This year, we are introducing something new: the current and past Shnattie Blog! This week, we are hearing from our Shnatties from 5777, who returned just 4 months ago. Since then, they have all lead on Machaneh Kadimah, with some of them heading to University, and others taking different directions in their life altogether. Tom, Jess, and Becky have each written a short passage about their leaving of Israel, and the continuation of their LJY-Netzer journey.
This time last year I was just about to board a flight to Israel and live out Netzer ideology for eight months, along with twelve other members of RSY and LJY-Netzer (we would later be joined by members of Netzer South Africa and Australia). Now, almost four months since the end of the programme, the idea of living out an ideology holds far more weight than I could initially comprehend. During Shnat, particularly the Etgar programme in Jerusalem, I learnt and experienced many things from which the ripple effects are still being felt. Living with a group of young and empowered Progressive Jews taught me the power of the collective, in terms of both social justice and personal human development. Creating an autonomous and thriving community allowed me to experience life based on conscious and intentional decision-making. In-depth informal education from Rabbis to activists to fellow members of Shnat Nof opened up my eyes to societal issues and rapidly intensified my ability to critically think and challenge the current status-quo. Discussions about Netzer; our aims, our beliefs and our challenges, reinforced the fact that our actions and processes during Netzer events such as Shnat, must stretch far beyond the isolated islands of ideology that can be comfortably created in such environments. It is now our responsibility as a kvutzah and as members of a global youth movement to ensure that the tools and knowledge acquired over the course of our Shnat Netzer programme, are used as a means to live a life guided by Hagshama of our core values, and aren’t left behind as memories from just another gap year in Israel.
To Savyon Shnatties,
I’m so excited for what you are about to experience; enjoy the freedom, the intention and all the unexpected moments.
So it’s been nearly 4 months since it finished. It has been extraordinarily hard coming back from Israel and at the same time back into LJY. Since I came back from Shnat I realised my genuine passion for Jewish learning and education, I led on 3 Jewish camp/weekends over the summer and took up the role of Head Teacher for the KLS’ Cheder. I think coming in I had a big idealistic vision for it, until reality hit and I realised it is going to be hard to do, but I really believe it what I am doing and where it is going to be when I am finished. Lastly, I am almost a month into University and I have to say it is very different to what I expected. Trying to make friends and figure out who I do want to give my time to it’s really hard. Trying to balance all my friends from Shnat and experiences I’ve had then realising that basically everyone at University is not in a world of Zionist Youth Movements and re-adjusting to the fact people don’t really spend their days debating big ideological ideas like Shtei gadot (look it up). I think just staying busy has made the transition easier, meaning I am constantly looking to the next thing meaning I can kind of not get so caught up in the post-Shnat blues. That’s what I’ve done so far; what’s more important is what’s next which for me is APOW and Hadracha!!!
Everyone always told me that leaving Israel at the end of shnat and shnat ending would be one of the hardest things. I’d be stuck in a rut for months and when I’d go to Uni I would struggle with the difference between the intentional community we had on Etgar and living with flat mates, purely just sharing a Kitchen. For me personally, I actually found that most of these were really exaggerated or not true at all. Yes, leaving Israel and all the friends I’d made behind was heart-breaking and really difficult, but I didn’t end up in a rut whatsoever. I found that I very very much missed people but that didn’t stop me from carrying on with my life. What did stop me was a very strange and overwhelming feeling of anxiety when it came to seeing people from school and other things. I’ve spoken to other shnatties and they didn’t feel this whatsoever so again, this was just something I personally felt and after a few weeks it went away. What really got me through the summer and made it so I didn’t feel empty (which I could have if I didn’t do anything) was all the preparation for camp and all the LJY-Netzer things I did over the following few months. It was such a great feeling leading on Kadimah this year and using so much of the knowledge I learnt on shnat.