We had a very stimulating Annual General Meeting yesterday at Kibbutz Sdot Yam of the Amuta (Non-Profit Association) of Bogrei Hamachon. Our machzor was represented by Yehuda, Yitz and myself, with Brenda there in spirit.
Since I was elected/designated (by acclimation, or at least by Yehuda and Yitz) Chair of the proceedings, I had a good overview of things. One of the primary topics on the agenda was the grand 70th anniversary Machon Reunion in Jerusalem. Apparently the Jewish Agency designated a point person in New York named Dan Satlow (anyone know him?), who will be the American-based coordinator and outreach person for the event, scheduled for Late October. I can't give any more details (maybe Yehuda can), because they weren't clear.
Kibbutz Sdot Yam, near Caesarea, is a Mediterranean paradise! Despite the heat, we all enjoyed the hospitality, and also the two post AGM events. The first was a visit with sculptress Yael Artzi (who was also on the itinerary of one of our own reunions). She's an incredible "little woman" as President Ezer Weizmann used to call her. She continues to do highly impressive and quite massive work from her scenic studio overlooking the sea. Not only did she create the Rabin Memorial at Rabin Square, she has created impressive sculpture all over Israel and Europe. I was particularly impressed by her feminine version of Rodin's The Thinker.
Here's a piece of sculpture that you can see on her lawn in the kibbutz.
And here's a link to another powerful piece by her called "Prayer",
Afterwards, we went to a museum devoted to Hannah Senesh, who arrived at the kibbutz when she was 19, and headed out on her fatal mission behind Nazi lines when she was not yet 23. I was amazed to discover that she was only 21/22 when she wrote her two classic poems of Hebrew literature, Eli Eli and Ashrei Hagafrur, while being fluent in Hebrew when she arrived in Palestine in 1939. She apparently had a tremendous knack for languages, and as someone who maintained a diary from the age of 14, resolved after her aliya to only write entries in her diary in Hebrew.
There's more that I can write about her nephew, Dr. David Senesh, who I saw just last Friday, but I'll leave that for another message.
Here's Eli Eli, or as it's formally known, הליכה לקיסריה in the beautiful version by Natanella.
Those of us who were in the Hashomer Hatzair contingent on Kibbutz Shuval (in 1960), may remember that we met the composer of the melody to both songs, David Zahavi, who was a member of Kibbutz Na'an.
On Monday 31st March, 2014 (29 Adar B’ 5774) at 09:30 over 40 Bogrei Machon arrived at Kiryat Moriah, Jerusalem for a “Day at the Machon”.
The event included the 9th Annual General Assembly of the Machon Graduates Association followed by a walk to the promenade on the hill near the United Nations HQ known as Government House; lunch together with of the current machon participants in the Machon dining room; and finally a meeting of Bogrei Machon together with representatives of the present course in the form of a debate on “The part a youth movement can play in forming the character of youth”.
The 9th General Assembly of the Association (“Amuta”) of Graduates of the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad and their Friends
Chairman: Hillel Schenker (Machzor 25)
Deputy-Chairman: Eliezer Lustgarten (Machzor 36) Emanuel Gerstner, present chairman of the Amuta read the minutes and reported on activities during the 2012-2013. Ralph Philips, the present treasurer read the financial report of the Amuta for the years 2012 and 2013. And following a short discussion it was accepted pre-conditioned to auditors’ agreement.
The New Committee Emanuel Gerstner (20) Chile Ralph Phillips (29) England Yehuda Guy (25) England Ran Afek (38) Argentina Shlomo Liberman (41) Sweden Danny Hakim (50) Australia Donna Goldberg (47) USA Meir (Mario) Lev (32) Argentina Tzvi Gera (32) Argentina Yehoshua Assayag (31) Morocco
(Assignments were delegated at the committee meeting held in Tel Aviv on the 8th May 2014
To centralize support for machzorim wishing to hold a reunion.
To create activities and meetings of bogrim with present day machonikim.
