“Does everyone know what JNF stands for?”, asked JNF VIC education shaliach, Eldad Shohan. “Usually it stands for Jewish National Fund, but this week, it’s Jewish National Fun”. 

Following on from the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations, JNF Victoria’s education shaliach, Eldad Shoham visited Perth, especially for JNF Week. The festivities began on Monday, 1 May with an assembly to launch My Israel Passport, which was received with great excitement and enthusiasm. From there, Kindy to Year 9 students participated in age-specific programmes, boosting the children’s knowledge of Israel and JNF.

“What does Israel mean to you?” This was the first question Eldad posed to students at the start of each session. Answers from Primary and High School students ranged from inventions, environmental technology, the holy land, the Kotel, lots of kosher food, fun, a great place to feel connected, a safe place for Jews, and our homeland. 

Students loved the giant Israel map and working in groups, competing to identify key Israeli cities, regions, seas and countries bordering Israel, among many other engaging activities.

On Tuesday, the entire Primary School had a free dress day and students dressed in colours of the environment. The Year 6 student leaders sold a variety of food during lunchtime. The funds raised by the School will go to the current Blue Box campaign, enhancing the lives of young people in Be’er Sheva.

When they were in Kindy in 2016, the Year 6 cohort planted a JNF Merchav Am Tree in the Eco Playground to provide more shade and to demonstrate JNF WA’s on-going partnership with the community of Merchav Am in Israel’s South. On the same day as the Carmel Kindy tree planting, children in Merchav Am planted a Carmel Kindy tree by their community centre. As tradition during every JNF Week, a photo was taken with the students by their tree. As the years have passed, the children and the trees have grown beautifully on opposite ends of the world. The Carmel children will have the opportunity to visit their matured Carmel Kindy Tree in the Negev, on their Year 10 Shorashim class trip to Israel in 2027.

To round off JNF week, the Year 6 cohort planted a JNF legacy tree with the Kindy children. The tree is a symbol of the Year 6 students’ amazing Primary School journey. They gifted the Kindies with their own tree to track their growth and provide a sustainable environment throughout their Primary School experience. JNF and Carmel School are grateful to the City of Stirling for the donation of the tree.

JNF Australia would like to thank Debbi Benn and the Carmel School staff, students and parents for their tremendous support over JNF Week 2023. By working together as a community, we are nurturing the children’s love for Israel and future connection to our homeland. Kol ha’kavod to everyone involved.