Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Weekly Report: 24/11/2012

Dear Parents, Sniffim and Shnattim. Shalom Rav,

The Spanish announcement will be followed by an English one J

"Todo pasa y todo queda, pero lo nuestro es pasar, pasar haciendo caminos, caminos sobre la mar" "Caminante no hay camino se hace camino al andar", Joan Manuel Serrat (basado en el poema de Antonio Machado)

"All comings and goings are transient but ours are ephemeral, making our paths passable, paths over the sea" "Traveler there is no road, you make your path as you wander", Joan Manuel Serrat (based on the poem by Antonio Machado)

This week we are surrounded by endings, our southern group after being in Israel for nearly 10 months, their Shnat has come to an end. Some will continue to travel and prolong their journey, some will already be going back home, back to the snif.

This has been a journey that you have done as individuals and as a group. This has been a personal journey as it has been a collective one. You have shown us how much you have grown and matured during this year, we are very proud of you.

We want to wish you guys the best of luck, we our very proud of the journey you did and hope that we have left our mark on you as you have left your mark on us.

Our northern group has just finished their first period of Shnat, they have finished the Kibbutz group experience and will be embarking on a new journey, some will stay on kibbutz working in the different fields the kibbutz has to offer, and becoming part of the kibbutz community. While others will be traveling up north to the city of Karmiel where they will take part in different volunteer projects and interacting with the reform community in Karmiel.

This weekend they will have a sikkum weekend, the aim of it will be to give closure to the month they have spent as a group in Lotan and how to still reaming a group even though they are splitting into two groups.

We wish all a good weekend and Shabbat shalom,

Michael Vainberg

For the southern group weekly report please open this link:

The Weekly Report: 08/11/12

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This has been a week full of commotions, a statue was dedicated to Winston Churchill here in Israel, and Shimon Peres is in Russia inaugurating a Jewish Museum. It also seems that our British shnatties have not come alone form Great Britain to Israel, we are being visited by Robins (UK national bird, although I think it is not officially the national bird) and every November 4th a Robin appears in the back yard of an Israeli citizen to begin his own Shnat while it waits for better weather in Europe.

Estatua de Winston churchil.

Lately our relations with Turkey have not been great (to say the least), this week the commanding Israeli officers that were on duty when the event with the Marmara "Humanitarian" ship took place have been put on trial, even though they are not even present. The Turks are calling for 18000 years imprisonment for each of the officers. I wonder how much of a fair trial they are actually going to get.

9 people died on the Marmara and that is a tragedy, however it was not a humanitarian ship but a provocation ship, they were armed on board waiting for the Israeli Soldiers and there was no trace of anything humanitarian on the ship, but putting this aside, because we definitely could have a long discussion if it was a humanitarian ship or not, it is not in my intention to come up with any sort of political statement but I would like us to take a moment and remember the Struma ship, which left Rumania in 1942 with over 700 Jews fleeing for their life, it hardly arrive to Turkey because of motor problems, the Turks did not allow the Jews to disembark and after many negotiations they towed the ship towards the Black Sea where they abandon it with the Jews on board and the ship was torpedo by a Russian and 768 Jews died.

And please let's not forget who gets offended each time the Armenian Holocaust is even slightly mentioned.

As for our shnatties, the southern group had their last week on Lotan, the had their last day of work and Hanna took them to Naot Smadar for a sikkum session, even though it was their last week they were kept quite busy, they had a farewell dinner with the kibbutz youth, a farewell activity for the kibbutz and our northern group invited them to a farewell dinner and activity night. This Saturday our southerners will arrive to Jerusalem to begin their Sikkum Seminar, their last week of Shnat.

Our northerners will be starting their last week on Kibbutz as a group, next week they will have a sikkum weekend and then they will divide themselves into two groups, one group will be staying on kibbutz Lotan and one group will be travelling to Karmiel, and with this they will be beginning their second period of Shnat.

I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,


Weekly report by Jordy K (Southerners)

So here it is my friends. The SECOND last delicious weekly report for you to fixture you eyes upon. This week has probably been the most confusing, heart wrenching, exiting, depressing week for the old' Southern Shnat Teva. We had our last host family dinners, last work days, and last time seeing some of the most beautiful kibbutzniks you've ever met that sadly, are leaving even before we are.

Friday night Sophie had her last pub night which ended in her refusing to leave until the place turned off the lights and closed the doors. We said a sad yet temporary goodbye to her on Wednesday as she headed off to New York for some bar mitzvahs with the family, with a return on Monday to sikkum her Shnat with the rest of us - HOPE YOU'RE HAVING FUN SOPHIE YOU SLY MINX! SEE YA LADYFACE ON MONDAY!!!

Anyway, the night before, Tuesday, we all gathered our bodies and wallets and went down to Eilat to have a 'see you soon' dinner for Sophie. We ate at her favorite - Burgers Bar, where everyone devoured their outragously scrumtious burgers, chips and drinks, to then bus home all in food comas.

Saturday brought everyone's last host family dinners, lots more incredibly good home cooked food and new family photos.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday we slowly said goodbye to our work branches with some of us lucky shnatties receiving farewell cake and goods! Some of us also receiving nothing but a hard day of work - but whatever?!?! We still love our jobs?!?!

Wednesday morning we all bought some Lotan tshirts (OMG) and then proceeded to go to a close kibbutz called Naot Smadar where we were given a tour by a volunteer and all went through a ideological crisis where we discussed whether the members of this kibbutz were absolutely incredible or completely insane. To be honest. The answer was both.

That afternoon we rushed home to quickly make a buck load of cakes, cookies and pancakes to share with the whole of Kibbutz Lotan! We were scared no one would come - turns out people effing love us and it was a massive tea and cake party with families and volunteers and shin shins and shnatties from South and North. Ah. What a night.

Today was the day we sikkumed with our Hebrew teacher and gave a load of feedback to Hanna about our time on Lotan. and were invited to the bustan by the northern group for a farewell diner and activity

So mums and dads, husbands and wives, men and women in relationships and anyone else who reads our weekly reports (weirdos) we'll speak to you next week when we send our LAST weekly reply :O

Love DJ Korn.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Kathryn and Mitchel Do Israel

Day One:
The Dead Sea

I examined my burnt shoulders in the mirror that evening before getting into a decidedly cold shower. They were redder than ever. I have to admit, it has been ages since I've been out in the sun let alone when its at least 42 degrees out.

The rocks beneath my feet we scorching hot and stuck together because of all the salt from teh water. I waded into the water that was rapidly rising, turned to face my back to the wide expanse of ocean before falling backwards only to be caught by the buoyancy that the salty water provides. The water was boiling, hotter than a bath. I floated between a lounging position and being upright, trying tot touch the cold water below with the tips of my toes. Not an easy feat I might add.

We washed our stinging skin off under the cool, fresh water showers and lay our towels out on the stones. We sat and talked for a few hours before heading for the change rooms and treating ourselves to ice creams at the canteen.

The bus was cool and the air conditioning soothing on my hot face, drying the sweat that had begun to form while we waited, rather impatiently for the bus to arrive. Not long after we got on the bus we both fell asleep watching as the desert whizzed past us and the sea turned into mountains.

Day Two
Jerusalem: The Old City

The bustling shuk of the Arab Quarter never seemed to end, and we found ourselves getting lost in the winding alleyways, walking past the same shops over and over again. every so often we would find ourselves down a different street. F
irst we explored the Jewish Quarter and all the old buildings towering above us, the ruins that lay below in their natural state. The Kortel was full of people celebrating, praying and tourists being tourists. I always walk up to the wall and look up at its vast expanse. I see women dovening, tourists putting notes in the wall and families rejoicing from the "wrong" side of the machitza (separation).
There is a tradition of walking without facing your back to the wall after dovening. I always feel uncomfortable doing it, and I see the look in some women's eyes that I must have in mine as I perform this ancient ritual without the true understanding.
Today I walked away normally.
We carried on wondering through the shuk filled streets and found our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We entered the church along with many more Christian People making their pilgrmage to the place where Jesus was prepared for the cross, we watched as they bent down and rubbed oil on that very spot and prayed. Walking around the church this time was different than before. As well as lookign at all the historical and religious places we looked at all the artwork and how it changed form different time periods and spoke about the meanings behind all the paintings, Mitchel even throwing in some tidbits about ancient historians that thought the mural on the roof of the Sistine Chapel was a representation of Christianity being a dark religion, when in fact, it was jsut a bit dirty.
We sat down for lunch at "The Best Falafel" place and for ten sheckle it was pretty good.  

