(נצ"ר עולמי) is a worldwide Zionist Jewish organization for youth. "Netzer" is an acronym in Hebrew
for Reform Zionist Youth
(נוער ציוני רפורמי), and Netzer Olami means 'Global Netzer.' Together with its affiliate organizations it has approximately 12,000 members worldwide, is affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism
(the Zionist arm of the World Union) and is based in Jerusalem
It values Progressive Judaism and Reform Zionism, and has snifim (branches) in the United Kingdom (LJY-Netzer - also representing the Republic of Ireland - and RSY-Netzer), Argentina, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Australia, Russia, South Africa, Belarus, Ukraine, the United States and Canada (North American Federation of Temple Youth), Israel (Noar Telem), Chile, Brazil, and Switzerland.
The Netzer Symbol
The Mogen Dovid
- the 'Star of David' has come to be used in modern times, as a universal symbol of Jewish national identity. As Jewish symbols go, it does not have a particularly ancient background and seems to have been first associated with Judaism in the late Middle Ages. At the beginning of the twentieth century. the Magen David was adopted by the Zionist Movement as the Jewish national symbol and it has come to be recognized as a general symbol of Judaism, appearing also in religious contexts. Today, the Magen David is the central element of the flag of the State of Israel and, in many ways, is symbolic of the unity of Am Yisrael.
The menorah - One of the oldest of Jewish ornaments and symbols, the Menorah is first mentioned in the book of Exodus where it is stated that its design was inspired by a revelation from on high. The seven branch Menorah was used in worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. When the Temple was destroyed, it became the central symbol of Jewish religious expression. Today, the Menorah appears prominently on the coat-of-arms of the State of Israel, as well as being a part of every symbol used by the Progressive movement world-wide. The Menorah, moreover, symbolizes light and all the special association we have with light.
'Alei Netzer' - The leaves of Renewal and Redemption. The leaves are symbolic of the 'new shoot' referred to in Isaiah 11:2, as well as representing the central Jewish religious theme of the prospect of redemption. They are also symbolic of the 'fresh approach' created by the Progressive Movement, as well as the continued vitality of Netzer itself.
Netzer- The name of the movement, the Hebrew word 'Netzer' means a new shoot, a twig, a new growth, and is to be found in Isaiah 11:2: "... And a new shoot shall grow forth from his roots; and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord."
'Nun - Tzadik- Reysh' (נ - צ - ר) - This was the Hebrew acronym for Noar Tsioini Reformi - Reform Zionist Youth. Netzer Australia changed its name in 1996 to Noar Tsioni Mitkademet (Progressive Zionist Youth), to put its name more in line with its beliefs, but the acronym 'Netzer' still remains. The name symbolises the people and their outlook that comprise Netzer. Begun in September 1979, and officially founded in January, 1980, Netzer is the youth movement which caters for the youth of the Progressive Movement and all young Progressive Zionists in the world.
Twenty Fifth Birthday
In 2004 Netzer celebrated 25 years of its establishment, since 1979 in Melbourne Australia, as Temple Youth.
On January 28 2004 a celebration was held at Netzer Olami's headquarters in Jerusalem to honour this event with members of Netzer's current and past leadership body attending from all over the world as well as members of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the World Zionist Organisation.
Veida and the Netzer Platform
Every year, the Netzer Veida
(the decision-making and ideology forum) attracts participants from most of, if not all, the sniffim. Each snif
(branch) has an equal voice and vote. The official ideology of Netzer Olami is set out in the Netzer Platform
, which was last changed in 2003.
The following is a simplified version of the Netzer Platform 2003:
- Judaism as a People, a Nation and a Religion
The covenant as a moral obligation
- Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, is necessary as a spiritual, cultural and physical home for the Jews.
- As religious Zionists we affirm that Judaism is a people, a nation and a religion and that these three elements are indivisible.
- Israel is given to us by G-d as a home for the Jewish people as part of the covenant struck with Abraham.
- This means that Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel, is obliged to make itself a more moral state than every other in the world.
- This is to be achieved by upholding the Jewish people’s highest moral obligations to be:
- Memlechet Kohanim, 'a kingdom of priests'
- Goy Kadosh, 'a holy people'
- L'or Goyim, 'a light unto other nations'
Israel and Diaspora
- The Jews have been historically persecuted and Israel provides a refuge from such pogroms.
