They’re back!

January 4, 2017 by Hayley Hadassin
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Taglit-Birthright Israel winter buses are back!

The five groups of young adults who participated had an incredible time in Israel; they were afforded the gift of a 10-day educational tour of Israel and the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) is proud to represent the Australian Jewish community as the local partner in this unique project. We are very grateful for the support of Gandel Philanthropy, the Principal Australian Sponsor, for their support of three Australian Taglit-Birthright Israel groups per year.

Taglit-Birthright Israel enables young adults, many of whom are largely unaffiliated with the Australian Jewish community and have never visited Israel to experience this life-changing program. There were buses  two AUJS, two Chavaya and one Kangarusski bus that traversed Israel from the North to the South. Each group has its own character – for example, “Kangarusski” – ZFA’s own Russian Jewish community program – brought a group of 18 – 26 year olds from Russian Speaking Jewish backgrounds together in a program which, whilst maintaining the essential elements of every Birthright trip, was sensitive to Russian Jewish culture.

Darcy Campbell, NSW, a participant on the Chavaya bus said: – “Israel is a wonderful place. No matter who you are, there is something to fall in love with; whether it is the landscape, the people or a connection to the spiritual. What Taglit does best is introduce you to that love. It allows you to taste the different flavours the Jewish homeland has to offer, leaving me and I am sure many others with a deep desire to return. After the trip, we can come back with a silhouette of Israel in our minds that is waiting to be filled in.”

The ZFA works together with several local program organisers to operate Taglit-Birthright Israel. The buses run during the Israeli winter and summer seasons. To date, the ZFA has sent more than 4200 Australians to participate in the program.

Ruby Fitzmaurice said: – “I’ve loved exploring Israel, and visiting the sites that I’ve heard so much about but never seen. Unlike trips I’ve done before, the thing that stands out the most for me is being able to see and do the things I’ve done with other Jewish people. I feel a strong connection with a group of people who were once strangers, and it made me realise that wherever I go and whatever I’m doing I’ll always be part of an amazing, generous and loving community.”

The next Australian Taglit Birthright Israel programs will depart in June/ July 2017. Applications will open shortly and young adults aged 18-26 are encouraged to apply. For more information on eligibility criteria and program dates, please go to http://www.israelprograms.com.au

The ZFA are currently recruiting experienced madrichim for the Israeli summer season – please see http://www.zfa.com.au/want-to-go-to-israel/israelprograms for a position description and information on how to apply to lead a “trip of a lifetime”.

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