Australasian Union of Jewish Students

Read what Prielle from Sydney had to say about AUJS Aviv in 2014

Read what Prielle from Sydney had to say about AUJS Aviv in 2014

I can say that Aviv positively changed my life even after my flight home to Australia.

By Prielle Betito / November 18, 2014

To summarise a five-month long adventure in one page feels impossible. How do I capture the people, or should I say, personalities, I encountered? The inspiring guidance I received from my madrichim and dear friends? The famous leaders introduced to us in our seminars – including Mark Lazar and Mical Ben-Dror? The spectacular, eye-opening scenes of Israel, like the developing Bedouin communities, or the heart-warming childcare centres?

I fell in love with the loud, honest people in Israel. The culture is vibrant, the food is delightful, and the embracing spirituality of the country is unforgettable. An Israel journey inevitably traces ritual tellings of the ancient Jewish holidays to the story of modern day Israel. AUJS Aviv provided me with all of this and more.

One of my fondest Aviv memories, which might surprise many present and past Avivians, is the Yam l'Yam program. It was a physically exhausting week – we hiked up high mountains, through streams and bushes, across desert plains and alongside mystical springs. The week saw us get up close and personal with nature, which many of us girls struggled with. However, it was a pivotal moment in the program where everyone came together. 

And yet, Yam l'Yam was only a single week out of a memorable and inspiring five months. We built a raft together with which we sailed over the Kinneret as a group; we lived independently in different cities and dedicated our days to community service; I got to explore the desert at night for beautiful native animals; I took part in the lively and chaotic Jerusalem shuks and I witnessed Sderot citizens coping, bravely, with battles with rockets.

And our madrichim – a total of five wonderful Israeli, Australian and South African leaders –  were there with us every step of the way as support to reach out to and rely on if needed. 

The list of Aviv highlights goes on and on.

Aviv allowed me to experience five months of greatness. This program has given me twenty new, close friends that I have seen almost every day after the trip ended. Aviv, and more importantly AUJS, has shown me that I am passionate about my culture and proud of it. I love that Judaism brings everyone together internationally as a community. I saw it on Aviv. I had the privilege to learn ancient old recipes from a lovely woman in Netanya. I got to experience the heartache turned to celebration on Mount Herzl during the two most important days in Israeli history – Yom Ha'Zikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut. I have seen Israelis, Christians and Muslims living together in a Jewish state with different backgrounds, but living equally and peacefully in a vibrant society. AUJS provided me with the experience I was looking for to continue learning and to continue speaking my mind without a shaded, singular perspective.

 

The AUJS Aviv program in 2015 kicks off on 29 January 2015 and runs until 30 June 2015. For more information and to apply, visit aujs.com.au/aviv.

 

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