- Therefore, we affirm Israel’s national sovereignty- allowing Jews to once again live within a Jewish majority.
- However, we must strive to ensure that such sovereignty be used to create the kind of society in which full civil, human and religious rights exist for all its citizens- a society both Jewish and Democratic.
- Reclaiming sovereignty gives us the opportunity to strive to demonstrate that the traditions and values of Judaism, in which we believe, have relevance for dealing with the issues of a modern world of nation states.
- Although Israel is the centre of Judaism (see 1.) Israel and Diaspora Jewry cannot exist without one another, are responsible for one another, and partners in the shaping of Jewish destiny.
- Each Jewish kehilla (community) is individual and self-regulating yet also shares responsibility for Jews everywhere.
Progressive Judaism in Israel
- Literally "continuing immigration" - making Aliya (moving) to Israel and then continuing to live out the Netzer values there.
A pluralistic approach to Judaism in Israel
- We believe that Progressive Judaism can make a positive contribution to Am Yisrael thanks to its combination of modern and traditional ways of life.
- Therefore, we should strive to educate and inform Israelis about Progressive Judaism and support progressive communities in Israel.
- Israel exists to benefit the spiritual integrity of the Jewish people.
- Am Yisrael contains many interpretations of Judaism, which sometimes conflict.
- Therefore, the Jewish people will be best served when Israel is a pluralistic, democratic society.
- This would mean that no one interpretation of Judaism would have legal superiority over another.
- We are committed to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, and that this will help bring about the Messianic Era.
- We can bring this about on 5 different levels, all of which interlink but also can be achieved separately and in no particular order.
- Tikkun Atzmi - healing the self
- Tikkun Kehila - repairing our communities
- Tikkun Am - healing the Jewish people
- Tikkun Medinat - repairing the Jewish state
- Tikkun Olam - repairing the world
- As a reform Zionist youth movement we believe in the following fundamental values.
The exact meanings of these values to the daily lives of Netzer chevarim (members) is open to their own interpretation.
Reform Zionist Community
- Prayer through Ma’amad (creative services relevant to the time and place)
- Celebration of the Chagim (festivals) including Shabbat
- Jewish, especially Torah, study as an ongoing lifelong commitment.
- Informed decision making, individually and communally
- A belief in the oneness of G-d
- The Unity of the Jewish People
- The centrality of the land and State of Israel to Jewish life
- Tzedaka (charity)
- A commitment to the prophetic tradition and its understanding and vision of Judaism
- Social Justice and a commitment to Peace
- Equality, particularly gender equality, in Judaism
- Mutual care and cooperation
- Care for the environment
- The dignity of all human beings, tolerance for their differences and a respect for “the other” within our society and community.
- We recognise the value of communal living and urge chevarim to consider the option.
- We will support Reform Zionist communities built upon our values (see 9.) who are committed to becoming ones of intimacy, purpose, of participation and of communal religious authority.
Spending Time in Israel
- Ivrit is the language of the Scriptures and so is vital for the study of Judaism
- Ivrit also unifies the Jewish people with a common language and strengthens ties between the Diaspora and Israel.
- We are therefore committed to learning Ivrit and teaching it to others.
Hagshama (Self-realisation) and Activism
- The completion of the ideals expressed in 1-11 can be made easier if all chevarim were to spend an extended period of time in Israel.
- We should, therefore, try to ensure that as many chevarim as possible come to Israel as part of a Netzer program, such as Israel Tour
- We also encourage chevarim to spend a serious length of time in Israel after leaving the movement.
- We are committed to being an activist, as well as educational, movement.
- One way to achieve this is through hagshama- that is, the living out of the Netzer ideology in our everyday lives.
- We also believe that it is both our right and responsibility to take a stand on key issues and work actively to bring about our vision of the world.
- By implementing the ideology expressed in points 1-13 we believe that we can hasten the coming of Messianic Age and the redemption of the Jewish People.
- The path to this dream has been a difficult one and although significant progress has already been made, great challenges still lie ahead.
- "Lo alecha hamlacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin lehibatel mimena" - It is not your duty to complete the work; yet neither are you free to desist from it.