To make an concerted effort to activate machzor administrators to get bogrim to be in contact with each other, to enter the website, and to update their own profiles in the database.
To concentrate activities in order to organize and publicize the idea of an international reunion of Bogrei Machon at Israel’s Independence of 2016, it being the 70th anniversary of the Machon.
We wish the new committee all the best hoping that they will bring new vitality to the Bogrei Machon Amuta.
Those present then gathered together for a group photo at the entrance to Kiriyat Moriah.
A walk to the Government House esplanade
A stone’s throw away from Kiriyat Moriah is one of the best vantage points to see the city of Jerusalem from the south. Yehudit Korda (Racanati) – Machzor 36, who just recently started a new career as a licensed tour guide, together with Yehuda Guy (25) a veteran tour guide, gave us an enthralling explanation on all that was spread before us.
Lunch at the Machon dining room.
At 1:00 pm we were back at the Machon and stood in line together with students now attending the Machon, tray in hand, to chose our vittles from the salads, soups, main course, vegetables and desserts arrayed before us. Then to find a seat in a dining room that was packed and the noise of well over a hundred chanichim brought us all back to the days when we too were at the Machon. Those of us who managed to sit next to chanichim were plied with questions as to how it was then. From the dining room we hurried back to our meeting hall to take part in the debate with the participation of a panel and a representative body of students.
Panel and debate on “The part a youth movement can play in forming the character of youth”.
The panel was chaired by Emanuel Gerstner.
Participating: Sara Mali – Director of the Machon. Born in England. Bnei Akiva. B.A. from the London School of Economics and MA in Contemporary Jewry from the Hebrew University. She is also active in several other educational programs. Prof. Gil Troy – (Machzor 63) USA. Young Judea. Gil Troy (born 1961) is an American presidential historian and a Zionist activist. He is Professor of History at McGill University and a Research Fellow in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Engaging Israel Program. Troy is the author of eight books, and the editor of two. Suzie Wolkowitz – (Machzor 28) Argentina. Habonim. Clinical psychologist and university lecturer. Mario Lev – (Machzor 32) Argentina. Newly elected committee member, CEO of Aliya organization. Andy Michaelson – (66). Netzer. On the Board of Directors of the Jewish National Fund (K.K.L.) Ruth Stern – (Machzor 1 – 1946) South Africa. Teacher. Educator and University lecturer. As always enthralled us with her experiences on the Machon in pre-state days. See “recollections”.
Following an introduction by each member of the panel, the chanichim were asked to describe the make-up of the youth movements abroad today, which gave the bogrim the opportunity to compare this with youth movements in their days.
At the end of the session we came to the conclusion that a meeting between Bogrim and chanichim of the Machon should be organized on a greater scale – more chanichim and more bogrim. And that suitable translation facilities be provided so that everyone present could participate, all generations benefiting from each other.
We take this opportunity to thank all who made the “Day at the Machon” possible and especially to the Machon LeMadrichei Chul for hosting the event.
The Eighth Annual General Assembly - Ra'anana - 2012
On Thursday 14th June the Amuta of Bogrei Machon held their annual general assembly in Ra’anana as guests of the city (now celebrating its 90th anniversary)
I arrived early, in fact together with Hillel who had received a lift from the chairman of the Amuta who also lives in TA together with the ‘gizbar’. On arrival I sat next to the gizbar who was receiving the annual subscription (of 100 shekels) and I was giving each one a name tag with the machzor number on it. Hillel happened to be sitting on the other side of Ralph Phillips the gizbar when someone came along and introduced himself as David from Machzor Kaf-Hey. Both Hillel and I jumped up – “you must be mistaken”, we said, “we are both from Kaf-Hey and we know everyone from our Machzor”. “I assure you I was from Kaf-Hey”, he insisted and finally said his surname. "Wow! You’re Dede” – Hillel and I both exclaimed. I now have his up-to-date email address and will add it to our email list.
