Derech Eretz Program
AUJS & Derech Eretz
If you’re interested in learning about First Nations Australia, while also cultivating your leadership skills as a Jewish student, this program’s for you!
AUJS is once again teaming up with Stand Up to offer a one-of-a-kind cultural immersion and volunteering experience for Jewish students in the predominantly-Aboriginal communities of Toomelah and Boggabilla, NSW.
In 2005, a group of Jewish students set out to establish an enduring relationship with a First Nations community. They were connected with community members in Toomelah and Boggabilla, NSW, who identified school holiday programs as a useful service that young Jewish adults could deliver while simultaneously building relationships between our two communities. This is how Stand Up’s ‘Derech Eretz’ was born.
This year, AUJS is reuniting with Stand Up, taking place on NAIDOC Week from July 2-10 2023.
Join Derech Eretz for a chance to create and lead engaging school holiday programs for local youth, connect with community adults and Elders, and participate in sessions aimed at bridging the gaps in Australia’s mainstream education system with respect to First Nations Australia.
How To Apply
Applicants must be Uni/Tafe/College students and AUJS members.
If you’re not an AUJS member, please click the button below to register.
If you’re a student and an AUJS member click the Derech Eretz button below to go straight to the program’s registration form.
Shortly after completing the Derech Eretz registration form, AUJS and Stand Up’s Derech Eretz coordinator will be in touch with you to arrange an interview.
For any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the words of a 2022 Derech Eretz alum:
“Derech Eretz was a powerful window into a successful long-standing relationship that the Jewish community has built with Australia’s First Nations people… I grew up blinded to the beauty and complexity of Aboriginal communities. Now having had the opportunity to listen to First Nations stories first-hand for a whole week and spend hours playing with the local children, I feel I’ve been given a new start in life. A new start to learn, question and soak in the knowledge and wisdom of First Nations peoples so that I can appropriately play my part in closing the gap between their communities and the rest of Australia”.
Shaina Rother (July 2022)
“Derech Eretz was a powerful window into a successful long-standing relationship that the Jewish community have built with Australia’s First Nations people. Growing up in Toowoomba, only 2 hours away from Boggabilla and Toomelah, I grew up blinded to the beauty and complexity of Aboriginal communities.
Now having had the opportunity to listen to First Nations stories first-hand for a whole week and spend hours playing with the local children, I feel I’ve been given a new start in life. A new start to learn, question and soak in the knowledge and wisdom of First Nations peoples so that I can appropriately play my part in closing the gap between their communities and the rest of Australia”.
Dylan Dexter (July 2022)
“Derech Eretz was both extremely meaningful and a ton of fun! I felt I was able to make a tangible impact, learn a lot about First Nations peoples and build close connections with my fellow participants. I could not recommend Derech Eretz highly enough for those looking for something a bit different for their holidays”.
Nehama Pilcer (January 2020)
“I feel so incredibly lucky to have grown up in Australia – a land of great beauty, abundance, and opportunity. Australia is more than just my home, it is a sanctuary that was gracious to my family when humanity was not.
While I’m so grateful to this country, I grew up quite unaware and detached from a history of intolerance that existed in my own backyard. I had never met or engaged with Indigenous people and was unknowing of their culture, resilience, or triumphs.
Working in the justice space now, I have gained an understanding of Indigenous issues and affairs, but sought more meaningful and real connections.
Participating in Stand Up’s Derech Eretz program was in a sense life-changing. I played, I talked, I listened, I saw, I learnt. I learnt about a rich culture of intriguing practices and stories, of connection and imagination, and of kind people. The Elders spoke to us about the tough times and the happy times, and the kids showered us in hugs and exhausted us with their endless energy.
This was a heartwarming and educational experience that deeply reminded me to care about and celebrate one another. We are sharing in this human experience – we are a collective – and we are entwined in each other’s fates.
While Australia’s past cannot be altered, I hope that Australia – now and in the future, reflects the multi-cultural sentiments of respect and inclusion that make being an Australian so unique and beautiful”.