Community Experience on Kibbutzim
For the first month of Shnat Netzer, you, the Shnattim will spend time on Kibbutz Lotan, living in the kibbutz ecological neighborhood, building a community, adjusting to life in Israel, and preparing yourselves for the incredible learning opportunities ahead. You’ll learn Ecology, Hebrew, Reform Zionism and Progressive Judaism among other things. Kibbutz Lotan is one of our two Progressive Kibbutzim and is located in the Arava. Although this part of the program takes place on Kibbutz Lotan it is not a typical kibbutz experience. The goal and main objective of this element is group bonding.
Tikkun Olam Period – The Community Experience
During this 2 and a half month period, there are two options to choose form: Shnat B’Ir (Shnat in the city) or Kibbutz.
Shnat B’ir (Shnat in the city) – For those who chose this option, they will live and work together in the Galilee region – a culturally and socially diverse area, where one can expierence the real Israeli life in the beautiful surroundings of the Galilee. In this chapter, you will be living together in a flat (depending on the size of the group you may be divided into more than one flat) and creating your own community. During the day you will volenteer in the community, putting in to action Netzer’s ideology of Tikkun. Every day you will go out individually or in small groups to volunteer. The volunteering options vary every year, in the past groups have volunteered in a school for children who have not had success in other school settings – giving English support to the students, volunteered in a kindergarden, volunteered packing food and clothes packages for people in need and volunteered on an ecological farm, to name a few of the projects. People can request areas of interest and we will do our best to accommodate them, although this can’t be guaranteed.
Kibbutz – For those of you who want to see a real Reform Zionist community in action, we arrange an extended period of time, living and working on a kibbutz. We prefer to send you to the Progressive Kibbutzim in the Arava, but cannot guarantee it, as it is dependent on many different factors such as the work available, housing etc. It is possible that the group will stay on other kibbutzim.
While on the Kibbutz, your group will form your own Reform Zionist Community. You will work in the different Kibbutz areas during the day, and will have adopted families from the Kibbutz as well as other activities to help you become part of the wider community.
Jerusalem Experience: Mechinat Etgar and Machon
Mechinat Etgar and Machon run at exactly the same time in the program (February – June). At this point, you have already chosen which program you will participate in, though it may be possible to make a later decision while on Shnat.
Etgar literally means challenge. The Mechinat Etgar program is specifically tailored and built for Netzer Shnattim. The program is put together and run by our dedicated Netzer Olami staff- made up of Native Israelis, and Netzer graduates who have come to live in Israel when possible.
The aims of the program are to create a strong learning community, educate the group about Israeli society, Jewish History and Culture, and to gain a better understanding of Progressive Judaism. These are all achieved through living as a Reform Zionist community, a community which studies, plays, prays, eats and lives together. The group lives in their own apartment and have to provide for all that entails. E.g. cooking, cleaning, shopping and deciding on issues as a community.
Mechinat Etgar is a holistic program as it expects you to take what you have studied, examine it, and decide how you choose to implement it into your individual lives and into your community.
The days are spent in classes, working on projects and volunteering in different options in the community. Hebrew lessons are also a significant element of the program as are regular short and longer trips. Both Machon and Mechinat Etgar share the same core educational topics, with many of the lecturers being shared by the two programs, but the content is enriched with the specific needs of Netzer madrichim in mind. The content of Mechinat Etgar slightly changes from machzor to machzor according to the previous years’ feedback.
The name Machon comes from “Machon L’madrichei Chutz L’aretz” (the “Institute of youth leaders from abroad”). Machon has been run for over sixty years by the Sochnut (Jewish Agency) as a Zionist youth leadership development program.
Classes take place five days a week (Sunday to Thursday), with a mix of classroom-based and non-classroom based activities. The topics covered change from week to week, giving you a rounded Jewish education. The Machonikim sleep in dormitories on the campus and all meals are provided in the communal dining room. Just as on Etgar, there are regular short and longer trips around Israel as part of the educational program.