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> O que é Tamar?

Maoz Haviv, Mazkir of Tamar Olami writes:
Nine years ago I was first introduced to Netzer Olami. Till then I knew about the movement only a little. I knew much better the North American youth movement – Nfty, where I served as its central Shaliach from 1994 to 1996. I had then also the privilege to participate in the founding event of Kesher during 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The better I got to know Netzer, the more I asked myself – what about its graduates. Those people who may be spending their younger years, may be five – may be even ten within the movement structure, and digested for sure so much while being there, concluding once they are 19 or 20 years of age such a meaningful chapter of their life, without the possibility to have for it any continuation.

Not so long ago, adult life did start for people in their early twenties. There was no need then for any framework to continue the youth movement one. A person “graduated” his/her teen’s life, got married and entered quickly deep into the commitments of adult life.

Not so any more.

The moratorium towards these circles of life has been delayed longer and longer. Parallel to this, a new chapter of life has been added to young adult people – a very meaningful and significant one to their twenties and early thirties as well. It is the chapter of the “in between”. In between adolescence and adult life.

WHAT is this chapter offering for young adults?

On one hand – quite a lot. So many alternatives in the campus life and even after. On the other hand – it is basically being offered without suggesting a real meaningful framework with defined content. There are so many personal choices – there is such a limit in meaningful social frameworks.

Homo Sapiense is a social “animal”. Then the question – to which I belong, and what is the meaning of it to me – is being raised.

As a fact, most of the Jewish young adults, except the more orthodox religious one, do not find at this chapter of their life their way to the communities, and there are those, mainly graduates of youth movements and organizations who are actually “losing”  their way during these years. When do we learn it? Once those young people got sometime in the middle thirties to decide what kindergarten to chose for their first child. How many – or – what percentage will chose the Shul kindergarten? This is one of the more important indicators to learn what happened to them during this long chapter of their life.

Unfortunately, a very big percentage – more than half of the people, will not find their way back to the Jewish community from which they started their way to their personal life.

The issue is well known. I don’t believe I renewed here anything to anyone.

Yet, this is a bothersome issue.

I was bothered.

Therefore I thought – and what about us? What about the graduates of Netzer?

There was a name which appeared in the movement literature. A name – with no meaning. “TAMAR”. I saw it is the initials of “Tnuat Magshimim Reformit”.

I tried to learn from some movement graduates what was behind the name. I hardly got the accurate answer. It seems that it was the framework during the seventies of the groups of Nfty graduates who gathered together in order to make Aliya to Israel and establish the Reform Kibbutim there. In fact, it did happen. In 1979, the very same year that Netzer was founded, Kibbutz Yahel was established as well. Five years later – not far away from Kibbutz Yahel – Kibbutz Lotan – this time by graduates of Netzer as well.

I decided to get back to the name and to cast into it new meaning. This is how some nine years ago we reestablished today’s TaMaR – as the Hagshama framework for Netzer graduates.

Since then we have run in Israel each and every year the TaMaR worldwide conference. Some 15 to 20 delegates from about 15 countries participating in a real intensive program which is supposed to help them to run later on their young adults groups ages 20 to 35 in their countries and to lay the base for a living worldwide framework.

Till today some 150 people participated in these gatherings, bringing the TaMaR message to their countries.

During these nine years we witnessed all kinds of experiments to take the TaMaR framework off ground. It is for sure not an easy beginning. We had to learn this chapter of young adult’s people life is the one in which most people prefer the full freedom without obligations or commitments of any kind. Yet, in some countries, in some cases we witnessed significant success and real achievements in offering young adults the meaningful Jewish framework they were actually looking for. It so happened in Germany where JUJ was established first. In the Former Soviet Union where TaMaR serves as the most meaningful contact of young people to their Judaism. In Porto Alegre – Brazil where the young adults of the community decided to join TaMaR. In Johannesburg South Africa where the community young adults, part graduates of Netzer and the other part not – gathered together to run joint weekly activities.

More so. TaMaR became the most significant young adult framework within the Reform world. It doesn’t mean yet that thousands of young adults gathered under the TaMaR flag, yet, there is not any other framework which is able to appeal to Reform young adults around the Reform world the way TaMaR can.

Whatever we managed to create up till today is nothing but a moderate beginning. Yet, TaMaR proved it can serve as a framework in which young adults can find the space, even some kind of a “Moderate Jewish Temple” in which they will be able to express themselves and feel at home more than in any other framework.

I do hope that TaMaR will find its way, will grow and develop and reach out  to many more of our young adults – graduates and not-graduates of Netzer and Nfty alike.

I hope it will help to make this long chapter in young people’s life more meaningful – more connected to their own rots.

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