Year 12 Zio Sem last weekend was filled with interesting discussions, yummy food, crazy ruach, Friday night games and meaningful memories. The theme throughout the camp was focused on our progression as a year through school and how we, as the next generation, can maintain a strong connection to our Judaism and our Jewish identity after we leave school and enter the larger mainstream society.


Over the three day camp, we realised as a year that most of our Jewish identity and beliefs were conditioned to us at a young age and stem from our formal and informal education, mainly being through our schooling and various youth movements. 


In our various family groups, we discussed what this identity means to us and how we can remain connected to our Judaism after we leave the environments which make it easy for us to do so. We discussed and debated some of the different challenges of being a Jew in secular society, including intermarriage and antisemitism, and talked about various ways that we can overcome such challenges. We also talked about the importance of making decisions and the impact they can have on our Jewish identity, and discussed the different types of influences that arise when tasked with making decision; namely our family, friends, the Jewish community, the wider society in which we live, and our own personal beliefs and values. We then had discussions centred around the impact these influences can have on the choices we make and whether these choices are purely our own or whether they're influenced by other factors. 


As a group we learnt that it's now up to us to write the next chapter in our book, to continue our story, and as the authors of our book we get to decide the impact our Jewish identity has on us. Our school and youth movements have provided us with the first few chapters of our story, but its up to us to write the ending.