By Benji Sharp, Boger of HDOZ and Rakaz of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed’s Snif Bat Yam

Between the sixth and seventh nights of Chanukkah, I participated in the national Moatza Chinuchit of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed - the Israeli movement's equivalent of a veida. While democracy happens by the actualised decisions of chanichim and madrichim on a regular basis, holding a national congress happens much less frequently, presumably due to the size and logistical nature of an event of this scale, as well as hoping to implement resolutions with a much longer-lasting impact.  For reference, the last national veida was held in 2015, and Rabin addressed the one before that in the 90s.

With this movement memory, I was excited to attend an event like this that has the potential to erect another stepping stone in the pathway of the movement... less so were parents from Bat Yam. With the Moatza being held two months and one week after the breakout of the war, sirens blaring every few days in the centre of the country, and a continued shadow of uncertainty looming overhead, I could understand parents' reluctance to send their children to an event like this. While I could say that the congress was being held in Dimona, which has barely witnessed any rockets since the beginning of the war, and that I believed that their kids would be fantastic representatives for the snif at this event, the question still returned: "Why do this in the middle of a war? Is this really the time to do something like this?"

It's a good question, but my answer always returned to this: davka achshav, it's more important than ever for the Moatza Chinuchit to happen.

Dear Habonim Dror,

Our news cycle is built around sensationalizing, shocking our senses - look over here! See these graphic photos of human suffering! And then, once we dull our senses, become desensitized, our attention is redirected to a newer suffering, new unfathomable numbers and recurring videos of destruction.

I saw a post this week that said, “The world celebrates the new year but in Israel it’s October 86th.” The world media are less present here but the pain, the grieving and destruction persist. During the last two months I’ve been leading evacuated chanichimot from Sderot; trauma and fear loom thickly in the air. I’m trying to hold this at the same time as we gear up for Tu B’Shvat, Judaism’s celebration of growth. How can we grow when we are broken? How can life keep moving as war rages?

Shalom Chaverimot! 

This past shabbat, Seminar Chazon concluded in the Philadelphia bayit. After we made the decision to focus on a series of kvutza seminars instead of a larger, movement-wide Winter Seminar, we invited the original Winter Seminar tzevet applicants and machaneh rashim to attend Seminar Chazon, or visioning seminar. The purpose of Seminar Chazon was to provide hadracha for movement leadership and start shaping a yeud for HDNA moving forward.

Shalom, my name is Assaf Rothman Berman, and I recently made Aliyah to Israel from New Zealand to join my Garin, Tof Miriam, in Hadera. Making Aliyah during the war was a tough decision and a hard dilemma I had to deal with. Originally, I had planned to make Aliyah in early October. Tof Miriam had a seminar scheduled, and most of us were in Israel, ready to discuss moving forward together as Tof Miriam.

A few weeks after October, with my Aliyah date postponed, I found myself at home, waiting for the right time to move to Israel. Making Aliyah to Israel this time had much more baggage, and I felt this weight on my shoulders. Who would move to a country during a war? Why would you leave a peaceful country like NZ? Is Israel a safe place for my future?