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120 Aussies in the Arava

In the first of its kind, 120 participants from all of the Zionist Youth Movements as well as from IBC travelled to the Arava in Israel’s south for a three-day seminar in the Arava. A joint effort of the Arava-Australia Partnership (AAP), the MASA Leadership and Impact Centre, the Australasian Zionist Youth Council (AZYC) and the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), the seminar was an opportunity to learn about the experiences and ideas of other programs and movements. It will provide a foundation for these movements to work together collaboratively when they return to Australia. In an added bonus, the majority of the facilitators were Australian professionals who have made aliyah and have a deep understanding of the needs of the Australian Jewish community.

ZFA’s Israel Office Director Moriah Ben-David said, “Having a seminar in the Arava with Shnatties from almost all of the programs was a delight and created an opportunity for our young leaders to discuss, debate and bond. The idea was to prepare our participants for the next step – coming home and working together for the benefit of the entire community.”

Reflecting on the collaborative atmosphere Ms Ben-David said, “It was beautiful to see how they interacted with each other, respected each other’s views and engaged with the content.”

Sarah Mali, the Director of the Leadership Institute of Masa said, “At Masa we believe that the AZYC Seminar is a pivotal experience that brings together the diversity of Australian young adult leadership to shape and strengthen their Masa journey, and, as a result, the Australian Jewish community at large”.

AAP Director Hillie Bloch said, “We in the Partnership, were very happy to host the AZYC Seminar in the Arava. It’s always a major highlight when we get the chance to meet with Australian youth movement participants! Seeing the fellows getting off the buses, and going straight to give a hug to their friends from home in Australia, puts a smile on our faces!”

Bloch also highlighted the special relationship that Australians have with the Arava through the Partnership when she noted, “for three days in the Arava, we exposed the participants to the work of the AAP. The collaboration we have with the ZFA has been excellent over the years, and this close relationship led us this year to a very successful seminar.”