This month we strengthened our connections with Jewish communities oversees when we were graced by visits from two groups of Australian High School students from Sydney and Melbourne who visited Israel over the course of the winter (Southern Hemisphere summer) in between tenth and eleventh grade.
Fifty students from Sydney’s Emanuel High School came to Akko on the last night of Hanukkah to meet with graduates of their own high school who are now living out their dream as members of Dror Israel urban kibbutzim in Israel. They also met educators from the Akko kibbutz who are doing the same. Together they talked about the importance of values in life and what it means to live according to one’s values – one of the key lessons of the inspirational story of Hanukkah.
“It’s really cool to meet people who went to my school ten years ago and are now here in Israel doing such amazing things. I’m not sure yet what I want to do when I finish high school but it’s awesome to know that it’s possible to follow a dream and live out the things you believe in”, said Tarryn, 15.
Afterward both groups joined together to light all eight Hanukkah candles, join in chorus for traditional (and new) Hanukkah songs and devour delicious sufganiot!
Later in December we were thrilled to greet another group of Australian High School students, this time from Mount Scopus Memorial College in Melbourne. These students spent three days in the north of Israel learning about the challenges and opportunities that exist in mixed cities.
We took the students on our iconic Akko at Eye-Level walking tour, which introduces groups to the fascinating social reality of Akko – Israel’s most mixed city – and the work that the Educators’ Kibbutz is doing to lay the foundations for democracy, peace, justice and equality in the city.
“Seeing the real Israel is so important and often missing on these kind of trips. It’s great to be able to show the kids the other side of Israel that they wouldn’t otherwise get to see and also to hear about the kibbutz’s novel approach to making change and bringing diverse groups together. Our trip to Akko will definitely not soon be forgotten”, Daniel, group leader.