By: Gila Efrat
Havdallah services have always been a special part of Netzer for me. There is something very spiritual about singing together in that environment, altogether with our arms linked as we feel the golden light of the candle. I wish everyone could have the same experience, because it is beautiful and definitely one to remember.
A few weeks ago, we hosted a Netzer-style Havdallah service on Clifton Beach.
As everyone started to arrive, we played games with the Channies, specifically, a long but fun game of Tinky-Winky. Then the stars came out and the sun was setting, we gathered in a big circle, filled with Channies, Maddies, Bogrim, family and friends, all in some way or another connected to our movement. We all were barefoot in the sand with the sea behind us as we began to sing the blessings. The sense of community was strong and clear, as it always is at Netzer and in Judaism.
Just as I thought the service was about to end, Bogrim from previous generations had words of support to share with us. It felt good to know that everyone believed in our movement as much as we do. We were not alone in experiencing the unforgettable Netzer-feeling, and it was very clear in that moment. Our movement is still going strong, even after 35 years. Once you are a Channie, you are always a Channie. A Netzernik can never truly leave. A woman mentioned how she never imagined singing Netzer songs with her own children, and that is quite amazing to me that we could make that happen.
I am in the oldest group, Keshet, and just a night before, we were on Hadrecha Seminar preparing to lead the service and preparing to become Maddies ourselves. This was exciting and scary for us. We all worked together to make Havdallah have the same magic that is always has for us at Machaneh. It was the first time I had played guitar alone out of a camp setting, to lead the blessings, and I was proud of myself.
As the event ended, we were surprised to receive certificates congratulating us on becoming Maddies. Our shikva had a big group hug, with a lovely motivational speech from Michaela, and smiles remained. More and more I am realising how group dynamics work, and when you have such a strong group like ours, it isn’t as difficult as you think. Also, it is becoming less of a task to be a Maddie, but rather a privilege.
We were not just welcoming the new week that evening, but we were opening a door to becoming leaders and continuing this wonderful movement called Netzer.
A movement that changes lives, shapes youth and creates life-long friendships.