Aussie science interns get a career head start in the Arava

January 14, 2019 by Community newsdesk
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The Australia Arava Partnership (AAP) has selected two Melbourne science graduates to participate in a unique science internship at the world-class Research & Development Centre in the Central Arava in Israel.

Jenna Topalanksy

Now in its second year, the program, which is sponsored by the AAP, offers successful candidates the opportunity to expand their scientific research skills through an intensive hands-on laboratory experience working with a team of scientists to further their professional skills and benefit from an immersive scientific experience through research projects.

“We have designed this program to foster the next generation of research scientists and are delighted to offer both Jenna Topalansky and Josh Rachbuch the opportunity to work with world-renowned scientists on incredible projects, whilst living in the majestic surrounds of the Arava. An internship in the Central Arava R&D Centre will enable them to participate in the exciting, cutting-edge research taking place there, all in a stimulating intellectual environment while being mentored by distinguished scientists,” said Tamara Bruce, Chairman of the AAP.

Josh Rachbuch

Surrounded by a unique ecosystem, the R&D Centre strives to increase and broaden the desert-related research being undertaken. To a community living in the desert, it is of utmost importance to reveal its uncovered secrets in order to promote sustainability and co-existence. Studies into the natural surroundings form the basis for all environmental and ecological developments.

Jenna holds a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) degree from Monash University and is excited to return to Israel with fond memories of her Birthright Hagshama trip in 2014.   “I am extremely honoured and proud to be provided with this opportunity to conduct aquaculture research in a state-of-the-art facility in the Arava. I am very passionate about zoology and look forward to expanding my skill set and knowledge base in relation to the scientific field,” said Jenna.

Josh, who holds Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degrees from Monash University, will work on ALS research with Dr Niva Blum and her team. He is looking forward to returning to Israel where he spent 10 months on IBC Australia during his gap year in 2014.

“This is a once-is-a-lifetime opportunity to further my education and apply everything I learnt at university in a real-world setting. Living in the Arava is certainly stepping out of my comfort zone but will no doubt augment my experience,” said Josh.

Ginette Searle, Chief Executive Officer, Zionist Federation of Australia said: “We are pleased to see two of our Israel Program alumni returning to Israel to continue their journey of exploring their connection to Israel and their Jewish identity. There’s no better place than the Arava to foster meaningful connections with the people, the land and the unique innovative culture of Israel.”

Jenna Topalanksy

During their free time the interns will enjoy moshav life in the heart of the desert, as well as additional activities such as; tours, encounters with people from the Arava community and daily life with their adoptive families.

The project serves to enhance the connection between Australia and the Arava, which is the key objective of the partnership.  Partnership2gether (P2G) is the global living bridge project of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Zionist Federation of Australia aimed at connecting Israeli communities with Diaspora communities. The Central Arava region was “adopted” by Australia as our partnership community in 1995, and the relationships and joint projects which have emerged from the partnership have been varied, broad and deep.

Over the years, the Australia Arava Partnership has facilitated various delegations between the communities, including youth and students, to professional and special interest groups. Each of these visits has strengthened the bonds between people, created personal relationships and enriched the respective communities’ cultures.

The AAP is currently recruiting madrichim to lead on a summer camp in the Central Arava in July 2019. To register your interest email call Stacy Hayman on +61 3 9272 5531.

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