Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Weekly Report: 17/05/2012

Dear Parents, Sniffim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This has been a quiet week in Jerusalem since all of our shnatties went to explore the north of Israel on their Northern Tyul.
Our etgarnicks left last Friday and spent a beutifull Shabbat in the city of Safed; our machonicks made use of that weekend to rest up before leaving for their Tyul on Sunday. And our Spanish representation left for Poland, so as I mentioned before it has been a very quiet week in Jerusalem, so quiet that I even brought my one year and 3 month old son (Ilan) to work with me just to have some noise (and quality time of course), this is what he had to say about his experience in dad's office:

While we are still on the subject of Jerusalem, I found it interesting that more and more new immigrants are asking to do Aliyah to the city of Jerusalem, today's paper said that back in 1999 only 5% of new immigrants wanted to live in Jerusalem and now 15 % of the new immigrants want to live in Israel, out of that 15 %, 34% are American new immigrants and 10% are British new immigrants.

3 of our Australian shnatties have opted and been accepted to lead on Noar Telem's (our Israeli sniff) Chavaya camp (summer camp), in order to lead they have to attend to preparation weekends, I have attached a picture of them hard at work ;) during their first preparation weekend. The camp will take place during their Options period right after finishing the Etgar/Machon period.

Next week we will be starting the last month of Etgar/Machon period, to be specific, the Etgar and Machon finishes on June 14th and from there we leave right away, the southerners will be going north to Karmiel to start their Options period, they will be living there for two and a half months before moving south to kibbutz Lotan. The northerners will be going to our Sikkum seminar, which will take place in the city of Haifa; it will end on June 18th with a farewell lunch. More details to follow.

I wish you a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,


Weekly report by Ruthy S (Machon)
Northern Tiyul was: wild, exhilarating, eye opening, salty, scary, life changing, nail biting, finger licking, knee slapping, toe curling, hair raising and slimy.

This is some of the things we did: hike, swim, swim/ hike, drive jeeps, see sights, learn history, visit borders (Syrian and Lebanese), party hardy at a kibbutz pub and listen to awesome Yeshiva Boys Choir and Michael Jackson on the bus.

I’ll share my highlight:
On Wednesday we went rafting on the Jordan River. Having experienced the foaming white death of south eastern America’s toughest whitewater, I thought the calm Jordan would be a breezy, relaxing vacation from our long day of hiking, but I was mistaken. This was a kind of rafting I had never seen before- pirate rafting.
About five minutes after hopping into my boat, I was captured by Yoni Genende, the son of a rabbi. It was a quick and clean maneuver. I thought I would be there forever. I didn’t really mind my new crew, they were good to me. But I missed my old ship. Before I knew it, they came back to save me. This was not such a fast and simple task. I actually thought my body would be split in half, right there in the water. After what seemed like days of tugging, the rightful side won and took me aboard. There is no stronger force than the loyalty of your crew. After my role as skipper was reinstated, we sailed along, capturing dozens along the way, while suffering a few crucial losses on our side as well. In an attempt to capture Kelly the South African, Byron Ellis fell overboard as a result of miscalculation of distance and speed. Though he could not get the girl, he managed to seize a paddle. Then I witnessed a pants wetting scene. Byron was floating downstream with his life jacket, using only a paddle to propel him forward. Kelly, who usually straightens her hair, surprised us all with her natural curls revealed by the water. We saw the poodle of a girl dog-paddle after Byron to retrieve the stolen paddle. Sorry if you didn’t wet your pants, I guess you just had to be there. But that wasn’t the only pants wetting moment. In fact my pants were wet a majority of the time, not only by the water but by urine catalyzed by laughter. I was laughing the whole time, which made being a pirate quite hard. By the end, our once successful ship had been so brutally attacked that we lost all paddles and men. We were just swimming at that point. And then it was over.

I’ll end with the words of the Yeshiva Boy’s Choir: to God’s house we will go!

