Gimmel Machane

August 13th, 2013

As the Chanichim complete their UK Machane journey before experiencing Israel Machane and H–Course, Gimmel is where they get to grips with Bnei Akiva’s ideology and see how what they have learned previously fits together. The theme is  Bnei Akiva, and aims to teach the Chanichim about Religious Zionist ideology, as well as learning about the origins of Bnei Akiva and the movement itself.

Day 15: After a closing Mifkad, Gimmel Machane boarded their coaches for their land-and-sea adventure home!

Day 14: The final day of Machane brought with it site clean-ups and packing time, but there was enough time to fit in the all important “Shevet Ne’eman Veida!” This is a direct analogue of Bnei Akiva’s yearly AGM, where real policy decisions are made that affect the way the movement runs. This Veida gave chanichim the opportunity to voice their opinions on Bnei Akiva and to suggest things to implement in the future. They also had the opportunity to elect a Hanhalla – a group of 6 people to represent their year group to Bnei Akiva and to arrange events for the Shevet in the coming years. This events really signal a coming of age in Bnei Akiva terms and the movement in general is excited to see what the future holds for Shevet Ne’eman! Machane was of course rounded off by a stellar Messibat Siyum, which lasted until the coaches arrived for an early departure for home!

Day 13: Over Shabbat the Machane learnt about a few Bnei Akiva heroes – Rav Neriyah, Arieh Handler, Esther Caillingold and Yoni Jesner. This gave the perfect background to a Tochnit about Hadracha – Leadership – an important Tochnit for Gimmel machane given that many of the chanichim will become madrichim at their local Svivot from Succot onwards. Hopefully Shevet Ne’eman will produce their own Bnei Akiva heroes in the future!

Day 12: Friday signalled time for the Colour War! Each Machlaka group was given a colour and teams competed to find out which group was better than the rest! Congratulations to the red team on their win! That left just enough time to prepare for Shabbat as once again the Bnei Akiva ruach made itself heard over the hills and far away…

Day 11: Machlaka day 2 held early starts for our wandering groups of chanichim as they aimed to make it to the local town of Cahors before finishing back at the Machane site. Once in Cahors, chanichim had the opportunity to explore the Medieval area of the town and to walk across the awe-inspiring Valentree Bridge – built in the 14th Century! After a couple of hours of exploring, chanichim embarked on the last stretch of their walk back to the site – tired legs and a sense of achievement were the order of the day!

Day 10: The day has finally arrived…MACHLAKA! 5 groups of chanichim were dropped off in the french countryside with nothing but a map, a compass and their wit to make it back to the site over the course of 2 days! Chanichim walked approximately half the way today and all found places to camp out overnight. Tents were pitched, food was cooked and shmirah (guard duty) rotas were worked out, before everyone turned in for the night.

Day 9: The final pillar of our ideology – Aliyah – was examined in depth today. The question was asked whether it’s enough to just live in Israel in an Anglo community, or whether we should integrate fully into Israeli society to have fulfilled “Aliyah” to the maximum. Tochniot today included an Isreali music bonanaza and “The Aliyah Experience,” where chanichim were blindfolded and experienced Israel through their other senses, like the sounds and smells of the Shuk (market) in Jerusalem.

With Machlaka (overnight hike) tomorrow, time was dedicated to preparing for the experience. Chanichim brushed up on their map reading skills, how to put up a tent, and how to cook out in the open!

Day 8: The day focused on the second pillar of the ideology – Avoda; what it could mean, what it once meant in Bnei Akiva and what it means to Bnei Akiva today. This was backed up by a Tochnit entitled “Building a Modern Avodah Society.”

Day 7: The Machane really began to get stuck into the meat of Bnei Akiva’s ideology with a day themed around Torah and how it forms the basis of our lives. Chanichim were presented with a number of different approaches to a Torah lifestyle in a Tochnit – among others, Sefardi, Ashkenzi, Chassidic and Modern Orthodox lifestyles all made an appearance. The day also contained a Tochnit looking at the Yom Kippur War, the 40th anniversary of which is this coming Yom Kippur.

Day 6: The calm of Shabbat day, gave everyone an opportunity to relax in the heat of Southern France. The day was punctuated with an interesting Tochnit focusing on the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and an unforgettable Seudah Shlishit. After Shabbat, there was time to play a huge Wide Game around the massive site!

Day 5: Friday brought an inter-Sviva talent contest, a Messy Tochnit and time to prepare for Shabbat. The unique Bnei Akiva atmosphere made itself felt throughout the site and over the rolling hills of the Midi Pyrenees as Gimmel enjoyed Kabbalat Shabbat, a wonderful dinner and an amazing Tisch.

