Dear Parents, Sniffim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,
This week was full of emotions; we were mixed with happiness, sadness, disappointment.
On the same day that a terrible crime was being committed in Toulouse, France where 3 Jewish schoolchildren were murdered on their way to school, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland where welcoming Ismail Al-Ashkar, a high rank Hammas official that gave a speech about civil rights.
It was also a week where new documents were made public giving proof that more or less 9000 Nazis were able to escape to South America, that the Argentinean president from that time Juan Peron, sold 10000 passports to the Odessa organization (the organization in charge of helping SS soldiers in case of losing the war) and that at least 800 Nazis were able to flee with passports form the Vatican.
However we are also optimist people and we hope and aspire for the best and this leads me to the good news, the good announcements, the events that gave the happy emotion for the week.
Last Friday, Dan A. and Josh. L. participated in the Jerusalem Marathon, I am attaching a picture, don’t be fooled by Dan's appearance, he said that he enjoyed it very much.
Our shnatties are back in class after having had a week tyul in the southern area of Israel and are waiting for the next tyul that will be to the northern part of Israel.
Spring arrived to Israel, which means that it is warm during the day and cold at night and that Pessach is right around the corner and our shnatties will be receiving a well disserved chofesh.
I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,
Weekly report by Jess K. (Mahon)
So that time has come round again. Another weekly report. What a pleasant surprise it was to receive a text from Guy the leader today telling me it was my turn. How glad was I to take on the special task of relating the week's events. "Just give me that chance!", I cried. Now enough babblin'. This week, I will be writing in the style of my favourite literary character, Adrian Mole; bit of a diarist, bit of a pedant, bit of a personal hero of mine. So here goes nothing. Do note, some situations may not have happened exactly as described, but in order to sound more like Adrian, I've had to tweak certain details. Also, a lot of the time, when I use the first person “I”, I mean the collective netzer group on machon, “we”. Except of course, the times where it’s an activity obviously for one person. Then I am just talking about me in particular, as indulgent as that is. Just as long as we're all happy with that.
15th March 2012
Whilst my piggish peers feasted on a gigantic buffet breakfast, I was struck down with a nasty runny nose and chesty cough combination. I suspect bronchitis. I shall have to book an appointment with doctor Singh as soon as I return. After all, winter is nearly upon us, and to have caught this maladie during the summer months doesn’t bode well. I soon found myself participating in water sport activities. I rode on a banana boat. Diary, I’m still unsure as to whether I enjoyed the cheap thrill it provided, or whether I intensely disliked the experience and how wet it made me. Also, some of the salt water got into one of the infected boils on my back. If the pain doesn’t subside soon, Singh will have to be consulted on this issue too. I then was forced into sharing a pedalo boat by a garish australian. Neither of us could control the vessel, and we ending up reversing into the pebbled bay and had to be towed back to the pier by Noam Cohney, our guide. All this hassle has made me question my mother’s motives in suggesting Eilat as a holiday destination. Next time she offers her sage pearls, I’ll tell her to keep her nose out of it. I’m sticking to Skegness!
16th March 2012
Some of the group have decided to stay on in Eilat. Not me. I got out of there as soon as I was able. I missed Jerusalem, and the feeling of not having sweat all over my body. Tonight I dined with a Jewish ultra-orthodox couple. I wasn’t invited officially, but a shady American called Jeff Seidel pulled some strings, and before I knew it, I was at their humble table, breaking bread and sharing tales of war (Lebanon). All I was told was that Jeff would be waiting for me by the wailing wall, and that I’d recognise him by his angry glare and bald head. The religious couple were called Hannah and Man (he never revealed his real name), and were most welcoming, though I suspect they can’t conceive, given the notable absence of any kinder. Also present was another yank called Eric who belched loudly during grace, and told a variety of both racist and camel-themed jokes throughout the meal. The food was a solid 7 out of 10.
17th March 2012
Boil on back inflated to size of mole mound. Otherwise a restful sabbath.
18th March 2012
I woke up this morning to the startling realisation that I am entirely unappealing to all Israeli women. This wouldn’t be such a problem, if it weren’t for the fact that this is the case with all English women too. Will any race of female accept me? Maybe my pale skin and lanky frame will be appreciated in the orient. Forget Skegness, I shall go to Laos for my next holiday.
