Onward NOAM Olami Final Shabbaton at Hannaton

Onward NOAM Olami participants spent their final weekend in Israel at a Shabbaton at the NOAM Israel camp at Kibbutz Hannaton. “The Shabbaton at Hannaton was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Onward NOAM Olami program and was a great way to spend our last weekend” says Reut Yahav, director of NOAM Olami. “The combined strength of our being all together in nature along with 250 other teenagers and young adults from the Masorti movement all wearing NOAM shirts was very powerful. It was really a complete experience having the entire Kabbalat Shabbat and our meals together in the forest.”

The Kabbalat Shabbat of which Reut speaks was an endless celebration of singing and dancing in the forest, and constituted the Onward NOAM Olami group’s first real experience of seeing such a big community of Masorti young people. It strengthened their pride in their Masorti identities and made them feel part of something a much bigger.

The Onward NOAM Olami group arrived at NOAM Camp following a day at the Atlit Detainee Camp Museum and a visit to the Tulip Winery. Upon arrival the group had some alone time where they were able to sum up their experiences during the previous six weeks and reflect on them. After that, they prepped for Shabbat and then went on to celebrate an amazing Kabbalat Shabbat in nature. At the Friday night meal that evening the Zemirot went on and on. When the meal finally ended they celebrated an Oneg Shabbat along with the camp’s senior staff where they had the opportunity to share their favorite activities from their home countries.

On Shabbat morning the entire camp attended Shabbat services and heard the Torah reading. Following lunch, the Onward participants received some hands-on experience in leading and Hadracha. In addition to their group, there were also fifty participants from NOAM UK’s “Israel Tour” who were attending camp. The members of the Israel Tour were 16 year olds who were spending six weeks in Israel. The Onward participants split up into pairs, each of whom got to practice leading their activities with a group of ten Chanichim from the UK. The only guidelines for the session were that it had to be connected to Shabbat and that they also had to teach something that they had learned while on the Onward NOAM Olami program that they wanted to pass on. While they spent the week preparing for this moment and preparing their sessions, they were all nervous ahead of their first teaching experience. While teaching for the first time is always tricky, it was even more so as most of the group did not speak English as a first language. However, after the session was over there was unanimous agreement that it had been a very good experience.

At the end of Shabbat the entire camp gathered for a huge Havdalah ceremony and then they all sat on the floor and initiated Tisha B’Av by listening to the chanting of Megillat Eichah by candlelight.

The weekend provided the group with incredible bonding experiences and gave them a feeling of having a special home within the movement. In some of their home communities they don’t get more than 15-20 for a Shabbat minyan, while this Shabbaton had 250 participants. Reactions from the Shabbaton were uniformly positive with a participant from Sweden writing” I wanted to thank you for this weekend. It was amazing and I have never experienced such a special and magical Shabbat before.”

Onward NOAM Olami is a six-week summer program run as a partnership between Onward Israel and Masorti Olami. Geared towards Masorti youth leaders, the university-aged participants spend six weeks of their summer vacation living independently in apartments in Jerusalem, working as interns at Israeli companies, and learning about Masorti Judaism and how to become leaders for the NOAM youth movement.

This weekend was a partnership with NOAM Israel and made possible through the generous support of our partners at Onward Israel and a grant from North Shore Suburban Synagogue Beth El.

For more information on Onward NOAM Olami or to register for the 2019 session, contact NOAM Olami Director Reut Yahav at: Reut@noamolami.org