Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Weekly Report: 20/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This has been a very quiet week in Israel as the country stopped to celebrate Rosh Hashana, and Monday and Tuesday were like two Saturdays in a row.

Last week I visited our shnatties in Lotan they are very happy and seem to have made themselves at home, I got a tour of their living quarters which I must say were much more organized than their flat in Karmiel, I wonder if knowing that I coming to visit them had any thing to do with it ;)

Unfortunately things are not so quite in the rest of the world, we even heard on the news that there were demonstrations in Sidney against the movie "Muslim Innocence" , I haven't seen the movie so I can comment specifically on it, I don’t think there should be any kind of religious mocking but I think there should be freedom of speech but that that freedom should not be abused, however I don’t think that the response should be such a violent response and I feel that there is some hypocrisy when so many cartoons mocking Jews, denying the Holocaust etc come from Muslim countries, there must be a way to achieve religious tolerance on all sides.

In Israel, on one of the television channels (channel 10) they are showing a very interesting documentary abut Islam in Europe, it is scary and sad to see how these young Muslims were not able to become part of the society they live in and have so much hatred , anger and violence in them, hopefully we will find a way for all of us to live together I don’t dare say harmony but at least in tolerance, I would like to quote my dad who says: "Living is possible but no one let’s you"

I hope that this New Year brings us all a lot of good fortune, a lot of sweetness and may we all have a great year.

Shana tova and Shabbat Shalom,



The Weekly Report

By: Kathryn H.

Shana Tova! (or Shanat Teva as those skilled in Hebrew puns would say...) A very happy New Year to you all and many wishes of a good year from the land of the origional honey. Those of us who stayed on the Kibbutz for the weekend and for Rosh Hashana, were treated to Dates, most likely hand picked by our fellow Shnatties, and some special Date Honey to dip our Apples in and welcome the new year.

Along with all the delicious food we got to consume, not as good as home though, we had a visit from Michael and the other members of the Netzer Staff. Through a peulah of self reflection and analysis of our self portraits, crudely drawn in what the Australians like to call Texters, but that would possibly be better understood as Kokies by the South Africans, we reflected on the year that had been. Can you believe that its been almost an entire year since we all left home thinking were all ready to start this crazy adventure in Israel? We talked about the things we have done on Shnat that we never would have thought we would possibly do; about achievements we never thought we would ever achieve and just how wonderful it is that we've tried and mostly succeeded. I must say, that it did leave us a little bit confused as to who we were, who we are now, and who we would hope to be in the future. We've all changed so much over the past year, that its so hard to pin point the exact moment when we changed and weather or not we changed for the better, or if we cannot, or should not define it.

This year has been all about growing and changing as people and as a group. Weather we're changing together as a Shnat Cvutzah -as both, Australians and South Africans- or in our own nationalities, one thing we've realised is that this is our refernce group for the rest of our lives. Theres nothing quite like a year away from home in a foreighn country with 7 other people all having a similar expirience to you, to bond you for life.

To all my Shantties, and to all of our parents at home, thank you for a wonderful expirience like no other. This year has been a whilwind ride and you've been there every step of the way. Thanks for reading and enjoying the journey with us.

Shana Tova and Chag Sameach!

Now, enough with the sappy stuff.

The Down Low:

Rosh Hashana on Kibbutz is completely different from anything we've ever expirienced. The kibbutz does all the services in their little shule along with many different kinds of alternative services throughout the day and night. We attended a Desert Repenting-For-Our-Sins service with people from near-by Kibbutz Katura. We went to a Yoga Class with a bunch of the volunteers to end off our break from work and get us really relaxed for the new year and ready for work bright and early in the morning. Its all quite exciting here on Kibbutz!

Sophie took a trip to her family in Tel Aviv to spend the High Holy Days there. She came back to an extremerly messy room. We're not sure where all the puzzle pieces are, but we have found a few of them in our beds.

Jordy spent the weekend and the Holidays on the Kibbutz, but is eagerly awaiting a visit from her parents and is planing a trip to see her friends in Karmiel.

Shoshana went to a nearby Kibbutz to visit a really good, Israeli friend from Sydney with Josh. She had a great time.

Lily spent the weekend with a friend from South Africa who came to visit the Kibbutz. This all involved a half an hour trek to the road and back, through the desert, barefoot. They played soccer and went on a tiyul to see the illusive Gazels on the Red Mountains.

