As part of our Hanukkah celebration, we are highlighting different members of our community who have been beacons of light in the past year.
Today, the spotlight goes to Sophie and Arnaud Amzallag, whose two daughters are chanichot in the movement. Sophie & Arnaud share their connection to Hashomer Hatzair and why they chose to send their daughters to Shomria.
Arnaud and his kvutza in Machane Israel, 90s
We searched for the girls to have a meaningful connection to their jewish and israeli roots reflecting our progressive values: democracy, pluralistic judaism including secular judaism, peaceful existence for Israel and all other nations including Palestinian people, sharing and caring for other human beings - humanistic values, Hebrew culture and education centered.
We could not think of a better way to do it than participating in Ha Shomer Ha-tzair activities. In our case it meant attending Camp Shomria.
Arnaud joined the HaShomer HaTzair movement in France, Ken of Paris, at the age of 9. He was part of the movement throughout his childhood, teenage years and into adulthood till the age of 21. In fact, our story of deep and meaningful connection with HaShomer starts with Arnaud's mom, Danielle (Daphna by her HaShomer name) who attended the ken’s activities in Paris back in the 50s (and who herself and all her family carried the experience of holocaust survivorship). Clement, Arnaud's big brother, was a central part of Paris's ken during 80s and 90s. He became Boger Mahon and made Alya to Kibbutz Gazit (Northern Israel).
Sophie made Alya to Israel from the former Soviet Union with all her family in June 1990. She soon enough learnt Hebrew, attended high school and participated in extra-curriculum activities in Kibbutz Beeri, served in IDF and met Arnaud in Weizmann Institute of Science while completing her Master degree of Science.
We feel that HaShomer offers a unique experience of inclusion and acceptance while building a strong connection with both Israel's connected and Jewish heritage. It educates kids for personal responsibility for the community, for equal sharing of chores and for the importance of spending time together to discuss values and views on various critical topics that affect our society in general and our community specifically. Amazingly, a lot of it is done in a very welcoming and fun environment, using a sense of humor and critical thinking.
Our hope for the movement is to be able to continue cultivating and spreading its values in the years to come. In the US, we can hope that Ken activities may open in other locations such as Boston.