Australasian Union of Jewish Students

Academy Tessa Bloom

Academy Tessa Bloom

I am so proud to have found a Jewish identity. Academy was the perfect mix of education and fun. I have developed lifelong friendships.

AUJS Academy was the most life changing experience I have ever had. There were so many great memories that I will cherish forever. This experience was one that made me feel independent and alive, as I travelled for six-weeks with forty-one amazing people and made many close friends.

Attending a non-Jewish day school, I did not feel a real connection to Judaism. But as soon as we start visiting the historical and tourist sites, all packed with cultural significance, and had our first shabbat together, I immediately felt a connection.

I felt very privileged to be able to visit the country I had heard so much about. There are so many memories that stand out to me:

  • The Dead Sea: I loved being able to float in very salty water. We also smothered ourselves in mud and took lots of funny pictures.
  • Mount Hermon: It was awesome being at the highest point in Israel and there was even snow!
  • I loved visiting the Shuk in Jerusalem and the Carmel markets in Tel Aviv and haggling for souvenirs.
  • I fell in love with falafel: for those who know me, it must have been good for me to say this!
  • Israeli night life is incredible! It doesn't start until late and it just keeps on going. New Years Eve in Eilat meeting lots of other people from different countries was amazing.

We also had many educational experiences including Yad Vashem, Mount Herzl and Masada just to name a few. At each site we were presented with information so we understood the historic significance and deepened our understanding of Israel. Every stop had meaning and my love of Israel definitely expanded and broadened.

A definite highlight was the opportunity to meet some of my huge Israeli family for the first time. The program allowed a free weekend to spend with family or friends, which introduced us to modern Israeli society and seeing how they live. I didn't realise I was so connected to Israel already! 

I am so proud to have found a Jewish identity. Academy was the perfect mix of education and fun. I have developed lifelong friendships.

I am very grateful to JCA Mille Phillips Jewish Education Fund for assisting me in being able to have this incredible experience on Academy. Academy taught me not only about my Jewish culture, but brought me closer to my Jewish peers. I will continue to be involved with AUJS. Attending Academy is the best decision I have ever made.