Liz spent the weekend and the Holidays on the kibbutz with her host family and the other Shantties. She worked an evening shift with the goats and seems to love her job very much.

Jade spent the weekend and the Holidays on kibbutz and was visited by a dear friend of hers who is spending the week with us. Along with Liz, they're all going to an Advocasy Seminar in Jerusalema dn speniding Yom Kippur together.

Josh wanted a different expirience for the Holidays and so went all the way to Jerusalem to go to the Reform Synagouge there and really reflect on his year in a more special way for him.

Kathryn spent the weekend in Haifa visiting friends from another Youth Movement. She was back intime for the Rosh Hashana Service on Friday night after an excruciating 6 and a half hour bus and train ride.

The Weekly Report: 13/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shanties. Shalom Rav,

This was an exciting week for Israel and for the progressive Jewish community. The Israeli Paralympics team did what the Olympic did not do; they came back to Israel with medals including a gold medal.
In a small city of 700.000 in Russia (3 hour flight form Moscow) celebrated 100 years to their synagogue, the only synagogue in the city is a Reform synagogue and the whole city got together to celebrate this special historical event.

Back to Israel, two events got me thinking, there was a convention for Jewish refugees that escaped form Arab/Muslim countries, it was the first convention and they want to demand that the countries pay them compensation for having to escape from their respective countries.

There is a city passed the green line called Ariel, there is a college there called the University centre of Ariel. Despite it name it is a college and not a university, just before I get to the point lets playa little trivia game:

How many universities are there in Israel?
Which was the first university established in Israel?
Which is the biggest university in Israel?
What is the difference between a college and a university?

This college has been fighting to become university, already a few years ago it was decided that it would be and since then it has had its bureaucratic ups and downs, this week the government decided to move the issue forward and that now it has to be recognized as a university. I wonder what are the reasons behind this, although the claims are that it is time to have another university in Israel, and the college wanting to be able to work on research’s and get different funding that the universities get I cant help to wonder if it is not more of a political in your face kind of decision – penny for your thoughts.

I just got back from visiting our dear shnatties in Lotan, they are doing great and are very happy on kibbutz, and they have turned their flat into a home. We are getting ready to receive the northern group that will be arriving just after Sukkot and will be joining or dear shnatties in Lotan.

On this note I want to finish by wishing you all a Shana Tova, for all of us to have a great sweet year.

Shana Tova,

Weekly report by Liz

Over last weekend our house was loud and lively due to the visitors from Betar and Hashomer Hatzair. It was great fun and we were all sad to see them go on Saturday.

Lily started her first week with the goats on Sunday while I was left alone in the Eco mud building. Monday was communal work in dates again, where Jade, Shoshana and Jordy work on a regular basis (It has the best breakfast) The next day was Yom Chinuch. We were all insanely happy for our sleep-in until 8:30 which was a treat in comparison to the 5:30 wake up call we usually get (besides Kitty who starts at 8 in tourism). On Tuesday we had a class with Mike Nitsan about Lotans' connection to the Progressive Movement Worldwide, followed by a class with the local rabbi Daniel about God and the balance between strict justice and mercy. The peula that evening was run by Sophie and had us explore our lives and how we have progressed and where we wish to be. While this was all happening Josh decided as a project to make our roof an amazing place to chill, with things like: Furniture (which we are all excited to have because we don't have anything besides bed frames) The night of Yom Chinuch, the creativity energy in our house was palpable as we sat in our backyard and painted pieces of wooden board which we found in our house. We're going to hang them up in the outside room to make it feel a little more home-y.

The Weekly Report: 06/09/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties. Shalom Rav,

This was the second week on kibbutz Lotan for our shnatties and they are having a great time, next week I will be visiting them and will hear directly from them how they are doing.

Rosh Hashana is just around the corner and our shnaties will be able to experience the festivities in Israel and on the kibbutz, on this note I want to wish you all a Shana Tova.

On my latest weekly reports I have been doing a "Peny for Your Thoughts" segement and this report is no diferent. This week MDA (Maguen David Adom) was on news, an ambulance arrived to the home of an Israeli actor who was suffering from a stroke, the paramedics refused to take to the hospital because they interpreted that he was saying tht he did not wish to be taken to the emergency room. So in the end he was taken by his neighbor and we still dont know the extent of the damage for arriving late to the hospital.