I just wanted to add a few words to what Yehuda wrote
The AGA (Annual General Assembly) of Bogrei Machon was a delightful all day affair – with two main components – the formal “business” side of an AGA – report, elections, etc, (see “Assifot”) including a fascinating interaction with the, about 40 machon graduates, who came, and the generous hospitality from the Ra’anana Municipality.
At lunch, everyone provided a 1-5 minute introduction of themselves, and the machon has definitely been blessed with many fascinating and accomplished graduates, beginning with South African Ruth Stern from the first machzor in 1946 with her colorful stories of how she participated in the night of the Choma U’migdal (11 Tower and Stockade settlements – hers was Kibbutz Shuval, where the Hashomer group of my machzor, spent its kibbutz period). Ruth says that her uncle, who was the head of the Zionist Federation in South Africa, is the one who initiated the idea of the Machon, and brought it to Avraham Harman of the Jewish Agency (later Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and President of the Hebrew U, and also the father of Prof. Naomi Chazan), who welcomed the idea and set it in motion. Ruth’s contemporary Rita Loon from the second machzor, told us about how the son of the founding mayor of Ra’anana Benji Ovstrovsky invited her to go to the famous Café Piltz in Tel Aviv for a night on the town. When she asked Benji when they would get back to the “machaneh olim” in Ra’anana, he said “we’ll sleep over and come back in the morning”. Her response was “a proper girl doesn’t do that!” Also present were Arieh Azoulai from Morocco, a former Mayor of Ashdod, who just received a doctorate from the Hebrew U. for his dissertation on the history of Zionist youth movements in North Africa, Mario Lev (Boger HaMachon from Argentina) who is the chairman of the Association of Latin American, Spanish and Portugues Olim (OLEI), is also the chairman of the Federation of Immigration in Israel, and works a great deal in his spare time to help with the absorption of olim, and Danny Hakim, a martial arts champion from Australia, founder of Budo for Peace Partners Project - Danny claims that his Japanese martial arts master taught Elvis Presley his moves (must say I’m a little doubtful about that one, but the rest seems to be true), and many more wonderful people.
Ra’anana Mayor Nahum Hofri welcomed us, gave a pitch about the city, and also was ready to answer questions. I found the Ra’anana historical museum in the Yad L’Banim building to be really fascinating. Originally called Ahuza Aleph New York, Ra’anana was actually founded by an American garin from Poalei Zion in 1912, and they came on aliya after WW I in 1922 – what’s called aliya al hakarka, thus this year they are celebrating their 90th or 100th anniversary, depending on how you count.
The director of the archive welcomes testimonies from anyone who lived in Ra’anana about their experiences for the archives, and since I lived there from 1975 to 1985 – between my kibbutz and Tel Aviv periods, I intend to send some memories to her.
By the way, Dede – David Boussira - who lives in Ra’anana after he retired from El Al, told me that when he came back from the machon he was detained for 4 hours by the Moroccan authorities, who were very suspicious about where he had been during that year at the Machon (a Moroccan citizen was not allowed to visit Israel in those days).
The Seventh Annual General Assembly ~ Neot Kdumim - 2011
A word from our Chairman. Kol HaKavod Donna,
Congratulations on your initiative, incentive and organization of our very successful 7th General Assembly, held on the 1st December 2011 at Neot Kdumim. In my opinion Neot Kdumim was the ideal venue for this year's Assefa. Despite only 25 bogrim attending, the meeting itself was a boost of encouragment for the duly elected Vaad. I would like to add my thanks to all who helped make this General Assembly a success - May we have a fruitful year ahead of us. Emanuel Gerstner
Personal impression of the meeting of Bogrei Machon held at Neot Kdumim/Yehudit Korda
I have wanted to visit Neot Kdumim for a lot time now. Ever since my daughter photographed a wedding there… In addition my conscience did not allow me to refuse so many invitations that I had received from Emanuel [Gerstner] and Yehuda [Guy]. They put so much effort into the Alumni Organization of the Machon, and in addition they offered me a ride there, so how could I refuse? So I traveled with the Chairman (I will spare you the description of his driving!) and on the way I thought to myself, “Do I really need all this nostalgic stuff … so many years have passed since I was on the Machon … and at this meeting I shall be amongst the youngest of participants”.
