Hagshama For Whom?

Etay Zwick

An informal divide is emerging that distinguishes two different modes of relating to the ideology of Hashomer Hatzair.  In one mode, Shomrim explore the values of Hashomer Hatzair primarily in a prescribed context, and with a focus on the pedagogy of good citizenship.  In other words, one is a Shomer primarily in pre-established settings, (i.e. in kens, at Mosh, etc.), and being a Shomer is largely a matter of learning how a Shomer interacts with his or her community. In another mode, Shomrim explore the values of Hashomer Hatzair in the context of their daily lives.  Here, Shomrim struggle to expand the arena within which they are actively Shomrim.  These two modes of relating to ideology have effectively created a distinction between the Tnuat Noar (the movement of the youth) and the Tnuat Chaim (the life movement).  

There are three important features about this divide.  First of all, it remains informal, in that it is primarily a reflection of observed trends in the movement. Second, it seems to have emerged spontaneously from the tendency for Bogrim to have different personal goals than the younger Hadracha.  Finally, it is a fluid divide, as many Shomrim oscillate between the Tnuat Noar and the Tnuat Chaim. 

In some ways, these two informal movements are addressing different questions.  The Tnuat Noar explores what it means to be members of this movement. The Tnuat Chaim explores how we should live in general, that is, how we want to be in the world and how we want the world to be.  

The following questions immediately come to mind: Who is the target of the Hagshama process? Are we defining Hagshama for the Tnuat Noar or for the Tnuat Chaim?  In actuality, this process is for both movements.  The Hagshama process will define both the goals of the Tnuat Chaim and the direction of the Tnuat Noar.  For example, if we decide, through this process, to commit ourselves to the goal of Aliyah, then on the one hand, many Shomrim from the Tnuat Chaim will be moving to Israel; and on the other hand, the Tnuat Noar will have to adjust its educational approach so that Chanichim learn about Aliyah within the context of it being a real goal of the movement.  

The distinction between the two emerging movements is an important one, and maybe one that we will choose to formalize.  But we should be careful that this distinction does not monopolize the Hagshama process.  If we first define, as a united movement, what our ultimate goals are, then our strategy for striving towards them can and will unfold in the future.
Hagshama Definition
Etay Zwick