I found myself in a “leadership specialisation” session today, learning about “issues and isms” with an Englishman (finally!) who made us call him “Laz”. The ism in question was sexism. It reminded me that I need to ring my mother (she is reading Greer’s The Female Eunuch and is a feminist) to tell her to feed the dog. I also did a hebrew lesson, during which I decided I may want to bring up my children tri-lingual. The mini Moles will be masters of English, Laotian and Ivrit. It is a very beautiful and passionate language – attributes that Moles famously lack. Maybe linguistic ability will help in this area.
20th March 2012
Today I went to an Israel advocacy seminar. I still don’t know how I got there, or why I was let in (every other participant was 18 and Australian) but there it is. I felt strangely at home amongst these people. I think in future I might befriend Australasian teens exclusively. They just get me. During a break I shared a diet coke with a surfer called Doz. He told me at length about the tides, and in return, I was happy to share my knowledge of the Norwegian leather industry. I think we mutually benefitted from the discourse, though I’ll admit, I was slightly bored by his topic at times. He didn’t half go on about it! I arrived at the seminar knowing literally nothing about Israel and how to defend it. I left 5 hours later with an Israeli flag draped over my shoulders and leading a chorus of the hatikvah with Doz. I’m now seriously considering conversion.
21st March 2012
Having slept on it, I have decided to convert. I will join the ranks of my comrades and fellow believers – Martin Buber, Leon Trotsky and Natalie Portman. When I am a famous writer, my name will appear amongst those greats. Grandma Sugden won’t be very impressed . She is a proud anti-semite, but with a bit of luck, she won’t be around much longer to scorn. At 87, she’s already doing remarkably well for a Sugden.
Another brilliant day in Israel. When I am Jewish and with 4 fluent hebrew-speaking children under my belt, I think I’ll make Aliyah. It just makes sense. I met a philosophy professor who shared his views on different streams of Judaism with me. I didn’t have anything to tell him in return (apparently he was an expert in the Norwegian leather industry already) so I offered to send him my poetry compendium instead. He seemed disinterested, but we intellectuals always do give off an air of indifference, so although he refused to give me his home address, I still got it off Noam Cohney later. The highlight of the day was getting the chance to hear a writer, a modern orthodox woman, discuss her work. Although she does screenplays for cable tv, and I do serious literature, and where she has enjoyed success, I have not, I still felt the connection two artists feel when they catch eyes. I felt her respect for me emanate over the crowds, and under her gaze, I blushed modestly. She showed me some of her work (season 1, episode 9), and I made the decision to collaborate with her. Cohney refused to give me her address, but he has forgotten about the yellow pages. Ha ha!
Weekly report by Dan A (Etgar)
The weekend of the marathon was a time of huge significance for the etgarniks. Two representatives and a Guy ran on behalf of netzer in the 10 kilometer run, their names? … Daron and Josh. After this brief but intense exercise the etgar regime continued. Our madricha Noa was ill during the week so the weekly madrichim, Daron and Jake the Snake, were left to take up the baton of responsibility. They managed to stem the flow of heated rivalries that had developed over the course of last week’s Tiyul. Having brought everyone back together Etgar resumed with a group of smiles compared to the frowns of the past.
First up, a Guy gave us a hadracha (leadership) lesson on how technology is the devil, polluting the minds of the young and innocent with all sorts of brutal and shocking pictures and graphics. Following this enlightening session we had an asefah, before we were given the chance to plug ourselves back into our laptops, you will be thrilled to know that everything went swimmingly.
Second day, a great session from stand in Liora on the history of European jewry in the Middle ages, covering all sorts of grim and gruesome details, the guys loved it ;) Next came Dana’s peulah on ‘pioot’ (poems) for the siddur that etgar is creating. You could feel the creative energy permeating from that room, people truly discovered the inner romantic hidden deep within them.
Next day everyone went to the AZYC conference in the afternoon, in order to learn and demonstrate Israel Advocacy. A great experience.
Penultimate week day started with the group venturing out into Jerusalem to help the less fortunate, and bring joy and happiness to the world. After this we had a hectic lesson on how to write a ma’amad by Dana. By the level of noise coming from that room it seemed everyone was having the time of their life.
And that ends a week of physical, educational, revelational, philosophical, historical teachings, all absorbed by our eager and supple minds.