Gandel Philanthropy funds Israel trips for young adults

July 14, 2015 by Hayley Hadassin
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In conduct  with the Zionist Federation of Australia, Gandel Philanthropy has enabled 120 young Australian adults to experience an unforgettable  10-day trip to Israel.

Ready to go

Ready to go

Taglit-Birthright Israel is a visionary program that provides a 10-day educational tour of Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18-26. The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) is proud to represent the Australian Jewish community as the local partner in this unique global project.

Hagshama is the ZFA’s young adult department and since 2012, we have sent two groups of 40 young adults aged 22-26 on Taglit-Birthright Israel trips in the Israeli summer. We currently have 80 Australian Hagshama participants in Israel on Taglit-Birthright Israel and by all accounts, they are having the time of their lives. These two groups and a third in December are generously supported by Gandel Philanthropy, the principal Australian supporter of Taglit-Birthright Israel.

“As Principal Supporter, Gandel Philanthropy is very proud that again this year, 120 young adults will be afforded the opportunity to participate in the life changing Taglit-Birthright program. Many of these young adults are largely unaffiliated with the Australian Jewish community and have never visited Israel. I was very pleased to be present at the Melbourne Taglit pre-departure session and meet with a number of the very excited participants,” said Nicole Brittain, Grant Manager – Jewish and Israel Programs, Gandel Philanthropy.

This week, AUJS will also send a group of university aged students on Taglit-Birthright Israel. This trip provides all involved with an opportunity to learn about our heritage, connects them to Israel in a real and meaningful way and fosters their Jewish identity and connection to their own communities.

In the multiple studies conducted by the Cohen Center of Brandies University, it was found that 71% of Taglit participants marry Jewish as opposed to 49% of non-participants, the participants are also 35% more likely than non-participants to feel confident in explaining the situation in Israel. It is remarkable that a 10 day trip to Israel can help change not only a person’s future but that of the Jewish people.

Steven Levy 23, from Melbourne is currently on the program, he says; “Day 1 began after an arduous 24+ hour transit. The sensation of being on solid ground never felt so good. After breakfast, the buses meandered through the mountains northward toward the spiritual homeland of Israel, Tzfat.

Along the way we got to know each other through a somewhat intimate Q&A session. After arriving in Tzfat, we learnt about the beginnings of the Jewish people and the history of the region and its importance during the Spanish Inquisition. During our tour guide Miriam’s explanation, I took away a key-note: Judaism is all about balance, balance between giving and taking. Knowing when to give everything you have to something but also having the ability to openly accept and take. This insight really shifted my perspective on Judaism and also gave me a new way of understanding love. This led perfectly into our first dinner and Shabbat together.

For some this was a first Shabbat ever or a first Shabbat in Israel and for others it was simply part of a weekly routine. Regardless of what it was for each individual, we were now a family and we had arrived ‘home’, all excited for the journey that lay ahead.”

“Gandel Philanthropy believes in supporting this program as it not only fosters and enhances Jewish continuity and identity, it can also help develop the future leaders in our community. Evidence shows that Taglit-Birthright program has been a major contributor to strengthening Jewish continuity and Gandel Philanthropy is very proud to be associated with it,” said Nicole Brittain, Grant Manager – Jewish and Israel Programs, Gandel Philanthropy.

“Gandel Philanthropy has underpinned our Australian Taglit-Birthright program for a number of years, thus affording hundreds of young Australian adults the unique opportunity of visiting Israel and seeing what Israel has to offer. We are delighted that Gandel Philanthropy sees this as the key program for both encouraging the support of Israel and Jewish education. They have distinguished themselves as leaders of Jewish philanthropy,” said ZFA President Dr Danny Lamm.

Since its inception in 2000, more than 400,000 young Jews from 67 countries around the world have taken part in the Taglit-Birthright Israel program.

The ZFA works together with several local program organisers to operate Taglit-Birthright Israel. By the end of 2015, more than 4020 Australians will have participated in this program.

 

Registration for the Dec/Jan trips opens on the 2nd of September. Email israelprograms@zfa.com.au to be added to the expression of interest list.

 

 

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