HDCA Newsletter – Fall 2021
We hope you will join us for the 2021 Covid version of HDCA Summer Mifgash. Unlike in other years, mifgash this year doesn’t involve plane tickets, hotel rooms or lots of time away from family and work. But as in other years, mifgash offers the Habonim Dror family the chance to connect with board members of other machanot, see other Habonim Dror camps, process challenges together, and have fun!
Please join us on September 19th! Simply complete this registration form.
by Erica Kushner, Mazkirol HDNA
It is safe to say no other Mazkirut Artzit has ever had to deal with the physical restraints, aftershocks, and emotional toll of a global pandemic. Jenna, Kaela, and I signed onto these tafkidim when the word Corona was barely more than a rumor. We had to rapidly shift our expectations of what working for HDNA would be like, including being in a different place or even country, no office, no travel to Israel, eizorim, or the machanot, reduced salary, and knowing we wouldn’t be able to run anything in person. Corona has created many, many issues and we have worked through them, coming up with innovative solutions to running engaging seminars or remaining connected to the wider movement.
Machaneh Miriam – Summer 2021
by Emma Paidra, Camp Miriam tzevet
Surely, everyone in the Camp Miriam community was hoping that summer of 2020 would be the only one during which madrichimot found themselves reminding kids to mask up and practice physical distancing. Though things didn’t quite work out that way, it would take much more than a mere global pandemic to keep Camp Miriam from providing youth with the Jewish summer camp fun they’ve come to know and love. Much like last year, campers participated in the second Camp Miriam day camp, or kaytana, in either Vancouver or Victoria.
Tzevet was overjoyed to see so many familiar young faces returning for the kaytana, during which special theme days – from Yom Meyuchad to Yom Madatz – were run. Though theme days added extra Machaneh Magic to the kaytana experience, tzevet worked tirelessly to fill every moment both with educational purpose and wacky fun.
An exciting component of the summer that differed from the last was (cue drumroll) that Camp Miriam was able to take chanichimot to Gabriola Island. With only a couple of weeks’ notice that programming on the island would be possible, tzevet quickly adapted. The shift from kaytana to Gabriola was certainly a big one… but the Camp Miriam community just couldn’t turn down a chance to return to the island. Both tzevet and chanichimot alike found themselves amazed to be back on Gabriola for the second part of the summer, during which two 10-day sessions were run for grades 3-10, with most Grade 9s and 10s staying the whole 3 weeks.
Throughout these sessions, everyone embraced the return to age-old traditions, from Shabbat at the Point, Chuggim and Rikud to singing Rad HaYom all together. Despite kvutzot being physically distanced from one another and dining tables spread out at meal times, the summer took place in relative normalcy. More than anything, though, the last two months have been a testament to the resilience of Camp Miriam – that, and our shocking ability to successfully run machaneh without the thousands of hugs that would occur in a usual summer.
by Kaela Evenchick, Rakazol Tochniot
This summer, we partnered with NFTY in Israel & their Mitzvah Corps program to offer a co-branded NFTY/HDNA specialty trip. This allowed us to access 50 $3000 tuition vouchers from RootOne, bringing the cost of the trip to under $5000 USD. Unfortunately, our Canadian chanichimot were not able to join the trip, due to Israel’s travel restrictions and Canada’s delayed vaccine roll-out. Still, we were able to bring 34 HDNA chanichimot from Galil, Mosh and Tavor to travel around Israel for 3 weeks in July. I was able to join the chanichimot for their final week of the trip and overall they had amazing experiences!
Some highlights of the trip included:
- Snorkelling in the Red Sea
- Joining a walking tour of old Jaffa with Palestinian guides from Sadaka Reut
- Meeting with a Bedouin woman who works to empower other women in her community to seek higher education
- Visiting a “shared-existence” Hanoar Haoved ken in Tel Aviv that runs programs for Palestinian and Jewish Israelis together
- Hiking Masada for sunrise and learning about the history of this ancient site
- Learning about Ethiopian Jewry and their aliyot from Naftali Aklum, brother of the famous Ethiopian activist, Ferede Aklum
- Visiting an alpaca farm in the Negev
Given that this was our first year partnering with NFTY, there were also some challenges and miscommunications. However, with two madrichimot from HDNA, and a tour guide who was a past HDNA shlicha, we were able to work through these issues on the ground and provide a Habonim experience for our chanichimot. I was also able to bring some Habonim content when I joined the program for the last week and, in accordance with tradition, ensured that our chanichimot received their first chultzot t’nua!