Neot Kdumim is a such a beautiful place with amazing panoramas wherever you stand. First of all the General Assembly was held in a structure that reminded me somewhat of the hut we had at the Machon in Katamon. It is difficult to ignore Emanuel’s enthusiasm, and he cajoled me into presiding over the asefa, although I did manage to duck the pressure put on me by Arieh [Azoulai], the former mayor of Ashdod, to join the new committee.
In all I want you all to know that I did enjoy myself at that meeting. A little nostalgia once in a while doesn’t hurt. Donna [Goldberg], one of the younger bogrei Machon present, who is a professional tour guide, guided and led us, somewhat similar to what we all did for a while after attending the Machon. Ziv, Neot’s guide impressed us with his love of the land and reminded us of some of our history that maybe we had forgotten.
But more than anything else I was impressed by two people whom I met.
Ruth [Stern] from South Africa who was on the very first Machzor (1946!!) and Albert [Benhaim] from Morocco who was on the Machon in 1955 (I am ashamed to say that I had no idea that there was anybody from Morocco on the Machon).
I remembered Ruth from the reunion held at Binyanei Ha’Uma in 2003, when she spoke from the podium. I was impressed then, but this time walking and chatting with her along the Neot Kdumim pathways – was indeed stirring. Her personal story and her courage – this chance of meeting with this extraordinary woman who radiates optimism and hope for the future, was amazing.
Albert impressed me too because perhaps I was “jealous” of him. He had edited a documentary film on the Youth Movement that he was a member of and on his year at the Machon. With no formal cinematic training … he started filming at the age of 13, but he is an artist … all my life I have wanted to study cinematography.
My thanks to the organizers, hopefully at the next meeting there will be more of us attending.
There is something akin to all of us who were on the Machon and that “thing” is worth preserving. Yehudit Korda
Machzor 36 (from Brasil)
The Sixth Annual General Assembly ~ Peres Peace House - 2010
About fifty Bogrei Machon LeMadrichei Chul turned up at 11:00 am on the 25th November 2010 at the Agami Quarter of Jaffa. Literally on the shore of the Mediterranean this unique building, the ‘Peres Peace House’, was the setting for the 6th Annual Assembly of the Association of Graduates of the Machon. Ayelet Meizner, the Director of Events there, went out of her way to receive and guide us through the building so that our introduction to the Peres Peace House was really a special visit. She explained the need for the center, its unusual architecture which seems to flow with the waves of the sea and just as it links the sea with the shore, is designed to link two peoples, Arab and Jew through cultural, educational and sports activities.
Ayelet took us through the building and the photograph exhibition and a film on the activities of the Center which we saw helped us to appreciate that peace between two peoples must also be from ground level upwards.
After a splendid lunch we returned to the building and assembled in the impressive theatre built so that the west wall facing the audience, behind the stage, is one long window that looks straight out onto the beach and the blue Mediterranean, so close as would appear to be part of the building itself.
From this stage we were welcomed by Ran Pundak the director of the Peres Peace House and one of the architects of the Oslo Peace initiative who shared with us some of his efforts and led the debate that ensued on “The Peace Agreement – the Situation Today.”
After coffee and cake we started the meeting of the Association – we were now just seventeen.
Hillel Schenker (Kaf-Hey/25 – USA) was elected chairman for the assembly and Yehudit Morton (Kaf-Aleph/21 – Canada) as his deputy took the minutes.
After everyone had introduced themselves, Emanuel Gestner (Kaf/20 – Chile), the chairman of the Association, summed up the events of the last year. Most of the activities centered on the Bogrei Machon website and the database.
We have at present some 12,300 names of Bogrim, 3,000 of them have listed email addresses – of these about 1,100 are in Israel. However, people often change their email addresses and do not always inform us, this means that many messages that we send are returned undelivered.
