Why do I choose Habo?

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“Why” is always a fun question. Well… it depends on your definitions of fun I guess – but for somebody like myself, who has an insatiable curiosity, ‘why’ questions tend to be the best. What, Where, Who and When are all great, and tend to be closed questions that are locked into the universe around us, and can answered with the scientific method. To answer a ‘How’ question, one needs greater understanding, although a good ‘how’ question is really just a combination of ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘who’ and ‘when’ questions that are pretending to be fancy. ‘Why’ questions however, can be contested! They often involve perspectives, opinions and force us to look inwards and discover the reason we think one way, whilst others may disagree.

It’s has been a long while since I needed to exercise my mind for something other than derivations of some mathematical relationship…So how about I start asking myself ‘why?’

Why do I continually choose Habo?

The reasons not to, are simple. Getting out of bed is hard, organising 10+ madrichim for meetings is a nightmare and worst of all – Habo takes up that precious commodity – time, something which I constantly tell myself (quite wrongly) that I don’t have enough of. After all, there are PLENTY of activities I could partake in instead…So why do I attend weekly meetings, camps and seminars? I am sure there are many more generic and individual reasons for everybody to not attend, but through my time as a madrich of Habonim Dror Aotearoa New Zealand I’ve come to a series of conclusions.

Please allow me to get a little bit existential right about now.

I am someone with my whole life ahead of me. When I think of who I want to be, the impact I want to make and the legacy I will leave behind I want to ensure that I have two things. Firstly, I want a clear vision of where I want to go; secondly, I want to be in a structure that encourages me to fulfil that vision.

I want to help shift humanity into a global egalitarian society. Through conversations in Habonim Dror, both as a chanich and as a madrich I have found myself constantly refining and developing my malleable self into somebody who capable not only to demand change of the world, but to confidently lead the way by example. That is not to say I believe that there is something to “fix” with the world per say, but there are definitely many areas which beckon to me with opportunities for different ways of being. Human rights, climate change, renewable energy production suddenly appear not as distant stars I cannot reach – but as incandescent light bulbs which I can replace with long lasting LED ones.

I just need to find the stool.

In Habo social awareness, the equal value of humankind and environmentalism are not just badly transliterated words written on camp poster every once in awhile, they are actually really cool values of our constitution which offer an incredible scope to really check out where you stand in life. And those are just a beginning – Habo has offered me a freedom to explore so many different issues slowly, to say how I feel, to debate and to argue with my peers. To revisit the same question in many different ways. A process which, although may use water balloons, butcher paper and outdoor camping, has allows me to double check my headings every once in awhile. Make sure that I am asking the hard questions, taking the hard actions and asking others to join me in doing the same.

So why do I choose Habo? At the end of the day, Habo gives me the chance to ask ‘why’ every week – and every week learn something about myself, my friends, community and my world. The mental stimulus is never ending. Learning, teaching, leading, following, succeeding and failing. I am developing skills and friends that I never thought I’d have – and that is as good an answer as I need.

Tomer Simhony