Nov 26, 2012

Amud Anan Update from the Hannaton Educational Center

Amud Anan, Pillar of Defence
The War in the South

Kislev 5773 November 2012

Mechina Students Volunteering in the South
For the last couple of days our students devoted themselves to the residents of the south. A number of students traveled southward to Be'er Sheba to support families with children in the shelters. They are delivering food to the shelters and entertaining the young.  This is especially necessary for families who have a parent who has been called up to the army. In Ashdod, our students are working at the hospital, accompanying those hospitalized to the shelters and participating in the hospital's support system. In Ashkelon, we are located in the NOAM center which is the only shelter in its local surroundings. NOAM has opened the center to the public and the Mechinah students are serving the community there. In addition, we delivered scarves to soldiers who are heading south in order to keep them warm.
Even with all of this, we are striving to maintain a normal life in the North among our Arab neighbors. We continue to volunteer in Kfar Manda, the closest neighboring Arab village, to emphasize the coexistence even in times of stress. Some of our students will leave for the south only after working at the learning center in Kfar Manda, a program we established when we started the mechinah.

Neve Hanna children are arriving at Hannaton

The Educational Center is  Responding to the Escalation in the South
As I write this newsletter I am listening to the continuous "Red Color" alerts on the radio. Though, up north, in the Galilee we do not hear the physical sirens, our hearts are with our southern neighbors who are living under the constant threat. As a center for young leadership we are active in our response both at home and at the Front. At the Center we are currently lodging a number of groups from Ashdod; they are all glad to have an opportunity to experience some calm and appreciate not having to run constantly to the shelters.
In addition, we are hosting 100 children and staff from Neve Hanna, an educational therapeutic home for children at risk. These students will reside at the center for a couple of days. While at the Center our Mechinah students will engage these children with recreational activities, easing their time with us. We have also organized for the Noam singing group, Shirat Machar, A Song for Tomorrow, the choir of the Masorti movement, to join us and perform from their repertoire.
JTS Chancellor Prof. Ernie Eisen visited Hannaton to learn more about the Center
We were honored recently by the chancellor's visit to the Kibbutz and pleased by his desire to learn more about the Center. The chancellor was accompanied by marc Gary, the executive vice president, both currently touring Israel these days and this was the first time Prof. Eisen visited Hannaton and learned first hand about the center. After touring the kibbutz and the educational center we sat together with Prof. Eisen and received his impressions regarding our programs and initiatives. Prof. Eisen said that one of the challenges of the Conservative movement today is to generate leadership – which, of course, is one of our central missions!
Omer Aharon, left, and Chen Ofir, right, both Mechina Student, are playing with children Beer Sheva shelter

While rushing between bomb shelters IBA Channel 1 interviewed our instructor. Standing next to him the Mechina students.
Channel 11 Mechinat Hannaton
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On its campus in the Lower Galilee, the Hannaton Educational and Spiritual Center engages current and future Jewish leaders in open dialogue and creative expression regarding their evolving connection to Judaism and Israel.

Our core programming, which includes educational seminars, hands-on experiential activities, and extended exploratory retreats, invites participants to examine their own Jewish identity and spirituality and commitment to the Jewish People, as well as how to incorporate traditional Jewish customs and practices into their modern, mainstream lives.

Affiliated with the Masorti Movement and situated on Kibbutz Hannaton, the Center aims to stimulate, for Israelis, a richer connection to Judaism and, for Diaspora Jews, a dynamic connection to Israel.