Veida Olami, the global summit of Netzer leadership, took place on January 15 – 20 at Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem. The Veida is convened annually as the governing body of Netzer to share best practices in young adult education, leadership, Israel engagement, as well as provide a global networking opportunity.
This year, Veida welcomed 26 participants from 11 countries and 13 snifim (branches) – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, North America (NFTY), Brazil (Avahandava and Colonia Da-CIP), Germany, UK (RSY and LJY), Holland, South Africa, Israel and Australia. These dedicated young people serve as educators, lay leaders, movement workers and volunteers. Their work continues to take our movement’s connection to Progressive Judaism and Reform Zionism to new heights.
This year’s focus was Diversity, Difference and Inclusion and comprised workshops, discussions, site visits and meet ups with social organizations helping marginalized populations of Israeli society. Delegates voted to add ‘Inclusivity’ as a value to the foundational document of Netzer Olami which informs the programmatic priorities of the global movement.
Veida’s gala opening event celebrated 40 years of Netzer Olami with a presentation recapping the history and development of the movement around the world. 80 people attended, many of whom are Netzer and Shnat Netzer (Israel Gap Year) bogrim (alumni). We welcomed the first Netzer Oleh from Australia, Andy Michaelson, who made Aliya in the 80s.
In their own words, participants shared these reflections on the impact of Veida:
“Veida was an incredible empowering experience which again showed me that we may be different in our ideals or approaches, but we all strive towards a better world and a better progressive Jewish community.”
“I learned so much at Veida, from my peers and the sessions. I can’t wait to teach my counselors and chanicim the amazing songs I learned from the other snifim. “
“Veida was wonderful, and I’ll take away a greater understanding of international Progressive Jewish challenges – plus that fabulous ‘Sim Shalom’ tune!”
“Before Veida, I didn’t really understand how we connected as a global movement. I didn’t understand what Netzer’s need for connection across the world was really about, what other snifim were addressing or teaching, or even needing – and now, I get it.”
“I learned new perspectives on Israel and toured different segments of Israeli society that really opened my eyes – from a tour of South Tel Aviv and the asylum seekers living there to Mea Shearim. I have so much more knowledge and better tools to lead discussions about Israel and Zionism for my snif back home.”
“Veida allowed me to learn from my peers – hear how they lead peulot, what issues they’re facing, what support they receive or don’t receive – in a way I didn’t expect before. It really helped me feel a part of a larger movement, a global movement for Progressive Judaism and young leadership. I have so much to share with my snif after a week with these amazing leaders doing great work in Brazil, Holland, Ukraine, Israel and elsewhere!”
“Veidah Olami 2019 was an unbelievable experience that allowed the snifim to build connections and share both successes and challenges that they face. I trust, with the great selection of people that attended, we will be brainstorming ways to share resources and bring the snifim closer together in the future.”
Veida Olami is grateful for the critical support of its sponsors: ARZENU Olami, World Zionist Organization, KKL-JNF, ARZENU and the World Union for Progressive Judaism. To join our efforts in engaging youth and young adult leadership, around the world, give today.