehearsing for their unique production called "Square", and that is while still going to all their regular lessons and tours. Machoninks had their second Limmud week, where they plan and execute the whole week basically, and that is after having a closed Shabbaton last weekend! To add to these, on Monday we spent half the day with a British organization called "Yachad" to learn more about the Arab- Israeli conflict and how our shanttim can be engaged in their home communities and in their campuses in specific, equipped with knowledge and tools. While this took place, 10 of our shnattim went to the Knesset for a memorial service for Herzl! On Wednesday our Etgarniks arranged for themselves yet another educational seminar about the conflict and Jerusalem. We are so proud of this group!!
You would expect that after such an intense week the shnattim will have a relaxing weekend. That would have been true, if our groups wouldn't be so busy doing things….! This weekend includes a trip to the Dead Sea, our CD recordings (!!!) and a prep weekend for those going to lead this summer on Machaneh Chavaya. Well- never a dull moment here!!
Yesterday we celebrated Lag B'Omer, and our lovely Rosh Hinuch (education coordinator) Orit, organized a bone fire for Olim of our Movement J
Hope you all found light in your life this week and always.
And if you are in Israel this coming Wednesday, we would love to see you!!! For more details- Shnat@wupj.org.il
Weekly update by Sophie Phillips and Sharon
Things have been very busy in Etgar this week. Everything has really set off with Square, we’ve been constantly busy getting our peulot for Etgar Sikkum Sem ready, and rehearsing for the CD. This week during Yom Tnua, Yachad came to talk to us about the conflict and the two state solution and some of us got the opportunity to go on a trip to the Knesset and observe a meeting between all the members of the Knesset which was really interesting. On Thursday we visited the Rabin Museum in Tel Aviv, who we are all big fans of. We learnt a huge amount about the history of Israel and Rabin’s life. We finished the day with one of our final date nights together. The rest of the week has been pretty packed with Square rehearsals, watch the video below to see all the things we have been practicing, and make sure to tune in to the live stream next week!
Here are a few quotes we have collected from all the Etgarniks about what Etgar means to them-
“Etgar is a hole in the fabric of space and time where a select few people are brought together simultaneously, almost at random, to occupy the same flat. Our task is to create; create a community, create a better society, create friendships, create memories, create ideologies and, in a lot of ways, create the versions of ourselves that we want to be in our adult lives. Etgar has completely changed my outlook on life, people and myself in a way I don't think any other experience could ever replicate.”
“Etgar is the first time I have felt that i have similar minded people looking to achieve great things in the world all pulling and inspiring eachother to do better.”
“Etgar has pushed me and enlightened me like nothing I've ever experienced, every day I'm filled with more and more love for everyone around me and I'm so thankful to of had the chance to do this.”
“Etgar to me is a place where I am able to challenge every aspect of my life, I can take advantage of all the opportunities I have and use them to better who I am as a person in every way”
“Etgar has given me the opportunity to blossom to my full creative potential, and I am endlessly grateful that I have had the chance to unlock the best side of myself”
“Living out my ideology in Etgar with people from all over the world is the definition of what a kvutsah means to me, I love everyone of my stressed, tired Etgarniks”
"Etgar isn't just a "bunch of kids in a flat"- Etgar is a place where kvutzah can be formed, where people grow and where dreams come true #hagshamafordays “
"Etgar means challenge and this is exactly what it is. You challenge yourself, your values, ideas, the group... Its the best experience you can have in order to grow.”
"I've learnt that communal living is the most difficult but rewarding experience, I've learnt that reform zionism is going to save the state of Israel, I've learnt that Netzer is simultaneously the most flawed and yet also the greatest movement on the planet, I've learnt that empowerment through education really can change the world, but most importantly I've realized that if I can't dedicate my life to all the causes I've grown to be passionate about in the last 4 months, then no one can. As I reach the end of my experience here, I can't help but notice that I am the most empowered I have ever felt in my life - and that's not going away any time soon.”
By Sphill and Sharon
Weekly update by Ben Reiff
The end is nigh, and its imminence is pervasive; you can feel it in the classrooms, in the dining room, in the boys' and girls' corridor, on the football court, in conversations, in thoughts...
Our second and final closed shabbat brought the whole of Machon together for prayer, games, reflection, photos and falafel. The community spirit we'd talked about trying to create at the start of Machon 3 months ago was finally evident, in the ease with which we can simply be with one another now.
Limmud Week followed, with discussions on pornography, the future of humanity and the brilliance of Tim Minchin in particular standing out among the peer-led sessions I attended, in addition to talks on social development in South Tel Aviv and grassroots inter-religious peace-building from outside speakers.
Alongside all of this, my leadership class (masterminded by Machon Director Sarah Mali) has been equally active, squeezing in classes between limmudim and meals. It has been a particularly big week for Netzerniks in this class, with several of us presenting our adaptive challenges to the group this week for diagnosis. The idea of psychoanalysing and being psychoanalysed by our peers in a group setting still bemuses and sometimes frustrates us, but with practice we've become adept at looking between the lines and digging for underlying roots to each other's challenges, before providing ideas for action steps the presenter could undertake.
I'm very grateful I've had this opportunity before the end of shnat, and what's certain is that shnat will not be the end of this process; rather it will be the beginning.
+ Israel Update
Israel Hayom 25/5/16: 'Foreign Ministry failed to properly fight BDS' By Shlomo Cesana
State comptroller criticizes Foreign Ministry's efforts to undermine attempts to boycott Israel worldwide as "grossly insufficient" • Strategic Affairs Ministry fails to properly use its resources for public diplomacy, report says. Photo
The Foreign and Strategic Affairs ministries' efforts to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement's attempts to delegitimize Israel worldwide are "grossly insufficient," according to new findings by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira.
