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Zionist Federation of Australian News


ZFA News

There is a worldwide campaign to #BringBackOurBoys. It is an awareness initiative to stop the terrorism against Israel and let the world know what has happened to three innocent teenagers who were simply on their way home from school.

Eyal, Naftali and Gilad’s mothers travelled to the UN this week to ask the world for help.

Hamas who is being held responisble for these kidnappings with the names of suspects released this morning have remained committed to the destruction of Israel. The world needs to condemn these actions in the strongest terms especially those against innocent young Israeli teenagers.

Australia has supported communal gatherings and won’t be silent. Our community is submitting a petition to the Australian Parliament, to be tabled by Michael Danby calling on their support for the safe return of the three kidnapped boys Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer. #EyalGiladNaftali families haven’t heard their voices since they were taken two weeks ago and communities across continents are raising theirs to say #BringBackOurBoys. 

It is a challenging time in Israel, which saw Benjamin Netanyahu postpone his planned trip to Australia next month.

In other news on Thursday we farewell our Hagshama Taglit-Birthright buses as they head off to Israel. It is a free 10-day educational tour of Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18-26 and is an experience of a lifetime. We wish them all the best and look forward to sharing photos from their travels over the coming weeks.

Shabbat Shalom

Please feel free to contact us for more information on 03 9272 5644 or zfa@zfa.com.au

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Taglit-Birthright Pre-departure Session

Through the Zionist Federation of Australia, Gandel Philanthropy gifts 160 young adults with the trip of a lifetime

Taglit-Birthright Israel is a visionary program that provides a gift of a 10-day educational tour of Israel for young Jewish adults aged 18-26. The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) is proud to represent the Australian Jewish community as the local partner in this unique project.

160 Australian participants will be leaving for Israel next month on Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. Hagshama, the ZFA's young adult department will be sending two buses for young adults aged 22-26. These two buses have been generously supported by Gandel Philanthropy, the principal Australian supporter, and will enable young adults, many of whom are largely unaffiliated with the Australian Jewish community and have never visited Israel to experience this life-changing program.

We also have one AUJS bus for university aged students and one KangaRusski bus which is for young Jewish adults from Russian speaking backgrounds. This trip provides all involved with an opportunity to learn about our heritage, connects them to Israel in a real and meaningful way and fosters their Jewish identity and connection to their own communities.

Mr John Gandel AO, Chairman of Gandel Philanthropy together with Mrs Pauline Gandel attended the pre-departure session on Thursday 26th June in Melbourne for the Hagshama trip, which was held at the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia. It was a great opportunity for Mr and Mrs Gandel to meet the participants personally and farewell them.

“My family strongly believes in supporting programs that foster and enhance Jewish continuity and identity, and help develop the future leaders in our community. Evidence shows that Taglit-Birthright Israel program has been a major contributor to strengthening Jewish continuity around the world. We are very proud to be associated with it,” said Mr John Gandel AO, Chairman of Gandel Philanthropy.

In the multiple studies conducted by the Cohen Center of Brandies University, it was indicated that 71% of participants marry Jewish as opposed to 49% of non-participants, Taglit participants are also 35% more likely than non-participants to feel confident in explaining the situation in Israel. It is remarkable that a 10 day trip to Israel can change not only a person’s future but that of the Jewish people.

The lead up to the trip saw participants meet, interact and engage in pre-departure activities, which also included Hebrew Café, and allowed for everyone to brush up on their Hebrew skills and learn all the important words – Hello, Felafel Please and How much does it cost?
“Gandel Philanthropy has underpinned our Australian Taglit-Birthright program thus affording 120 young Australian adults the unique opportunity of visiting Israel and seeing what Israel has to offer. We are delighted that Gandel Philanthropy see this as the marque program for both encouraging the support of Israel and Jewish education. They have distinguished themselves as leaders of Jewish philanthropy,” said ZFA President Dr Danny Lamm.

Since its inception in 2000, more than 400,000 young Jews from 67 countries around the world have taken part in the Taglit-Birthright Israel program.

The ZFA works together with several local program organisers to operate Taglit-Birthright Israel. By the end of 2014, more than 3,920 Australians will have participated in this program. In 2014-15, the ZFA will be sending 320 young Jewish adults to Israel on Taglit-Birthright Israel trip.


"Mind the GAP"

The ZFA is proud and pleased to present programs that are valuable additions to the Israel experience of our Masa participants.