We have joined the Facebook world where there is a group of 1,700 names of Bogrim and through Facebook, many Bogrim have managed to connect with us.
The general impression we have is that there is little raport between Bogrei Machon and the Association. The question is then, should the Association try to organize reunions and cultural activities or just be a source of information and aid for finding old friends? There followed a lively discussion on this subject and several suggestions were made to further the activities of the Association. Yehudit suggested that Bogrim might adopt machonikim who have no family in Israel and in that way a bond would be created between Bogrim and today’s Machon participants. Tzvi Shaiak (Kaf-Daled/24 – S. Africa) said that all that bogrim are really interested in was making contact with old friends and that is what we should encourage. Yehuda Guy (Kaf-Hey/25 – UK) asked those present to enter the Bogrim website and the data base which we have spent so much time and effort in producing. He explained how to enter the database and noted that the Machzor administrator has the capability of entering the profile of every member of his/her machzor. He also distributed written explanations. Arieh Azoulai (Machzor Yod/10 – Morocco), a former mayor of Ashdod, suggested that the Association function from a regular office, that more people be active on the committee, and that financial and other assistance be obtained from people with connections, such as Alan Hoffman of the Jewish Agency who happens to be a Boger Machon. He mentioned people and organizations who also might be of assistance when they hear that we represent a group of people educated in Israel at the Institute of Youth leaders from Abroad, who today have considerable influence in their communities in many parts of the world, and whose potential is not realized by the Israeli establishment. Arieh offered to help make contact with these people and their organizations. Ralph Phillips Kaf-Tet/29, the treasurer, presented the Association’s 2009 financial report approved by the Audit Committee. Ralph noted that the principal expenditure was for improvement and development of the website and for a meeting and General Assembly of active members which took place in the city of Modi’in. During 2009 only 13 members paid their dues and that included members of the committee. It seems that asking bogrim to pay their membership through the mail or internet is not an efficient way of obtaining dues and another method must be found. A short debate ensued and the financial report was accepted by the General Assembly.
The Assembly now voted on the new committee. Danny Hakim (Machzor Nun/50 from Australia) became a committee member. He offered to work with the younger bogrim through his experience in sport and especially judo and hopes with this new approach to connect with Bogrei Machon.
The list of committee members can be seen on another page in the website (Committee).
Little by little, more and more interest is being given to the Bogrei Machon Association and more and more bogrim are connecting up with their friends from the Machon. We hope that this coming year will give impetus to our efforts.
We shall see … Emanuel Gerstner Chairperson
The Fifth Annual General ~ Modi'in - 2009
On October 2009 at 17:30, twelve Bogrei Machon assembled in the board room of the Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut city council, for our 5th General Assembly (the protocol of the Assefa will be published on this website)
Mr Moshe Levi, Deputy Mayor warmly welcomed us and as did Ms Ziva Assa who is responsible for the “beautiful houses” of the city. Theygave us the grand tour and one could sense their pride in this their modern and blooming city. We would like to take this opportunity to thank committee member Daniel Portnoy of Machzor 56 from Argentina for having initiated the idea of holding our Assefa in Modi’in.
The Assefa was chaired by George Leibovitz (Machzor 35) originally from Bnei Akiva, USA. Luisa Tunes of Machzor 52 (Comite, Argentina) acted as Deputy Chairperson. George began by pointing out the symbolism of the fact that the week’s portion of the Torah was “Lech Lecha” which is so meaningful for the Zionist movement and Aliya in general and which is an important Machon LeMadrichei Chul ethic.
Emanuel Gerstner, the outgoing chairperson (Machzor 20 – Ichud Habonim, Chile) reminded those present that this was the fourteenth anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, to be rememberedasa blemish on Israeli democracy and the nation.
