Kristallnacht 2015

Remembering and understanding the lessons

Over 350 guests filled the Education Resource Centre at the Sydney Jewish Museum for the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ annual Kristallnacht commemoration. The remarkable story of the enduring friendship between two men formed the keynote address by Cheryl Koenig OAM. Robyn Bloom described the experiences of her late father, Gerry Levy AM, during Kristallnacht, as did eyewitness Dr Joachim Schneeweiss AM, who said “radio waves were filled with screams citing hatred towards the Jews and it was not surprising that the events of Kristallnacht took place”. The program included memorial prayers, musical performances by Cantor Josh Weinberger and David Politzer with Robert Teicher on keyboard, with closing remarks by Board of Deputies president Jeremy Spinak.

“Today should be a day when we look around the world and see if there are any trends that may be warnings to us. Where there is Holocaust denial, we should demand better information and teacher training,” said Board of Deputies Shoah Remembrance Committee Chair Danny Hochberg in his welcome. “Where there are charges of Jewish conspiracies, we should condemn them strongly and swiftly. Where there is rhetoric that incites violence against vulnerable populations, we must answer with stronger calls for safety and respect for diversity.”

This event was made possible because of grants from Multicultural NSW, B’nai B’rith Trust, City of Sydney and the JCA Millie Philips Trust.

Photographs: Giselle Haber Photography

Reverend Nile at Luncheon Club

Luncheon Club

Reverend Fred Nile MLC recently addressed the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Luncheon Club.

Shabbat Dinners

Two Shabbat dinners were held recently. A Shabbat dinner was held at The Great Synagogue with NSW Young Labor for 100 participants. Guests were led on a tour of the synagogue by Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, after which they attended the Sabbath service and the dinner. NSW Young Labor president Todd Pinkerton thanked the community for hosting the event, which was addressed by Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff. The event followed a recent Young Liberals Shabbat.

Members of the Parramatta Jewish community gathered for a traditional Friday night dinner. The event was hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies as part of The Shabbat Project.



Nostra Aetate

The past, present and future of the Jewish-Christian relationship
About 400 representatives of a range of faith groups came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate at The Great Synagogue.
The program included a series of panel discussions with the theme “The past, present and future of the Jewish-Christian relationship”. The Catholic Archbishop, The Most Reverend Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, and Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, Chief Rabbi of The Great Synagogue, delivered keynote addresses, while NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Jeremy Spinak urged all present to work for peace “in our time”.
The event was hosted by the Australian Catholic University, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Photos: Giovanni Portelli, Catholic Communications, Archdiocese of Sydney

Statement on Syrian refugee crisis

nswjbd-logoThe NSW Jewish Board of Deputies wholeheartedly supports the Australian Government’s decision to accept 12,000 refugees from Syria and to commit funds to humanitarian support for the thousands of Syrians and Iraqis who have been forced to seek refuge, many of them persecuted by Islamic State.

As a nation, we have a responsibility to be a sanctuary for those in need and play our part in the spirit of humanity and kindness. Now is the time for compassion and to ensure those who are most in need can establish a life in our country.

Through the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, our national roof body, we commend the Australian Government for taking the current humanitarian crisis into consideration in terms of refugee admission and in joining with the international community to extend support.

Vic Alhadeff 
Chief Executive Officer

The plight of Middle Eastern minorities is often overlooked by the West

This topic was highlighted by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies guest Sam Tadros at a recent lunch. Hear him discuss this issue on ABC Radio

Samuel Tadros is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC. He is an expert in minority persecution and the rise of Islamist movements across the Middle East. He recently spoke at a Luncheon club, and our monthly plenum. He is pictured here with from left Vic Alhadeff, Tavga Jelal, Paul Green MLC and Samuel Tadros.

Commemorations and celebrations with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Shanghai Ghetto

Over 200 members of the Jewish and Chinese communities, Chinese diplomats, members of NSW Parliament, mayors and local councillors, attended the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto. Highlights included the personal testimonies of Professor Dan Yuan Tang and Mrs Gertie Jellenik and the recognition of all attendees who lived in Shanghai or are descended from those saved there. The event was co-hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, The Chinese Australian Forum, the Australian Chinese Community Association and the Chinese Australian Services Society. Photos: Giselle Haber Photography.

Haifa Day

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Hindu Council of Australia held their second annual joint commemoration of Haifa Day. Over 100 members of Sydney’s Indian and Jewish community’s attended, including Jewish Australians of Indian background and residents of Haifa. The event has an historical focus and builds on the strong relationship between Jewish and Indian people both in India and locally.


The Mitzvah of Remembrance

Holocaust remembrance program
KTC students, and Dasia Black-Gutman (centre)

Now in its fifth year, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ Holocaust-awareness program “Mitzvah of Memory” has reached 500 day school students of bar/bat mitzvah age.. The brainchild of North Shore Temple Emanuel Rabbi Gary Robuck, the program aims to introduce the Holocaust in a sensitive and age-appropriate way. The format includes a DVD followed by a presentation by a child survivor. Dasia Black-Gutman (front, centre) is pictured with Kesser Torah College students.

Community leaders break bread at Masada

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and Kehillat Masada Synagogue co-hosted a unique Shabbat Dinner at Kehillat Masada, with 140 leaders attending from across the full spectrum of society, including federal and state Members of Parliament, mayors, education, faith and community leaders.
Guests were welcomed by synagogue president Howard Sher and taken on an informative tour by Rabbi Gad Krebs, after which they attended the Sabbath service and sat down to a Shabbat dinner.
Participants included Member for Bradfield Paul Fletcher MP, Member for Berowra Phillip Ruddock MP, Member for Ku-ring-gai Alister Henskens SC MP, Member for Davidson Jonathan O’Dea MP, Scott Farlow MLC, Ku-ring-gai Mayor Jennifer Anderson and Ku-ring-gai Councillor David Ossip.

They also included representatives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia, Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, Chinese Australian Forum, Chinese Australian Services Society, Frenchs Forest Catholic Parish, Holy Name Catholic Parish, IABBV Hindi School, the Liberal Party, Lindfield Community Bank, Macquarie University, Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Parish, Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral Parish, Peter Canisius House, St Ives Family Church, St Ives Lions Club, St Ives Rugby Club, St Ives Uniting Church and numerous officials from public and private schools.
Guests were welcomed at the dinner by Board of Deputies Community Relations Committee chair Julian Leeser, who urged all present to work together in the interests of an inclusive society. He said “This Shabbat dinner is an opportunity for the north shore Jewish community to invite the civil and political leadership of the local area to understand more about community. It is something that we probably have not done enough of in the past.”

Closing the evening, Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said: “We have the opportunity to work in tandem towards our shared goal of building a harmonious and inclusive society. This reflects the values of all the organisations represented at this event and mirrors the core Jewish belief that is captured in the Hebrew expression Tikkun Olam, which translates as `Healing The World’.”


Abraham Conference speaker
Rabbi Gad Krebs

Rabbi Gad Krebs (pictured) of Kehillat Masada Synagogue represented the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies at the Abraham Conference, which was themed “Respecting the Other’s Religious and Cultural Narrative”.This year’s conference attracted over 100 participants from all three Abrahamic faiths. The Board of Deputies has been a partner organisation in the Abraham Conference for almost 10 years.