Shnat Netzer is a unique 8 to 10 month leadership training program for young adults in Israel that develops the skills and knowledge necessary for them to become madrichim (leaders) in the movement.

Etgar and Machon

Machon and Etgar are the academic components of the Shnat Netzer program. Each participant must choose one of these components. Both programs are based in Jerusalem and operate at the same time.

Etgar (challenge)

This program began in1994 and is unique to Netzer. The group lives together in an apartment and combines study with living and volunteering in Israeli society. Together the participants work together towards building a Reform Zionist community- one that lives, works, plays, prays and studies together.

The academic element of the program includes lessons on the following subjects: Jewish and Israeli history, leadership, prayer and Hebrew. The lessons are interactive and stimulating; while there is a weekly field-trip on various themes around the country. In addition, much emphasis is given to learning Hadracha skills (educational leadership tools).

Many of the lecturers are shared by both the Etgar and Machon programs, but the content is presented from a Netzer perspective. The rest of the time is spent doing individual and group community work as well as community building activities.


The name Machon comes from "Machon L’madrichei Chutz L’aretz" (the "Institute of youth leaders from abroad"). Machon has been run for over fifty five years by the Sochnut (Jewish Agency) as a Zionist youth leadership development program.

The Etgar and the Shnat participants on Machon meet weekly to tackle issues about Netzer ideology and take part in social activities together.

Classes are five days a week (Sunday to Thursday) from 8am. These are not however, all classroom based. The topics covered change from week to week, giving participants a rounded Jewish education. The Machonikim sleep in dormitories on the campus and all meals are provided in the communal dining room. Just as on Etgar there are regular short and longer trips around Israel as part of the educational program. The participants in this program come from a wide range of youth groups and programs.

The Etgar and the Shnat participants on Machon meet weekly to tackle issues about Netzer ideology and take part in social activities together.


The Shnat Netzer year is punctuated by different seminars scheduled between program components. Each seminar focuses on different topics related to progressive Judaism, Israeli society, spirituality and Zionism.

Seminars are designed to leave the classroom and learn various subjects through travel and community encounters.

The year begins with an orientation Seminar during which the Shnatties (the nickname for the participants), get to know each other and the staff. In addition, they receive an overview of the program and acquire basic skills that will help them adjust to their new life in Jerusalem.

The final seminar of the year is called Sikkum Seminar and focuses on summarizing the experiences that took place over the program, while bringing the year to a close.

In addition, there will be regular Shabbatot B'Yachad (Shabbat together) gatherings with other Progressive programs and one off special events.

Netivei Shnat Netzer

There are two Netivim (paths, Nativ- path) parts to the year. During each one the Shnatties can choose between different components.

During the first Nativ, participants will choose a between kibbutz and Shnat B'Ir:


We try to accommodate the group that chosses this option to live on Kibbutz Yahel or Lotan that are located in the South of Israel. The Kibbutzim were founded by Netzer bogrim (graduates) who lead their lives according to Progressive/Reform Ideology. While on the Kibbutz the group will become a part of the Reform Zionist Community on the Kibbutz. They will work in the different Kibbutz work branches during the day and they will have adopting families from the Kibbutz as well as other activities to help them become part of the wider community.

Shnat B'Ir (Shnat in the City)

The Shnatties who choose this option will live and work together in a small city, normally in the north of Israel. The Shnatties will experience what it is really like to live in a Israeli city. Every day particepants go out individually or in small groups to volunteer in their own tailor made option. The volunteer work will give particepants a chance to use the skills and knowledge gained from Etgar and Machon.

The group will live in their own flat and will cook and clean for themselves.

Participants may choose between a variety of volunteer and educational options designed on an individual basis. The goal of this component is to get a hands-on Israeli experience.

Chofesh (Free Time)

At three times during the year the group will have Chofesh periods. Participants are free to travel within the security restrictions at that time. The same applies to free weekends of which there are many during the program.

Shnatties will need to leave contact details with the Shnat staff before they leave on chofesh or a free weekend so that we know where they all are in case of emergency.