Day Three: Tel Aviv/Yafo
We left mid morning on a Shirut to Tel Aviv and managed to find our way to the pier. We sat on the rocks talking for a while before deciding that it was about time for lunch. We walked for a while along the ocean, the air filled with the smell of people having family a Mangal (Barbeque/Braai) on the beach. Children were loudly playing around on the grass as we walked. I kept a rhythmic pattern of foot steps trying to keep up with Mitchels long legs. Four steps on each square of paving. Sometimes three. We walked for what seemed like forever in the heat of the day, almost dehydrating because we were sweating so much.
We stopped in yaffo for a well deserved, steaming hot pan of freshly made Shakahuka. We ate in silence, not taking breaks between each mouthful. The sweet and salty mingled taste of the tomato sauce was an unbelievbly good sensation to have in ones mouth. The bread was soft and we used every last crumb to soak up the sauce on the pan. The water dropplettes rolled down the side of the jug as we sat in a food coma.
Seeking salvation and an escape from the heat we sought a shop to sit in for a while, pretend to browse as it were. Thankfully there were quite a few Home Ware stoes and we spent about two hours sitting on all the different couches and beds and chairs, even stopping, removing our shoes and feeling the softness of the carpet.
We found our way back to Yafo and walked through the old city looking at the mall artist galleries before having an afternoon shloof in a nearby park.
We boarded a bus to Haifa that night, both of us attempting to get comfortable squeesed in to the small, familiar bus seats of an egged bus.

Day Four: Haifa Stairways
The next morning we woke up freezing in the too low air conditioning of the Hashy Apartment. We showered, brushed our teeth ad pulled on our worn shoes ready to climb some stairs. We took the Carmalit, wich is an underground subway cart all the way uptown. The view was beautiful. You could see almost the entirety of Haifa. There were small cafes and resturants all opening for the day and as we walked we talked about how it reminded us of Cape Town. The air was fresh, almost too fresh to breath properly. We walked down what felf like 1000 stairs untill we found ourselves back where we started, a little sun burnt and a little sore in the leg area, but happy and excited about what a fantastic day we had. We saw so many different kinds of houses and parts of society.

Day Five: Haifa Bahai Gardens
I woke up bright and early to the uncomfortable smell that encompassed the entirety of the Hashy Apartments. The smell got into every part of ones being and lingered for a few days. Mitch and I had decided that today was the day for the exploring of, what we affectionately called, Uptown. We hopped on the Carmel, conveniently located just outside the apartment. We arrived uptown quite early. The city was just waking up and people were hurriedly getting to work before their bosses fired them.
We quickly found the Bahai Gardens and joined the queue eagerly waiting to be let in. I had been to the Gardens before, when I was sixteen, we spent a lot of time taking selfies trying to get the gardens in the background, but this time I could actually appreciate the effort put into the building and just how beautiful the city of Haifa was. We joined the organised tour, to get a little bit more information on what we were doing. Remember kids! It leaves at 12 sharp.
The Bahai People built the Gardens as a tribute to their leader. Everything is built symmetrically and so that one can really appreciate the beauty and splendour of the gardens. There are fountains and water streams that go all the way to the bottom of the gardens, as well as hundreds of round lights, that illuminate the gardens at night.
We walked down 9 tears of the Gardens and once we had reached the bottom found ourselves some ice-y, cold, frozen yogurt the cool us off.

It was back to the Apartment for us to fetch our things and catch our bus back to Jerusalem. The bus ride was quick and comfortable, we spoke about Netzer and all the big ideas we had and about our friends and how we would handle life when we got back home after being away for so long. Neither of us had any idea.

Day Six: Jerusalem at Night
We stepped off the tram just up the road from where we were living at around 7pm. Tired, with dragging feet we walked down the hill longing for bed and the return of Lily who had spent the last two months in either South AFrica, Israel or England. Spotting the Hustle and Bustle of the Mamilla strip we took a quick peek inside and found what was almost a carnivalle. Along with the usual mass of shoppers and art adorers there were now hundreds of people watching the street performers and the clowns that seemed to be around every corner.

One woman that caught our eye was the one blowing GIGANTIC bubbles for all the kids to jump up and pop, shrieking with excitement.
She was my favourite.

Lily and Josh were home and our Group was on the way to being completely reunited. We all threw on some clean clothes and headed out to Hamarkia, the best soup place in town, for a well deserved dinner.

Day Seven: Bethlehem
It was hot waiting for the Arab bus on the side of the road. The ground was hot, the people were hot and there was a load of construction going on in the background.
We caught the bus when it came.
The fences were high, the designated pathways were long and redundant, the doors were large and there was a beeping sound whenever you went through. Soldiers stood guard waiting to search people whom they deemed 'suspicious'. We walked through without any trouble. The man behind us, who was clearly in a hurry to get where he was going, was made to walk through metal detectors and be subjected to being searched and asked to show his ID. He was not pleased.
Inside Bethlehem we walked along the separation wall, admiring the graffiti and even witnessing a bunch of what looked like 15 or 16 yearolds all working together to create a new piece of political artwork.
We spoke to a woman whose house is completely cut off from the rest of the neighbourhood by the wall. She told us of the time when they were first building the wall and how her and her family were locked inside their house. She told us of another time when there was quite a bit of conflict in the area and there were soldiers that would use her house as their base. She was distraught.
We walked around for a good few hours getting increasingly lost, but not all that bothered by it. We stopped for a delicious lunch of Hummus and Falafel before heading back passed the wall and out through the check point, onto another bus and into our apartment.

There we found an assortment of Shnatties, both from Hashy and Netzer, all back from their trips in Europe. Our group was complete again. We sat in a circle on the ground swapping stories of the past week.

I'd like to leave you with one of the best quotes of our Shnat:
Jordy: "Why dont we go to Humus Ben Sira?"
Shosh: "Im okay with anything!"
Jade: "Why dont we just go to Japanica! Thats something that no one wants to do."

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Weekly Report: 25/10/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

Our northern group arrived well to kibbutz Lotan, a beautiful kibbutz in the Arava area of Israel, just 40 minutes north of the city of Eilat. They were well received by our southern group that organized a welcome party for them and who are also in charge of the Shabbat beyachad that will take place this weekend.
Both groups were well received by rain, it stormed in the Eilat area as it has not stormed in a while, if the average amount of rain is 1.4mm for the whole winter period in Eilat, it rained during the last week 6mm and its not even winter yet.

Both groups helped out to take the Sukka down and both groups have been working hard and studying hard. Our northern group is living in an ecological neighborhood in the kibbutz, living in mud huts and learning how to take care of our Mother Earth.

On a sadder side of news, this week the oldest survivor from Auschwitz passed away at the age of 108. Although it is not Holocaust Remembrance Day, I feel that it is necessary to mention this news and to acknowledge that brave generation.

This next piece of news I don’t know if some you will see it also as a sadder side or not of the political circus in Israel, Netanyahu and Liberman have decided to join forces and will be running as one political party during these next elections that will take place in January 2013.

Back to our shnatties, I will be seeing them this weekend during our Shabbat beyachad; I will be sending pictures with our next weekly report.

I wish you a great weekend and a Shabbat Shalom,

Weekly report by Liz H (southern shnat)

This week to celebrate the end of the harvest the date girls went to Eilat on a group date and the next day had a party on a boat with the surrounding kibbutzim in the area. Fortunately for e girls the rain (yes actual rain not just slight rain) wasn't during the party although it was when I had to milk the goats and let me tell you that wasn't the most pleasant of experiences. Together as a group we took down half the sukkah on Tuesday with josh on the sidelines due to a toe injury. Kitty entertained us during the day with songs that substituted the words with...That afternoon instead of sleeping like a normal person Jordy decided to milk goats with Sandra (ex-shnattie and her host mother) which makes jade the only one of us not to. Shoshana has started to feel better and rejoined the kibbutz workforce. Sophie continues to be the best in the kitchen at making eggs and Lily is loving work as much as ever. Tomorrow the Shabbat beyachad begins and we promise to let you know how it went next week. Goodbye and goodnight

Ther Weekly Report: 18/10/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shanties Shalom Rav,

What a way to finish the week, our northerners finished their orientation seminar which was very successful, there a few events that happened that I want to comment on, last Saturday we took our shnatties on a tour of the Old City, some of our shnatties have never been to Israel before and it was amazing to see their faces while they took the view in. During the tour we incorporated a Seudat Shlishi prepared by Louis P. and Gabriel P, here is a song they wrote for the group that I want to share with you:

" Sweet as Louis, sweet as Danny, sweet as Gabie on our tongues. Sweet as Sulia, sweet as Vicky, sweet as Ruby on our tongues. Sweet as Emily, sweet as BP, sweet as Horne on our tongues. Sweet as Rhiannon-e, sweet as Joe-e, sweet as Jake-e on our tongues. Sweet as Danielle-e, sweet as Liana-e, sweet as Lou-e on our tongues. Sweet as Natan-e, sweet as Laura-e, sweet as Asher-e on our tongues. Sweet as Gabriel-e, sweet as Shnatties, sweet as honey on our tongues!"

And after the song they gave everyone milk and honey.

After visiting the Kotel we went back to the Jewish Quarter to do an Havdala service led by Joe G. and Rhiannon H., the vibe was so intense that it even got the Charedi people around us swinging to the melody and a Charedy couple were so inspired by the group that they actually stopped what they were doing and felt the need to join us.

At the moment both groups are in Kibbutz Lotan, our southern group hard at work while our northern group is starting their Ecological kibbutz group bonding experience. This next weekend I will see both groups as we are having a Shabbat Beyachad prepared and led by our Southern group (Jordy K. and Sophie G.), once I come back with pictures I will post the on our facebook group.

I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom


Weekly report by Asher F. (northern group)

So here we are after the first amazing week on Shnat Netzer 5773!

