It is known to be said that LJY-Netzer is a movement run ‘by youth for the youth’. Whilst the most obvious manifestation of this may be Machaneh Kadimah, where a team of fifty 18-24 year olds empower and care for over a hundred young people, for me, LJY-Netzer’s own Rosh Hashanah event on Saturday epitomises LJY-Netzer and youth empowerment. As voted for by members of LJY-Netzer at the last veidah (our annual decision-making event), Saturday marked the first of many annual youth-lead Rosh Hashanah celebrations within the movement. The event was not only personally fulfilling, but it acted as a much-needed dose of LJY-Nezer following a hugely successful summer of Machaneh Kadimah, Israel Tour, Bogrim Tour and Kayitz Netzer.
With Rosh Hashanah falling at the beginning of the academic year, and thus often proving itself to be conveniently meaningful, the creative, spiritual and inclusive LJY-Netzer community was of course the perfect place to start the year. We began with a ma’amad (creative service), which followed the main themes of the Liberal Judaism Rosh Hashanah service through readings, songs, prayer and discussion. As always with LJY-Netzer we were encouraged to think critically about various notions within the service such as the sovereignty of God. Having sung our hearts out, and because no LJY-Netzer event is complete without some hearty kef, we moved on to a ‘head’-themed team game featuring head stands, dancing and some incredibly ugly faces. We indulged in various foods including a traditional honey cake and some less traditional yeast-extract rice cakes, before moving onto the tashlich ceremony. A guided meditation took us through the past year encouraging us to summon memories of events, people and feelings. After exploring the tradition and meaning of tashlich we were each given rice paper on which we were to write our regrets of the year, or anything that we wished to banish ahead of the new year. (Luckily, there was enough rice paper for both writing and eating!) A line of over 40 of us, aged from 15 to 23 then grasped our rice paper, held hands, and was lead snake-like from our grassy patch to the bridge over the lake in St James’s Park. At the count of three we let go of our regrets and watched them float away in the water as LJY-Netzer entered 5774 as a truly empowered community.
Described as ‘a roaring success’, the event ensured that the newest year in LJY-Netzer has began in style, as our community exercised true youth empowerment and practiced those Liberal Jewish values that we all love: the quest to find meaning in ritual through creativity and change. A massive thank you to our shiny new Movement Work team, Tom, Bethany and Graham who put the event together.
L’shana tova to all LJY-Netzer chaverim.
Reported to you by Flora Cantacuzino Levy from somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. Over and out.
Thanks, and have fun on your year abroad Flora, we are gonna miss you!