Monday, 20 August 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
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!
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.
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?
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.
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
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)
This week our shnatties left karmiel and we all met up (except for Josh and Lily that are in England leading on camp) in Kfar Ayanot, this is the place that Noar Telem held their summer camp, on Monday they hosted 3 buses of Reform teenagers that were here in Israel doing a summer tour of Israel, one bus from NFTY our sniff in USA and two buses from RSY one of our snifim in England, our shnatties led activities for them thru out the whole day, some paired up with Noar Telem madrichim and some on their own, we also had a segment where they talked about Shnat Netzer specifically, they showed a really good power point presentation and sang a great song for them.
Back in Karmiel, Kitty is helping out with Karmiel’s yearly famous dance festival, Liz is working hard with the babies and the rest of the girls are helping out with a summer camp for disabled kids and kids with ADD.
The Option’s period is almost over, on August 14th they will be leaving Karmiel and we will be going to Kibbutz Hanaton (also in the north) to have our Jewish Identity Seminar, right after the seminar our shnatties will have a small vacation just before starting their last part of the program in Kibbutz Lotan.
I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom
Weekly report by Sophie G and Kathryn H
We write in haiku
Hello from kathryn and soph
We all miss you loads
This week has been fun
We are still in karmiel
Only one week left
We are all quite sad
To say good bye to it all
The north is so cool
Sunday and monday
USA and RSY
Together on tour
We lead them one day
For Netzer-not-netzer fest
They were very mav
Kitty likes to dance
Kitty had the best burger
Merch is one the way
Jade loved chavaya
So she continues to lead
At kefli aviv
Shana is there too
Shana is filled with stories
Jordy hurt her foot
Kefli aviv still wants
What a trooper, girl!
Sophie likes to cook
Tel Aviv is a cool place
Kefli aviv, yo
Liz likes the babies
But will have to leave there soon
Sad day for us all
Josh and lily are
At the london olympics
Leading on youth camps
That has been our week
It is still really hot out
Love your cool shnattim
P.s. a haiku is a poem consisting of three lines. The first line has 5 sylables, the second 7 and the last 5.
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
|This is the delicious burger I had for dinner.|
Thursday, 2 August 2012
Molly is one Jordy's best friends who came to visit her, here in Israel. She has long straight dark hair and spends most of her time being cool, making faces and silly noises. It was her last night in Israel and out first in Jerusalem since we left. We all went out for a night on the town of food, drinks and some dancing. We started off with some Hummus for Hummus Ben Sira and for dessert we had the best waffles from Babettes. Sophie and I shared a waffle, one side being Hot Chocolate sauce, that was creamy and bitter and Cookie Crumbs. The other half was Dulce Deleche that coated the entirety of your mouth with the pure sugar-y goodness topped off with some ground white chocolate sprinkles.
We went out for some drinks at Zollies, a classic shnattie Bar in Crack Square and ran into all the Aussies in the world. A guy just passing by noticed their Aussie Drivers Licenses and joined our table. It turns out that all his family is from Australia and that they were her for a Family Event that was, coincidentally, being held at the building where we were staying. Jordy an him hit it off immediately and we spent the night dancing with all his cousins in Kings, another one of those Sdhnattie bars that I promised I wouldn't go into.
We ended the night with some Hot Chocolate at the Karaoke Bar at the top of Ben Yehudah, Molly, Sophie and Jordy taking to the stage, and blowing us all away.
We walked home in the cold wind that made me miss all the night on Etgar when we would make the same trek to our flat in the unexplainable wind of Ben Yehudah at 4am.
We slept in.
That afternoon a few friends of mine arrived in Jerusalem. They're from a different youth movement. We walked around the Old City of Jerusalem for a while, exploring the Shuks and the sights of the city before heading back to the apartment for a 'Special' Shabbat dinner. We bought a whole bunch of Chips, Pizza Flavoured Pringles, Bamba and had ourselves a Shabbat Picnic in the Windmill Park.
We went around the circle and everyone had a turn to say why their bag of chips represented something about their Shabbat, and why Shabbat is special to them.
My friends went off to see thoe Kortel and we hung out with the guy from the night before. \Back in the flat we lit up a hubbly and talked to the interesting people that have been living in the flat for the past two months since we left.
Joe: I've never seen anyone play the guitar like him. He's here working with Arab people who live in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. He's really interested in all the politics of Israel. He is the reason that we're not allowed to rent cars on Shnat because of the time when he was here and happened to steal someone's car. He was kicked off after four months.
Joel: He looks like Andrew Garfield and has a cool blue shirt.
John: When we spoke he looked at us like: "Why are you still talking?" "Who are you?" "Why are you here?"
Lizzie: She changed her out fit at least six times a day.
More Sleeping in! It was beautiful! In the afternoon we went to the Shuk in the Old City and on a short tour of the Christain Courter and to the church of the Holy Seplica.
My two friends headed off home and the three of us girls that were left made some ravioli and tomato sauce for dinner and hung out on th balcony. We streamed some ridiculous movies and ate ice cream until like 4 am in the living room. It was so great.
Jordy and I were supposed to go shopping for comfy pants, but we ended up not going and so I complained vitterly to her until she hugged me better (:
Lol. It was funtastic.
That afternoon we all hopped on a little bus off to a Kibbutz for NetzFest.
I spread out on the back seat of the bus and leaned on my arms looking out the window. We drove past the scenery that had been the backdrop of my life for so long and there was a sinking feeling in my stomach because we would be going back to the terribly broken and sad apartment in the heat of Karmi'le and back to all the negativity and bad vibes that manifested in it.
The bus driver played good music and before I knew it we were off the bus, back into the heat and humidity of the real world and thrown into 24 hours of intense camp vibes. It made me feel better to know that we were doing something real with life though.
We started the day by herding 200 British and American teenagers to the big field where we we split them into groups and proceeded to run the activity that we had prepared for the day. e planned to run activities and discussions but I soon discovered that the kids wanted to talk to each other and so after running a few get to know yu games we split the smaller group into a few more smaller groups and gave them a few topics to discuss. Family, Religion, Politics, all on a really simple level.
After lunch we had our Go On Shnat peulah which is the only real reason we were there I think, where we sang a song we had written and showed them a slide show of how much fun they would have on shnat. We wanted them to ask questions but they didn't really, but thats okay.
By the end of the day I was so ready for them to go home and take their bratty-tness with them and I was so hot and uncomfortable I just waned to get on the air conditioned bus and go home.