Shnat Report 22 April 2010

Dear parents, snifim and shnattim shalom rav!

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We hope you are all doing well.

This week was not an easy one. We all experienced Yom Azikaron- Israel Memorial Day for all Israeli fallen soldiers, and victims of terrorism. The shnatties attended a special ceremony organized by Masa.
The next day Israel celebrated is Independent day! 62 years for the state of Israel!
The country was painted with blue and white (the flag colors) and lots and lots of Israelis Travel throughout the country, having Barbeques (traditionJ), enjoy Aircraft Display, parties and fireworks.

Last Tuesday, as usual, we came together for our Yom Tnua discussing Israeli’s History, Weakness and strength, by Rabbi Rich Kirshen. Also a discussion on Netzer’s place in the world, lead by Maoz Haviv, the director of Netzer Olami.

Our beloved “Shnat” director, Lior Argaman, is still visiting London, while the volcano continue to erupts, and waiting for her flight home, along with 50 thousand people more. I’m sure next week she will be happy to write her experiences from her 10 days stuck in London. J

We wish all of you a great weekend!!

Rinat and the Netzer staff

Report from Etgar by Romi Olstein:

Hey everyone back home,
I’m sure you are wondering what’s been happening with us Shnatties… well I’m here to update you. We have had quite a busy and very interesting week, which has been both sad and crazy fun. Lia and Yoni left you guys at the end of our previous week just before the weekend so I’ll start there. This weekend all of the Netzer Southern Shnatties joined with Mechina for a weekend of fun. Mechina is an Israeli version of shnat where members of Noar Telem (Netzer Israel) take a gap year before the army and do similar stuff to us. So Machon and Etgar hoped on a bus and drove down to the Ein Gedi to spend Shabbat getting to know the Mechina kids… who are so nice and friendly. Davina, Emily, Lani, Gena and Roxy along with Mechina organised Shabbat services and programs for us all weekend and did an amazing job it was a wonderful weekend. Then we returned for one day of classes as both Monday and Tuesday were chofesh days. On Monday we had Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s National Memorial Day for the Fallen and The Victims of terror, so on Sunday night we attended services the girls and Dayne attended a MASA event where we managed to score tickets from the head of Machon Collin. The service was amazing and very touching. Others attended services at the Kotel and Kol HaNeshma and we all returned to watch a movie called Waltz with Bashir, an animated movie about the war in Lebanon. On Monday the actual day our Madrich Ady kindly took us to the service at his school, were the named everyone from that school who had died due to a war or terrorist attack. It was quite shocking for me to see pictures of 19 year-olds. I just kept thinking I’m 19 now. However the sadness was soon replaced with excitement and happiness as Monday night was the National night of parties as it was the start of Yom Haatzmaut. Some went to Tel Aviv and faced the crowded streets there; others stayed in Jerusalem but enjoyed themselves extremely. It was a night of street parties and live music on every street corner and people wearing anything and everything with the Israeli flag, in fact Noah found 6 flags and wore all 6 on the night and even had Hatikvah sang to him. It’s traditional during the day to BBQ and as we lacked a BBQ and money to buy meat, some bought picnic food and had a picnic; others attended family’s BBQ’s. I personally walked around the Old City with Maddie and some Machoniks. Today (Wednesday) we went for a hike in the Jerusalem Hills where we stopped by a natural spring pool and had a very long and deep discussion with the whole of Etgar where we could discuss how we felt and issues we felt had in the apartment. The atmosphere is so different and much happier and peaceful. And as I type this the rest are busy setting up for tonight’s theme night “Out of Africa”. So Dayne is cooking us African dishes…. but I’m sure you will hear more about it next week. Hope you are all well and having as much fun as us. It may sound like we are too busy to miss you but we really do. Much Love from me (Romi) and the Etgarniks.
Report from Machon by Raya Epstein, Machon Mekasheret:

Dear Parents, Sniffim, Friends….
Tomorrow’s Friday – YAY! Shabbat Shalom! During this past week, the Machoniks had intense programming due to the special days – Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), of the year 2010. Although they continued to have regular programming such as Hebrew, hadracha and tours (this time they went outside of the green line! And visited the road to Jerusalem that Israeli soldiers had to conquer in the war of independence), they also experienced ceremonies for the special days- both MASA hosted one, and the national ceremony at the big military cemetery of Har Herzl. Oh, and they had some chofesh (free time) too, to go out of Machon if they choose and roam the streets of Jerusalem\Tel Aviv! This upcoming weekend they’ve also got off, so I hope each machonik has something special planned 🙂
Enjoy your weekend, I’m sure we will!
Raya Epstein, Machon Mekasheret.