The report of the committee’s activities since the last general assembly was then read. A lively debate followed. Two reoccurring themes were the desire for Machzor reunions and ties with the Association. Luisa suggested organizing regional meetings – she thought that this would make it easier for bogrim to get together. In Ralph Phillip’s (Machzor 29 – Hashomer, England ) opinion this could only succeed if there were a boger machon in that area who would take it on him/herself to organize it. This also could be done together with Olim organizations and through web sites of various communities. Daniel stressed that the Association could be a leading force for bogrim. Yehuda Guy (Machzor 25 - Dror, England) thought that the key to Association is the website – we have to encourage bogrim to enter the website and to be active through the website, to update their profiles, to send their photos, to post articles and to be active in the forums. He noted that thanks to the website there are bogrim who have returned to being active in the Zionist world and there are even those who have come on aliya as a result of their renewed association with the Irgun Habogrim.
Ralph Phillips, the treasurer of Association, presented the financial report for 2008 which had been approved by the Inspection Committee, and explained the different clauses. Further details can be requested from the treasurer. Ralph stressed the fact that membership dues are collected only from people during active participation in one of our activities throughout the year. The method of sending out registration forms to members, for them to complete and return with their subscription, has proved unsuccessful. Of the thousands of emails sent to bogrim perhaps five chaverim returned the form and sent the fee. We need to find another method for collecting membership fees.
The financial report was accepted.
The names of chaverim were presented for election to the new Committee and approved by the participants.
The First Annual Assembly ~ HaMachon Kiryat Moriah - 2005/5766
I hereby wish to report the events of the General Assembly which was held on the 27/10/2005 at Kiryat Moriah, Jerusalem which began at 19:30 (the Assifa should have begun at 18:00, but because of the lack of a legal quorum it was decided an hour after the set time to hold the Assifa one half hour later, as stipulated in the regulations) There were 15 chaverim present.
A. The following were elected to chair the Assembly: Chairman – Samy Cige (machzor 35) Deputy – Hillel Schenker (machzor 25) Secretary – Batia Erlich (machzor 40) B. The Chairman of the Vaad, Emanuel Gerstner, gave a report of the activities of the Vaad, there followed a discussion and the report was approved.
C. The treasurer of the Vaad (who unfortunately had to be absent) Ralph Phillips, presented in writing the financial situation of the Amuta as of 31/12/04 to date, and which had been inspected by the control board. A discussion ensued and the report was approved.
D. Honorary President of the Amuta.
It was agreed to accept the proposal of Prof. Haim Avni but confirmation was reserved until the legal bureau of the Histadrut HaZionut, Prof Avni’s present employer, approves this honorary position. If by any chance the position is not approved the Assifa gave the Vaad the power to propose a different person.
E. The following chaverim were elected:
Chairman: Emanuel Gerstner (machzor 20)
Treasurer: Ralph Phillips (machzor 29)
Yehuda Guy (Machzor 25) Ran Afek (Machzor 38) Leonor Mendler (Machzor 38) Alain Jackobovitz (Machzor 49) Irit Stroch (Machzor 33) Joseph Baum (Machzor 32) Dana Goldberg (Machzor 47)
E. Proposals for the future: Moshe Nasel (9): proposed that a survey be made to decide what activities should be organized in the future.
David Abarbanel (40): proposed that the activities be according to machzorim and that representatives from each machzor be found to organize such activities.
It was proposed that a general reunion be organized once a year.
The majority of those present agreed to take an active part on behalf of their own machzorim, and it was agreed that they would be supplied with the database necessary. Yehuda Guy: informed the Assifa that he was now in email contact with over 70 separate machzrim and in the near future hopes to make contact with the rest of the machzorim. This was the most productive way of making contact with chaverim and gives them the chance of being in contact with each other. Ran Afek: pointed out that it was possible that each machzor could build its own web site as several machzorim have already done. In their web site they could contain all the data pertaining to their machzor together with photographs etc. Ran offers his assistance to any machzor wishing to produce its own web site.
F. The proposed intention of the vaad, together with the Dept. of Jewish Zionist education of the Jewish Agency to produce a book – “60 years of the Machon” was discussed.
Anyone wishing to give of their time to the IBM or has any constructive proposals is invited to make contact.