Long serving member of FZY and former Young Zionist editor, Joel Landschaft, explores his thoughts and feelings on leaving the movement after his 12 years with us.
I was but a 10 year old boy crying on the phone to his mother. See, the first night on Hanoar Hatzioni’s Spring camp was a scary proposition for me. How could I even exist without the comfort of my parents taking responsibility for me? I now had to account for myself. However, with the realisation of the space that this youth movement had given me, the fear became excitement. If only I’d known the places I’d go, I’d have blasted into orbit over the impatience.
So 12 years later, I was a 22 year old boy in the exact same position. Crying down the phone to my mummy because I had not been successful in my application to be a movement worker. I would no longer be a part of a youth movement for the first time in my adulthood, which brought with it a pain I’d compare to that of a surrogate mother. For so many years I had worked to contribute to the empowerment of Jewish voices, always challenging the existing order of our movement for - what I believe to be - its betterment. Consequently, when you give your all to a cause it is impossible to not personify oneself with its brand. I had been living my Jewish life through the inspiring opportunities that FZY provided me, thus when this was removed from my life I felt disenfranchised. Right now I might know that I’m Jewish, but I’m struggling to feel very Jewish.
So while I might not feel as if FZY has come as far as I would have liked it to during my time in the movement, I remind myself that I worked to improve FZY because that was my means of bettering the world. Now that I’m no longer involved in a movement, it doesn’t mean that I can give up trying to improve the environments I interact with. While this burn will take time to heal, and as FZY becomes a slightly less vital component of my Jewish existence, so too will I begin to find new outlets to express the core teaching of my youth movement journey: Change is necessary, and it is my responsibility to enact it. But undoubtedly, whether my future be long or short, FZY has been integral to my development as a Jewish person, and for that I can only express my greatest gratitude to those who participated in that journey.
I’m a Jew with a cause
I’m blessed with a voice
I pause to digest
I’ve no choice