Kvutza 73… All Together
by Jenna Abrams, Rakazol Chinuch
Covid put a major crimp into plans to run MBI this summer, as many 10th-graders (members of “Shichvah 73”) were unable to travel to Israel and some machanot developed stand-alone 10th-grade programs. Given this situation, Mazkirut Artzit proposed the development of a movement-wide “Shichvah 73 Process” that would offer opportunities for shared programming and the building of relationships even though many of the chanichimot were not physically together. We began meeting with the madrichimot of Shichvah 73 in May to develop this idea. Together, we created these elements of a shared process: creating a kvutza Instagram account, shared education, having a shared Shabbat, and having a sikkum event at the end of the summer.
In terms of the shared education, we collaboratively built two shared peulot to be run at all of the machanot, one regarding the importance of national kvutza-building, and the other regarding the unique place of a nachshonol in HDNA.
For the shared Shabbat, each kvutza was responsible for one part of Shabbat and sent me a video of them doing that part (rikkud, parashat hashavua, Hebrew song, blessings, etc.). I compiled these videos and sent them back to the madrichimot to show their chanichimot sometime during that Shabbat.
Finally, we are currently recruiting for a sikkum event in early September so that all chanichimot from Kvutza 73 can meet each other, and share their experiences. We invite all Kvutza 73 members to join our Summer Zoom Sikkum!
Welcome Mishlachat 2021-2022
After two amazing years with the current mishlachat of Leah, Carmi, Sarah, and Shmulik, we are excited to welcome the new mishlachat: Tamar, Gal, and Guy! Tamar is the central shaliach, meaning she will be working directly with the Mazkirut Artzit. Gal will be Machaneh Miriam’s shlicha and Guy will be Machaneh Galil’s shaliach. We are so excited to get to know the three of them and see what new energy they will bring to HDNA!
Tamar Levi – Born in Israel and raised in Victoria, Canada, Tamar will be joining the Mazkirut Artzit in Philadelphia as the Central Shlichol. A bogeret of Machaneh Miriam, Tamar brings with her the unique perspective of being both the shlicha from Israel and a graduate of HDNA. Having been Rosh Machaneh Miriam, madricha for Workshop 59, rakezet of Workshops 62 – 64, rakezet chinuch MBI, and various other tafkidim both with HDNA and with other HD countries, there are few things involving Habonim that Tamar hasn’t done. Tamar is a member of Kibbutz Eshbal in the Galilee. She will be joined on shlichut by her partner Oren and their daughter Ela.
Guy Brenkel will be arriving in Philadelphia this October to join the tzevet at Galil as the new shaliach. Guy brings with him a wide range of experience in education and social action. In the past years, Guy has worked as a union organizer in the Pizza Hut chain in Israel, a sexual health and gender educator in the public school system, and as the manager of year-long educational program for youth-at-risk in preparation for their army service. Guy is a member of the Educator’s Kibbutz in Akko and in his free time loves nothing more than long runs, baking, and a good musical.
* As of the date of publication, this contract is pending
Gal Itzik is incredibly excited to be arriving in Vancouver this September to join the Miriam team. In heading out on Shlichut, Gal will be finishing her work with one of the largest women’s organizations in Israel – Na’amat (Pioneer Women). With an extensive background of many years working with youth-movements, Gal brings a passion for values-based and informal education. On top of her day-to-day work, Gal enjoys starting her own entrepreneurial ventures. In recent years she has created her own private business of selling and trading second-hand clothing and has built the “100% Responsibility” educational project; a project designed to give parents tools to speak about sex and sexuality with their children. Gal is a member of the Educator’s Kibbutz in Petah Tikvah. She will be joined on shlichut by her partner, Ofer Yosef, who will be working in the Vancouver Jewish Community.
Get Hip Habo!
by Jenna Abrams, Rakazol Tochniot
The Mazkirut Artzit is developing a framework for shared education in the form of monthly social justice-themed events. The goal is to encourage collective learning and general relationship-building amongst ma’apilimot across the movement throughout the coming year.
We are currently looking for people (both ma’apilimot and alumni) to help us build and facilitate these events. Each month we will focus on a different topic; the topics were chosen following conversations we’ve had with ma’apilimot about subjects they are interested in and passionate about. The topics for each month are data justice, queers in rural spaces, Indigenous rights/land sovereignty, youth climate activism, veganism + Native tradition, ageism, intuitive eating/health at every size, ableism, and immigration. We want these events to be built by ma’apilimot who are actively choosing to work with us and take responsibility over creating a vibrant movement culture.
These events will also be open to non-Habos who are college-aged, and can hopefully be used as a recruitment tool for tzevet at machanot, as well as our programs. Please reach out if you are interested! We’re excited to be able to Get Hip, Habo!
