Saturday, November 14, 2009

Do you know where your children are?

I do. Sorta.

Many kids in Israel belong to a youth movement. There are a number of large movements, both religious and not and kids across the country are involved in many ways. In Modi'in (and perhaps everywhere in Israel, I'm not really sure), schools finish early on Tuesdays, because Tuesday evenings are reserved for various activities at the youth movements.

My kids go to Bnei Akiva, a movement near and dear to my heart. I came to BA relatively late in life (after high school), but its ideology of working and living in Israel spoke to me from the very beginning.

For my kids, BA means they are busy on Shabbat afternoons, as well as Tuesdays. They have been hiking all over the country, sleeping under the stars, climbing Masada at dawn, visiting sick children in hospitals under Bnei Akiva's auspices.

But the absolute pinnacle of the year happens now. It is called "Chodesh Irgun" [month of the organization] and is basically a month-long color war between the grades that will culminate in performances by each grade this coming Thursday night. During this month (which begins right after the Jewish holidays) the kids are out almost every night, till LATE, practising their dances, painting banners and the snif (the branch--the youth house where they meet) and well, I'm not sure what else. On Saturday night there will be a special ceremony in which the winner will be announced, the 9th graders will perform a daglanut [dance with the Israeli flag] and will receive the name of their "shevet"--the name which will follow them for the rest of their lives.

Seven more days of wondering what time they will be home. Seven more days of telling them homework must be completed, tests must be studied for and rooms must be cleaned. Seven more days of listening to them debate what the new shevet name will be. Seven more days of them coming home exhausted and dirty, paint encrusted everywhere.

Seven more days till life returns to normal.

But then of course, the countdown to Chanukah begins.


Mrs. S. said...

a month-long color war
Great description!

I couldn't think of a good way to explain it on my blog, and so I just left it as "Chodesh Irgun" and hoped for the best...


Knighted Vorpal Sword said...

My kids school, in Kedumim, has a no homework / no test policy for the last week of Chodesh Irgun. They never seem to have all that much homework anyway, but it is one less worry.

Luckily, my youngest is in 9th grade and my oldest are both in chvrayah bet, so I can go home right after the daglanut. They'll all probably be out all night, but school is closed the next day anyway.

lauram said...

wouldn't it be great if chodesh irgun was in July!?!

Fern Chasida said...

yup, Maor goes to daglanut practice every night. she is very excited about getting her shevet name (though they'll complain about whatever it is), seeing the sweatshirt the madrichim have designed for them, and going on a tiyul for chevraya bet at midnight. she and her friends were planning to see new moon on sunday (they have off from school).