The findings, released Tuesday as part of Shapira's audit of the government's work in the years 2013-2015, criticized the Foreign Ministry for "failing to present real achievements concerning its efforts to deal with Israel's delegitimization worldwide."
The Foreign Ministry "lacks any real ability to play a key role when it comes to dealing with local and foreign Arabic-language media. The ministry's press office struggles to perform and it is unable to provide French and German media outlets with officials who can be interviewed in their language," the report said.
The review faulted the Strategic Affairs Ministry for "failing to make full use of the budget afforded to it, and present any meaningful achievements. As of 2015, the Strategic Affairs Ministry has yet to realize its operational work plan."
Shapira said that to change the situation, "the Foreign Ministry must set clear benchmarks that would allow it to prove it is able to successfully able to fight the BDS movement. ... The Foreign Ministry must map out the needs of the Israeli embassies worldwide on this issue and present them to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which will then be able to devise the proper public diplomacy efforts and ensure they receive proper funding."
Shapira also advised that "at this time, to stop the religiously based efforts to delegitimize Israel worldwide, there is great importance to promoting ties with the different Christian churches and denominations, as well as with moderate Muslim elements worldwide. This requires the Foreign Ministry to discuss this complex issue, formulate its position on the tools necessary to foster crucial ties with Christian and Muslim religious institutions overseas, and present this plan to the government."
A statement by the Strategic Affairs Ministry said, "In the years audited by the state comptroller, the ministry focused mainly on Iran. It was only in October that the cabinet gave the Strategic Affairs Ministry the authority to deal with the BDS issue."
The Foreign Ministry was unavailable for comment.
I Am Jewish for Me, Not for My Kids
NINA BADZINMAY 17, 2016 9:51AM
This article is part of our essay series, “Why Be Jewish?,” based off of “Why Be Jewish?”—a new book by the late Edgar M. Bronfman. Read the rest in the series here.
The question “Why Be Jewish?” is impossible to answer in a short blog post. Edgar Bronfman, of blessed memory, explored the idea in an entire book, providing him the opportunity to describe the lessons he gleaned from the last decades of his life when studying Judaism was a central passion.
Since I only have this small space, not a whole book, I’ve summarized my answer in nine words: I am Jewish for me, not for my kids. Though now of course I ought to explain what I mean.
At Kveller, a site about raising Jewish families, perhaps it’s unexpected to take the next generation out of the equation when answering the question, “Why be Jewish?” Continuity has been the banner of “Why be Jewish?” for too long among Jewish organizations and within families. But I don’t believe the goal of continuity is a compelling reason to be Jewish, do Jewish, or stay Jewish. How can we ask our children to continue what we adults might not yet have continued for ourselves?
Continuity is a guilt proposition. Continuity implies that I ought to be Jewish because those who came before me were Jewish. Perhaps honoring our ancestors, especially those who remained Jewish against significant odds, can serve as one of many reasons to make space for Judaism in our lives. But how can “continuity” function as a genuine source of inspiration in a single generation, let alone hundreds of generations? Continuity of what? What is so special about Judaism? If the adults in the house can’t answer that question, why should the kids feel compelled to continue the faith, tradition, and culture?
Why am I Jewish? Yes, I was born to Jewish parents, but I have no problem admitting that I am selfishly what I call “adult Jewish” for me, not for my kids. Likewise I hope if my kids choose to stay Jewish (not simply “be” Jewish adults but to “live” as Jews in whatever form that takes) that they will do so for all that Judaism offers to their lives, not for the sake of their parents and grandparents, and not only for the sake of their own children, which can too often leave Judaism stuck in the realm of cutesy holiday songs and crafts.
What does Judaism offer my life in the adult form that I find so compelling? In her book “Spiritual Boredom,” writer Dr. Erica Brown articulates what I feel Judaism adds to my life: “Judaism, at its best, creates islands of sanctity of time and space. It answers the question ‘What shall I do?’ through a system of commandments that demand introspection, social action, and divine service, all answering the real question, ‘Who am I?’”
That system Brown refers to, Judaism, is not something I do perfectly, not even close. (Every rabbi I’ve ever studied with acknowledges that each person has room to grow.) Like Bronfman in the last decades of his life, I am always learning about Judaism as an adult. While I struggle to implement its tenets, I take pleasure and satisfaction in absorbing as much wisdom as I can from teachers in my community, teachers in books, and even good thinkers around the internet where there is no shortage of great material about Judaism and adult-centered conversations about faith.
Do I agree with everything I read and hear? No. Do I implement everything I learn? No. But do I struggle with Judaism in a way I believe adds tremendously to my life? Yes! Struggling with Judaism means engaging in the world below the surface of everyday life. The struggle, the wresting with it all—that is the point.
The Judaism my kids see their parents engage in it at home is full of inquiry, tradition, and attempts at personal improvement. We don’t always reach our goals, but they see us trying. Perhaps when my kids are adults they will decide that their Jewish heritage is not the path for them, but I won’t regret imbuing my adult life with the richness of Judaism.
Please mark the date in your calendars- June 20 is a UN international day- World Refugee Day – Here’s the UN link
+ 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-
+ Shabbatt Treat
Check this out! Our lovely Nicki B., Bogeret of Shnat Netzer 2015- Shnat Livluv, is on the Australian Jewish News!
And if you are a Netzer Boger/ Bogeret- PLEASE click below
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,
Lior and the Netzer staff
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