Chultzot Tnuot – By Aravah Getzler

Aravah Getzler (Machaneh Tavor)- Bus 19

I’m not sure I really understood until now, and I’m not sure I could adequately explain to someone outside the movement how symbolic these blue shirts with their red laces are. As I write this I have been wearing my chultza tnua for only a few hours, yet instantly it feels like one of the most emotionally valuable things I have.

I was scared, leading up to this day, that I would not cry. But as we sat in the chadar ochel of Kvutzat Kinneret and I saw my madrichimot carrying bags of blue fabric into the hall, I thought of all the beautiful madrichimot who have guided me throughout my years as a chanichol. It hit me, certainly not for the first time but perhaps the most viscerally yet, that in a very short time I will be that person for my chanichimot. Tears began to roll down my face. When I heard out loud Shula’s words “you will receive your first chultzot tnuot,” I started really crying. I cried almost nonstop from then on, as I took my chultza from the hands of my madrichimot and put it on, as we congratulated each other and hugged, until we left that place.

People come to Habonim Dror at many ages, but for me this year happens to be more or less a halfway mark of what I anticipate my time to be in the movement. It’s a tipping point. At this age we are called Nachshoninot, after the man who walked into the sea. It’s a leap of faith. And to be honest? Yes, it’s a bit scary to know that I will have the opportunity for such an impact on the next generation of movement members. But it’s also exhilarating, and I couldn’t be more honored to begin to accept the torch of hadracha. My madrichimot over the years have had a formative influence on my personhood and my values. They have changed how I engage with myself, my people, and the world, and they have shined as examples of how to bring passion, dedication, and a deep love to all that they do. In putting on my chultza, in putting on our chultzot, we are accepting the responsibility and the labor of love that is becoming leaders in Habonim Dror. We will be and create for our chanichimot what our madrichimot have been and created for us. We will change their lives. L’dor v’dor.

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