A once in a lifetime opportunity

August 23, 2018 by  
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Every year JNF Australia and B’nai Brith put on the Changemaker awards which honours young adults in our community who have made a difference to society by volunteering to organisations nationally.

Shayna Slotar reports:

I was very lucky to be nominated in several categories this year.  The Changemaker awards are a wonderful opportunity for us to show our peers that it is ‘cool’ to help one’s community through volunteering. I think I speak on behalf of all the volunteers when I say that none of us do it for the thanks. On behalf of all the recipients and nominees from this year’s Changemaker awards, thank you for your recognition.

I have found community service immensely rewarding.  It not only gives you a voice, it gives you the opportunity to stand up and create change and most importantly it gives you the chance to make a difference.  A tangible difference to your community, your country and in my case Israel specifically.

The biggest prize of all however, is the pride I feel in fulfilling my volunteering commitments.  I live a more fulfilled life because I choose to volunteer and contribute.

Shayna Slotar

The work of JNF Australia and B’nai Brith in highlighting the importance of volunteering should be celebrated.  These awards are vital for shedding light on the amazing work young volunteers do for our community.  It also highlights all the incredible work still needing to be done!

This year, the Embassy of Israel partnered with JNF Australia and B’nai Brith to give one lucky nominee the opportunity to represent Australia in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diplomatic Seminar for Young Jewish Leaders Summit in Israel.

I was incredibly honoured to be selected from this year’s nominees.  I remember thinking as we took off, that I was on a plane bound for Israel, fulfilling a lifelong dream.   I knew this was a once in a lifetime trip and one I would never forget.  The trip was truly life changing.

33 young Jewish leaders represented 28 different countries at the Diplomatic Seminar.  The delegates came from a diverse set of backgrounds, some reform, some orthodox, some right wing and some left wing.  While we were all very different, we all had one thing in common – our love for Israel and its livelihood.  We also categorically agreed that the Diaspora had an obligation to support the State of Israel.

We had the opportunity to meet Knesset members, judges from the courts, Bedouin, Druze and Ethiopians to name a few! My gratitude and thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who conceived this seminar and recognise the incredible impact it will have.

One thing that continues to weigh heavily on my mind, is the question ‘now what’?

I know I have a great responsibility to share what I have learnt and inspire the next generation of volunteers.  I need to translate my experience into a language that will motivate anyone reading this to want to stand up and be counted.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” Martin Luther King Jr.  Volunteering is the best choice I have made and one I am very proud of.

There are so many ways we can support Israel.  Volunteering your time to one of the many Zionist organisations, or by being an advocate amongst your peers are both incredible ways to demonstrate your support.  Your efforts are essential in ensuring Israel stays strong, sustainable and vibrant!

Sydney-based Shayna Slotar is the Australian representative in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diplomatic Seminar for Young Jewish Leaders Summit in Israel. Shayna was selected as a result of the JNF and B’Nai Brith Changemaker Awards.

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