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Derech Eretz

In 2005, a group of Jewish students set out to establish a meaningful relationship with a First Nations community. Recognising the incongruence of their lack of connection with First Nations Australia despite calling Australia home, they were introduced to community Elders in the predominantly-Aboriginal communities of Toomelah and Boggabilla on the NSW/QLD border. Community members 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 the program ‘Derech Eretz’ was born. The Hebrew term ‘Derech Eretz’ translates to ‘the way of the land’. As a concept, however, it embodies the idea of conduct that contributes to decency, respect, and social awareness. 

Stand Up volunteers have returned to Toomelah and Boggabilla each year to facilitate fun and engaging school holiday programs. Activities include sport, arts and crafts, games and outdoor activities such as swimming. The program has now evolved and  also includes Jewish participants connecting with community adults and Elders. Jewish participants also engage in informal educational sessions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and justice to bridge the blindspots of Australia’s mainstream curriculum. 

Derech Eretz invites volunteers to build rapport with kids, encourage positive peer support dynamics and build the foundation for an intergenerational partnership with the people of Toomelah and Boggabilla. 

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For all questions, please contact [email protected]

Camp Connections and Young Adults

Camp Connections and Young Adults emerged out of Derech Eretz as opportunities to engage Toomelah and Boggabilla’s teenagers and young adults. Volunteering for either program is open to Derech Eretz alumni only. 

Camp Connections is a program based on respect—for oneself and others—aimed at increasing self-esteem of teenagers in Toomelah and Boggabilla and encouraging positive peer support dynamics. Camp Connections works with young people who have often engaged with Derech Eretz as they continue to grow into young community leaders. The most recent Camp Connections ran in 2018. 

The Young Adults Leadership Retreat is aimed at senior school students and recent graduates. It invites participants to team up with Stand Up mentors in Sydney for a week of team building activities, goal setting and planning for training, study or employment aspirations. The most recent Young Adults program ran in 2019. We are so excited to share that the next Retreat is happening between the 9th-15th of October 2023.

If you are a Young Adult from Toomelah and Boggabilla and interested in joining the upcoming retreat in October, we encourage you to complete the Young Adults Retreat Participation Form

For all questions, please contact [email protected].

Toomelah and Boggabilla

Stand Up has a unique and enduring relationship with the predominantly Aboriginal communities of Toomelah and Boggabilla. For 18 years, the affectionately-titled ‘Jewish mob’ and these communities have fostered long-lasting friendships based on mutual respect, admiration and a desire to learn and grow from one another. 

Stand Up’s partnership with Toomelah and Boggabilla primarily materialises through Derech Eretz. Derech Eretz involves young Jewish adults facilitating school holiday programs for Toomelah and Boggabilla’s primary school-aged youth, connecting with Elders and learning about First Nations histories and current affairs. Over the years, however, variations of this program have also engaged Toomelah and Boggabilla’s teenagers and young adults in structural leadership, vocational and educational opportunities.