February 9, 2015

Ideology & Education

The word “Netzer” is an acronym for “Noar Tzioni Reformi” – Reform Zionist Youth. We aim to engage and inspiring the youth of our community. We aspire to change the world through Tikkun Olam. We believe in the 14 platforms of Netzer Olami and have added our own 4 Pillars specifically for Netzer South Africa: Progressive Judaism, Reform Zionism, Youth Empowerment, and Tikkun Olam.

Netzer aims to instill a sense of hope in the Youth of today by giving them a voice, and thus provides an image of growth, development and fulfillment. These attributes are what we aim to impart on our members, so that they can grow into the young Jewish leaders of the next generation.

Through all aspects of education, chanichim are encouraged to question and evaluate the information presented to them. Netzer’s educational program is designed towards a comprehensive knowledge of Judaism, Jewish History, Israel’s history, culture, and Zionism. Our approach to Progressive Judaism encourages the use of Jewish sources, in order to make informed decisions concerning our Jewish practice and identity.

Progressive Judaism

Because we are Jews, we are Progressive Jews

In order to ensure that Jewish ritual and practice has engaged the Jewish People on a dynamic level, Judaism over the centuries has constantly interpreted and reinterpreted our texts and lessons in response to the various contexts in which it was practiced. In seeking to take responsibility for and ownership over our Jewish practice, and as a natural continuation of this tradition, we proudly identify as Progressive Jews.

We view the Jewish People as:

  • A united people, nation and religion
  • A society that values an unconditional respect and tolerance for all people as created ‘b’tzelem elohim’ – ‘in the image of God” – as essential to fulfilment
  • Being morally bound by Jewish texts and tradition to act in the spirit of Jewish values as an “or l’goyim” – “light unto the nations”

We act upon this by:

  • Advocating for, and striving towards, the living of an intentionally Progressive Jewish lifestyle, through constant education and informed decision-making regarding our Judaism. We therefore take conscious action to create a Judaism that is compatible with modern values.

Reform Zionism

Because we are Progressive Jews, we are Reform Zionists

Netzer believes that Reform Zionism is the logical extension of Progressive Judaism. This means that we believe in a religious form of Zionism, based on the principles of Progressive Judaism, seeing Israel as the ultimate destination for living a fulfilled Jewish life. Chaverim of Netzer should seriously consider moving to Israel as a step in the process of repairing the world (Tikkun Olam), and all Aliyah should be Aliyah Nimschechet (continual improvement of the state of Israel).

We view Israel as:

  • Not necessarily defined by biblical boundaries, but should uphold its original purpose as a refuge of peace and safety for Am Yisrael, and as the spiritual, cultural and religious centre of Jewish life
  • The nationalistic expression of Judaism, and therefore a state with an obligation to act in accordance with our Progressive Jewish values, such as justice, tolerance and peace
  • A land where one should live an intentional Progressive Jewish life, within a communal framework

We do this by:

  • Advocating for the full civil, human and religious rights of all Israeli citizens 
  • Supporting the pursuit of Progressive Jewish values and interests within Israeli society
  • Encouraging movement chaverim to spend significant time in Israel
  • Educating our chaverim on the importance of Aliyah Nimschechet to the actualisation of Netzer’s ideology
  • Striving to create Reform Zionist total community – Kehila Kedosha (sacred community)
  • Continuing to intensify the use and teaching of Ivrit (hebrew) within our movement

Olam Metukan-Tikkun Olam

A world which we are perfecting

 Our commitment to Progressive Judaism and Reform Zionism make it our obligation to actively strive for a Messianic Era through the actualisation of these ideologies on a personal, communal, societal, national and global level, in the vision of our Prophets. In viewing the Messianic Era as divinely inspired by a God of our own personal understanding, we see it as our human responsibility to undertake a process of Tikkun (reparation) in pursuit of this ideal, informed by our Jewish teachings, texts and values.

Youth Empowerment

Because we are a youth movement we strive to empower the youth

As a youth movement, we believe that empowering our members and youth leading youth is essential to our philosophy. We believe that youth movements are meant to question the status quo, and through education and leadership training, they can be leaders in all aspects of their lives and furthermore empower others to become leaders and take on the task of Olam Metukan. 

We believe that through educating the youth, we will see the leaders of tomorrow embodying the values of Netzer and striving to create a better world for all of its inhabitants.