Shnat 2020

SHNAT BLOG 3: LIMMUD – MIMI SCHLESSINGER

Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv has been an incredibly eye opening experience so far, and together as a group we have adapted to the Kibbutznick lifestyle which endures early wake ups and mentally preparing ourselves for the day. In our assigned groups we have formed close relationships with the head of each ‘job’ by listening to their years of insightful experience and learning their tricks of the trade. 

 

Each day begins with our ‘job’ groups completing the unique and sometimes physically challenging tasks prepared by our bosses but each task is enjoyable in its own way. It wouldn’t be a normal day on Kibbutz if the chicken men didn’t sing the chicken song with their boss, Tzvi, “right wing (right arm up), left wing (left arm up), who are we? The Chicken Men” proceeding to make chicken noises with the clucking and flapping of their arms. 

 

My friends working in the Kindy have been given a crash course on motherhood slightly earlier than expected although they now have a real insight into the amount of effort and mess it takes to look after a child, reassuring them how much work is required to take care of another human being, that I don’t think any of them are planning on doing it any time soon. 

 

The gardening team and I have the privilege to work alongside Moshe, we have the exhilarating task of cutting the weeds around the entire Kibbutz. As a group we learnt that in order to collaborate with him, we have to adapt his mannerisms and scream completely random Hebrew words to be able to get the job done. Although this may seem like an easy job compared to ‘Chickens’ and ‘Kindergarten’, it is actually extremely tough as the manual labour is exhausting, but it is all worth it for the ice creams that Moshe brings us at the end of the day. 

 

After work we all head over to the ‘stuff it buffet’ and take advantage of the quality Kibbutz kitchen food, in which some of the group have the “privilege” of working. I worked in the kitchen for the first two weeks and I can now definitely say, I am domesticated. Afternoons are followed by relaxing in the sun, playing music and appreciating the simplicity of life on Kibbutz.

 

Such a vital part of the Kibbutz experience is the Ma’ayan. No matter the temperature outside, it is always perfectly warm and refreshing and the vibe is instantly enhanced after an afternoon spent swimming in the Ma’ayan. Hanging around the Ma’ayan allows us to mingle with Israeli’s who try teach us hebrew, perfect swinging off the rope which leads to a few scratches but it’s all worth it and falling into the bush and having a strong reaction to the poison ivy. But, this is all part of the Incredible Chavaya!

 

Our group is also split into committees including the Birthday Committee, ensuring that everyone’s birthday is special and celebrated through decorations, loud singing, games and extravagant cakes. You can contact Mia Singer and I to make your child’s next birthday cake.

 

Shabbas on Kibbutz:

 

 

 

 

Shabbas on Kibbutz is a beautiful time for us to disconnect to reconnect. As we all come from different countries and most of us were unfamiliar with each other prior to Limmud, we must take the time to understand the way everyone reacts to certain situations and we must learn about each other’s past and family history, morals and values which has shaped who everyone is today. 

 

On Limmud we are striving to be the best people we can by acting ethically and kindly to each and every individual in this world, no matter their race or religion. As we are the Jewish youth, we must be role models to people of all ages and make sure we are spreading positivity and portraying how to act as a Modern Jew who follows Halacha and these are just some of the life lessons that are conveyed through our frequent shiurim and tochniot. 

 

We had a few Shiurim leading up to Purim which were very insightful and allowed us to delve deeper into the meaning of Purim and focus on the intricacies of the Purim story. 

 

Purim on Kibbutz:

 

 

 

 

Purim on kibbutz was a truly memorable experience for everyone to dress up, enjoy each other’s company and have a L’Chaim! We danced all night alongside some of the Kibbutzniks and had an extremely fun filled  night.

 

The morning after our Purim on Kibbutz our Limmud family headed down to Jerusalem anticipating a great Purim with all of our friends from MTA and other gap year programs. We all dumped our belongings at our AirBnb’s and changed into our costumes to only a few hours later meet up with the rest of Limmud to begin our second round of Purim celebrations. It was a meaningful and crazy night that we will definitely remember forever. The fact that so many Australians on gap year programs came together to celebrate this Chag united us all which enhanced the importance of the Purim story as despite Haman’s intended prosecution of the Jewish people, we were celebrating the survival and strength of the Jewish nation.

 

I thought I would share a small but monumental event which occurred on our free weekend on Friday night. One of our incredible teachers, Miriam Tek, hosted a few girls over for Shabbas dinner, a few girls were sleeping at her house but the other 3 of us were sleeping a 30 minute walk away. She prepared the most incredible dinner and the table was filled with meaningful conversation.

 

I had written down the directions for the way back to the apartment we were staying in and as we left Miriam’s place it started to pour. The bonding over the next half an hour was not something you can experience any time, we had to independently make our way back to where we were staying with a wet illegible map due to the rain. We got back safely but drenched but luckily there were another 3 girls who had stayed at the place who made sure no one was going to get hypothermia. It is definitely an experience none of us will ever forget. 

 

Another special moment was when a group of us were yet again, running in the rain to catch a bus and we bumped into some MTA boys. We quickly said our ”hellos” and then had to make our way. This feeling of community is something that one can only properly experience in Israel and it is still such a special feeling bumping into friends, students who have made Aliyah and Bnei Bogrim in the middle of Jerusalem.

 

We take every day of Kibbutz as it comes and we are sure are “living in the moment” as a group which is more of one big family.

 

A few of us decided it would be a nice activity to encourage the group to paint the sunset one evening as everyone’s adaptation of the sunset would be different. The deeper message being this portrays that we are all unique and think differently and this is the beauty of being part of such a diverse group. We may all have differing perceptions of the world allowing us to learn from each-other and grow with one another.

 

 

 

 

We are all extremely grateful for this incredible experience we have undergone so far and hope that everyone is happy and staying safe.

 

MIMI SCHLESSINGER

SYDNEY, LIMMUD