My Last Farewell - Tomer
It has been two days since you all left back to Australia and I wanted to share with you my personal thoughts and feelings after my four and a half years of living with all of you in Sydney.
I left Israel as a secular Israeli who really had no idea where he was going and what Sydney would be like. I came as a clueless 12 year old boy who really knew nothing about Jewish Diaspora and expected kangaroos jumping across the road on the way to school and koalas climbing on trees in our backyard. In the last four years I experienced some of the most amazing memories I have ever went through in my life. I made lifelong friends who I will never forget, learned things that I would never have learnt if I stayed in Israel and experienced for the first time in my life what it's like to live as a Jew outside of Israel. Life in Sydney is so incredibly different to life in Israel. Firstly, I didn’t live in a big city like Sydney in Israel. I lived in a small community, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, called Sarigim. Life in a community resembles very much one in a kibbutz. Everyone knows everyone, going to friends spontaneously without notice is a casual thing to do, riding bikes everywhere and so on. On the other hand, Sydney has almost the same population as the whole of Israel, and moving to an area like the eastern suburbs was really a life changing switch. When I came to Moriah it really gave me a shock, seeing the strong connection it has with Judaism and Zionism. Learning about Jewish and Zionist history from a perspective of the Jewish diaspora really gave me a completely different point of view about Israel. I started, in a different way, to appreciate and feel grateful for being a Jew and an Israeli, and created a stronger bond and love not only towards our Israel but to my Jewish identity and community that I became a part of. My 4 year stay changed me as a person from head to toe. I came to Sydney one person and left it a completely different one.
Ending my stay in Australia with a trip such as IST was extraordinary, travelling throughout Israel as if I was a tourist in my own country. IST truly defined my undying connection to Israel and strengthened my desire to enlist to the army and give back to my homeland. I feel really proud and lucky to be a part of the incredible journey named IST. Leaving Sydney was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. New Years Eve for most is a night filled with happiness and joy, yet for my close friends and I, it was one of the saddest nights of our lives. I created many close relationships with different people throughout my stay in Sydney and leaving those relationships was a very hard thing to do. Ultimately, I would’ve had to return to Israel at the end of our "Shlichut", returning a few months before my parents was my decision as catching up to Israeli HSC is a hard task.
I will miss all of you so much and will never forget all that we have shared together in this amazing life journey !
L'hitraot (till we meet again)