Day 4: It wasn’t Eleanor of Aquitaine…but Walibi of Aquitaine as Gimmel Machane descended upon the Walibi World theme park in the famous southwestern province of France! Chanichim enjoyed rides including the Boomerang, Ladybird and Aquachute, before heading back to the site for a James Bond 007 style Tochnit.

Day 3: The day was dominated by the theme of “Youth Power,” where chanichim learnt of the potential they have as a group of young people to change the world. This idea was reinforced by a Tochnit in which chanichim demonstrated against things such as the wearing of socks & sandals, the pointlessness of mosquitoes and how there is too much air in bags of crisps! The pros and cons of age vs youth were also highlighted in an “Old People” Tochnit…talcum powder for grey hair anyone?!

Day 2: Machane got into full swing, starting with an introductory Mifkad. This was followed by an introduction to the Madrichim and to our beautiful new site in the south of France! Next was an initiative test to introduce the chanichim to the theme of the Machane – Bnei Akiva. After lunch, the first Kvutzah focused on “Life and Lifestyle” and chanichim were introduced to different world lifestyles in a Tochnit – Sushi, Spartans and sipping Moroccan tea! The day ended with the first Limmud and Open Bet Midrash sessions…what a massive day!

Day 1: The chanichim arrived, ate a quick dinner…and went to bed!

Posted in Machane

Bet Chalutzi Machane

August 13th, 2013

The theme of Bet Chalutzi is Medina Bevinyana, a state in building, where we educate about Zionism and how the State of Israel came about. We also emphasise that the job is not complete and the building is still going on. We have seen how we can continue this building and be true pioneers in the future of Am Yisrael, B’eretz Yisrael al pi Torat Yisrael.

Day 15: After a closing Mifkad, Bet Chalutzi Machane boarded their coaches for the Eurostar and home!

Day 14: The last full day of Machane contained the obligatory site clean ups and packing times, but there was also time for an Israeli-politics-style, X-factor, musical bonanza! Well done to all parties, although the judges were a bit harsh at times – very Simon Cowell-esque! After electric ruach at dinner, the last thing BC Machane had to do was of course put together an incredible Messibat Siyum Talent Show. Chanichim and Madrichim all got up on stage to entertain the rest of the machane with such things as sausage eating, blindfolded biscuit decorating and even an accomplished musician or two! Of course the built in lighting and sound system in the new site only added to the occasion!

Day 13: The relaxed Shabbat atmosphere was punctuated with a Kvutza looking at life in Israel today and fantastic ruach at both meals…especially the Seudah Shlishit. There was of course time for an amazing Wide Game to cap off a brilliant second Shabbat.

Day 12: Friday means one thing on Machane…MESSY TOCHNIT! But this one had a twist…it was a water themed competition. And we all know what happens when you play with water outdoors…you get muddy! Of course there was more than enough time to get ready for Shabbat and take a few photos for Facebook purposes. Shabbat began with another beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat, a delicious meal and an outdoor tisch into the night!

Day 11: Today the State of Israel was established! At least…that’s what BC Machane learnt about in Kvutza! This was followed by an “Election Night” Tochnit and a Sviva Challenge, where chanichim grouped together according to their local Svivot to find out which one was the best! The day was rounded off with a relaxing Movie Night.

Day 10: Today Bet Chalutzi Machane went to the Walibi World theme park! Even thought everyone got completely soaked in the rain, the Machane had an amazing time as the park was so quiet that there were barely any queues!

Zak Wagman: I really enjoyed it even though the rain was so heavy it even began to hurt on the roller coasters!

Ilana Schajer: It was awesome!

Day 9: Kvutza today looked at the various underground movements that existed in pre-State Israel. This fed into looking at different units in the modern IDF and a Tochnit, where chanichim had to free a captured Madricha! The skills needed included climbing through a maze of strings, endurance and (watergun) shooting. Today also included a final Question & Answer session with our Rav Shaliach, Rav Ilan Goldman as he is going back to Israel after Machane. The questions were so interesting that many chanichim continued asking Rav Ilan questions during the Open Bet Midrash session that took place after a Murder Mystery Tochnit in the evening.

Ella Marchant: It was really interesting to see how the different parts within the IDF work, and it was inspiring to learn how much effort they put into protecting the State.

Jesse Friedland: The Murder Mystery has been the best Tochnit so far!