We’ve experienced lots of amazingly fun, exciting, and helpful peulot sessions, including ones about where in Israel we can visit, Israeli politics and its conflicts with the world, and playing with bazooka bubble gum. We bonded over talks, song sessions, services, and most of all, banter.

We’re sitting here at Kibbutz Lotan being bitten by flies and 250 metres away from the Jordanian border. We were given a tour of our bustan, the part of the Kibbutz with domes that house 3 of us each. Lotan is the ecofriendly kibbutz of Israel, using solar power to heat water, waste to make fertilized soil, and mud and straw to build

the ‘igloos.’ Tonight was just a chill hangout night, as we had a long bus ride and intense heat in the day. Tonight will be very exciting because we get to meet the southern Shnatties for the first time!

With oodles of love

Mr A Fingerhut x

Weekly report by Jade K (southern group)

19 Northerners arrived this morning to share our home for the next 3 weeks

235 tonnes of dates were picked in this years harvest (of which Jade, Jordy and Shoshana were responsible for about 20%, they are very proud)

26km were travelled to an Ashram near Mitzpe Ramon on Friday for a music festival, we danced all night and ate potatoes cooked on an open fire

25 000 date sacks were folded by Jade and Jordy at work today

11 New paintings were put up by Kitty when she decorated the house today

1.5 hours was spent having a sing-along in the cheder ochel on Tuesday night

10 kitchen staff ate burgers for lunch as a special treat

700 eggs were cooked by Sophie over the past 7 days

1 guitar from Shnat Zahav was retrieved from the clutches of the infamous

Habo Australia and New Zealand Kvutzah (also knowonn as the fake shnat Teva) on a secret mission to Karmiel

4 Habo South Africans came to visit us all the way from Haifa

111 goats now live in one group thanks to Liz's special goat herding skills

8 shnatties

28 days to go

We'll be home before you know it...

The Weekly Report: 11/10/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim, Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This week shnat got bigger; this week we received the new northern Shnat - Shnat Yam 2012-13

WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHNATTIES

we received 19 new shnatties that began their individual and group journey, 4 representatives from NFTY, 2 from LJY and 13 form RSY, at the moment they are in Jerusalem where they have their orientation seminar, next week they will traveling to kibbutz Lotan to start their group experience and will meet our southern shnatties that are about to finish Shnat and could give our new shnatties good tips on how to make the most out of Shnat.

I have attached some pictures of our Orientation Seminar and next week I will be posting more pictures on our facebook group which we invite you to join:!/groups/netzer.olami/

Our southerners helped to pack away the sukka and dance with the torah on simchat Torah, it was a rather short week because of the holydays, they prepared a welcome video for our new shnatties and will be welcoming them next week in Lotan, our southern shanties are also in charge of preparing a Shabbat beyachad which will take place towards the end of October.

As for Israel news, last night for the first time since being liberated, Gilad Shalit was interviewed and he spoke about his time in captivity, it was very emotional hearing him say the things he did to keep his mind sane. How he played chess with his captives, how he would roll his socks or shirt into a ball and throw it into the garbage (basketball), how he would invent weird games to keep his mind going, how he would draw the map of Israel, of his neighbourhood, of his house so that he wouldn't forget what it looked like, to keep his imagination flowing. He still captivates us, even today a year after being liberated he is still Israel's son.

I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,


Weekly report by Natan J. (Shnat North)

Friends, family and everyone else in my life that i am having to live without. I woke up on thursday having had 45 minutes of sleep after an evening of flights, travel sickness, stress and mass american shnattee appreciation. We had arrived at the flat at 3 am, to a mini american pajama party to welcome us into Beit Shmuel. We watched the glorious sunrise over Jerusalem together from Beit Shmuel and by the morning we felt we had been there for weeks, so exhausted yet comfortable we were.

Opening Tekkes took us up to the roof of the hostel, and subsequently took our breath away. The old city lay there in front of us, sun kissed in the morning light, calling out to us. I felt so far from home, and yet simultaneously at home.

We are all well prepped after our rules and regs and are equipped with basic hebrew and cannot wait for the challenge that awaits us. A challenge we shall all rise to, and in the timeless words of Joe Grabiner, we are so so joyful.


Weekly report by Sophie G (Shnat South)

Ah! What a week! And now comes that time in the week where one must write the weekly report, preferably in a witty and comical way. Recollecting a week of shnat is increasingly difficult with all the chuggim, work days, yomai chinuch and such. But this week did hold some highlights, including kathryn's joyous 19th birthday, shoshana and jordana's return from their families, simchat torah and my making up a witty and soulful song about the dishwasher during my two and a half hours in the dishwashing room at work (lyrics to come).

Sunday was a chofesh day for erev simchat torah. A day of catchup, preparation and cleaning for simchat torah. The house was emptied of furniture and filled with soap and water, transforming our living room into a slip'n'slide. There was so much room for activities! But as the day grew on we showered and got into our finest clothing for the chag. The shule service was like any other, expect that it was followed by 2 hours of dancing with the torah around our beautiful sukkah. Just as those festivities died down, the shnatties were preparing for a little celebration of their own. The day after (monday) was to be kathryn's birthday, so we had planned a little surprise party, animal themed, in her honour. Starting in our house, we eventually moved to the bustan to join her in bringing in her birthday.

Monday came as a shock with 7 am toronut in the cheder ochel, actually mildly enjoyable. Being the day of the chag, no one had work. We spoiled kathryn on her birthday with little surprises and a roof top game of pass the parcel at 11 pm. And a few hours later, in the early morning, shoshana arrived home from her chofesh with her mum.

Tuesday: yom chinuch; always a blast! The day started with a 'hike' through the desert to lotan's pepper and melon fields, where yuri managed to successfully convince lily that the army used the nearby shed to produce tanks. They don't. Following out early morning sand dune climb, us shnatzim learnt all about the details of jewish weddings, and how these become issues in modern israel. Turns out some religious communities still do the shoe throwing thing. The day concluded with and round of "hypothetical kibbutz dilemma" solving, helping us to understand the day to day obstacles kibbutz lotan has to overcome.

Which now brings me to today, wednesday. Today we were all back at work, and what a work day it was! Liz for the first time was a second milker, with a bit of hesitance, but persisted with the goats and their new kids. Kitty has dealt with the many visitors that are at kibbutz for the wedding of the first kibbutz baby tomorrow. Shoshana, jordy and jade have been picking away at the date fields. Lily has been preparing to say goodbye to her beloved GA's in the ecokef. Josh has continued his garden adventures and has just left to go up north for the weekend. And what have i done? I hear you ask. I have fried and scrambled many a egg in the kitchen and have come up with quite the ditty, if i do say so myself, about my dishwashing experiences. And it goes a little something like this:


There's a spoon in the trolley, for you to eat your brocolli

There's a knife for the eggs, to get some energy to move your legs

And you know about them plates, so you can eat while your with your mates

And when you're done with all this crockery, you can laugh but i wont take mockery

When you bring them, to the dish washer

And i'll be dishin' while i'm whishin' for a permanent position you know

I think it's great when i'm scrubbing on those plates

And you can watch while i wait

For my dishwasher

I'll spray on the tray all the day all through the way

of the dishwashing cycle

I'll rinse all the mince like a prince i won't wince

when i get sprayed in the face

'cause in the dishwasher, you get sprayed in the face


So that is a little song to leave you with, feel free to make up a tune as you read it. Until next week! Shnatzim out.


The Weekly Report: 04/10/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This week we were surprised by a very special guest, a special guest that we hope comes to stay for quite a while since Israel is in need of it, this week it started raining and it was a blessing.
on a less happy note, Israel said goodbye to a legend, Abraham Eden past away, Abraham was the commander that during the Independence War when he got to what today is Eilat and did not have an Israeli flag took a sheet and ink and drew the flag.

Israel is on vacation this week celebrating Sukkot and it is so nice to see so many balconies with sukkot in them, i took my family to the beach where my son took it upon himself to throw back all the sand into the ocean, two small fistfuls at a time, we did not have the heart to tell him that we were only going to be there for an hour and he will not get the job done, but it was fun seeing him enjoy himself.

our shantties helped build the sukka in kibbutz Lotan and some even volunteered after hours to help move the chairs and tables from dinning room to the sukka.

they had an activity with Hanna where Kitty did a maamad for them that led to start thinking and planning what they want to do before Shnat finishes, and i do hope and wish that our shnatties take advantage of the time left until the end of Shnat.

next week not only will we be receiving the Shnat group but we have a new madricha, Reut, that will join our staff and i want to take this opportunity to welcome her and to wish her luck.

I want to wish you all a great week and chag sameach



Weekly report by Kathryn H.

What a week its been for us here on kibbutz, what with eating in the sukkah and all the goat milking shifts weve been picking up to help out as much as we can around the kibbutz.

For those of you who dont know, Goat Milking is quite the expirience, although Liz gets to do it everyday, the rest of us are all too happy to try out a different work branch every so often and really get our hands dirty. Milking can take up to about three hours but with good music and a whole bunch of friends it takes no time at all and is actually quite enjoyable! There are these scary milking machines with buttons to start the suction and this really complicated process of hearding the goats and screaming "Yalla!" at them until they get up on the milking platform, its all rather stressful and difficult to try not to hurt the really pregnant goats.

