I always hear the phrase “Noar Tzioni, Tzioni Reformi” sung during the NFTY cheer when I went to my first NFTY-SAR (Southern Area Region) event in 2010, but I never really knew what it meant. A few events later, I found out that the word “Netzer” is the acronym for that phrase – nun, tzadik, reish. The phrase itself, Noar Tzioni Reformi, means “Reform Zionist Youth”. When I attended NFTY Mechina in 2013, Aaron Heft, the 2012-2013 NFTY Membership and Communications Vice President, gave a presentation on Netzer Olami. I then learned that NFTY is a snif (branch)of Netzer Olami – the worldwide Reform Zionist Youth Movement.
A part of the TYG Starter Guide explains more in depth about the Movement.
Since the TYG Starter Guide was published, the list of Netzer Olami sniffim (branches) has changed. The updated list is: Australia, Belarus, Germany, Israel (Which is called Noar Telem), North America (NFTY), Panama, Russia, South Africa, Spain, France, United Kingdom (they have two sniffim – LJY and RSY), Holland, and Ukraine.
Much like NFTY, Netzer Olami has events, leadership conferences, and social action days.
Over the last 10 years, a number of NFTYites have taken part in Shnat Netzer – Netzer’s gap year experience in Israel. This year, Alex Littua, an alum from NFTY-SoCal will be taking part in this program.
He says that he decided to take part on the year-long adventure after “[he] looked where [he] would want to go, if [he] would be able to go there in the future,” and the familiarity of the location. Shnat Netzer, via the Netzer Olami website, “is a unique 10 month leadership training program for young adults in Israel that develops the skills and knowledge necessary for them to become madrichim (leaders) in the movement.”
Making up more than 7,000 people of the 16,000 person movement, NFTY has a large commitment to Netzer Olami. Last year in NFTY-SAR, the Religious and Cultural Vice President, Emily Kahn-Perry, started a pen-pal program with Netzer Australia. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful pen-pal named Emily, who I still email with today. Being able to feel an instant connection to programming and to friendships with someone who just gets it makes this huge world feel just a little bit smaller.
Netzer Olami shares a special connection to NFTY, and more specifically, the membership of NFTY. We, as members of the largest Snif in Netzer, have a responsibility to keep the movement thriving. Being able to make connections, inside and outside of our own smaller movement, is crucial to the continuation of our people.
Check back next week for 5 Months to a Successful TYG: Month 1 and Month 2!