Day 8: Today’s Kvutza was called “Inception of the state,” where chanichim discussed which things are needed to build a modern day country. This idea was reinforced with a “Sim City” Tochnit, where chanichim had to sim(ulate) their ideal city in Israel. The evening brought an intense supper quiz, testing chanichim’s knowledge of sports, Judaism, music and more.

Day 7: The day started with learning about fallen Israeli soldiers. One of the Israeli security guards at the machane told the story of one of his friends who had died in the army, and the madrichim shared their experiences of Israel on Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day). Kvutza focused on Theodore Herzl and his dream to make Israel a Jewish Homeland! The afternoon saw “Colour War” fever rip through Bet Chalutzi, with madrichim morphing into Power Rangers. The competition continued through lunch into a giant game of Frustration, where team members went head-to-head in games of sock wars, the gauntlet and tug of war. Unfortunately the Power Rangers were then turned into zombies and the machane had to find the antidote to get the Rangers back…well done to the Blue Ranger’s team for winning the Colour War!

Ittai Mattan: Although we’ve had fun and easy going tochniot, there are also some serious ones such as today when we learnt about fallen IDF soldiers. I found it emotional and I wrote a long letter, which will be given to a soldier. I told them how grateful we are for them protecting our country.

Evie Marsden: During colour war we were all in big groups and it brought the machane together. Lunch was incredible and I loved the singing and Ruach!

Day 6: After more awesome ruach and some Shabbat rest, they machane went on to learn about the Ethiopian and Russian Aliyot. To understand the long journeys, difficult conditions and language difficulties faced by new Olim, chanichim had to do obstacle courses, squeeze into “magic carpets” and crack codes. Shabbat afternoon shiur topics included: Looking for Hashem in nature, the Amidah and “Were Joseph’s brothers god or evil?” Shabbat was rounded off by a beautiful Seudah Shlishit filled with songs the machane had learnt earlier on in the day. The singing continued late into the night accompanied by guitars and hot chocolate!

Toby Weiniger: Absolutely crazy ruach here in Holland! #reishittzmichatgeulateinu

Day 5: Kvutza today focused on how we as Religious Zionists view the State of Israel and also looked at Religious Zionist Rabbis such as Rav Reines, Rav Kalisher and Rav Kook. A further look at these figures of our past came in the form of a “Take Me Out” style Tochnit! After lunch everyone got ready for shabbat in a Messy Tochnit – hair washing in honey, a muddy obstacle course to shul…just your average Friday on Bet Chalutzi!

Shabbat began with some amazing kriyot (songs) during Mifkad with Kvutzat Pompeii winning the prize for best Kryia. This was followed by Kabbalat Shabbat, dinner and a beautiful Tisch filled with that unmistakeable Bnei Akiva ruach.

Sam Kaufman: Bnei Akiva makes learning fun! I’ve learnt so much about inspirational figures in Judaism such as Rav Kook.

Day 4: Today Bet Chalutzi learnt about life in Galut (the diaspora) during Kvutzah. This was followed by an apprentice style Tochnit, where chanichim were tasked with inventing the best product to help us stay Jewish in the Galut. The winning invention was the JWatch – a watch with functions such as a compass for finding which way to face when davening, an alarm to tell you what time to start davening and a mirror for boys to get their Tefillin straight! After Shiur and Chug, the Machane revisited London 2012 with a sporty Tochnit involving “Welly Shot Put” and “Piggy-back Equestrianism!”

Day 3: The Machane travelled to Amsterdam where they visited the Jewish museum and took a walking tour around Amsterdam’s Jewish area. There they learnt about life for Dutch Jews before, during and after the Holocaust. In the afternoon they visited Anne Frank’s house and concluded the trip with a Mifkad outside the house.

Day 2: A question was asked to introduce the theme of Medinya Bevinyana: is the Israel we had in the past the same as as the one we want today? This was followed by The Battle of the Israelis, where groups learnt about different sectors of Israeli society and competed to find out who is the best. The Tochnit concluded however that Israeli society would be incomplete without everyone. The chanichim also had the first Chug (creative activities) session. Activities included: volleyball, cricket, humous making, debating and metitation. Each Kvutzah also spent some time learning about Anne Frank in preparation for Wednesday’s visit to her house. The day ended with an #EPIC dares tochnit..!

Day 1: The chanichim arrived at our beautiful new site in Diessen, Holland and straight away found out all about their Madrichim. This was followed by the setting up of an Israeli “Shuk” – market – bringing a taste of Israeli life to the Netherlands! Bet Chalutzi then showed their ruach in an extended session of crazyness! The day ended with a tour of the site, including learning about the people who used to live there…

Posted in Machane

Bet Base Machane

August 13th, 2013

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Posted in Machane


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