Shout out to ma and pa!
Ruthie Schnitt

Weekly report by Rebekkah K. (Etgar)
Northern Tiyul "Everybody can be Rosh of something"

Friday: Individual Peace and Spirituality We started off a lovely tiyul with a stop at a cemetery, where we were all attacked by thousands upon thousands of bugs. We heard about writers and revolutionaries who changed and risked their lives to follow their dreams. We were then challenged to seek out our own passions and ideologies and act on them. Our next stop featured a strategic military spot, complete with graves and a Palmach memorial.
We had an Opening Tekkes, led by the Tiyul Tzevet: Rebekkah, Naomi, Kitty, oh and Dan Aron. Then we were led into a cave on the mountain.
We heard more stories about spiritual fulfillment and ways to achieve them, and were personally challenged to come up one word to describe ourselves. I know that for at least a few members of the group, this was very difficult. One by one we said our words and heard them echoing back to us again and again in the dark cave, and then sang Eli, Eli resoundingly.
From the Palmach hilltop, we left for the city of Tzfat. We walked around, viewed the beautiful color blue all over the city next to the bullet holes and walls missing chunks from missile attacks. We talked about history, and then informed EVERYONE in the city of Tzfat that were were NOT Taglit. We stepped inside an old shul were we saw such different things than we were used to, like a chair that supposedly gives anyone who sits in it good strong babies. After, we had some time off for pizzur, which involved some very stressful pizza decisions for a few of us. I'd like to formally apologize to Emily for being so wishy-washy about that. <3 We finally made it to the hostel we were staying at, and got to enjoy the view from outside the gate for quite a while before we were let in.
Showers all around, and then Naomi led a Shabbat Preparatory Time, where we spilt up into groups to make place-mats for Shabbat dinner, the drash for Saturday's service, and Shabbat candle holders. Naomi and Tara led a Shabbat service that has us all pondering our own connection to each prayer and song, while we enjoyed the light of the candles held in our own specially-made candle holders. From there, we rushed over to dinner to partake in a hearty rendition of Shalom Aleichem, HaMotzi, and the Kiddush prayer, and then an even heartier dinner. We ended that night huddled around the bunsen burner for a cup a tea.

Saturday: Group Spirituality
To start off our second theme, group spirituality, Kitty led a wonderful service, and then we all worked together to provide a Torah Service with improv Torah readings, Aliyot, Hagbah, and Glilah. Then Naomi had us all thinking about what Etgar is as a group, what our purpose is, and how we should interact with the outside world. We had a great discussion, and then it was time for lunch. After eating way too much food than we ever thought we could, we ventured outside the hostel walls to get our hearts pumping in an exciting game of Capture the Flag, supplemented by real Israelis and ogled at by a large family.
A few injuries were had, but we're more or less all okay. As it always is with us, there was more food, this time for Sueda Shlishit.
We told stories about men from Tzfat and then gorged ourselves with all the best Israeli treats. Kitty then led a peula on how far would we take our own beliefs and what we would give for them. We ended by creating a piece of art representing both the sun and Netzer with our bodies (I keep reminding the people who took pictures to post them so I can send them out with this, but it's not looking too hopeful). After, we all got ourselves dolled up for an exciting night out; most of the girls asked make-up extraordinaire Dana to make us look beautiful, and we were not disappointed (Again, I hope the pictures will be up by the time I finish writing this). Later, we had a Havdallah service celebrating group support and love, and as an added plus we were joined by some Israelis and an army unit. In our time to kill, we took way too many pictures of ourselves, and then all got on the bus to Rosh Pina. Our lovely madrichim gave us pizzur money, and we were off.
Some of us went to a nice restaurant were we ate to our heart's content, and others sought out Chinese food. In the end, we were all exhausted from the sheer excitement of looking nice and being classy for a change.