A few friends from Machon came down to the kibbutz to celebrate the Chag with us at the beginning of the week, we had a load of fun having ideological debates and dancing at the pub.

Josh participated in an inter-kibbutz soccer match over the chag, but alas we lost. But had a great time playing. He's still working in the garden with another volunteer. He says its hard work but he seems to really enjoy it, and that what counts!

Jade has been hard at work with Lily and myself planning the sikkum seminar for the southerners, she. Keeps us all on out toes and has amazing ideas. Shes playing guitar again and is generally smiling and happy, keeping the rest of the group smiling and happy too.

Liz has been helping out more and more in the goats and knows exactly what shes doing! She certainly helped me out the last time i went there. She really enjoys her work.

Shoshanna has been absent from our lives for far too long. Last i heard she was off galavanting israel with her family enjoying the high life of the watsu and the well awaited time with her Mom. (COME HOME SHOSH!)

Lily spent the chag with her family in Yavne, but came home briefly to say hello, get a few things and make her way with a friend to the Zorba festival. She also spent time with one of our friends from South Africa who is visiting on her gap year. It was so nice to have some more of that Saffa Spirit around the house. Holding the fort all by myself with these Aussies is not an easy task!

Sophie has been writing songs all over the place! You should really hear the one about the dishwasher she has been writing at work! Her friend is visiting us for a few days on his chofesh, so the house is gull of all sorts of interesting people!

Jordy just got back from her trip with her family, full of stories and pictures of all the fun she had with her parents and grandparents. (it seems everyones families are here)

And now me, Kathryn. This week in tourism we have been snowed under what with the chag and all. The office people had to recruit some of the shin shinim and volunteers to help us out! The laundry room has never looked as crazy as it did this past week. Mountains of laundry! I had to say goodbye to one of the girls i work with yesterday, shes off back home to holland and ill surely miss her.

Yom Chinuch this week was really interesting. We had a class with Daniel the Rabbi about the calendar of the jewish year. All the holidays make so much more sense now and having lived them in Israel and not in the diaspora has made all the more clear as to why we have them. Not only are they all connected to the seasons but to the moon cycle as well. Who woulda thought? Jade drew us an amazingly colorful diagram that were going to stick in our house. We also helped out with the clothes swap that the kibbutz ran buy sorting out all the clothes.

Channa ran a really fun peulah for us where we acted silly and ate chocolate and played pass the parcel for a good few hours, and then fell asleep on the grass in the sukah.

A you can see, its been quite a hectic week here on Shnat, but were all going strong and being cool. Thats it until next time!

Much love from all of your kids. (Is that a pun about baby Goats?)

The Weekly Report: 27/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

Another week has passed, this was a special week for this week we celebrated Yom Kippur, on this day Israel just stops everything it's doing and the whole day is dedicated to Yom Kippur, I would say that it is a very silent day since no one works, there is no public transportation however it is not a silent day, I find it interesting that this is the day that the kids in Israel go out to ride their bikes, it is the day they can ride in the middle of street because there is no transportation of any sort that day, no motorcycles, cars. Buses etc. it is not a silent day because you hear a lot of children laughing in the street and this is a very alternative way to spend Yom Kippur, of course you can find the more traditional ways to celebrate, but I think that it is interesting that kids wait all year for this day.

Also this week past week the time changed in Israel and now even though it is still hot like summer we are on winter time, to be honest I don’t understand the need to change the time in Israel (it is not like we have heavy winters) and neither do many Israelis and it has become a political thing, not only the changing of the time but the fact that the time is changed around Yom Kippur a month and half before Europe changes their time, it seems that there is a lot of pressure from religious parties to change the time before Yom Kippur and thus fasting an hour less.

At the moment our shnatties are helping kibbutz Lotan build the Sukkah, help that is very much appreciated.

In a week the Shnat group is going to get bigger we will be receiving the new northern group, 19 shnatties will be arriving to start their journey, they will ne heading down to Lotan and meeting our lovely southern shnatties.

I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom.



Weekly report by Shoshana B
A week in the life the shnat Teva eight

It began with a workday after the chag finished late
Sunday or yom rishon as we say
Was a regular, hectic, hardworking day
Lily fostered some plants and re-invented Eco living
Kitty folded and cleaned a cosy bed tourists giving
Jordy and Shosh picked date after dates
And josh gardened and then troped a tractate
For Wednesday was the day to repent
But we are not there yet! Let us backtrack, to a weekend well spent
Young jade and Elizabeth attended a seminar
To learn how to argue about Israel from here and afar
The social aspect provided a great deal of pleasure,
However the focus on advocacy was more bias than leisure
Meanwhile on the kibbutz a storm was a brewing
As people begun their preparations for yom hakippurim
Tuesday was yom chinuch and we learnt to say sorry
And as the hours clocked over some began to worry
Because in the desert it turns out it is not simple to fast
And those with less fortitude were concerned how they would last
Then yom kippur arrived and Liz and jade returned
And so on the somber day of repentance we learned
Services purely in Hebrew are hard,
And being away from home throws you off guard
And when the day ended we were all a bit relieved
For the yomim noraim can be quite aggrieved.
And from the eve of yom kips the succah was erected
And to construct the rest the shnattim were elected
And so Thursday passed and Friday will too
Lugging palm fronds and clicking frames as succah are wont to do
And that my dear readers brings you up to date
With your brightest and tightest shnat Teva eight
As we look to sukkot and only six weeks left of our year
Our skin starts to tremble as our ending is near
And the talk of new shnatties begins to stir
Feelings of nostalgia and panic and excitement all blur.
But that is the nature of Shnat netzer
Something you can never really describe until you too get there.

Love your shnatties

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Weekly Report: 20/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This has been a very quiet week in Israel as the country stopped to celebrate Rosh Hashana, and Monday and Tuesday were like two Saturdays in a row.

Last week I visited our shnatties in Lotan they are very happy and seem to have made themselves at home, I got a tour of their living quarters which I must say were much more organized than their flat in Karmiel, I wonder if knowing that I coming to visit them had any thing to do with it ;)

Unfortunately things are not so quite in the rest of the world, we even heard on the news that there were demonstrations in Sidney against the movie "Muslim Innocence" , I haven't seen the movie so I can comment specifically on it, I don’t think there should be any kind of religious mocking but I think there should be freedom of speech but that that freedom should not be abused, however I don’t think that the response should be such a violent response and I feel that there is some hypocrisy when so many cartoons mocking Jews, denying the Holocaust etc come from Muslim countries, there must be a way to achieve religious tolerance on all sides.

In Israel, on one of the television channels (channel 10) they are showing a very interesting documentary abut Islam in Europe, it is scary and sad to see how these young Muslims were not able to become part of the society they live in and have so much hatred , anger and violence in them, hopefully we will find a way for all of us to live together I don’t dare say harmony but at least in tolerance, I would like to quote my dad who says: "Living is possible but no one let’s you"

I hope that this New Year brings us all a lot of good fortune, a lot of sweetness and may we all have a great year.

Shana tova and Shabbat Shalom,



The Weekly Report

By: Kathryn H.

Shana Tova! (or Shanat Teva as those skilled in Hebrew puns would say...) A very happy New Year to you all and many wishes of a good year from the land of the origional honey. Those of us who stayed on the Kibbutz for the weekend and for Rosh Hashana, were treated to Dates, most likely hand picked by our fellow Shnatties, and some special Date Honey to dip our Apples in and welcome the new year.

Along with all the delicious food we got to consume, not as good as home though, we had a visit from Michael and the other members of the Netzer Staff. Through a peulah of self reflection and analysis of our self portraits, crudely drawn in what the Australians like to call Texters, but that would possibly be better understood as Kokies by the South Africans, we reflected on the year that had been. Can you believe that its been almost an entire year since we all left home thinking were all ready to start this crazy adventure in Israel? We talked about the things we have done on Shnat that we never would have thought we would possibly do; about achievements we never thought we would ever achieve and just how wonderful it is that we've tried and mostly succeeded. I must say, that it did leave us a little bit confused as to who we were, who we are now, and who we would hope to be in the future. We've all changed so much over the past year, that its so hard to pin point the exact moment when we changed and weather or not we changed for the better, or if we cannot, or should not define it.

This year has been all about growing and changing as people and as a group. Weather we're changing together as a Shnat Cvutzah -as both, Australians and South Africans- or in our own nationalities, one thing we've realised is that this is our refernce group for the rest of our lives. Theres nothing quite like a year away from home in a foreighn country with 7 other people all having a similar expirience to you, to bond you for life.

To all my Shantties, and to all of our parents at home, thank you for a wonderful expirience like no other. This year has been a whilwind ride and you've been there every step of the way. Thanks for reading and enjoying the journey with us.

Shana Tova and Chag Sameach!

Now, enough with the sappy stuff.

The Down Low:

Rosh Hashana on Kibbutz is completely different from anything we've ever expirienced. The kibbutz does all the services in their little shule along with many different kinds of alternative services throughout the day and night. We attended a Desert Repenting-For-Our-Sins service with people from near-by Kibbutz Katura. We went to a Yoga Class with a bunch of the volunteers to end off our break from work and get us really relaxed for the new year and ready for work bright and early in the morning. Its all quite exciting here on Kibbutz!

