2017 has been a year of great historical significance here at Beit Shmuel and around the world. As a movement over thirty years old, our snifim are showing new signs of health and vitality in responding to the changes taking place across the Jewish world.
Our year began with the annual Veida Olamit, held in Jerusalem in January, on the theme of ‘United Through Connections’. Participants representing each of our snifim explored the subject of community-building through theoretical and practical lenses. The Veida was also the first official farewell to Maoz Haviv, the movement’s veteran Mazkir Clali, whose legacy of stability and expansion was celebrated at a moving ceremony. During Maoz’ tenure, Netzer Olami became a truly global movement, growing from four to fifteen snifim – and we continue to grow! The delegates who came to Veida, representing so many snifim and talking about the impact of Moaz on their lives, was a fitting – and moving – tribute to Maoz’s achievements.
We also loved tracking the travels of our Netzernikim throughout the year. We brought an unprecedented number of young leaders – over 100! And close to one-third of the total delegates –to CONNECTIONS 2017, the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s biennial conference in Jerusalem. In the summer, we welcomed chanichim from RSY-Netzer, LJY-Netzer, Netzer Holland, and Netzer France during their Israel tours. In conjunction with Netzer Germany, we organized a trip for the movement’s madrichim in October, as well as another visit from madrichim from Colônia de CIP (Brazil). Shnat Netzer continues to play a focal role in bringing snifim together and our northern shnatties, from the UK, North America and Germany, are currently enjoying their time on Kibbutz Lotan.
We are thrilled to report on new funding from the Jewish National Fund and the Ministry of Education, as part of our participation in the Board of Zionist Worldwide Youth movements. An open call was issued to our all snifim, and many have already taken advantage of this exciting opportunity to offer dozens of new educational activities to their chanichim, madrichim, and communities.
This year we announced new staff structure for our movement. Lior Argaman, formerly the Director of Shnat Netzer and Interim Director of Netzer Olami, began her new post as WUPJ’s Director of Youth and Young Adult Engagement in January. Replacing her is Orit Shoshani, who has been with us as Rosh Chinuch since 2015. Ady Blum and Danit Ariel, hugely impactful in their roles as Etgar Director and Shnat Madricha respectively, have moved on, and we welcome Raviv Alef as the new Etgar Director and Leora Kessler as Shnat Madricha. We are also very lucky to have Ben Crome managing our Branch Relations and serving as Education Coordinator temporarily.
We have three permanent Netzer shlichim currently in place: Dudu Gottlib is set to continue into his third year in Sydney, Australia, and Uri Levin will end a successful tenure in Melbourne after their upcoming camps. Uri will then hand over the reins to Sivan Gaides, a former shlicha to Netzer Germany. In Amsterdam, Tal Branitzky ended two years of shlichut to Netzer Holland in October and was replaced by Naomi Lootsteen. This year we are also excited to send shlichim to France and South Africa for their camp sessions. As you will see from their individual reports, each snif has been active in its own way in developing the next generation of Reform Zionist leaders in the countries in which they are based.
You can see all their activities and more in our first 2017 Netzer Year in Review poster. We are excited to have created this for you to hang up and enjoy in your Netzer places; the blank 2018 calendar is also for you to hang up, fill out, take pride in, and of course, share with us! We love hearing about your amazing work, we love talking about it with other snifim and movement workers, and we love to strengthen our snifim by coming together with the impact of all our work around the globe, so send videos, emails, posts, pics and more – and of course pictures of you with your new posters. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s going on in Netzer around the world.