Habonim Dror Olami Update
by Erica Kushner, Mazkirol HDNA
Currently, we are in a delicate place in regards to our relationship with HDO. We are working to secure some sort of contract/MOU between each country and HDO for the running of Workshop/Shnat. This is the first major test of both the agreement and our relationship. All parties want the agreement to continue, as it provides many logistical and ideological benefits to both sides, but it is quite a challenge when we have not worked collaboratively for many years.
Todah Rabah to Joel Winograd
Joel Winograd is stepping down as Chair of the Habonim Dror North America board this fall and will be replaced by Jared Matas (see our next newsletter for the scoop on Jared.)
Joel is famous for his long beard, his Wisconsin yurt and his long-term dedication to Habonim Dror. Over the years he has taken on leadership positions at Camp Tavor and Habonim Dror Camp Association. Joel was a key player in the reconfiguration of Habonim Dror North America’s board of directors that took place in 2017, and served as its first chair. In that role, Joel’s accomplishments include building norms and procedures of governance that mesh with true youth leadership.
Joel leaves us with this mantra: “We’re here to save the Jewish people. Lots of different people do that in different ways – but our way is this youth-led, strong, socialist Zionist thing. We cannot not do that work! There’s a joy in that work, a feeling that you’re part of a grand enterprise.” He believes his most important tafkid has been the development of a shared vision of the HD family in which the group is greater than the sum of its parts: “I deeply believe that to make caring connections with other people and inspire each other to help make a better world is one of the most awesome things we as human beings can do.”
Habonim Dror in the News
👏 👏 Congratulations to Timna Nelson-Levy, daughter of Galil alum Lauren Nelson, who won a bronze medal as a member of Israel’s National Judo Team at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Kol Hakavod, Timna! Read all about it in the Times of Israel.
We were thrilled to see Camp Galil mentioned in this article regarding a New Israel Fund curriculum for U.S Jewish Summer camps. If you have a subscription to Ha’aretz, you can read the article here. Highlights of the article are below.
From the article:
by Allison Kaplan Sommer | Aug. 16, 2021 | 12:08 PM | 8
Toasting marshmallows around the campfire, splashing in a lake and
competing in color wars are all images that come to mind when we think of
classic summer camp activities. Comparing narratives about Jerusalem by
reading the poetry of Israeli and Palestinian writers Yehuda Amichai and
Mahmoud Darwish, or stepping into the shoes of Jewish, Christian and
Muslim social justice activists? Not so much.
But a new program launched this summer in the United States, called
“Breaking Binaries, Creating Connections,” is attempting to add a new
dimension to the Jewish summer camp experience.
Camp, after all, has historically been a linchpin of North American Jewish
upbringing. Across the religious spectrum, from the most leftist, socialist leaning programs to the popular networks operated by the Reform and
Conservative movements, to modern Orthodox camps – Israel is viewed as an
integral part of the concept of Jewish identity that is communicated to
campers through food, music, folk dancing, and often, counselors imported
from Tel Aviv or Haifa, fresh from their army service.
The curriculum of the new program, developed by the New Israel Fund
nonprofit in Jerusalem, is based on the premise that summer camps that
attempt to instill a strong connection to Israel among children and teenagers
also have a responsibility to give them tools to learn about and grapple with
the complexities of current cultural and political realities in the country.
Initially, the program was piloted in the summer of 2019 at Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror camps, in progressive settings where she said “not a lot of persuasion was necessary” to try out the curriculum. Expansion of the project among those youth movements’ camps – and signs of interest in it among more mainstream institutions in the U.S. Jewish community – was stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered camps the following summer.
Tom BenAmram, 25, who directs educational programming for Camp Galil in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, affiliated the Habonim Dror movement, worked with his counselors to present the materials to campers and found that this also helped addressed a traditionally problematic situation.
“Having this program to turn to, rather than the issue falling on the camp’s educational director every single year … is really helpful,” he explained. “We often feel really awkward about entering into this space. And this program is saying: Here’s how you can do it. And an important part of the approach is focusing on real people who live there. I think often, in the North American Jewish world, there are all these people talking about Israel from a distance who have no connection and can’t visualize [the situation there]. … This really plugged that hole.”
For example, when leading a session featuring multiple perspectives and based on the works of Amichai and Darwish, as part of the unit called “Two Jerusalems: An Exploration of Poetry and Place,” BenAmram said, “we discussed how the two peoples have different perspectives and why that might be. This, I think, got to the core of this program. That it’s not that there are good guys and bad guys, as much as there are people. And those people have real lived experiences.”