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RSY-Netzer’s ticket to ride

netzafonIn October, RSY-Netzer’s first Netzafon event burst into existence, and was attended by 17 young people across 6 different communities – a brilliant turn-out! Netzafon is a programme of 5 residential weekends throughout the year, open to young people from Northern communities, as Zoe Jacobs, RSY-Netzer Community Youth Worker, explains.

We pioneered a new travel plan for this event: using only public transport to get children from across the North of England to one location! We decided to turn away from coaches as we wanted to avoid the ecological implications and keep costs down. Instead, we wove an intricate map of train journeys, knitting together all the participants bit by bit, culminating in a joyous half hour of communal travel. Each group of travellers had a pack of fun activities to enjoy on the train.

Netzafon is the first RSY-Netzer event to be fully organised by public transport , and we hope to keep this up throughout the weekends, encouraging families to enjoy a bus or train ride and the opportunities for sightseeing, people-watching, and conversations that they offer. The next weekends are in Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester, followed by a final weekend at an outdoor activity centre.

This weekend, the theme was Reform Judaism, and focused on exploring each child’s relationship with Judaism in exciting and inventive ways. We heard the highlights for some were the chance to run activities for younger children for the very first time, while others loved making new friends, and the famous Gangaschlat (an interactive, competitive, and wonderfully barmy group game) was a stand-out moment for many.

These events enable young people to build meaningful friendships across communities, engage with RSY-Netzer and Reform Judaism, and feel involved and valued by the Movement. This is only the first of 5 amazing weekends throughout 2016 and 2017 spending time both in synagogues and outdoor centres. We cannot wait to meet lots of young people, explore different communities, and create a fresh, exciting relationship between Northern Reform Jewish children and RSY-Netzer.

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