This week has been a very busy week for Etgar. Most of us spent the past Shabbat at a MASA event where we got the luxury of staying in a 5 star hotel with some great food and great people. The event was focused around our gap year journeys. It was a great opportunity to get to know other youth movements and hear from lots of different opinions. We started off the weekend at an outdoor activities centre where we were given team building tasks. Meanwhile Miranda, Sam, Daniel, Maxine, Nancye and Ella S were all busy running the Jerusalem marathon. A massive well done and congratulations to all of them! The rest of the weekend we attended a variety of seminars and talks about our Shnat journey so far, text study, Judaism and much more. One of the talks that stood out for a lot of people was a talk by a therapist who had worked with a lot of previous gap year students. The talk was about the amount of changes we make on Shnat and how we can continue the lifestyle we’ve created once we get back. We have also all returned as profession jugglers after having a juggling session as well. Being in a pluralistic environment, there were a variety of options to attend for Kabbalat Shabbat and Netzer ran their own kabshab which everyone really enjoyed. We finished the weekend with a improv session. An amazing theatre group acted out stories of our lives in song, one of them included Miranda’s gripping story about rhubarb.

We went on a tiyul (hike) in the Negev from early on Sunday morning until Wednesday evening. We were about 10 kilometres from the Dead Sea! We hiked all day for 4 days and slept in tents at different campsites for 3 nights. Overall, we all greatly welcomed the challenge of the hike. We pushed through and all felt much personal satisfaction. The 4 days in the desert were also filled with much fun with the theme of the week being ‘desert’. Our rosh shvuim (Nancye and Sammy) prepared fun desert facts to tell us at every meal. We also learnt a lot from our guides Guy and Itai who showed us things such as various edible plants in the desert and how to orientate ourselves using the stars and moon. Their banter was quality!

For me, the highlight of the hike was seeing and climbing in and out of the ‘Devils Crater’. The view was absolutely breathtaking! Climbing out of the crater on the last day was one of the most challenging physical things I’ve ever done, but we motivated each other and made it to the top!

After these 4 days, we are really looking forward to our next tiyul in the north!

Sphill and Bec



Weekly update by Mia and Rosa-