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RSY-Netzer: a summer of solidarity

As a gesture of solidarity with Israel, RSY-Netzer and LJY-Netzer have made it possible for two chanichim from Haifa to take part in their joint Europe Tour, Kayitz, which began last week.

Thanks to sponsorship from the Israel Experience and Friends of Progressive Judaism, two sixteen year olds from the Progressive community in Haifa are participating with twenty young people from the UK in the two week tour of Paris, Prague, Budapest and Berlin.

Charley Baginsky, a student rabbi at Leo Baeck College and the educator on Kayitz said: “This is a great opportunity for the two Israeli chanichim to experience Europe. It is important for Israelis to come to Europe, to understand European Jewry and to foster an active relationship with diaspora Jews.”

She added: “They are also acting as ambassadors for Israel. The other chanichim hear so much on the news about Israel, but it is hard for British Jews to really understand what it is like over there. They will be able to ask the Israelis questions and this will add another dimension to the Kayitz experience. It will also offer the Israeli girls a respite from the unsettled situation back home.”

Kayitz takes place during the year between Israel Tour and Shnat Netzer (Gap Year programme) and is considered an important link year. Charley Baginsky explains: “We are European Jews and we want to explore how this fits into our story. We will discuss the relationship between Zionism and Europe and the realities of Jewish life in Europe post-Shoah. But it is not just a question of visiting graveyards. We want to discover Jewish life in Europe - past, present and future.”

During the trip the participants experience Mifgashim (encounters) with the Progressive communities in Europe – spending Shabbat in the Progressive synagogues in Prague and Berlin.

As another gesture of solidarity with Israel, during their time there, RSY-Netzer Israel Tour chanichim helped with packing food parcels for families living in bomb shelters and for soldiers on the front line in Northern Israel. The three groups of 16 year olds returned last week following their decision to go ahead with the four week tour of Israel despite the situation in the region.

Even the younger chanichim have been aware of the situation in Israel this summer. On one of the Shemesh summer camps, the Tzedakah fund selected was www.pizzaidf.org. The 13 year olds raised £150 which meant sending pizza, coke and ice cream to 90 soldiers on the front line. At the “Yes to Peace, No to Terror” rally organised by the Board of Deputies in July, RSY-Netzer was the largest Youth Movement to be represented.

For further details, please contact Andrea Newman, Movement for Reform Judaism Public Relations Officer.

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