This week we had the Masa/ZFA Israel engagement seminar which was held from 17-19 June in Jerusalem. There were over 170 participants, intensive educational sessions including great speakers and smaller group workshops. Watch our video here for a snapshot of what took place.

NOW is the time to apply for Masa grants and scholarships for your gap year in 2015! 


ZFA is also presenting Rafsodia. We had over 220 participants from Betar, Bnei Akiva, Habonim, Hashomer Hatzair, Hineni, Netzer, AUJS Aviv and IBC come together on the shores of the Kinneret.

The first day we built the basis of the rafts that would (hopefully) be seaworthy for the competition the following day. Our first night was spent in fantastic spirits in the best 5000 star accommodation. The next day we took our rafts and successfully (!) sailed across the Kinneret.

There was amazing camaraderie and a beautiful atmosphere especially given the challenge of high temperatures and a Hamsin, but together we did it! Have a look at some of our photos here

Taglit-Birthright Israel - December 2014

Applications for the December 2014 round of Taglit-Birthright Israel will open in the next couple of months. If you would like to be added to our expression of interest list, please send an email to israelprograms@zfa.com.au

For more information please contact Tanya on (03) 9272 5584 or email israelprograms@zfa.com.au

We also have our new Israel Programs Brochure for everyone to read and download here


Hebrew Café for Birthright Participants.

Hebrew Café was back in town! This time it was a special edition for Birthright participants past & present. It was timed for just before they leave for Israel and learnt some Hebrew in an informal & friendly way, met new people who are going/went on Birthright & enjoyed a cup of coffee along the way.

The Hagshama Taglit Birthright groups are the first Taglit group leaving Australia’s Winter to a sun filled summer trip in Israel. They are due to leave for Israel next week! There is a lot of excitement in the air! We wish them an experience of a lifetime and Nesiyah Tova!


Check out the beautiful photo we have received from IDF Soldiers honouring Tel Aviv's Pride Week by bowing their heads and showing the different colours of their berets. Truly #israelonelove

We have also received this beautiful photo of a sunset looking over Yerucham - by IBC participant Hannah Mel.

Are you in Israel? Join hundreds, share your love, send us a photo of you and your friends with an Israel background and create a heart from your hands.

Email photos to dana@zfa.com.au

Following last year’s success of the National Israeli Culture Photography Competition, that received over 200 entries nationwide, went viral on Facebook and had hundreds of people talking about it – connecting Australia's Young Adults to Israel, we would like to present this year’s competition - Israel from My Eyes.

This year we have planned for you 2 different categories:
1. Israel through my lens
2. My Israel Selfie

We have 2 fantastic prizes! Good luck!

To enter – go to the Hagshama Sydney Facebook page, LIKE the page – and look for the Israel from My Eyes tab on the top of the page. *Terms & conditions apply
GEN3 – Coming soon…

Gen 3 is an event series dedicated to the connection and exploration of us "Gen 3ers" relationship with the Holocaust.

Over 80 young adults kicked off their week with a funky artsy fringe event at last year’s– Gen 3 Series Event – Spoken Word & Music Performance.

This year we have an exciting Gen3 MOTH event with special guest singer - Lior!




HABAYIT - The Home of Hebrew and Israeli Culture

Hebrew Lessons for VCE students!
When: Sundays

Time: 2:30-4:00pm 

What: Our first Hebrew lesson for VCE students units 1&2 and 3&4. Shira Golombick, an experienced VCE teacher has previously organised our successful VCE marathon that was held last year

Where: Lamm Jewish Library of Australia 

The weekly lessons are open to participants from any school and the cost per lesson is: $15

Please register for the program here 

Simply Hebrew at Habayit
When: Mondays
Time: 4-5pm  
What: The first Hebrew lesson of Simply Hebrew at Habayit.
The weekly classes are designed for primary school children and are open for Hebrew speakers and non Hebrew speakers (in separate groups.)
Where: Lamm Jewish Library of Australia

Please register here 

Hebrew Now!!!

When: Tuesdays 
What: Hebrew lessons for students and adults with a professional teacher in a small group.
Cost: $10 for students $15 for non sudents

Please register in advance here 

H.O.L (Hebrew over lunch)
Times: Advanced classes- Mondays at 12:30pm Wednesdays                               at 11:30am 
            Intermediate classes -Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 12:30pm
            Beginners - Thursdays at 1pm
Cost: $15
Come and join the class that suits you for an hour of fun to improve your Hebrew conversational skills.