Sophie took a trip to her family in Tel Aviv to spend the High Holy Days there. She came back to an extremerly messy room. We're not sure where all the puzzle pieces are, but we have found a few of them in our beds.

Jordy spent the weekend and the Holidays on the Kibbutz, but is eagerly awaiting a visit from her parents and is planing a trip to see her friends in Karmiel.

Shoshana went to a nearby Kibbutz to visit a really good, Israeli friend from Sydney with Josh. She had a great time.

Lily spent the weekend with a friend from South Africa who came to visit the Kibbutz. This all involved a half an hour trek to the road and back, through the desert, barefoot. They played soccer and went on a tiyul to see the illusive Gazels on the Red Mountains.

Liz spent the weekend and the Holidays on the kibbutz with her host family and the other Shantties. She worked an evening shift with the goats and seems to love her job very much.

Jade spent the weekend and the Holidays on kibbutz and was visited by a dear friend of hers who is spending the week with us. Along with Liz, they're all going to an Advocasy Seminar in Jerusalema dn speniding Yom Kippur together.

Josh wanted a different expirience for the Holidays and so went all the way to Jerusalem to go to the Reform Synagouge there and really reflect on his year in a more special way for him.

Kathryn spent the weekend in Haifa visiting friends from another Youth Movement. She was back intime for the Rosh Hashana Service on Friday night after an excruciating 6 and a half hour bus and train ride.

The Weekly Report: 13/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shanties. Shalom Rav,

This was an exciting week for Israel and for the progressive Jewish community. The Israeli Paralympics team did what the Olympic did not do; they came back to Israel with medals including a gold medal.
In a small city of 700.000 in Russia (3 hour flight form Moscow) celebrated 100 years to their synagogue, the only synagogue in the city is a Reform synagogue and the whole city got together to celebrate this special historical event.

Back to Israel, two events got me thinking, there was a convention for Jewish refugees that escaped form Arab/Muslim countries, it was the first convention and they want to demand that the countries pay them compensation for having to escape from their respective countries.

There is a city passed the green line called Ariel, there is a college there called the University centre of Ariel. Despite it name it is a college and not a university, just before I get to the point lets playa little trivia game:

How many universities are there in Israel?
Which was the first university established in Israel?
Which is the biggest university in Israel?
What is the difference between a college and a university?

This college has been fighting to become university, already a few years ago it was decided that it would be and since then it has had its bureaucratic ups and downs, this week the government decided to move the issue forward and that now it has to be recognized as a university. I wonder what are the reasons behind this, although the claims are that it is time to have another university in Israel, and the college wanting to be able to work on research’s and get different funding that the universities get I cant help to wonder if it is not more of a political in your face kind of decision – penny for your thoughts.

I just got back from visiting our dear shnatties in Lotan, they are doing great and are very happy on kibbutz, and they have turned their flat into a home. We are getting ready to receive the northern group that will be arriving just after Sukkot and will be joining or dear shnatties in Lotan.

On this note I want to finish by wishing you all a Shana Tova, for all of us to have a great sweet year.

Shana Tova,

Weekly report by Liz

Over last weekend our house was loud and lively due to the visitors from Betar and Hashomer Hatzair. It was great fun and we were all sad to see them go on Saturday.

Lily started her first week with the goats on Sunday while I was left alone in the Eco mud building. Monday was communal work in dates again, where Jade, Shoshana and Jordy work on a regular basis (It has the best breakfast) The next day was Yom Chinuch. We were all insanely happy for our sleep-in until 8:30 which was a treat in comparison to the 5:30 wake up call we usually get (besides Kitty who starts at 8 in tourism). On Tuesday we had a class with Mike Nitsan about Lotans' connection to the Progressive Movement Worldwide, followed by a class with the local rabbi Daniel about God and the balance between strict justice and mercy. The peula that evening was run by Sophie and had us explore our lives and how we have progressed and where we wish to be. While this was all happening Josh decided as a project to make our roof an amazing place to chill, with things like: Furniture (which we are all excited to have because we don't have anything besides bed frames) The night of Yom Chinuch, the creativity energy in our house was palpable as we sat in our backyard and painted pieces of wooden board which we found in our house. We're going to hang them up in the outside room to make it feel a little more home-y.

The Weekly Report: 06/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This was the second week on kibbutz Lotan for our shnatties and they are having a great time, next week I will be visiting them and will hear directly from them how they are doing.

Rosh Hashana is just around the corner and our shnaties will be able to experience the festivities in Israel and on the kibbutz, on this note I want to wish you all a Shana Tova.

On my latest weekly reports I have been doing a "Peny for Your Thoughts" segement and this report is no diferent. This week MDA (Maguen David Adom) was on news, an ambulance arrived to the home of an Israeli actor who was suffering from a stroke, the paramedics refused to take to the hospital because they interpreted that he was saying tht he did not wish to be taken to the emergency room. So in the end he was taken by his neighbor and we still dont know the extent of the damage for arriving late to the hospital.

There is a law in Israel, that no one can be forced to be taken against their will to the hospital. So here is the dilema, if someone is not capable of thinking straight should he be left alone in his home in stead of recieving the help he needs? should the MDA put themselves in a vulnurable place for trying to help people in needin be subject to lawsuits. a peny for your thoughts, well with todays inflation and economical crisis I am willing to go for a dime for your thoughts.


I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,




Weekly Report By: Kathryn H.

Time here on Kibbutz Lotan can be measured in a few different ways. Weeks are measured from one pub night to the next, days from the nap before work to the nap after wards, the hours in meal times, and months by the cycles of the moon that shines so brightly over the emptyness of the desert, that you can see your shaddow at midnight.

Its oficially our second week here on kibbutz and were all settling in quite nicely. We've started our jobs and are falling into the new regime of waking up at 5 am every morning.

We ended off our Orientation week with a lovely Shabbat Service last friday night. The whole kibbutz crowding into the dining room for a hearty meal. Earlier in the day we had teamed up with our trusty Shin Shinim (The kids on their gap year before the army) and had an interesting Israeli Dance Lesson. (Lily had the most fun out of all of us.) We discovered the creative talent of Netos, one of the quiet Shin Shinim, when he made a beautiful string of butterflies to hang up in the Chederochel.

On sunday we all got up bright and early for our first ofiicial day of work. It was hard to do and by two in the afternoon everyone had crashed. exhausted, into their beds.

Every Monday we all work together in one of the work branches on the kibbutz. This time it was back to the Date Plantation to pick some more of those delicious dates we all know and love, but more importantly sing as loudly and out of tune as humanly possible. The best thing about working in the dates, besided waking up in time to see the sun rising over the mountains, is the breakfast. All the cheese your heart could desire mixed with fresh bread; vegetables; boiled egss and a never ending jar of Cheerios.

Tuesdays are soon to become affectionatly known as Yom Chinuch-Our one day a week of full on education.

This week we found ourselves on a 5am Nature Hike with Michael Livni-The founder of Reform Zionism and one of Netzers Big Thinkers. He showed us all around the out side of the kibbutz pointing out interesting animal tracks and the different types of desert sand you can find just five minutes away from the gates. He gave us a low down on what Reform Zionism really is, after a well deserved breakfast.

Later, we had a discussion with Alex, who is head of the Ecology Department and a certified Ecological Architecht (Jade and My host Dad) all about what it means to live on a collective kibbutz and in an intentional community. We looked at why we are an intentional community; where else you caould find them; and how they differ in every place. All rather facinating one might say.

Unfortunatly, we missed Jade this week as she was seeing her mom in Tel Aviv but she's safe and sound back in her bed, catching up on some sleep after her rather adventurous bus ride home on Tuesday night. Were glad she's back and ready to get into the Kibbutz expirience. She had her first day of Date Picking today!

Shana and Jordy love the Dates and come home everyday with new and exciting stories to tell of the Cherry Picker and the comical moments that seen to haunt their lives.

Liz and Lily have both made a home for them selves in the recycling centre in the Eco Village. Today they both learnt how to make compost and made it. Then learnt how to build with mud and then built with it. They both came home rather sweaty and covered in mud and compost, smiles shining through the dirt on their noses.

Next week we'll hear all about the Goats!

Everyday I see Josh riding around on the back of the tractor doing Garden-y type things. Sometimes hes riding the tractor by the pool, other times its through the tourism section. Sometimes I wonder weather or not he does other things besides ride the tractor around the kibbutz...

As for me, I have the most top secret job of all. We only have one rule in tourism, and that is: What happens in tourism, stays in tourism. But what I can tell you is that I had a secret mission in the Tea House today- One of the best places on the kibbutz I might add- and I have access to a place that no normal kibbutznick does: The Other Laundry Room.

We're all safe and sound here in our little oasis in the middle of the Arava. Until next week! Adeu.

