Bnei Akiva Across the Generations

Debbie Harris, Hachshara 5778

On May 17th we met with many generations of BAUK, and this made me become aware of the metamorphosis of the youth movement.

Edna and her husband, who have been in Israel for over 50 years, were so ideology driven. They would take extremely dangerous measures by sending ammunition to help Israel from London – in the only way they could from thousands of miles away.

Another bogeret, Chani, told her story of her yearn to be in Israel. Her passion was so strong that several weeks before the six day war broke out, she signed up to go to Israel to help. She was not running from the war but to it.

The movement has taken this passion from building a country to spreading an ideological message across the UK. We talked amongst the group of how BA has inspired many in their desire for Torah, and how consequently people have returned to their Jewish roots. For many, it has ignited their love for Israel. A member of Hachshara commented that on Kivun they were amongst many youth movements- be it less religious or left/right wing and it made him realise how much BA has given him, including a love for Israel and a passion to want to live there. The discussion expanded further if there is room for bogrim within the youth movement who don’t make aliyah or if they do, it is later on in life. Another Kivun member answered that since the youth movement focus has shifted to that of inspiring others throughout the community there is a room for people to impact in the UK – to pass onto further generations. Our avodah evolving.

Edna told a story of how she went on a gap year to Israel and very few were chosen to go on it. When she came back, people were stroking her clothes as she had been to the holy land, they wanted to know what it was like, they were so thirsty were something that is so often taken for granted. We’re so lucky to be here, to have our land, and these bogrim built this land with their bare hands.

We, as Hachsharah Bnei Akiva, have a purpose, and although different to the generations that we were sitting amongst, is still so strong. We must inspire others through Bnei Akiva – to connect them to Torah, to Israel and our constant Avodah throughout our lives.

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