There is a law in Israel, that no one can be forced to be taken against their will to the hospital. So here is the dilema, if someone is not capable of thinking straight should he be left alone in his home in stead of recieving the help he needs? should the MDA put themselves in a vulnurable place for trying to help people in needin be subject to lawsuits. a peny for your thoughts, well with todays inflation and economical crisis I am willing to go for a dime for your thoughts.


I want to wish you all a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,




Weekly Report By: Kathryn H.

Time here on Kibbutz Lotan can be measured in a few different ways. Weeks are measured from one pub night to the next, days from the nap before work to the nap after wards, the hours in meal times, and months by the cycles of the moon that shines so brightly over the emptyness of the desert, that you can see your shaddow at midnight.

Its oficially our second week here on kibbutz and were all settling in quite nicely. We've started our jobs and are falling into the new regime of waking up at 5 am every morning.

We ended off our Orientation week with a lovely Shabbat Service last friday night. The whole kibbutz crowding into the dining room for a hearty meal. Earlier in the day we had teamed up with our trusty Shin Shinim (The kids on their gap year before the army) and had an interesting Israeli Dance Lesson. (Lily had the most fun out of all of us.) We discovered the creative talent of Netos, one of the quiet Shin Shinim, when he made a beautiful string of butterflies to hang up in the Chederochel.

On sunday we all got up bright and early for our first ofiicial day of work. It was hard to do and by two in the afternoon everyone had crashed. exhausted, into their beds.

Every Monday we all work together in one of the work branches on the kibbutz. This time it was back to the Date Plantation to pick some more of those delicious dates we all know and love, but more importantly sing as loudly and out of tune as humanly possible. The best thing about working in the dates, besided waking up in time to see the sun rising over the mountains, is the breakfast. All the cheese your heart could desire mixed with fresh bread; vegetables; boiled egss and a never ending jar of Cheerios.

Tuesdays are soon to become affectionatly known as Yom Chinuch-Our one day a week of full on education.

This week we found ourselves on a 5am Nature Hike with Michael Livni-The founder of Reform Zionism and one of Netzers Big Thinkers. He showed us all around the out side of the kibbutz pointing out interesting animal tracks and the different types of desert sand you can find just five minutes away from the gates. He gave us a low down on what Reform Zionism really is, after a well deserved breakfast.

Later, we had a discussion with Alex, who is head of the Ecology Department and a certified Ecological Architecht (Jade and My host Dad) all about what it means to live on a collective kibbutz and in an intentional community. We looked at why we are an intentional community; where else you caould find them; and how they differ in every place. All rather facinating one might say.

Unfortunatly, we missed Jade this week as she was seeing her mom in Tel Aviv but she's safe and sound back in her bed, catching up on some sleep after her rather adventurous bus ride home on Tuesday night. Were glad she's back and ready to get into the Kibbutz expirience. She had her first day of Date Picking today!

Shana and Jordy love the Dates and come home everyday with new and exciting stories to tell of the Cherry Picker and the comical moments that seen to haunt their lives.

Liz and Lily have both made a home for them selves in the recycling centre in the Eco Village. Today they both learnt how to make compost and made it. Then learnt how to build with mud and then built with it. They both came home rather sweaty and covered in mud and compost, smiles shining through the dirt on their noses.

Next week we'll hear all about the Goats!

Everyday I see Josh riding around on the back of the tractor doing Garden-y type things. Sometimes hes riding the tractor by the pool, other times its through the tourism section. Sometimes I wonder weather or not he does other things besides ride the tractor around the kibbutz...

As for me, I have the most top secret job of all. We only have one rule in tourism, and that is: What happens in tourism, stays in tourism. But what I can tell you is that I had a secret mission in the Tea House today- One of the best places on the kibbutz I might add- and I have access to a place that no normal kibbutznick does: The Other Laundry Room.

We're all safe and sound here in our little oasis in the middle of the Arava. Until next week! Adeu.

