Monday, 20 August 2012

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