Elinor Merkier (11/11/2011)
The Tzofim (Israeli scouts) are known in Israel for being an inspiring, adventurous and proactive youth movement for those aged between 8-18.
But how prepared were the four teenagers, Noa, Yoni, Daniella, and Imry, when they came to lead the London branch? They graduated from high school only last summer to make the life-changing decision to come to London; not knowing each other, for a year of service before going to the army. They will live together in an apartment, commute to volunteered jobs, and more significantly be the leaders and organisers of the third year running of London’s Israeli scouts in Golders Green, Shevet Chalutz.
While in the process of exploring the four’s “commune”, I wondered why they would come to spend a year in London.
Daniella (Dandi) explained: “I believe in contributing to the community and in the commitment of every Israeli youth to work on behalf of advancement of our community. I have much experience in such work and contact with the diaspora.”.
Imry said: “The Tzofim brought to me a great deal of good things in the past few years. The dedicated feeling and obligation from everyone truly motivates and makes each activity worthwhile and special.”
Since the opening of the first branch of Tzofim in London in 2009, by Tehila Shami-Kurz, there have been increasingly diverse and educating events, celebrations of the Jewish festivals, such as the Purimon, and Shavuot picnic, and within the weekly activities, held in the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) in Golders Green, of ceremonies and sessions teaching the youth about current Israeli issues to maintain the strong bond to Israel. All the activities are in speaking Hebrew. For example, the recent return of Gilad Shalit; in which each year group created colourful and detailed posters and attached letters to released balloons to send to the Shalit Family.
Noa Frankel, the co-ordinator of Shevet Chalutz, commented that the event was “very moving”. The London Tzofim’s main aim is to maintain the Israeli identity through enjoyable activities, informal and formal, including informative games and events.
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