Please register here 




There have been initiatives all over Australia to show support for the three Israeli boys kidnapped two weeks ago #EyalGiladNaftali. As well as rallys our community is submitting a petition to the Australian Parliament, to be tabled by Michael Danby calling on their support for the safe return of the three kidnapped boys Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer. 

This petition of certain citizens and residents of Australia:
1. Draws attention to the House that teenagers; Eyal Yifrah (19) Naftali Frenkel (16)
and Gil-Ad Shaer (16) were kidnapped while travelling home near Gush Etzion in the
West Bank.
2. Draws attention to the House the widely held belief that Hamas is involved in the

We therefore ask the House to:
1. Condemn the kidnapping.
2. Request that the Executive Government convey to the Palestinian Authority its firm
belief that the Palestinian Authority must co-operate and co-ordinate with Israeli
Authorities in their efforts to secure the release of these teenagers.
3. Request that the Executive Government request NGO’s such as UNWRA, Oxfam,
Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross (organisations which are the beneficiaries of
Australian taxpayers financial support) to exercise their influence on Hamas to
ensure that the teenagers are released unharmed.

Click here to access and join the petition


Perth held a solidarity rally in support of the three kidnapped boys #EyalGiladNaftali and their families last Sunday in Perth.

It was attended by 550 people #BringBackOurBoys

Hagshama Sydney together with the rest of the Jewish Young Adult organisations in Sydney initiated a large group photo in Bondi Beach to #BringBackOurBoys. This was part of an international spontaneous initiative where Jews from the whole world show their support for the 3 kidnapped Israeli boy’s #EyalGiladNaftali.


People from Melbourne’s Russian-speaking Jewish Community came together to send their support to the families of the kidnapped boys in Israel. 

Generations came together with a few hours notice for this important cause. It shows how important our connection to Israel is. There is one, and it is strong.



If you haven't yet caught up on the latest Israel advocacy alerts, click here
Your feedback and comments are very welcome

ZFA in the News


27 June - Australian Jewish News, A clear message, Front Cover
27 June - Australian Jewish News, Sharing the anguish over the abductions Pg 12
27 June - Australian Jewish News, Sea of solidarity at Bondi Pg 3
27 June - The Jewish Report, Youth leaders from Israel facilitate seminars Pg 4
27 June - The Jewish Report, Edward Lichtig and Sara Krishtul have returned from the International Bible Quiz Pg 16
20 June - Australian Jewish News, Melbourne service for kidnapped teens Pg 4
20 June - Australian Jewish News, Youth rallies to #BringBackOurBoys Pg 4
20 June - Australian Jewish News, Sydney community prays for kidnapped teens Pg 3
20 June - Australian Jewish News, Bibi's Australia trip postponed, Pg 3
20 June - Australian Jewish News, Kidnappings are an 'act of outrage', Pg 3
20 June - News and Views from Jews Down Under, ZFA Zionist Seminar
20 June - News and Views from Jews Down Under, International Bible Quiz
19 June - The Jerusalem Post, Australian Jewish community rallies together for kidnapped Israeli teens
19 June - The Jerusalem Post, Australians disappointed Netanyahu canceled visit
19 June - European Jewish Press, Netanyahu cancels visit to Australia 'in light of latest developments'
18 June - JTA, Netanyahu cancels Australia visit over 'recent developments' 
18 June - St Louis Jewish Light, Netanyahu cancels Australia visit over 'recent developments' 
18 June - JTA, Netanyahu cancels Australia visit over 'recent developments'
17 June - J-Wire, Back from Bible Quiz in Israel
17 June - J-Wire, Support services for missing teenagers
13 June - Australian Jewish News, Leaders laud East Jerusalem stance Pg 3
13 June - Australian Jewish News, Israeli education minister set for ZFA's conference Pg 10
13 June - Australian Jewish News, The Shuk. Thank you. Pg 20
13 June - Australian Jewish News, Been and Seen. Zionist Federation farewells Philip Chester 
6 June - Australian Jewish News, Yom Yerushalayim was a missed opportunity Opinon Pg 23
6 June - Australian Jewish News, NSW Youth mark Yom Yerushalayim Pg 8 Sydney
6 June - Australian Jewish News, Shopping at the Shuk for Israel programs Pg 10 Melbourne
6 June - J-wire, Preparing for education 
6 June - News and Views from Jews Down Under, ZFA Jewish Educators' Conference

For the full list, visit ZFA in the News on our website.

Visit the ZFA Website