I thought I walked into the Hashomer Hatzair 100 anniversary Mesiba/celebration last night in Manhattan knowing what to expect. We'd hug, we'd talk, we'd laugh, we'd plan to see each other again, and I would feel that extraordinary community-love that I have known ever since my first week at Camp Shomria at age 12. I got that, but what I want to share is I wasn't expecting. Here I must admit: I was a boob. Despite knowing about the program that Efrat Levy, with Assaf Galin's help, had put together, I was surprised by how meaningful the event was. I was expecting to be--I'm ashamed to say it--bored.
Damn, I was wrong. Efrat had invited Shomrim across generations to discuss how their Hashomer experience drives and informs their dedication to tikkun olam, healing the world. In her introduction, Efrat talked about how some movements can boast about incredibly wealthy and famous alum, but Hashomer doesn't produce that so much as we cultivate people who spend their lives working to make the world better. YES! The discussion was real, inspiring, funny, personal. Even after that, when recently published author and activist Yaniv Sagee was introduced to discuss A Compass for Trailblazers, A Solidarity of Nations, Kibbutz Socialism, & Zionism, I took the opportunity to load up on rugelach and rasberries from the buffet in the back. These days, discussions of Israel make me ashamed, hopeless, ambivalent. I poured myself a glass of wine and returned to my seat.
And I was wowed. Sagee shared a perspective that made me want to reengage with the issues, not run away from them. He talked about how we cannot allow the redefinition of Zionism by the right-wing go unchallenged. He gave me hope, a glimpse at a path forward that gives the equity to Jews and Palestinians that is their birthright. Sagee shared concepts that are simple (though challenging and probably unpopular) that I had not been familiar with but which resonated like a deep bell with my most essential values. I will be reading his book. I will be continuing to ask Shomrim from generations past to get involved again. The hadracha, several of whom stewarded the event, is amazing, courageous, smart, creative, and dedicated. At least the ones I've met. I was sad that no one from my age-range was there. It was just me. Yet, I know how meaningful the movement was to many of you. I understand there might be barriers to reengagement--concerns about Israel, concerns about supervision, etc. Please, if this is the case, talk to me or someone more familiar with today's movement than I am. It would be a shame to lose you because of a conversation that should have, but didn't, happen. Despite the absence of my peers, there were a lot of people there--people I have known all my life and people I just met. And that feeling of love... I was thinking, if I had to choose a random group of people I never met whom I trust to do the right thing in a time of crisis--this would be it.
Parent, Alum, and Board Member