Yom Rishon, 17 Av 5779
Sunday, 18 August 2019
Shnat Netzer – Reflections on a Journey

Last month, the Shnatties returned from an eight month adventure in Israel, exploring Liberal Jewish principles, practice and ideology, as well as a whole host of other exciting things. Here are some reflections from two of our Shnatties, Fran Kurlansky and Naomi Lane:

It is not possible for me to talk about my journey with Shnat Netzer without looking back to 2011, when I went on LJY-Netzer’s Israel tour. Having never been to Israel before, I was shocked at the connection I had felt. There was also an ideological rooting in my decision to join the program, which developed as I got older. I came to realise the importance, progressive Judaism within Israel, youth movements, Reform Zionism, Tikkun Olam, and the ability to make informed decisions and feel empowered.

LJY-Netzer has always provided me with a feeling of community. Until I came on Shnat I could not harness the feeling that was evoked within me when at Machaneh Kadimah. But now, as my year draws to a close, and I have lived within a Netzer community for 8 months, I realise that this feeling was one of belonging. I am part of a worldwide movement of young, progressive Jews, who share rituals, traditions, ideals, but most of all, who share a common goal in the bettering of the state of Israel. And that, along with the drive to pass this goal to future pioneers of Netzer, is the single most powerful thing in my life.

Shnat Netzer is about creating a group of people who eat, sleep, learn, talk, cry and laugh together, at all hours of the day. This is important because it creates bonds between Netzer sniffim and allows for the realisation that Netzer is worldwide, and we are all interconnected, not only as human beings, but as a movement. It is about the actualisation of Netzer’s three pillars: Reform Zionism, Progressive Judaism, Tikkun Olam, you are living and breathing Netzer for 8 months, everything you do is spurred by the ideology. Whether it is working on Kibbutz, volunteering in fields of Israel’s society that need development , or planning and running ma’amadim for each other. You are constantly surrounded by and implementing Netzer’s ideology. Moreover, it is about intellectual stimulation, your opinions and viewpoints are constantly challenged through your classes, as well as through conversations had over meals, early in the morning and late into the night. Lastly, it is about growth as a young adult as you learn to cook for 19 people at a time, keep your living space not only tidy but also clean, make sure you have enough clean clothes, and figure out how to travel in an unknown country.

I feel as though the power of the Liberal Jewish movement in the UK is flying below the radar. We have some of the most dedicated Jewish Leaders and Youth Leaders from across the UK and definitely some of the most active. The bogrim of LJY-Netzer are extremely active and will shape the future of our religion and society. We have a duty to create members with the education and hadracha skills to pass down the essence of our movement to younger generations. Shnat Netzer is a year of immersing and living out a progressive Jewish ideology in one of the most important and controversial places on earth for us. It has taught me more than I could ever have hoped.

You can read the whole report here: http://www.ljy-netzer.org/2014/06/shnat-netzer-201314-reflections-on-a-journey/