February 4

Netzer Deutschland 2012

2012 was a year of learning and strengthening UpJ Netzer Germany. Five hadracha-seminars build the backbone of the training of our madrichim (counselors) and the activities in Germany. We reached out to new chanichim and continued our joined activities with Netzer groups worldwide, especially with Poland.
For the first time ever we held our annual summer Camp “Machane Yehonathan” in cooperation with Beit Polska, the umbrella organization of Progressive Judaism in Poland and the flagship congregation, Beit Warsawa and the Beit Warszaw Foundation. The camp took place in the north-western part of Poland in the small town Polcyn-Zdroy (Bad Polzin) in a newly renovated youth hostel on a side of a well-known spa.

Gruppenfoto Machane

60 chanichim (participants) from Germany and from Poland where accompanied by a team of 10 German and 3 Polish Madrichim and staff members. The Kids have been in the age of 8-18, the madrichim between 18 and 24. The camp took place under the broader theme “Planet Netzer – Planeta Netzer – Kochav Netzer”. The idea was that the chanichim should explore a new world – a new country – a new way of Jewish living – new friend – new challenges. Our diverse programs and activities where specially designed to achieve this goals. Especially to explore a new country: Poland. We learned before the camp through several talks to parents, friends and others, how “unknown” Poland is today for many Jews in Germany. There are still many prejudgments and stereotypes which are not a modern reflection of the Polish-(Jewish)-culture of today. Our camp was also intended to support the growing progressive movement in Poland. We are quite sure we managed to fulfill these goals, as we gained 73 new ambassadors: the German kids and madrichim, who are returned home with a diverse impression of Poland, and the Polish ones with new insides into progressive Judaism.

The machane was the 10th after the tragic death of Andreas Yehonathan Hinz z’’l, who’s Yahrzeit we marked in our Shabbat services, and after whom our summer camps are named.

The winter camp, held in Bad Sachsa in the Harz (central Germany), was joined by 50 campers (from 8-18) and ten counselors, and by this on of the biggest winter camps ever. The week in the winter break was marked by a lot of learning on Jewish identity and friendship. As the machane took place close to the former border between East and West Germany, the German history was also part of the educational program.

A mini machane (weekend camp) was held on Shavuot in Mai 2012 in the UpJ congregation Unna with 25 chanichim. Together with Rabbi Daniel Alter the Kids between 6 and 12 had their own Tikun Leil Shavuot.

Counselor (madrichim) training seminars (hadracha seminar) were held in January, June, July, October and November 2012. 12 new counselors in training joined the program at the October seminar and 4 finished the two years program in June. Aside from the summer camp, there were a number of other youth exchanges over the course of the year. One counselor finished his year program in Israel with Netzer Olami. He also attended Netzer Olami’s international conference, the Ve’ida, in Jerusalem in January. A group from Netzer England came to Germany for an encounter in Berlin.
After a year without an emissary of the Jewish Agency’s (Shlicha), Hagar Levy Kedmy joined our team in October. With the help of trained counselors she could ran children and youth meetings as well as activities to celebrate Jewish holidays in some of our UpJ communities, namely Munich, Bielefeld, Hameln, Hannover and Bad Segeberg. Adrian Michael Schell, the youth director of the UpJ, joined as a representative of UpJ Netzer Germany the EUPJ conference in Amsterdam and a German-Israeli youth leader exchange program, organized by ConAct and the Israeli Youth