PS. Were probably all making Aliyah to Kibbutz Lotan.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Weekly Report: 30/08/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties, Shalom Rav,

This past week has been full of important and or meaningful events; Gilad Shalit celebrated his first birthday as a free person; while we said goodbye to Neal Armstrong we said hello to the new pictures form Mars sent to us by the "Curiosity" (although I think it is amazing that we landed on the moon and Mars, I wonder if that money should not be spent here on Earth trying to make it a better place); the 136 year old Montefiori Windmill in Jerusalem started working again, the windmill was established as a source of work for those Jewish people brave enough to leave the walls of the Old City and create the first Jewish Settlement out side the Wall, today it is a sight were couples getting married come to take pictures all dressed up and on their way to their wedding and now after so many years of not working it will start opening its doors to the public; and my son started to go to Day Care for the first time in his life.

As for our dear shnatties, they together after their chofesh and last Sunday they arrived to Kibbutz Lotan, kibbutz Lotan is a lovely reform Kibbutz in the Arava, it is 40 minutes north of the city of Eilat, which means that it is way in the south of Israel. The Kibbutz period is the last period of the program, they have settled into their apartment, and had a few orientation days, today they all went out to the dates field as a group project to collect all the dates and next week they will be working in different fields, they have been looking forward for this period of the program.

I don’t know if in Australia and South Africa you use the saying "A penny for your thoughts" but there is something I wanted to share with you that I found interesting and would love hear what you have to say about it. Just like in other countries also in Israel there are advertisements posted on the sides of the buses, this week Egged (The Israeli Public Buses Company) has decided that they wont be posting any advertisements with the pictures of men or women, in Jerusalem it has been problematic because the religious people would not allow the buses to have advertisement with the pictures of women (even if they were fully dressed), women of course felt discriminated, so now to save themselves the headache Egged as mentioned before will not be displaying men or women on the side of the buses, and I wonder if this the correct course of action to take or if it is the easy way out.

I want to wish a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,


Weekly report by Jade K.

Hi everyone!

Another week has gone by in our shnattie lives and I'm here to tell you all about it. Fasten your seatbelts, it's been a wild ride through our first week on Kibbutz Lotan!

Saturday night found us all squeezed into the ex-boys room of the Etgar flat chatting excitedly about our chofesh and impending time on kibbutz, exchanging weird and wonderful gifts from the far corners of the world (Kitty even brought us a South African, his name was Mitchell) and pinching Josh, Lily and ourselves just to make sure they were actually there. Yes, you heard right, Teva (south) is finally, FINALLY, reunited! We couldn't be happier.

Spirits were not dampened until the next morning when we discovered (to our utter dismay) that there was no CD player in the bus. How could we possibly listen to Dana's coveted 90s CD! Never fear, shnattie watchers, it wasn't too long before we had whipped out the Ukulele, followed by the guitar resulting in a Jade-Sophie jam sesh which quickly became a Jade-Sophie-Jordy Destiny's Child tribute band rehearsal (I'm Kelly Rowland, Jordy is obviously Beyonce which makes Sophie the one who's name no-one ever remembers) and eventually a Teva Choir sing-along (minus Josh... and the bus driver, I think we may have somehow damaged his ears. First Teva Shnenemy.)

Arriving on kibbutz in high spirits we were faced with momentary panic upon realizing that all of our stuff may not fit into our house. For those who don't know, Teva does not travel light. Thankfully we didn't have to resort to plan B - exiling Josh to the tent pitched on the grass outside our house - but at one stage it was a very real possibility. Other events of the day included a truly historic asefa in which, after Etgar apparently left the word with scarring connotations, we renamed asefot. They are now called FSBs (or FSBim for all you mad Hebrew speakers out there), what it stands for is a Teva secret. We also decided on kvutzah tafkidim for our time on Lotan, of course we can't tell you what they are until they are ratified at Teva Values Veida which will take place over Shabbat.

Since then we have been filling our days with deciding on work branches, exercising for the first time in 7 months, chillin' with the kibbutz kids, the volunteers, the shin shins (kids on Shnat Sherut) who live next door and a good friend of our beloved Northerners - Guy the (now ex-)shin shin, making lots of music and discovering all the essentials to kibbutz life on our adventures such as the filter water tap in our kitchen and the cow graveyard behind the refet. Kibbutz Lotan is slowly becoming our home.

And that concludes this weeks parents report, leaving only 10 more parents reports until you see our smiley faces once again. I guess we'd better go have some more crazy adventures so we'll have something to write to you about next week.

So, in the words of everyone's favorite South American Shnat Director,

Monday, 20 August 2012

Theme Nights in Karmi'el- In Pictures

Harry Potter Theme Night

The Weekly Report: 16/08/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

Another week has finished, time flies by it is hard to believe that our shnatties have been in Israel for seven months already, and have done two of the three periods of Shnat.

I met up with the shnatties this past week while they were on their Jewish Identity Seminar, it was lovely seeing how they tackled different issues and how much concern they had for learning as much of Judaism as they could, towards the end of the seminar some were even inspired on developing different projects to study more Judaism.

Now our dear shnatties are on vacation, some here in Israel and some have taken the opportunity of being so close to Europe to go there for a while, we will meet up again on August 26th in Jerusalem where the shnatties will get on the bus that will take them to Kibbutz Lotan.

If we are already speaking of Judaism, this week there was on the news something that I found quite interesting, a Get (religious divorce) was done by the Rabanut (State Rabbinical Authority, which is orthodox) through Iphone, an Aguna (a wife seeking divorce from a husband that wont give it to her) after 8 years of trying to track down her husband that for some reason was living somewhere else finally found him hospitalized in a hospital in Eilat, the Rabbinical court not wanting the husband to disappear again agreed to do the procedure on video chat. I found it very interesting that they were not only so willingly helpful to this woman but also that they allowed technology into their procedures, will this be the beginning of a new ear for the orthodox stream in Israel, I guess it is to early to say.

And while on the subject of technology, it seems some archeologists found some new pyramids (new as in new discovery) in Egypt through the application "Google Earth".

I want to wish you all a great week and a great vacation,


Weekly Report By: Shoshana B.

This past week has been full of goodbyes as we left Karmiel and each other for a week of chofesh before Kibbutz Lotan (!!!!!) I am writing this on the bus leaving our Jewish Identity Seminar for both Ben Gurion airport and Beit Shmuel, our comforting (but very sparse) Israeli home. The shnatties (minus Lily and Josh, who are still - still! - in England) are singing along to a mix CD of nineties music and the mood is of anticipation yet reflection as the distinctive landscape of the Galil whizzes past. But how did we get here? Where are we headed? And why does Jordy have three MASSIVE bites on her thigh? Let us take a journey back in time to find out..........

PART I: Farewell Karmiel!

Last Shabbat saw Liz, formerly volunteering with Karmiel's infants, leave us to meet her mother (referred to by Liz as "Aggie") in Jerusalem for a weekend of delicious dining that only a parent's visit can provide. She returned incredibly excited for Spain on Sunday night, but missed us all greatly.
On Thursday night Jordy and I had the privilege of attending an absolutely stunning wedding on the beach at Haifa, with food including fried calamari pancakes (kosher?), chicken burritos (rare in Israel) and an open bar (used responsibly). The bride, the daughter of Jordy's Karmiel host family, looked delightful in a vintage-inspired layered lace dress that she had designed herself. The couple met when the groom visited Israel on Birthright, so plenty of English was spoken at the ceremony. We felt decidedly "shnattie" as the only female guests not in heels. After a few hours of dancing and stuffing our faces, we hightailed it out of there to join Sophie, Kitty and Jade at the Hashomer Hatzair (another movement's house) for a friend's birthday. The night involve some hilarious movements, a lot of South Americans and the compulsory shenanigans.

Friday saw the five of us (Liz still living the high life in Jerusalem) sleep in and head back to Karmiel, affectionately referred to as "the Karm", to put the final touches on the service we were running on Friday night for Yedid Nefesh, the small Reform kehila (community) in Karmiel. The kabbalat shabbat service was a bit stop-start as we tried to work with the tunes the congregation already knew but was overall a success. The highlight (in my opinion) was Miri, our Hebrew teacher attending that shule for the first time. We rushed back to the flat for a delicious "picnic" dinner (bread and dips on the floor) before bussing to the Kirion (a mall and cinema complex half an hour away) to watch either the new Batman movie or The Five Year Engagement. We were accompanied by a group of netzerniks (pre-shnat mainly) from RSY who were in Karmiel to run a camp, as well as lovely Israelis our age. Upon returning home, the weaker ones amongst us went to sleep, whilst Jordy and I welcomed in the Shabbat bride with an American Pie marathon and Kathryn with a marathon-insomnia laptop sesh.

Shabbat was relaxed and just lovely to spend in each other's company and activities included a farewell lunch with Shai, Shirley and Naftali, our unbelievably generous communal host family, afternoon tea with Jordy's family friend Nechama and an increasingly frenzied late-night packing session.

Sunday and Monday were a flurry of washing and cleaning as we tried to pack up two month's worth of life onto a tiny eight-seat bus. We finished Karmiel with a spectacular dinner at a fancy Karmiel restaurant, Art de Coco with our Madricha Gallit. We farewelled various stalwarts of our Karmiel lives with other food-related celebrations; for Miri Sophie and I baked a two-tiered vanilla cake monstrosity replete with whipped cream, raspberry sauce and grated chocolate, and Jade baked her popular choc-chip cookies for Shai and Shirley.
And then with a four hour cleaning and hauling effort we squeezed into the bus and off to seminar!!!

