Building bridges for the future

April 6, 2017 by Hayley Hadassin
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Australia welcomed a delegation from the Central Arava community  as part of the Zionist Federation of Australia and Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership 2GETHER (P2G) program – Arava Australia.P2G is the global living bridge project aimed at connecting Israeli communities with Diaspora communities which has been running for 20 year’s.  Its flagship programs are student delegations from the Arava to Australia, teacher exchanges, Israel program participants visiting the for between 1 day to 1 month as well as successful delegations to Australia including Culinary delegations, Agri Science and photography.

Ron Finkel, Tamara Bruce and Jack Smorgon

It was a unique opportunity for the delegation to work directly with their Australian counterparts to review the Australia Arava Partnerships strategic goals and work together to develop co-operative projects for the coming three years.

Tamara Bruce took over the role of Chairperson last year and was intimately involved in the recent visit, she said: – “The workshops were very positive and we now have a clear vision for the partnership for the next few years. Our goal is to create meaningful and direct engagement among Israeli and diaspora Jewry through shared engagement. I look forward to see the future success of the partnership.”

Orit Elkayam Cohen – Director of the Arava – Australia Partnership (in Israel) has been involved in the visit of many of the delegations over the past few years, including the Culinary and Agri-science delegations. Orit said: – “We found it extremely interesting to see first-hand how Jewish life operates in Australia.  We were warmly welcomed at schools and communal organisations in Melbourne and in Sydney, and look forward to working with our existing stakeholders and new ones in the future.”

Gila Raz, Adi Nir-Levy, Orit Elkayam and Hagit Shaham

The Israeli delegation were most interested Jewish Care’s aged care services, as the region is experiencing an ageing population for the first time. Sharing the Australia Jewish experience and expertise in aged care will provide the region with additional resources and ideas to assist them to plan their community’s future needs.  Such sharing of expertise is the heart of the partnership.

The Mayor of the Central Arava Regional Council, Eyal Blum, joined the delegation to share his vision for the region and to gain an insight into Jewish life in Melbourne and in Sydney. He said: – “We see planning for the healthy ageing of our expanding population as the most vital challenge today, in order to enable sustainable, long-term growth in the Arava… As the Mayor of Central Arava, I am dedicated to the further development of the region focusing on improving the life quality of the residents and attracting new residents to the area. As a second generation pioneer, I am extremely committed to the area.”

It was also a chance to develop the new and exciting pilot programs the partnership have initiated this year. Five Australian madrichim have been selected to run the yearly summer camp in the Arava and Tel Aviv in June/July 2017. This program offers post youth movement leaders the chance to expand their leadership skills abroad through an intensive hands on madrich experience. These madrichim will work closely with fellow madrichim from the Arava and enhance the partnership aim of connecting Israeli communities with Diaspora communities

The group also farewelled Ron Finkel with a cocktail function, Finkel served as Chairperson for the Partnership for many years.

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