From Perth to Merhav Am: Feeling at Home.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The visit of students from Perth, Australia to the village of Merhav Am in the Negev has already become a tradition. Every year, as part of their Shorashim (roots) trip to Israel, tenth graders from the Carmel Jewish High School are guests of this unique desert village. The bond between the two communities is so strong that it’s almost as if they’re coming home. We met the group that came to the village on Friday, July 7, 2017.
“JNF Western Australia continues to support amazing projects, but the sense of partnership we have here is way beyond the projects themselves,” said Allison Speiser, a resident of Merhav Am. “The ties, the interactions, the dialogue that developed between our communities and between the young people are all phenomenal. Together we are pioneering the desert.”
For three weeks, the young Australians toured all through Israel, visiting diverse places and meeting a people from different sectors of Israeli society. Their last Shabbat before going home was spent in Merhav Am, and the visit began with getting to know the local youth.
“We had experiences everywhere in Israel,” said Michaela Kavalski from Perth. “Besides seeing the country, we were also privileged to meet a lot of people and to learn about the culture firsthand. Here in Merhav Am there is a warm and tight community, just like in Perth, so I really feel at home here.”
For the local youth, the opportunity to meet friends from abroad was also a special opportunity. As Shira Ben Aharon said: “We enjoyed an awesome social meeting, and really became close friends. It’s important to get to know young people from other places and to meet them. It makes me happy to know that friends from faraway Perth are interested in what’s happening with us.”
During the weekend, the guests from Australia enjoyed meals at the homes of the local families and went for an outing in the desert together with the Israeli youth. They also visited the amazing projects that were built in Merhav Am with the support of the Perth Jewish community.
Read more and watch video on the Perth Shorashim trip to Merhav Am