Netzer Olami

The Netzer semel (emblem)

Netzer Olami is the worldwide youth movement of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and is affiliated to Arzenu (the Zionist arm of the WUPJ). "Netzer" is an acronym in Hebrew for Reform Zionist Youth (Noar Tsioni Reformi, נוער ציוני רפורמי), and Netzer Olami means 'Global Netzer'. (The word 'Progressive' is used as an umbrella term to include Reform, Liberal, Reconstructionist and other 'non-orthodox' Jewish movements - hence the 'World Union for Progressive Judaism', so a better rendition is really Progressive Zionist Youth, but of course the acronym wouldn't work). Today there are 16,000 members active in our different sniffim (chapters) that are located in the following places: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Germany, Israel (Noar Telem), North America (NFTY), Panama, Russia, South Africa, Spain, France, United Kingdom (LJY-Netzer, RSY-Netzer) and Ukraine. The Netzer Olami head office is in Beit Shmuel, Jerusalem.[1]

The Netzer Symbol

The Netzer symbol was designed in Melbourne, Australia, by Daniel (Danny) L. Schiff.


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:

  1. Judaism as a People, a Nation and a Religion
    • 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.
  2. The covenant as a moral obligation
    • Israel is given to us by God 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:
      1. Memlechet Kohanim, 'a kingdom of priests'
      2. Goy Kadosh, 'a holy people'
      3. L'or Goyim, 'a light unto other nations'
  3. Sovereignty
    • 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.
  4. Israel and Diaspora
    • 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.
  5. Aliya Nimshechet
    • Literally "continuing immigration" - making Aliya (moving) to Israel and then continuing to live out the Netzer values there.
  6. Progressive 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.
  7. A pluralistic approach to Judaism 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.
  8. Tikkun Olam
    • 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.
      1. Tikkun Atzmi - healing the self
      2. Tikkun Kehila - repairing our communities
      3. Tikkun Am - healing the Jewish people
      4. Tikkun Medinat - repairing the Jewish state
      5. Tikkun Olam - repairing the world
  9. Our Values:
    • As a reform Zionist youth movement we believe in the following fundamental values.
      1. Prayer through Ma’amad (creative services relevant to the time and place)
      2. Celebration of the Chagim (festivals) including Shabbat
      3. Jewish, especially Torah, study as an ongoing lifelong commitment.
      4. Informed decision making, individually and communally
      5. A belief in the oneness of God
      6. The Unity of the Jewish People
      7. The centrality of the land and State of Israel to Jewish life
      8. Tzedaka (charity)
      9. A commitment to the prophetic tradition and its understanding and vision of Judaism
      10. Social Justice and a commitment to Peace
      11. Equality, particularly gender equality, in Judaism
      12. Mutual care and cooperation
      13. Care for the environment
      14. The dignity of all human beings, tolerance for their differences and a respect for “the other” within our society and community.
    • The exact meanings of these values to the daily lives of Netzer chevarim (members) is open to their own interpretation.
  10. Reform Zionist 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.
  11. Ivrit (Hebrew)
    • 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.
  12. Spending Time in Israel
    • 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.
  13. Hagshama (Self-realisation) and Activism
    • 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.
  14. Geula (redemption)
    • 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.

See also



External links

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