Derech Eretz

Derech Eretz (DE), a program that takes place in Toomelah*, was established because JAA wanted to build a sustainable relationship with an Indigenous community that would allow for intensive engagement and learning for the volunteers, and provide useful services to the communities at the same time.

*Toomelah is an Aboriginal community of about 500 people, which was administered as a mission until the mid 1970s. The community still suffers extreme hardship and its children grow up without many of the opportunities that we take for granted.

More information?

Click here to view the volunteer position description for the upcoming trip.

Want to apply?

Applications for Derech Eretz have now closed.

DE flier

About Derech Eretz

The Hebrew term ‘Derech Eretz’ means literally, ‘the way of the land’, but as a concept embodies the idea of conduct that contributes to decency, respect and social awareness.

DE is divided into four components:

DE Trip – 12 participants for ten days over the summer, running school holiday activities and learning about the community.

Alumni Trip – 12 DE alumni for ten days in July, running leadership courses through the schools and working on special projects.

At Home – Guest speakers, fundraisers and awareness raising activities in Sydney and Melbourne.

Special Projects – Assisting the community on projects when requested.

Video from the January 2013 trip:


“Some say that the Derech Eretz program is a way for young Jews to connect to their Australian identity. For me it is much more about expressing my Jewish identity in Australia. It’s about finding a way of fulfilling my obligation as a Jew to seek justice, to pursue peace and to sustain the world with acts of loving-kindness in my current environment.”
Grace Shwartz
“The fun gained by spending time with the children; the knowledge and meaning shared by the elders; and the unique culture and will of the Aboriginal people is only something that can be learnt by experiencing it first hand.”
Kezia Janks
“My lasting thoughts about this very meaningful program are that beyond all our differences, human relationships are the ultimate meeting point.”
Anna Leibowitz
“Dear Gary, Alisa and Mel
I wish to express our viewpoint on the Jewish programme, which has been going now for six years.
The elders, community and especially the children are so impressed and grateful to have these young people come to our communities: Boggabilla and Toomelah.
The programme is very important and vital to our kids, we see how it has grown, in terms of our young ones have built up to trust, confidence and their growth and development.
When the buses arrive at Toomelah there are lots of happy smiling faces.
On behalf of the two communities, many many thanks for your support. Keep up the good work.
Yours in the struggle,
Aunty Madge”
Madeline McGrady

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