PS. Were probably all making Aliyah to Kibbutz Lotan.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Weekly Report: 30/08/2012

Dear Parents, Snifim and Shnatties, Shalom Rav,

This past week has been full of important and or meaningful events; Gilad Shalit celebrated his first birthday as a free person; while we said goodbye to Neal Armstrong we said hello to the new pictures form Mars sent to us by the "Curiosity" (although I think it is amazing that we landed on the moon and Mars, I wonder if that money should not be spent here on Earth trying to make it a better place); the 136 year old Montefiori Windmill in Jerusalem started working again, the windmill was established as a source of work for those Jewish people brave enough to leave the walls of the Old City and create the first Jewish Settlement out side the Wall, today it is a sight were couples getting married come to take pictures all dressed up and on their way to their wedding and now after so many years of not working it will start opening its doors to the public; and my son started to go to Day Care for the first time in his life.

As for our dear shnatties, they together after their chofesh and last Sunday they arrived to Kibbutz Lotan, kibbutz Lotan is a lovely reform Kibbutz in the Arava, it is 40 minutes north of the city of Eilat, which means that it is way in the south of Israel. The Kibbutz period is the last period of the program, they have settled into their apartment, and had a few orientation days, today they all went out to the dates field as a group project to collect all the dates and next week they will be working in different fields, they have been looking forward for this period of the program.

I don’t know if in Australia and South Africa you use the saying "A penny for your thoughts" but there is something I wanted to share with you that I found interesting and would love hear what you have to say about it. Just like in other countries also in Israel there are advertisements posted on the sides of the buses, this week Egged (The Israeli Public Buses Company) has decided that they wont be posting any advertisements with the pictures of men or women, in Jerusalem it has been problematic because the religious people would not allow the buses to have advertisement with the pictures of women (even if they were fully dressed), women of course felt discriminated, so now to save themselves the headache Egged as mentioned before will not be displaying men or women on the side of the buses, and I wonder if this the correct course of action to take or if it is the easy way out.

I want to wish a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom,


Weekly report by Jade K.

Hi everyone!

Another week has gone by in our shnattie lives and I'm here to tell you all about it. Fasten your seatbelts, it's been a wild ride through our first week on Kibbutz Lotan!

Saturday night found us all squeezed into the ex-boys room of the Etgar flat chatting excitedly about our chofesh and impending time on kibbutz, exchanging weird and wonderful gifts from the far corners of the world (Kitty even brought us a South African, his name was Mitchell) and pinching Josh, Lily and ourselves just to make sure they were actually there. Yes, you heard right, Teva (south) is finally, FINALLY, reunited! We couldn't be happier.

Spirits were not dampened until the next morning when we discovered (to our utter dismay) that there was no CD player in the bus. How could we possibly listen to Dana's coveted 90s CD! Never fear, shnattie watchers, it wasn't too long before we had whipped out the Ukulele, followed by the guitar resulting in a Jade-Sophie jam sesh which quickly became a Jade-Sophie-Jordy Destiny's Child tribute band rehearsal (I'm Kelly Rowland, Jordy is obviously Beyonce which makes Sophie the one who's name no-one ever remembers) and eventually a Teva Choir sing-along (minus Josh... and the bus driver, I think we may have somehow damaged his ears. First Teva Shnenemy.)

Arriving on kibbutz in high spirits we were faced with momentary panic upon realizing that all of our stuff may not fit into our house. For those who don't know, Teva does not travel light. Thankfully we didn't have to resort to plan B - exiling Josh to the tent pitched on the grass outside our house - but at one stage it was a very real possibility. Other events of the day included a truly historic asefa in which, after Etgar apparently left the word with scarring connotations, we renamed asefot. They are now called FSBs (or FSBim for all you mad Hebrew speakers out there), what it stands for is a Teva secret. We also decided on kvutzah tafkidim for our time on Lotan, of course we can't tell you what they are until they are ratified at Teva Values Veida which will take place over Shabbat.

Since then we have been filling our days with deciding on work branches, exercising for the first time in 7 months, chillin' with the kibbutz kids, the volunteers, the shin shins (kids on Shnat Sherut) who live next door and a good friend of our beloved Northerners - Guy the (now ex-)shin shin, making lots of music and discovering all the essentials to kibbutz life on our adventures such as the filter water tap in our kitchen and the cow graveyard behind the refet. Kibbutz Lotan is slowly becoming our home.

And that concludes this weeks parents report, leaving only 10 more parents reports until you see our smiley faces once again. I guess we'd better go have some more crazy adventures so we'll have something to write to you about next week.

So, in the words of everyone's favorite South American Shnat Director,