A NEW educational surfing centre has opened in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo in partnership with the Australian embassy in Israel.
The non-profit organisation Hagal Sheli (My Wave) was established in 2013 with the aim of providing an opportunity for youth in at-risk situations to get back on the wave and succeed through surfing. The organisation runs diverse activities for teenagers from all parts of Israeli society: Jews, Arabs, secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox, immigrants, veterans, members of minorities, Muslims, Christians, girls and boys alike.
Hagal Sheli now operates five educational surf centres around Israel and already has more than 6000 graduates.
Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai attended the opening of the organisation’s newest centre and praised the involvement of Australia’s Jewish community.
“Today we are inaugurating this special centre, which serves, empowers and inspires youth from all walks of life in our city,” Huldai said.
“It does so in an unusual way – teaching life lessons through the rhythm of the waves. It is only fitting that our partners in this project – the Australia–Tel Aviv-Yafo Surf Education Centre – represent the Jewish community of Australia. A place very similar to Tel Aviv-Yafo in the sense that the sea is an integral part of it. A community deeply committed to Israel and its society. I invite you to visit, experience and share the word and the message.
“We look forward to creating new points of connection between our two communities. This project is not just a culmination of a shared interest, it is the result of shared values: social responsibility, belief in the strength of the human spirit, and innovation.”
Founder and CEO of Hagal Sheli Yaron Waksman said, “After nine years of educational activity in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, in which we have given countless opportunities to youth, we are ready to take another big and significant step. None of us are prouder to have the right to deepen the work and give an opportunity to the youth that look up to us.
“We were blessed with amazing partners and together we discovered that we have the power to rescue teenagers from very complex situations, connect with them through the sea and the waves and even succeed in turning them into instructors who are able to assist others.”