Sitting in my hotel room at the start of a two-week quarantine, I find it hard choosing the words to describe the experience that I have had on Shnat with HaBonim Dror Olami.
How could I fully capture what an entire year of peulot (activities), tiyulim (trips), kvutzot (groups), hagshama (fulfillment), and Zionism really feel like? I believe that the terms ‘self-growth’ and ‘intentionality’ do a good job of describing this experience. The self-growth is really all about exposing yourself to experiences which really challenge you both mentally and physically, such as living with 7 other people in an apartment, working 4 days a week on a Kibbutz, or having an entire week dedicated to conflict education and discussion. Taking yourself outside of your comfort zone displays a challenge, yet one which reimburses you with experiences and lessons you never thought you would go through and learn without such a challenge.
The covid-19 pandemic presented us with many other obstacles such as lockdowns, quarantines, restrictions, etc. Regarding intentionality, the very essence of Shnat is intentional living. Everything that is done, from peulot to tiyulim, is done with the purpose of educating on ideology, values, or history, whether it be on Israel, HaBonim Dror Olami, and everything between. It’s quite incredible to live in such a space, where a sense of purpose is shared by yourself and all of your friends.
Shnat for me was exactly this; living a year of my life focused on these two things, self-growth and intentionality, with 18 other best friends.
Daniel Van Sluys Erlich, Habonim Dror Australia