PART II: Seminar

Our Jewish Identity Seminar took place in Kibbutz Hanaton, a stunning Galil kibbutz thirty minutes from Karmiel. This new kibbutz is unique in that it is attempting to create a religiously pluralistic community, with one Cheder ochel, road, and synagogue for over one hundred members ranging from secular to Reform, Conservative, orthodox and every other label (and non-label) in between. The theme of the seminar was halacha (Jewish law) it's history and it's place in Reform Judaism. A few days of learning after Karmiel was incredibly welcome, and the seminar was just perfect. The schedule was not too hectic, with two or three programs a day complimented with an activity (a fancy dinner one night, a really fun movement workshop another), a ma'amad (prayer service) and nap time. The content was mostly taught by Yair, Dana's brother, who was fantastic and lead a really cool tour on Thursday to the grave of Yehuda Hanassi and the archaeological town of Tzippori.

Overall, it was both really educational and just such a nice place to spend time together before we split off (which everyone is feeling a bit strange about). Despite the multitudes of mosquitos (Jordy's bites swelled up impressively) I thought we took a lot out of it and had fun. Oh AND we managed to sing the psalm 'Mi Chamocha' to the tune of 'Call Me Maybe', the hallmark of a successful Jewish seminar.

PART III: The future and beyond...

And that, dear parents, netzerniks, congregation members and Michael, brings us to our chofesh. Jade, jordy and I are heading to Paris to stay with Jordy's parents, Kitty is taking her friend on an ambitious but AWESOME tour entitled "Kathryn and Mitchell Do Israel", Liz is voyaging to Barcelona with her mother and siblings (she hasn't seen her brother in over a year) and Sophie is flying to Santorini for a week with her mother. Josh and Lily are still in England very much missed by all of Shnat Teva.

Spirits are high as we head to the much, much adored Kibbutz Lotan but tempered by the fact that we are entering the last stage of our year, and nobody can even comprehend finishing Shnat and re-entering the real world (which we miss, but not too much).
You'll hear from us all after chofesh, with more tales, tans and mosquito bites as we make a new home in the Arava.

Shavua tov, Shnat Teva

It's About Time

10 August 2012

The Service:
The Service at the small Reform Shule across the road was awkward and uncomfortable. The old, crinkled faces of the congregation bore into me as I sat in the front with my fellow Shnatties trying to lead songs that they didn't know, speaking a language they didn't really understand. It went as well as it could have.

The Movies:
We had a small dinner of cruskets, bread and all sorts of different spreads on the floor of our apartment before heading off to the Movies with a whole bunch of kids from LJY, RSY and the Karmiel Israelies. I saw "The Five Year Engagement" with Jade and Jordy, and the other girls saw Batman. 
All of a sudden the screen went blue and the three of us looked confusedly at each other. Jordy turned around and kind of spoke to the room asking "What's going on?" and the one person who spoke English said there was a break so we all sat quite awkwardly and giggled until the movie came back on. Our movie finnished first and we had an hour to kill before the rest of the kids finnished theirs, so we decided to be little kids for just a bit and went on all those silly rides in the mall. We went on the merry-go-round of horses three times and only got off when we were about to throw up. Then we did it again.

12 August 2012
Farewell Dinner:
Our last lesson with our Hebrew teacher brought with it a little surprise. A Cake! We made her a cake! She always had so much food for us, and so much cake and we gave her so much trouble and never had our notes it was the least we could do. It was a very odd cake.

Galit, our Karmi'el Madricha met us at this fancy restaurant called Art De Coco, which is famous for their desserts. They were all fancy, and delicious looking miniature cakes. We each had our own meal, something that rarely happens on shnat, but shared a bite of each around. I had Spinach Lasagne.

Spinach Lasagne!

14 August 2012
Packing up:
The house was messier than it had ever been before, while we were trying to smush seven months worth of Israel, Northerners and ourselves into an eight person mini van. The heat was excruciating and we had been up since 7am. The Death Room was clean for the first time since we moved in, but still smelt as though six things had died in different parts of the room and then coma back as zombies. After we had all packed our stuff into our bags and boxes we kept it int hat room to clean the rest of the house and the kitchen. 
For lunch we ate what was left of the avocadoes and fresh vegetables in our own salads and on cruskits. It really was a beautiful breakfast.
Galit came over to take back our keys and give us all lollipops... a bit odd... and say and awkward goodbye. We finished packing an doff we went, glad to see the back end of the rape-y building and the 200m radius of Karmi'el that we knew.


Jewish Identity, Please.

Day One:
We arrived hot and sweaty from a long day packing up two months worth of life to a little kibbutz in the north of Israel called: Kibbutz Hannaton, ready to begin a four day exploration of Halacha (Jewish Law) and what it means for us as Reform Jewish Youth.

The cup of ear grey tea that I held in my hand was really doing the trick to wake me up from my half asleep state of mind. I looked around the room, the walls that weren't covered with packed bookshelves we a terribly depressing shade of dark green. The bookshelves on one side of the room were all fancy and had engraved Hebrew letters in gold on the thick spines of the hard cover books. The other shelf had books of all different shapes and sizes, and I could recognise a few different languages from where I sat. I was told to choose a book. Any book. An over whelming task for someone who was completely shell shocked as to what was happening. I was unsettled, over tired and still hadn't come to terms with the fact that the second period of Shnat had come to an unceremonious end. I spun around to the book shelves behind me hoping to find something that would capture my fancy. On the bottom shelf was a dusty, tattered book held together with grey masking tape all down the spine, two more lay next to it, all uniform in their masking tape covers. I gingerly opened the book right in the middle. The Hebrew print was small and the pages were old and faded. There were hand written notes down most of the sides of the page. Translations, thoughts, notes. I was stunned that I could read them, having expected them to be all in Hebrew.
I flipped to the front of the book where an inscription had been written along with the name of the person who owned the book. On closer inspection of the cover I discovered it was all interpretations of the Torah and its meaning.

I told the rest of the group that I had chosen this book because it had belonged to someone who really cared about learning and valued the teachings of the Torah. He had taken the time to really try learn, read and understand.

Our opening session was the basics of halacha, and where it all came from, and also, where we thought it was going.

Dinner that night was a Netzer Politics Fest at a fancy restaurant just outside of Kibbutz Hannaton. We had a chance to bond with the Madrichim and eat really tasty deserts!

Day Two:
We started the morning off with a panel from the kibbutz who told us all about the uniue kind of environment they are trying to create. The kibbutz started as a conservative kibbutz but over the years has developed into a pluralistic kibbutz that has a place for all the different streams of Judaism. everyone is allowed to pray together the way that they want to pray, everyone being able to express their Judaism and their halacha as they wish. We asked a load of questions about Halacha and how it is kept on the kibbutz what with so many different opinions, and they told us that they all have a chance to have their own shabbat, and if its not comfortable for you one week, you might be comfortable the next week. You have to be open to living in this way and you have to be able to accept and be willing.

What interested me was that there were a lot of marriages between people from different sects of Judaism, and they worked.

I sat with my eyes closed, my feet propped up on the chair next to me. We sat in a semi circle, each of us with our eyes closed waiting. As he played the repetitive tune of the nigune on his dark guitar he sang alone. One by one we all caught on to the tune of the nigune and joined in. The music that we were all creating rose louder and became softer, everyone listening to the other and singing in unison.

Day Three:
My eye lids were heavy listening to the lecture being given to us, and my mind kept drifting from the topic at hand. We were in a cemetery of the Jewish people of some time ago. I woke up when we went inside the tombs and started analysing weather or not it was okay to carve images into ones tomb stone. We spoke about the animals, and them just being a sign of maybe your family, or hunters. They started off simple but became more elaborate as the time passed. Is that allowed? Some only had geometric symbols, but how were we to know weather or not they were representations of God? The last few tombs really got us thinking. There were depictions of Gods in Greek and Roman theology. Were these just because of the fashion of the time, is it still a big deal? Some of the tombs we looked at had elaborate carvings of things that represented the old temple, some were a bit more modest than others. But we were still asking weather this was okay or not. Does it follow Jewish Law, Halacha, to have such thiongs, and where do we draw the line?

In the small town of Tzippori we asked the same questions. The houses and synagogues were elaborately decorated with mosaics of Greek mythology. In one Rabbis home there was an entire floor decorated with the story of Herkeles and his enemy. In the Synagogue there was clearly a zodiac symbol that had the twelve tribes of Israel on it. Where does one start and stop when it comes to letting the culture of the time influence your religion?

Day Four
Writing our own Halacha for kibbutz turned out to be harder than it should have nad we decided to try again once we were all in the right mind set back from Chofesh.


"Minds Clouded With Trees"

9 August 2012

Michelle's Birthday:
The small apartment had undergone a little re arranging and so I was thrown off on arrival. There was so much more room for activities in anticipation of the rowdy party that was t take place for Mich's Birthday. Sophie and I went to get ourselves some nourishment in the form of Noodles from the resturant down the road and shortly after arriving back and scoffing them down, about 30 different people from Australia and South America flooded the apartment.
I sat, quite stunned in the corner on the blue couch. A sweaty, half dressed and moderatly hairy, but also quite attractive South American boy leaned down and planted a sweaty scratchy kiss on my cheek before introducing himself as "Raphaeelllll". Another tall blonde guy did the same thing, although I didn't quite catch his name.

