Two Aussies excel in Birthright Israel Excel

December 10, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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For the first time, Australia has been represented in Birthright Israel Excel is a  fellowship that engages talented young Jewish adults interested in making a tangible impact in business, tech, entrepreneurship, the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

Ben Krochmal

Excel is a competitive 10-week professional summer experience in Israel which builds strong business, personal and philanthropic relationships between young Jewish adults from Israel and overseas.

Fellows hail from the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Israel and the UK and for the first time in the history of the program, Australia, Brazil, France and Italy.

The diverse makeup of the group was a tremendous accomplishment during a time when travel was still limited and is the result of great efforts exerted by Taglit-Birthright Israel and its partners to make this a reality.

Excel invests in its growing community of Fellows worldwide, by supporting them with ongoing networking and professional development opportunities, long after their immersive 10-week experience in Israel.  Fellows are empowered to invest in each other, other leaders, charitable and socially impactful causes, local communities, and the advancement of Israel and the Jewish world.

The two participants from Australia were from Melbourne.

Jaxon Dryen interned with KPMG and Ben Krochmal, who interned with the Viola Group.

The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) represents the Australian Jewish community as the local partner of Taglit-Birthright Israel, and was proud of the two people chosen from the Australian contingent.

ZFA CEO Ginette Searle said, “while it has been disappointing to have been unable to send our groups on the regular Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, we were proud to have been able to send two Australians on this program, and know that they will bring back incredible skills which will accompany them into their professional careers back at home”.

Adi Hillel, Deal Advisory Manager at KPMG, who served as the mentor Australian Fellow Jaxon Dryen said, “The interns from Excel are very professional and they come with a lot of motivation. Immediately I saw potential with Jaxon and his abilities. I integrated him into key projects and gave him a lot of responsibility. He has received so many skills over the summer that he will take forward into his career. Israel has a startup ecosystem that does not exist anywhere else. This experience is very significant especially for these young people at the beginning of their careers. They will one day hold key positions in their respective countries and they will have had this close encounter with Israeli innovation that will always stay with them.”

Jaxon Dryen

Paying tribute to the ZFA, Jaxon Dryen said, “I would like to thank the ZFA and the donors of Birthright Israel in Australia for allowing me to have this experience. It has completely changed my life. It has offered me new perspectives. It has strengthened my connection to the Jewish homeland and my Jewish identity. It has provided me with a breadth of professional experience and it has introduced me to a professional and social community that will stay with me for life.  I believe that this program must continue into the future and that more Australians will be part of it.”

Australia’s other intern Ben Krochmal told J-Wire: “Birthright Israel Excel offered unparalleled insights into the professional Israeli ecosystem, with an experience that allowed me to expand my network on an international scale. Throughout the program, we were given the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the future-forward industries that make Israel so exceptional, which accelerated my personal and professional development through a newfound appreciation of how to succeed in the modern world. I genuinely believe Excel has meaningfully impacted my perception of how to tackle my future, and I extend my gratitude towards the ZFA and Taglit for enabling me to take part in such a unique and special program.’

Sebastian Inwentarz ZFA’s Taglit Development Director said, “This has been a very challenging period, and being able to have Australians taking part of Birthright Israel Excel, in Israel, for the first time has been a great achievement. These bright young adults represent the future leaders of the business and Jewish world. Jaxon and Ben have been fully immersed in the Israeli workplace ecosystem and culture, whilst enjoying the opportunity to join other international and Israeli fellows in professional development workshops with Israeli leaders and innovators in diverse sectors. The skills and connections that they gain from Excel will continue to serve as valuable asset for them professionally, socially and from a Jewish point of view, as they advance in their careers.”

Although Jaxon and Ben are in Israel. ZFA has not sent anyone on a birthright trip since January 2020. This is the only Israel activity for any Australian Birthright participants this year.

A spokesperson told J-Wire: “We are hoping to that groups will resume from Australia from mid-year next year. ”

For more information about anything related to Taglit-Birthright Israel, please feel free to contact Sebastian Inwentarz:

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