Public speaking unites communities

March 8, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Zionism Victoria has hosted a cultural exchange program involving Year 6 students and teachers at Wonthaggi North Primary School and Melbourne’s Leibler Yavneh College at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre.

The program is part of Zionism Victoria’s Public Speaking Service.

Zionism-Victoria-400The Public Speakers’ Service is a program designed for students at State and Independent schools to spend a day in the Jewish community and learn about Judaism, Israel, the Holocaust and the Jewish contribution to Australia. Zionism Victoria’s mission of connecting Victorians with Israel is bolstered by this important initiative.  By educating and informing students and their teachers, many of whom have none, or very little contact with Judaism, Zionism or the Jewish community, Zionism Victoria enriches their understanding of Jewish culture and history and the Jewish connection to Israel and helps cultivate the values of tolerance and respect.

Prior to the excursion, Yavneh students were partnered with a pen pal from Wonthaggi North Primary School to introduce themselves and start discussions about their culture and life style. Following a visit at the Jewish Museum, the students gathered at Beth Weizmann Community Centre with a traditional Israeli style lunch of falafel, pita and salads. Students sat in small groups with their pen pal buddies and conducted well-mannered and sensible conversations related to religion, traditions and way of life.

Following lunch, Yavneh students spoke briefly about their Jewish festivals, symbols and customs. In return, Wonthaggi students spoke about their town’s history and the farming community. The afternoon ended with a gift exchange as a symbol of friendship. Yavneh students gifted a large hand-made mosaic Magen David with the word “Chai” in the centre; wishing the students and staff of Wonthaggi a life filled with endless happiness, good health, love and ongoing friendship.  The students also made a special take home bag for each of the Wonthaggi North students which contained a sample of each of the foods discussed in their presentation. Wonthaggi North gifted Leibler Yavneh College with a coal statue and framed artwork of the city of Wonthaggi.

Wonthaggi North Primary School appreciated the “fantastic effort by Zionism Victoria.” said Rob Robertson Year 6 teacher. “The kids have not stopped talking about it and they are all currently working on powerpoint projects to present to their parents at an open day.” Yavneh College were equally thankful and commented that “It was a wonderful afternoon and we look forward to an ongoing friendship with Rob, the Year 6 teachers and students of Wonthaggi North.”

Zionism Victoria is keen to offer interactive, intercultural programs.

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