The night sky was dark and clear with the sun setting quickly over the rooftops of the buildings that you could see from the balcony. I sat on the small couch next to Gal while a small South American girl smoked in the corner only stopping her deep drags to try and persuade Gal and I into coming "to the club". We talked for a bit, catching up on past events and him showing me his battle wounds from their paintball experience of that morning. A few more people arrived and all the girls dragged me off to the other room so that they could change and parade around in six different outfits before finding the right one for "the club". I sat on the edge of the bed next to Sophie and Shana as people popped in and out of the bed room looking for the party, or their friends. 
After we had all decided that the one pair of black bike shorts looked better than the others we all headed for the roof, for what the Aussies call "preesies", which are basically pre drinks. (I'd like to say that I've caught up on all the Aussie lingo quite quickly) We sat in small circles, or clumps of people all talking excitedly about the world. Gal and I on the floor while we looked up at the five girls all sitting on the edge of the roof. They looked as classic as if they had been directed there, and we were all in a movie. The light reflected their features so perfectly, and their legs all crossed the same way made me feel a little uncomfortable. 

Back inside, and after quite a few hours of "Should we go out? Shouldn't we go out?" All of Netzer found themselves in comfy clothes sprawled about the chilly bedroom. The walls were bare and the air conditioning was a bit too cold. There was a small window above one of the beds where I sat. Out the window there were a few buidings illuminated by orange street lights.
The evening progressed and people came in and out but we got progressively comfortable playing guitar, singing songs and generally having a grand old chill/jam session.

The tune of the guitar filled the room, there were tired eyes staring out of the window behind me as he played on. A gruff voice emitted from the mattress on the floor in a symphony of practised words. They sounded so natural, so effortless. They combined beautifully with the repetitive rhythm and although my brain could barely comprehend the meaning behind the words and their speed. He cut in with the feelings that must have been building up inside rhyme for some time. He spoke clearly, with a twinkle in his eyes. The Portuguese was even more in comprehensible than the English but if you tried not to understand and just appreciate the beauty it was there. Everything, in one room.

I put my phone on the bed next to me recording the nights progression, this is just what was happening in the world: (A Voice Recording)


Just Some Casual Testosterone

1 August 2012
The room was dull and depressing without all of Shana and Josh's decorations on the walls. I sat on the evil broken bed, Jacob on the other bed and Gal and Liz on the mattress on the floor.
We opened ther window to let the breeze in, and try and cool us down. Gal sat playing the guitar as he normally did. They played me their song for the first time and Jacob was rapping LIVE IN MY LIFE! It was so cool. In the morning we made pancakes and exchanged musics.

3 August 2012
Jacob and I walked tot he New Mall up the road to fetch Mitchell from the bus stop. It was hot and sweaty, like Karmi'el always was.
He was wearing colourful pants and an African shirt he had got in Ghana. He had a florppy hat on his head and he smiled and waved excitedly as we walked to meet him.
We spent the day watching movies and eating popcorn and other deliciously sweet things.


Monday, 13 August 2012

The Weekly Report: 09/08/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shanties, Shalom Rav!

One more week has passed and we are coming to the end of the Options period. This Tuesday they will be leaving Karmiel and we will be meeting again in Kibbutz Hanaton where the Jewish Identity Seminar will take place, the seminar will end on Friday and our shnatties will start a small vacation just before starting the third and last part of the program on Kibbutz Lotan.

On many occasions I have related in the weekly reports anecdotes about my son Ilan, who is now a year and half (and I cannot believe how time flies), and once more I would love to share with you an amusing anecdote.

I find it impressively amazing how baby's/toddlers minds work and how they learn and absorb things. This week my son showed us that he learn how to take the clothes from the dirty hamper and put them into the washing machine, we found it very amusing and have no idea when he learned that that is what you are supposed to do, we still found it amusing when he kept putting different things into the washing machine, like his little blanket, his bottle, etc. We still found it amusing when he decided he wanted to take the clothes we just hung up to dry right back into the washing machine. The next step was when after putting every thing he could find at hand into the washing machine and still with a thirst for more turn around to find the garbage can and started transferring things from the garbage to the washing machine, needless to say that although I found it very amusing and could not stop laughing while my wife told me about it, she found a bit less amusing than me. And obviously all of this while he maintained his face of: "IT WASN'T ME".

Back to our shnatties, the girls in Karmiel are working very hard, Kitty has been helping out organizing the big Dance Festival that Karmiel hosts every year, they have been hosting this festival for over 20 years, Liz is hard at work with the babies and the rest of the girls are helping out at the "kef li aviv" camp, where they are very much needed. Josh and Lily are still in the Uk leading the RSY campers and we will be seeing them soon once they get back to Israel.

Yesterday I went up to Karmiel to visit our dear shnatties and was accompined by Hana our Madricha in Kibbutz Lotan, who had a chat with them, got to know them a little better and to get a feel of the shnatties expect to get out of their time in Lotan, they cannot wait to get to the kibbutz J

I want to wish you all a great week,


Weekly report by Jade K and Kathryn H

Netzer Fest Not Netzer Fest:

Netzer Fest this year unfortunately didn't go ahead, what happened instead was more of a mifgash between Telem, RSY and NFTY. Kathryn, Liz, Sophie and Jordy arrived at the Chavayah campsite ready for a full on day of peulot leading and very excited to see Jade and Shana who had been gone for the better part of a month, needless to say there was lots of catching up to do. First order of business was going over the peulot for the next day before heading down to a well earned dinner in the chederochel. While a few of us caught up on sleep, others were catching up with friends from Chavaya or having indepth conversations with Maoz.

We woke up bright and early the next day, pulled our green Chultot over our heads and steped out of our cool rooms into the hot sun. We had a quick breakfast, finalised the lines for our rediculous skit and found our co madrichim. The busses arrived and out poured about 200 exhausted sixteen year olds from America (NFTY) and England (RSY Netzer). They had spent the last three weeks touring Israel. After an opening ceremony, complete with the rediculous skit, we split them up into smaller grops and off we went to learn a little more about what judaism and the connections we can make as jews around the world, really mean to us.

After lunch we took to the stage again with a power point presentation on what Shant is for the Northerners and a little parody song to 'Save Tonight' (quite the performance if you ask me) and had a mini question and answer session, where we pretended that kids asked questions. LOL!

The kids from Noar Telem and NFTY had a small ma'amad where they taught eachother new songs and tunes for the prayers and with that the day was over.

We packed up our things, hopped on a little minibus after a few heartfelt goodbye and we were off, back to Karmi'el.

The Karmi'el Dance Festival, an Inside scoup:

The energy in the offices over the last three days has been quite crazy and the phones have been ringing off the hook. There's been so many people rushing around, in and out all day long. There has been so much to organise and finalise before the opening performances. In the last few days I've helped finnish off the roses for the dancers costumes and prepare the song books and programmes for all the patrons of the Dance Festival.

We all got dressed up for a night on the town, donning pretty dresses and make up for what felt like the first time in three months. We spent the evening walking around the craft market stalls, taking in the energy in the crowd. There were clothing stalls, craft stalls, weird 3D cat picture stalls, toy stalls, tattoo stals, the stalls where you can have your name written on a piece of rice and the stalls with all the cheap toys and a spongebob squarepants who blows bubbles.

Jade and I found ourselves making pottery vases on the wheel and watching the fire work display. We're still puzzeling over the fact that there was white nutella and were determined to find it. Shana, Jordy and Sophi were enjoyiing the dancing of the festival on the grass, wich was pretty chilled.

All the way from the Land of Tea, Josh and Lily:

Its been quite a few weeks since we last heard from Josh and Lily as they dont really have access to theinternet on their camps. Josh seems to be enjoying leading on camp, he has kids that are about 13 or 14 years old. Lily sent us all a message last night from outside the offices saying she misses us all teribbly. From what we've heard leading the brittish kid sounds like its a rather big challenge for both of them, what with the cultural differences and getting used to the strange rules of english camp. It sounds as though both of them are having a really hectic time but are still up for the challenge.

But wait, there's more!

As this is our last week in Karmiel we are super busy and still have heaps to look forward to. Tonight Jordy and Shoshana are attending the wedding of the daughter of one of the host families in Haifa, Mazeltov to all involved. We are also responsible for the entire service at Yedid Nefesh on Friday night, admittedly a challenge but we can't wait to teach them our tunes. Last but definitely not least we are all super pumped to see the new batman movie at the Kiron on the weekend!

Last but not least, the Mystery of the White Nutella:

It all started at the Dance festival when Kitty and I - obviously in desperate need of nourishment after a long night of shopping and ceramics - turned to the crepe stall. What we discovered there changed our lives: White Nutella. We have since searched and seems that it doesn't exist (we even checked the website) any leads would be much appreciated.

Missing you terribly!

Love Teva (and extra love Jade and Kitty)