Thursday, December 15, 2005


What you ask is Chodesh Irgun? I too asked the very same question, only a short time ago when people began to warn me about this very curious chodesh we were about to enter. I didn't know about the jewish month of irgun but was soon about to discover its all encompassing grasp on the youth of Israel. "Get ready , you won't see your kids for the next month!", "put aside some painting clothes and tell them to paint only in those", "oh yes, I remember when my kids were busy with chodesh irgun" , so maybe it wasn't a new month I knew nothing about but rather was a person named Chodesh Irgun , who with they would be very busy! Yeah, that was it!

Then one night all the kids went up to the snif for some peulah, something about the opening peula for chodesh irgun. Our three oldest, made there way up to the top of the hill. Darrell and I put Sara to bed, when we began to hear beating drums, and singing, sounds like kids singing and this went on for hours, singing and drumming , drumming and singing. When the kids came home , one by one , youngest to oldest, they were hot, sweaty and very very happy. They had been singing and dancing up at their snif for hours and had a grand old time. David had been hoisted up on many an older boys shoulders. This was the beginning of chodesh irgun.

So what I have gathered and understood about chodesh irgun is as follows. This is a month in which the shevets, scrape and paint their rooms in the snif in relation to a theme given to bnei akiva throughout the country. They paint murals and decorate in this theme. The theme this year was Gush Katif and Unity. The shevets divide up into commities and begin a month of work. Painting is just part of it. Each shevet comes up with a play or presentation to put on at the end of the month on motzei shabbat of "shabbat irgun"(a new parsha which is added in the month of irgun). The kids got busier and busier as the weeks passed and in the last two weeks most of my three big kids were out and about practising and painting and all that stuff almost every night. Each shevet had to prepare something special for the whole snif to partake for instance Yonatan's shevet prepared tea on a fire. One night I answered the door to my son Yonatan, covered from head to toe in blue paint.....with the hugest , happiest smile. We would look up the hill from our house and see the migrash (the playing field) and we could hear the music and see the flags of Avital's shevet practising their daglanut number. The whole focus of the shabbat irgun was to inaugurate the new shevet, those kids in kita Daled (David's group) and to give the oldest shevet(Avital's group) their new name, that would be their shevet's name forever. Each of the younger shevets moved up one level taking on the name of the shevet before them and the oldest or graduating shevet was crowned their new name. There was of course lots of murmuring about what that name would be and everyone was guessing. Of course, my Yonatan, found out what the name would be the week before and was so excited when it turned out he was right.

By the end of the four weeks most parents were ready for the finale and just in time for shabbat irgun. Friday night the kids all davened up at the bnei akiva snif with their shevet and madrichim. There were visiting madrichim called shlichim from other parts of the country. Avital's shevet had a Friday night meal together. The other kids quickly disappeared after our meal and headed up to the snif. They had peulot and singing and dancing and came home exhausted. Shabbat morning after davening there was a kiddush for the whole yishuv for chodesh irgun, then the kids took their parents to the snif for a grand tour of their finished products. We went from room and were completely amazed.
See for yourselves.

The kids all ate with their shevets. One week before , each kid came home with a list of items they had to bring for their meal...Avital 25 plastic settings, Yonatan 6 chicken polkas, and David two drink bottles. This phenomena always amazes me in organizing kids and succeeding. Nothing fancy, everyone pitches in and it always works out beautifully and even when it doesn't it isn't a big deal. After shabbat the kids burst in the house, they had already had their havdalah chagigit and were getting ready to go for the big show. We (Darrell, Sara and I) headed to the migrash and found ourselves seats and watched as all the parents in the yishuv began to congregate on the migrash. Soon we heard drums and singing as the kids all marched down to the migrash to join the parents.

The Rav of our yishuv spoke to us all and especially to the youth. It was quite moving, he spoke about Gush Etzion and how it fell after 1948 and how its members had to leave their homes and then it was refounded after 1967. He said that hashem runs the world in his own way and we don't know what will be tomorrow and just have to move forward always doing our best. The kominarit spoke...what is a kominarit?...this is the bat sheirut girl who is in charge of all bnei akiva neve Daniel. I was amazed when i heard her speak, her maturity, the issues of which she spoke in such a deep manner. Then the youngest group did their dance and were welcomed into bnei akiva. David chose not to participate, I guess he felt shy or not yet comfortable. Then Avitals big daglanut debut was introduced. The music blared on the loudspeaker and my daughter and her friends ,her chevra, marched onto the field wearing their bnei akiva shirts and carrying their israeli flags and proceded to perform the most beautiful daglanut I ever saw. Well, you know how I always tell you how I blink rapidly to keep my tears at bay. There was no blinking happening because my eyes were experiencing a major flood happening. I was sobbing my eyes out and couldn't stop. Here I was out in the middle of the Judean hills, the lights of Efrat twinkling beyond the migrash, sitting with other parents of our israeli children and watching my daughter be a part of Israeli society at its root. There were no words, I held Darrell's hand and we watched our happy, settled, Israeli Daughter and were just awed by her and by all our childrens braveness over these last months. A mifkad was held and parents were invited down to join their shevets and Avital's shevet was given their new name.....Netzach...eternity. I watched Yonatan from a distance, and also with the zoom on my camcorder and saw him singing his kishkas out, smiling and having a great time. Thank you Gd. We all headed to the olam smachot (simcha hall) and grabbed chairs to watch the plays. I watched yonatan's group come on stage and I was amazed to see my son, yonatan , up on stage in front of all the yishuv, singing in hebrew and so obviously enjoying himself. We watched play after, play, each one different and meaningful. What was most amazing once again, is that the greater play and all its smaller components was put together and written by the kids themselves. No parental input here! And the finished product was thoughtful, meaningful and simply beautiful!

I know all the kids loved chodesh irgun and love bnei akiva, but this year was especially special for my kids and for us. What a blessing to sit in the hills of judea and watch our children as they integrate into a thoughtful, meaningful community. Thank you Bnei akiva, you have helped my children to feel part of something wonderful and to begin their integration into Israeli life here!!!

remember: you can click on the photos for a better view.


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