Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Welcome Shevet Lehava

Saturday night marked the end of Bnei Akiva's Shabbat Irgun which is the culmination of the month long Chodesh Irgun. Bnei Akiva is a religious zionist youth movement which is active worldwide. I was never involved with Bnei Akiva when I was a kid but because my best friend was very into it, I wound up going on Mach Hach b'kibbutz after 10th grade and on Hachshara after high school. Eventually, it was through Bnei Akiva that I met Arthur and the rest as they say is history. 
In Israel, Bnei Akiva is more political than it is abroad, and is the major though not the only youth movement for religious kids. Once all the holidays are over and the kids can get a routine going in school, Bnei Akiva embarks on Chodesh Irgun (Organization Month), to ensure that not too much learning takes place before the next big vacation (Chanuka). Baila described Chodesh Irgun as a month long color war but in fact it's more educational and is always centered on a theme, this year's being "למען שמו באהבה" or "For Hashem's name, in love."

A festive Shabbat Irgun (which on Zufim included a special misheberach during Torah reading by the gabay for the Bnei Akiva chanichim and madrichim) marks the end of the month long activities, followed by a performance with flags (daglanut) by the 9th graders who will be getting their permanent shevet name, the ceremony where each age group (shevet) ascends to the next shevet, the bestowing of the name of the new shevet, and performances by all the age groups. This year Maor is in 9th grade and a member of the newest shevet, Lehava. Lehava means flame and as the secretary general of Bnei Akiva, Rabbi Benny Nechteiler, said in his remarks "An everlasting fire burns in the heart of the youth, a fire of love for Hashem, the nation, and the country...your name expresses the power of love burning in the hearts and striving to exist through Torah and Avoda for Hashem's sake." Lehava   is also an acronym for לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה (Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem).

After being told their shevet name which is usually a closely guarded secret but for some reason was widely known this year, the kids get sweatshirts which were designed by their madrichim (counselors) and this is the detail of Maor's which reads: FLAME - because you don't mess with fire.



Michael said...

considering Maor's personality, there probably couldn't be a more appropriate name and message "You don't mess with fire!"

I'm glad this event went well and everyone was vary happy, congratulations!.

Baila said...

This is my third year for this ritual and every year my kids knew the name of the shevet a week or two earlier.

I'm glad you got Maor back in time for this, I believe it's a rite of passage for many Israeli religious teenagers--next year it's Tali's turn, and she can't wait.

Lori said...

Mazal tov, Maor! Molly wants to know if your shevet went to Caesaria or someplace else for your middle-of-the-night tiyul. She went to Caesaria and got home at 4am. Gotta love being in Israel!! Lori and Molly

Fern Chasida said...

Michael: David R. used to call her Flame so I told Maor she should write him and tell him she's now flame from shevet flame. Thanks for the good wishes.
Baila: I agree, I'm glad we were back for this.
Lori and Molly: They went to Yerushalayim and got back at 5:30. I agree - ya gotta love Israel. I loved that the gabay said a special misheberach for them!

Melissa said...

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I can't wait to read more.