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Tanka, coming to the End of Ma’ale Habsor High School – June 18/19

Endings are part of a natural cycle.

Ma’ale Habsor is ceasing to exist and in its place there will rise “Nofei Habsor”. To drum this home, the teachers of Ma’ale Habsor took themselves to Tanka, a mini-Indian experience set in Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael.

Running this spot is Netta Aloni, a one-time teacher, art therapist. Spending some time in the U.S. as a Jewish Agency delegate, she came upon a teacher by the name of Bear Heart and embarked on a Vision Quest. The Indian way made such an impression on her that upon returning to Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, she pushed the idea of opening a small site dedicated to giving others a taste of the Indian way of looking at life. The ten years it took to establish Tanka was thanks to her determination (and a timely Buffalo totem).

We began our trip with lunch outside.IMG_4415IMG_4420 And then entered the wooden building, sitting in a circle around a ‘salt rock’ lamp. Netta began to present her interpretation of the Native Indian Way of life. What I’m presenting here is my understanding of her understanding. Please excuse wild generalizations and correct misinterpretations if you see them. (with thanks)

Brief  take of the Native Way

We learned of the four main components that make up the native way of life:

The circle (all life occurs in cycles, beginnings and endings are cyclical from our first meeting to our separation)

The sanctity or ‘happiness’ of the circle (if one person in the circle is unhappy, then all will  feel unhappy, and so it is imperative to find the weakest link and resolve it.)

the Earth as mother, she gives, she protects and we need to respect her.

and compassion, we are all perfect in our imperfection.

We learned about the drum, the flat wonderfully resonant instrument made of elk skin or more rarely buffalo skin.

arodrum16-1side-backWe found that a light touch of the drum stick brings far more sound than a harsh beat. So the world offers echoes of that which we put out: we put out good intentions and good echoes back down upon us.

We chanted:


“Vishita, doya doya doya

Vishita, doya doya hey

Wahsa tanaya heya heya

Wahsa tanaya heya hey”


“Mother earth is under our feet

Mother earth, we hear your heart beat”

These simple chants with simple, resonating drum beats did wonders for our alpha waves. The calming centering effect was undeniable. Drumming is a marvellous tool, used for healing. Children are taught to drum from a young age  and so the drum becomes a part of life.

We took a look at a tipi:



We learned that the tipi is the only family property and that the youngest daughter is the one to inherit it. She thus will always have a secure place from which she can look after her parents, feed her family and at the same time cultivate her healing power.

A husband will bring his personal belongings to his wife’s tribe, but he will never possess the tipi.

Moving from one circle of life to another

The cycle of life dictates that as we end one cycle, we ponder on what we’ve received and what we’ll take with us in the next cycle. To formalize this passing from one phase to another, we passed a three coloured braid around our circle. Red signified mother earth, the doing, blue represented the analytical, the observation and purple the combination of considering what needs to be done, its solution and implementation.

passing the braid around the circle

passing the braid around the circle

The braid came home with us back south to the Negev. But not before we had an evening in Sheffayim and an outing in Tel Aviv.

(to be continued…)


One response to “Tanka, coming to the End of Ma’ale Habsor High School – June 18/19

  1. I can’t believe you are doing all this on a kibbutz. WOW!!!

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