Report from Machon by Gena Riess :
Hello all!
I sit here today feeling somewhat exhausted, mentally and physically. After Yom Ha’shoa the week continued with its intense theme. On the Thursday us machonichim left for a very controversial and mind boggling siyur, where we crossed the green line… with permission of course!
We began our siyur meeting two women from a group called ‘Machsom Watch’, a left wing feminist group who personally go to ‘checkpoints’ and report any unjust behavior displayed by Israeli soldiers. Following from that we went to the famous city of Hebron, where we met a right wing extremist from the Hebron yeshiva. Although what he said angered several of the machonikim and the madrichim, it was very very interesting to hear this mans point of view on Israeli politics, which was pretty much get rid of the Arabs. Then to finish our day we met a man in the town of T’koa, he told us his story of his son who was killed by Arabs, this talk was very emotional, but it was also amazing see what this man took from his loss, and how he dealt with it all. His wife wrote a best seller on the family’s tragedy, that i must now go read when i have the time.

Once we arrived back at Machon, we had officially started our weekend! Differently to most weekends, where we all have endless freedom to choose how we spend it, we instead had a Netzer weekend with the Mechina (a group of Israelis on a shnat program before the army.)
As one of the madrichim of our weekend away with the Mechina, my experience was, i presume somewhat different to those of which were participating in the programs, as opposed to planning and running them. We planned two central programs, one about Yom Ha’shoa, then one about Yom Ha’zikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. They both were successful, being interesting and intense. Over the weekend we all bonded with the young Israelis, and personally by the end i felt to have made new good friends!
Because there were very minimal compulsory programs, we all spent most of our time hanging out in our Bedouin tent, becoming better acquainted with each other.

The weekend came to an end, which it always does, and although it was a shame to say goodbye to all our new friends from the Mechina it was obvious we would be seeing them again soon.
The next week started off with another siyur, where we hiked in the ‘footpath of warriors’ following battles of the independence war in Jerusalem. Later that evening we all went to a MASA takes (ceremony) for Yom Ha’zikaron. I, personally, found the takes to be very moving and well presented. It was in English, several speakers shared personal stories of those they had lost, there was live music, and the general feel of the night was although very moving, it was sad yet inspiring. We ended the night with Hatikva, it was breath taking to see over 5,000 people rise to sing the national anthem.
The morning of Yom Ha’zikaron we headed off to Mount Hertzel, which is the national military cemetery. The days vibe was depressing to say the least, old women were crying, families were mourning. However the strong sense of the Israeli community was, i found, stronger than ever that day. Seeing everyone come together to remember those who have sacrificed their lives was something I had never seen before.

SO! now you can obviously see as a result of all this, why i am now sitting here mentally exhausted. Proceeding this it will become evident why physically, i am exhausted too.

That evening Yom Ha’zikaron was over and Yom Ha’atzmaut had arrived. We all switched from one extreme to the other, now was the time for celebration! Some of us decided to stay in Jerusalem and see and join the festivities here, whereas others, such as myself, decided to party in up in the hip city of TEL AVIV!
Tel Aviv on Yom ha’atzmaut was twenty times more alive than i have ever seen it. The streets were filled with people, shops were open and people were having open parties inside them, shaving cream was everywhere, music was loud, and it was a whole lot of crazy fun! I am sure we all have our own individual stories about how our night panned out, so i will leave it up to us all to fill our parents in.
The day of Yom Ha’atzmaut was less crazy, still street parties were alive, but not to as great an extent as the night before. As an Israel tradition, some of us had a BBQ to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, but others just chilled with friends, slept in, ate good food, etc.

There you have it folks! Sorry this email was so long, but the truth is i tried to condense, but there is too much to say!! i guess that is always a good sign though.
I hope you all had a fabulous Yom Ha’atzmaut and i will see you soon…ish. 😀
Gena Riess (