"Tell me, I'll forget, Show me, I'll remember, involve me, I'll understand"
Sunday morning we woke up early to start the educational (per say, since the whole journey has been educational) period we said farewell to the shnatties that decided to do Machon and the group was split in two, so now we have one group up in Kiryat Moriah studying in Machon and one group in our home base "Bet Shmuel" studying in Etgar. This Educational period, which is the last period for our northerners but the first period for our southerners, is the period where they will be learning about Hadracha, Judaism, Zionism, Hebrew, History and more. Among the differences between Etgar and Machon we can find that in Machon our shnatties will be studying with other movements, while on Etgar it is just us. In Machon our shnatties will be living in dorms, while in Etgar they will be forming a Reform community while living all together in a flat.
Right before we actually started the educational period, our northern shnatties arrived last Thursday after finishing their Options period and joined the southern group that finished their orientation week and they both enjoyed a lovely Shabbat Beyachad. The Shabbat was a great bonding experience, most activities prepared by them; we also had an amazing activity lead by Colin the overall director of Machon.
Both groups set out in a bonding field trip near the Dead Sea and I must say that group dynamic is in its works. Both groups are settling in what is going to be their home for the next four months, yesterday I stopped by the Etgar flat and saw all of them working hard making the flat more homier for themselves.
I have attached more pictures of the southerner's orientation week, some pictures of the Shabbat Beyachad and a picture of my son; well just because he is so darn cute ;)
You can also find more pictures on our facebook page.
I want to wish you all a great weekend and a Shabbat Shalom,
Weekly Report by Kathryn H. (Etgar)
All of a sudden the Etgar flat was filled with people. The amount of different accents flying from room to room, floating on the gentle breese from the air conditioner that heats up or apartment, was almost disceoncerting. We would all have to pay a little more attention to try and understand eachother. The main basis of our time living as a community in Jerusalem, and in the Etgar flat.
When we (The Southerners from South Africa and Australia) first met the Northerners there was a nervous, excitment around the group. In every situation such as this, one can never quite shake that feeling, no matter how confident you pretend to be. We spent the first weekend, our Shabbat Beyachad (Together) learning a little more about eachother and exploring our respective choices of Etgar vs. Machon. As well as running interesting peulot to learn more about eachother, we also had challenging tasks and activities where we not only exersised our bodies, mostly walking to Downtown Jerusalem to get lunch. We were thrown into the deep end, right off the bat: How we deal with our ideology as Netzer when faced with the task of explaining it to people who might not understand, or agree that we are infact Jewish in the first place.
Then we were split up. For a few of us, the first time we had been without our friends, or people in the same sniff (branch), or even people from our home country. Again the slightly disconcerting, yet just as excited feeling set in.
Etgar had begun. We split up the rooms, boys and girls. As we are a community, and that is a big part of Etgar, we were provided with an adventure. A chnace to step out of our comfort zone, of the flat and Jerusalem into the great unknown of Abseiling (Repelling) down a 30 meter rock face, and hike up and down the great mountain Masada.
In between we had heated discussions and debates on weather or not to keep a kosher kitchen, complete with all the bells and whistles of Vegetarian meals and all the obstacles that come with it. As a result we now have a million rosters about who cleans when and who makes dinner on what day. Not to mention all the new names for the days of the week including Sprite day. Yes, a whole day dedicated to Sprite.
As the anticipation of the coming months builds up, we hope it'll be filled with more fake celebrity adventures, hikes, murder games, theme nights, and harbeh (a lot) sprite. We will build our little Netzer Etgar comunity, each adding our own little piece of humour, extravegance, humility, inspiration and love to our environment. Hopefully we'll learn new things, try new things and have the compassion to understand what it really means to be a unit.
Weekly report by Rebecca W. (Machon)
What a week! We all spent Shabbat together at Beit Shmuel, where the two groups (Northern and Southern) met for the first time. The weekend was full of bonding activities and get-to-know you games, and it wasn't long before the two groups started to become one. On Sunday morning, the bus arrived to take all the Machonikim (with the exception of Ariel and Noa, who will be starting Spanish-speaking Machon in a few weeks) to Kiryat Moriyah.
At Kiryat Moriyah, we met up with several other youth movements: Betar, Hashomer, Hineini, and Habonim Dror. Most of the other Machonikim are Australian, with a few from New Zealand and South Africa. After a get-to-know-you game and an introduction from the Machon staff, we had our first taste of the infamous Machon food. All I can say is it met expectations, which is not necessarily a good thing. We split up into rooms and started settling in, but we couldn't get too settled in, because after only one night at Kiryat Moriyah, we left for our first tiyul.
Our day started early: breakfast at 6:30, leaving at 7:15. We traveled down south to the Negev desert, where we set out on a 9 kilometer hike. We hiked in groups of about 20, stopping periodically for more icebreakers and bonding activities. In the evening, we had a peulah to help get to know the Machon staff, followed by a bonfire with marshmallows. We camped out in tents that night, and woke up early the next morning for a second hike near Ein Gedi. The hike was followed by a barbecue lunch at the Dead Sea and several outdoor training activities focused on team building and cooperation. We loaded the buses in the afternoon and returned to Kiryat Moriyah completely exhausted.
On Wednesday, we had a Talpiyot scavenger hunt. We were divided into several small groups and given a list of tasks to do in and around Kiryat Moriyah. The tasks included writing a wish for the year at the Kiryat Moriyah Beit Knesset, taking a video of the group singing Kol Haneshama outside Congregation Kol Haneshama, and finding out the cost of popcorn at the only cinema that also had a restaurant. Only a few groups actually managed to complete all the tasks, but we did have fun getting to know our new surroundings. In the afternoon, we took a trip to the old city, where we got to walk through the Kotel tunnels and learn about the Jerusalem of 2,000 years ago.
Although this week has brought a lot of big changes for all of us, we are all looking forward to what awaits us over the next few months. We can't wait to start classes next week, and we know Machon will be an amazing, challenging, and unforgettable experience.