Sunday: Communities within Israel
Sunday was an early morning, and we all almost froze to death (not really, we're an exaggerative bunch) on the top of the Palmach hilltop.
We spoke for a long time about this different group and communities within Israel, specifically Tzfat. Most of us were surprised to hear the kinds of facts that we heard, but I'm sure each and every one of us took away something different. We went to the hospital, kind of, and learned about the kind of socio-economic issues that can be found in Tzfat and how it affects citizens there and all around, for example in the medical system. When I volunteered in MDA (Magen David Adom, the emergency medical service in Israel), the patients we had almost always requested the Tzfat hospital, so I was surprised to hear that the whole hospital is not looked upon so highly by most of society. From there we left for Rosh Pina, where we had lunch. I'm proud to say that Kitty and I found the best lunch for the cheapest price: Massive, delicious egg sandwiches, chips, salads, and a free drink, all for nineteen shekels! We for to enjoy our food, but were soon off to tour Rosh Pina itself, not just the mall area. We watched a 3-d film about the history and hiked up to the hilltop (there were SO many up-hills that
day) to see the breath-taking view. After, we travelled to Kibbutz Machanayim for lunch and talked to a man who had lived there during war times and had some interesting stories to tell. After that program, we would all tell a story about a dog and a cat and the circle of life, but I'll leave you to ask your Shnattie about that one. Another drive, and then my roommates, Noa, and I ended up watching preteen kids cook for a few hours, and then bed.

Monday: Communities within Israel
We started off Monday with a nice service led by Emily, and then Tara's last-minute Druze program. We then proceeded to eat allllll the food before the movie started, but we enjoyed watching the Syrian Bride anyway, despite Noa having had given it away just beforehand. We left for yet another bus-ride-that-was-long-enough-to-sleep-but-not-long-enough-to-get-any-leg
it-rest and arrived at a lookout where we would see Syria right there.
We had lunch, and then embarked on our first nature-y bit if the tiyul:
the Ein Tina hike.
Dressed in swine suits and hats, we hiked up a waterfall. Plants and bugs tearing at our clothes, shoes slipping on the wet rocks, the hot sun beating down throughout the wet plantation surrounding us, we pushed ourselves to reach the top, and the pay off was amazing. At first, a beautiful waterfall. Little pools to play in and water to douse ourselves in, an amazing sight. Realizing the water was coming from a pipe was a bit of a kill joy, but with all of us laughing and splashing each other and having the time of our lives, it didn't matter so much. We took the path less travelled on the way down, at the bottom played around some more. Well, Dan A and Jeff probably had fun, but as the one they teamed up against to dunk in the water, I had colder, wetter fun. We had coffee, dried off, and changed, and then we back on the bus to head to our destination for that night. Another great dinner, this time at the Han we were staying at, and then Kitty held a theme night that involved so much sugary foods, I though I was going to be sick.

Tuesday: Nature
As our nature day, we spent the majority of Tuesday wondering at Alyson's eye, which had swelled shut, and hiking. Swim suits, water bottles, lunches, and hats in tow, we set off. It was an amazing hike, with beautiful exotic flowers, bugs bigger than our heads, and an exciting Discovery Channel Live episode, where we got to watch frogs, crabs, and fish fight and eat in their natural environment while we had our lunch. We managed to get across to several groups that we weren't Taglit and collectively decided that the average walking pace of Israeli schoolchildren is much, much too slow. After a stop for a swim break in a spring, a stop for lunch, and stop for another swim and coffee break, we had to head back. The walk back was less exciting, but the excitement from the journey there lingered all the way back until dinner time at the Han. Naomi them held her theme night, which had us competing to take over the Netzer world, but I think the outcome was that one team kidnapped and overthrew the UN, and the Netzer Olami Bank was too happy with the gifts it was given.

Wednesday: Peace over borders
Breakfast at the Han included the flimsiest and smallest bowls of cereal, but the hottest cups of coffee (I've got the burn marks on my hand to prove it). More frustratingly-short/long bus rides took us to three look out spots where we could see Syria and Lebanon. Guy and Dana led us in thinking about the wars that had occurred there and the outcomes of them, and we talked about how we felt about it all. A brief visit with Machon, whom we met up with at one look out, was exciting and we got to hear all about their tiyul. We shouldn't have worried, we won More Epic Tiyul once again. We had pizzur lunch at the Kiryat Shmona mall, where we found amazing frozen yogurt. Luckily, we were able to work it off with yet another hike, but this turned out to be a short walk cut even shorter by a mysterious closing down of the park that maybe had something to do with eucalyptus trees, we heard.
Popsicles, cookies, and a bit of sikkum were had at one of those awkward that's-the-West-Bank-right-there-next-to-us places, and then back home. The arduous journey up to the flat, a delicious dinner by Alyson, and now the epic battle for laundry and showers.