HDCA Newsletter – November 2021
Mazkirut Reaches Decision on Upcoming Veida
by Jenna Abrams, Rakezet Chinuch
HDNA is scheduled to hold its biennial Veida, or Convention, in December 2021. Movement members have been looking forward to gathering together in-person for the first time in almost two years. However, given the ongoing COVID crisis, Mazkirut Artzit has struggled to determine whether and how Habonim Dror can responsibly hold Veida (and the accompanying Winter Seminar) this year.
For the past two months, we’ve been having conversations with many community leaders (both ma’apilimot leadership and adult partners) so that we would be able to make the most informed decision. We asked many stakeholders about what they see as the purpose/goals of Veida, the feelings around Veida in each community, the options for the format of Veida, and challenges and advantages of each of these options.
From these conversations as well as our own experience leading the movement, we have gathered that Veida needs to be a space that allows for productive dialogue that will support community-building between people from different machanot. It also needs to be a fun, engaging, social environment that can contain disagreement in a healthy way. It’s really difficult for these things to exist in a largely online format, and the ma’apilimot with whom we engaged in these questions did not support trying to do complex decision-making online. At the same time, because of COVID-19, we do not feel that it is going to be possible for us to have an in-person seminar in December where we gather as an entire movement and are still able to ensure the safety and well-being of our participants.
Given all of these conversations and the insight we’ve received from our various partners, we have decided that we will be delaying the formal decision-making process of Veida 2021 to May 2022. We will be having programming in the Winter for the movement that will support the educational and social process of Veida in May, so we will still be collecting Veida proposals in the next few months. We will also be attempting to organize regional in-person meet-ups with seminar content in December, based on the interest of each community, as well as online movement-wide programming.
Planning Continues for MBI 2022
Mazkirut made the decision to pursue this arrangement after conducting a survey of families with chanichimot currently in 10th grade. The survey assessed priorities for summer 2022 as well as cost issues. From a schichva of approximately 130 chanichimot, 55 families responded.
The survey asked families to rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how important it is for their child to:
- Spend time in Israel this summer? 65.5% of respondents rated this 4 or 5
- Attend a program with peers from other HDNA camps? 76.3% rated this 4 or 5
- Spend time at their home machaneh? 56.4% rated this 4 or 5
Complete survey results may be obtained by emailing Kaela Evenchick, Rakezet Tochniot, at email@example.com
Stand Up for Democracy! Rabin Memorial Event
by Tamar Levi, Central Shlicha, HDNA
Summer Mifgash Wrap-up
And finally, enjoy this Word Cloud we made of participants’ thoughts while watching the camp videos. Habonim Dror Camps are all about ruach, creativity, chevra and joy!
Welcome Jared Matas – HDNA Board Chair
Jared in the Central Office organizing the mailing of B’tnua
Jared is a proud boger of Machaneh Miriam, a member of Workshop 43 and was Mazkir T’nua of HDNA from 1998-2000. Jared was a co-founder of Garin Alpayim which helped the movement reconnect with socialist-Zionist hagshama after spending most of the 90s ideologically adrift amid post-Zionism and the collapse of the traditional kibbutz movement. In 2001 – 2002, while living in Jerusalem as a member of Kvutsat Yovel, Jared helped conceive and implement the revitalized Workshop program for the 21 century, with a new focus on social activism and urban communal living.
In his post-movement life, Jared moved to Boston where he has worked for two decades as an educator with experience ranging from kindergarten to middle school and college. Jared also works as an educational consultant for synagogues, day schools and Hebrew charter schools across North America, leading teacher professional development on topics such as project-based learning, STEAM integration and remote teaching. Jared was previously the Director of STEAM Innovation at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, where he led school-wide initiatives in the areas of Design Thinking and project based learning. He is currently the Director of Technology at the Cambridge Montessori School.
As I’ve begun this work, an added bonus for me has been to reconnect with so many chevrei that I haven’t been in touch with in years. As we all know, one of the strengths of the movement is this amazing network. If we haven’t spoken recently, I’d love to hear from you – please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome Sue Aistrop – HDNA Business Administrator
It is with great pleasure that I take the position of Business Administrator for HDNA. My engagement with the movement began when two of my children attended Camp Galil. Their experiences at camp and on MBI were intense and long-lasting. I saw they made choices and decisions in their lives based on principles they embraced and have relationships that continue to this day.
I have spent many years in the non-profit world, serving people with HIV/AIDS, working on food insecurity, and most recently working with seniors in Jewish organizations. My hope is that my background and skills will serve HDNA with scope and long-range vision. I’m thrilled to commit to an organization that so mirrors my own social outlook and worldview.
HDCA Leadership Meets with JCamp 180
- Across our movement, HDNA camps raised over $800,000 through the JCamp 180 All Together Now match program.
- All 6 of our camps ran successful programs in 2021 with no COVID at any of them.
- Our camps’ enrollment ran the gamut from extremely full to less full – specifically due to limited camper beds during certain time periods.
- All the camps ended the summer in a stable financial position, but some have a need to build back reserve funds.
- All the camps need to continue fundraising for scholarships.
- All of our camps have capital needs and several have overall rehabilitation needs.
- All the camps faced increased mental health challenges with both campers and staff.
MarHaba! Ismi Alisa. (Hello! My name is Alisa)
We are so inspired by Rabbi Tom Gutherz, the chair of the Habonim Dror Foundation. Tom is the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, Virginia. His strength and leadership in that community in the wake of the 2017 far-right rally is highlighted in this article from The Forward.