Updates from Australia: Habonim Dror Chooses to Lead during Wartime

On October 7, HDOZ woke up to a new reality. The last few weeks have been extremely difficult for our community but in and amongst the darkness HDOZ has come together to support Israel and each other. A few bogrimot from our Kenim around Australia have shared the ways that their Ken has responded to the war. Our hearts and thoughts are especially with our Olim and our Movement Chaverim in Israel who continue to be a dugma for us in Australia, proving that Habo’s vision for Israel is still alive. 

Ken HaShemesh HaOlah, HDOZ’s online and outreach ken, hosted a hanhallah for the whole federal movement that included Olim Madrichim Daniel Crook and Michael Shandler. Both shared their perspectives, experiences and the positive things that they have been witnessing take place around them in Israel. Hearing directly from our Madrichim was incredibly inspiring and meaningful for us. We then split into groups and planned positive actions such as writing letters to NOAL chanichimot, researching fundraising efforts and creating information packages for senior chanichimot.” 
- Yael, Ken HaShemesh HaOlah

“In the Sydney Ken, senior chanichimot came together to discuss what HDOZ’s role is in times of crisis. Chanichimot were particularly inspired by a 2006 letter from a delegation Bogrim who flew to Israel to help during the Second Lebanon War, which they saw as their hagshama at the time. Sydney Oleh JT has been in Sydney and facilitated a long and much-needed sicha and update on what NOAL is doing. With the help of our new shaliach, Asaf, we also hosted a Shabbat dinner for Israeli backpackers, bringing them into a comfortable space whilst they are far from their families.”
-Jayden, Sydney Ken

“The Perth Jewish community is small and tight-knit, so everyone has come together here as one over the past few weeks. Habo Perth has stood alongside our community at various vigils and tefillah gatherings whilst also creating a space that is unique for our small Habo community. The Sydney Shaliach, Asaf, zoomed in to help debrief everything and he shared his firsthand connection to some of the victims of the attacks. We also held a comforting space for senior chanichimot to decompress from the intensity of the situation. Many bogrimot in Habo Perth have been volunteering their time in various capacities such as the community security group.”  
- Layla, Perth Ken

“In the Melbourne Ken, we have attended a lot of community events consisting of people coming together in solidarity with Israel and to grieve together. Bogrim have been packing boxes to send donations over to Israel which included medical supplies and clothes. A challenge for us has been navigating how to address multiple sources of grief, whilst also talking about antisemitism in the Diaspora, and particularly grappling with antisemitism in left-wing spaces. Peulot were run for senior chanichimot on these topics, as well as a sicha run by Oleh Michael Shandler about what our role is as a youth movement in these times. Habo Melbourne came together for a zikaron service at Kehilat Kolenu (a Secular-Humanist kehila), where we prayed and sang songs as a community.” 
- Lucy, Melbourne Ken