I spent last Shabbat with our Year 11 students on Zionist Camp.

Once I had made the vege platters and put the schnitzels on the blech, I joined one of the groups for their ‘chavrutah’ session with Gavriel, one of the Madrichim from Israel. The session focussed on his experience as a shaliach in one of the Jewish communities in Germany and through his narrative he posed an important question to the students; Is it important to be part of the Jewish community? Should we reach out to other Jews who may not be affiliated and find ways for them to join our community?

The answer the students gave was a resounding YES! Growing up in the Perth Jewish community has been such a positive experience for them that they felt it was crucial for all the Jews in Perth to share this positive experience too. Even as young 16 year olds, they appreciated the significance and value of being an active part of the Jewish people. They understand that they are part of a far reaching network of a people who treasure the kinship that crosses boarders and classes; a connection that spans counties and time and whose links are as strong as ever.

So I sat there, in my apron and ugg boots, smiling from ear to ear. We, Carmel School together with our families, have done our job. We have created Jewish children who are proud of who they are and who feel responsible for the Jewish people and Jewish destiny. These Zionist camps give voice to these values and feelings and make the Carmel experience different and exceptionally important. It is my belief that with a united community, such as the one that we foster at Carmel, we are stronger in the face of challenges and unrest such as those events of recent months that have caused us to take pause and think of the members of our wider Jewish family overseas.

Thank you to Simon Lawrence and Heather Niss for all their work in front and behind the scenes. To our Israeli Madrichim who give up their summer to be with our students, you deserve only blessings and goodness for what you do.

Thank you to Asher Myerson and Hillel Solomon for leading our local madrichim and for inspiring our students all year round!

We thank our local madrichim for enhancing the camp experience and bringing Bnei and Habo to the camp experience.

A massive thank you goes to Linda Solomon for cooking for all our camps, aided by our ever giving mums and dads who came up to camp to chop pumpkin, fry schnitzels and wash up after Shabbat.

We couldn’t do it without you!

And I give a personal thank you to the Year 11 students for making Shabbat full of ruach, song and laughter. It was a privilege to spend Shabbat with you!