Did you hear the Buzz?

May 9, 2017 by Hayley Hadassin
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Taglit Birthright-Israel program The Buzz is the first of its type from Australia and will take 15 young adults with intellectual/ cognitive disabilities on a Birthright trip – ten remarkable days of touring and discovering Israel with a group of peers, building Jewish identity, and connection with Israel.

Nicole Brittain, Sharon Malecki, Barry Fradkin, Ginette Searle and Dean Cohen

The Zionist Federation of Australia says it is grateful to the Australian principal supporter, Gandel Philanthropy for making this trip possible and are working together with organisational partners, Flying Fox, Access Inc and Friendship Circle Sydney to ensure that every participant’s experience will be meaningful, enriching and enjoyable.

Information sessions for potential participants, their families and potential “buddies” who  will support participants on the trip were held in both Sydney and Melbourne. Whilst we knew that this program indeed met a demand in the community, we were heartened by the keen interest not only from potential participants but also from young adults within our community volunteering to join the trip as buddies.

The Melbourne information session saw ZFA Executive Director, Ginette Searle, along with Dean Cohen of Flying Fox – who will be a madrich (leader) on the trip, and Sharon Malecki of Access Inc presenting the details of the program and answering the many questions posed.

Trustee  of Gandel Philanthropy Barry Fradkin warmly expressed the support of the Gandel family for Birthright generally and for Buzz in particular: “We support this initiative for a very simple reason” he said. “Jewish identity is something we must continue to cherish and strengthen”.  Gandel Philanthropy supports the social enterprise initiatives of Access Inc as well as other programs that support Jewish people in the community with intellectual and or cognitive disabilities, such as the Maccabi All Abilities program, Friendship Circle and Flying Fox and Barry continued to explain that supporting the Buzz trip was “a natural extension of the work of Gandel Philanthropy”.

The excitement among the crowded room was palpable. Ginette Searle said: “Buzz provides an opportunity for young adults with disabilities from Australia to participate in Taglit Birthright Israel for the first time. Expressions of interest for participants and buddies are now invited and have started to come in. It’s really buzzing!”

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