Haifa Day commemorations in Parramatta

Members of the Jewish and Indian communities marked the liberation of Haifa during WWI at Parramatta & District Synagogue. The event was co-hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Hindu Council of Australia. Special guests included Member for Parramatta Julie Owens MP and Member for Strathfield Jodi McKay MP. Guests were treated to traditional Indian and Israeli dance performances and a video of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July, before enjoying afternoon tea in the synagogue courtyard.

PHOTO GALLERY Photos: Mark Zworestine

‘They risked their lives: Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust’

Eleonora Golen from Jaslo in Poland (pictured below) hid a 10 year old Jewish girl in 1942. At the end of that year, when the German authorities ransacked her house, they shot the girl and imprisoned Eleonora for a month. On January 5th 1943 Eleonora was put up against the prison wall in Jaslo and shot. It was a ‘show’ execution, warning others not to hide Jews.

This is just one of the heart wrenching stories conveyed by the exhibition: They Risked Their Lives – Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

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Inaugural JBD Bus Tour of Jewish Sydney

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ inaugural Bus Tour of Jewish Sydney gave an historic, demographic and geographic overview of our community.

Forty three people from the Aboriginal, Australian South Sea Islander, African-American, Ethiopian, Indian, Assyrian, Greek, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghani, Armenian and Anglo communities (including Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Mandaeans, Christian Scientists, atheists and others) enjoyed a day of visiting Jewish institutions including Newtown Synagogue, The Sydney Jewish Museum, The Great Synagogue and Emanuel Synagogue, in addition to driving past Moriah College and the site of the old Bankstown Synagogue. Photography by Mark Zworenstine

Photo Gallery

Second annual Women of Diversity Dinner

“Let us,
Snap the stereotypes of,
The “perfect woman,”
The “perfect leader.”
Leave these fictions of
Unattainable ideals
On the bookshelf and,
Give me something real to read like,
She failed, yet she got back up
She lost everything, only to gain it back.
She struggled to cope, yet she found peace.
She had little, yet cared for others’ needs.
Let us,
Break the headlines once again,
Because great women
Are not new news.
And some of the greatest women
I know, aren’t even on the news.”

Excerpt from slam poem written and performed by Ethiopian-Australian Ruth Fessaha (pictured above), at the second annual Women of Diversity Dinner.

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Board of Deputies AGM

Former Ambassador to Israel David Sharma will give his first formal address to the community since the completion of his term at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies AGM on August 15.

The youngest person to be appointed an Australian ambassador, and the second Australian ambassador of Indian heritage, Sharma was appointed Canberra’s representative in Israel in 2013.

While there, he and his wife Rachel visited the Ziv Medical Centre in Sfatl, making him the first international representative to visit casualties of the Syrian civil war. He also distinguished himself by visiting the sites of terrorist attacks and making emphatic statements which condemned the incidents.

The day after the attack on the Sarona shopping centre in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016, he took his staff there as “a gesture of solidarity with the people of Israel. We wanted to say that if you are not afraid, we are not afraid. We received amazing and heartfelt responses from the Israelis, but we did not do it for the responses. We wanted to do something meaningful.”

Prior to his appointment, Sharma held a number of senior positions in government, including as head of the International Division in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2010 until 2012, and at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC from 2006 to 2009.

In an interview with Ynet last month, he spoke of some of his greatest achievements as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, including the burgeoning Australia-Israel trade relationship. “We also succeeded in advancing the hi-tech relations between the two countries, despite the massive distance – a 20-hour flight and 15,000 kilometres,” he said. “Australian start-ups are coming to Israel to get to know the local market, as do Australian investors. Today, 14 Israeli companies are on the Australian Stock Exchange. When I arrived in Israel, four Australian delegations visited a year; this year, there were 14.”

The Board of Deputies AGM will be held on Tuesday 15 August at 7:30pm in Darlinghurst. Inquiries: 9360 1600.

“I felt the embodiment of culture and community” – WAAS interns give feedback

Graduates of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ We Are All Sydney (WAAS) community leadership program just completed internships at several Jewish organisations: JewishCare, Moriah College, Shalom, Good Food Jewish Catering and Emanuel Synagogue. One of the graduates has now secured full-time employment as a coordinator at JewishCare.

Four of the 18 graduates interned at Moriah College. Below are excerpts from their feedback.

Lachelle Uzcateguigaymon: We have completed our internship today with Moriah College. It’s hard to put in words the spiritual energy that engulfed us during our time. Thank you Lynda Ben Menashe and Ruth Cohen for giving us this wonderful experience.

Binette Diop (South Sea Islander Port Jackson Community): As an extension of the ‘We Are All Sydney’ community leadership program, initiated and run by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, I interned with Moriah College. I felt the embodiment of culture and community. The professional and generous nature of all the teachers and staff who shared their skills and experiences really touched my heart. I will be bringing my learning to my community, hoping we too can build a stronger sense of identity. I truly appreciate the mentoring and opportunity to meet such a diverse group of people, through the We are All Sydney leadership program and Moriah college. The knowledge I have gained I will share with our organisation as part of our own community engagement strategy. Thank you and bless you all.

Ruth Fesseha (Ethiopian-Sydney community): Exploring Moriah College gave me some great insight into how Jewish values, culture and identity is weaved into every facet of the school. It was inspiring to say the least, I love that it encourages the individual to thrive on every level. I’ve been touched by the love for life, learning, unity which you hold as a community.

Lydia Befekadu (Ethiopian-Sydney community):
 As part of my work placement, I was given the opportunity to experience the rich Jewish culture and values of Moriah College. It has been an absolute delight meeting all of the students and all of the staff who have worked tirelessly to provide us with some of the best experiences. Such as; studies of religion classes, getting to know how the college was first founded by the founder’s daughter herself (Stephanie Schwarz you’re amazing), how Moriah college presents itself to the world from a marketing perspective and so much more…What I enjoyed the most was getting to know some of the staff members and students on a much deeper level where we could exchange ideas and compare our similarities/differences. I will use my experiences at Moriah College to help my community (Ethiopian) in particular the youth. Thank you to everyone who helped host us and I hope to work together with you in the future.