What leads to acceptance?

‘Sharing leads to understanding’ is the principle that underpins the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ flagship schools harmony program – Respect, Understanding, Acceptance (RUA). Now in its 12th year, RUA has brought together thousands of Jewish, Muslim and Christian high school students from public and private schools to share stories about their backgrounds and what it’s like to be a teenager growing up in Sydney.

“The students enjoy sharing information and anecdotes about their own traditions” says Board of Deputies Education Manager Suzanne Green. “Yet, it’s lovely to see that the commonalities are always more abundant than the differences. We are proud that this program is making a positive impact on tomorrow’s leaders, which will ideally result in a more harmonious community in NSW”.

Last week 80 students from Moriah College, Sydney Church of England Grammar School (SHORE) and Stella Maris College joined at the Sydney Jewish Museum for a series of RUA activities and presentations. This gathering was particularly significant as it included observers from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies ‘We Are All Sydney’ community leadership program.

Guest speakers were: Rabbi Ben Elton speaking about Judaism, Elif Nur-Tor, from ISRA speaking about Islam and Doug Broadbent from SHORE speaking about Anglican Christianity.

Photo Gallery

Communities come together for The Promise

Four communities came together on Sunday evening for a screening of ‘The Promise’ – a feature-length film which shines a powerful light on the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies joined with the Armenian, Pontian Greek and Assyrian communities to host the screening at Hoyts Entertaining Quarter, with young representatives of each group addressing the capacity audience.

Continue reading Communities come together for The Promise

Harmony begins at home





We invite women from across Sydney to join us for an evening of shared conversation, a delicious vegetarian meal, dancing, cultural performances and new friendships at the second annual Women of Diversity Dinner.

Saturday 29 July 2017, 6-10pm
The Himalaya Emporium Function Centre
258 South Terrace, Bankstown, NSW 2200
(right by Bankstown train station and with ample parking nearby)


Tickets: $50 (includes dinner, entertainment, lucky door prizes and more)
DRESS: Festive & colourful

Numbers strictly limited, so buy your tickets now!

A partnership of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW, Settlement Services International, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Indigenous, South Asian, Muslim, Uniting Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and independent women

Open to ALL women!

Enquiries: email kim@nswjbd.com or phone 9360 1600

2016 Women of Diversity Dinner Photo Gallery

German-Jewish Poster Exhibition

Survival and revival – Jews in Germany today

His Excellency The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of NSW

Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod, Professor Konrad Kwiet, Dr Avril Alba, and guest

The German Consulate of Sydney joined with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and B’nai B’rith NSW to host the opening of a unique poster exhibition at the Shalom Institute highlighting the stories of Jewish people living in Germany today.

The exhibition comprises a series of posters – each one providing photographs, quotes and the biography of a diverse selection from Germany’s Jewish population. The poster subjects range from film-makers, writers, dancers and artists to rabbis, entrepreneurs and teachers.

Guest speakers: German Ambassador Dr Anna Elisabeth Prinz, B’nai B’rith NSW President Anna Marks OAM, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Jeremy Spinak, German Consul General of Sydney Lothar Freischlader, NSW Governor General David John Hurley AC DSC and Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod.

Photo Gallery (Giselle Haber photography)

Speech by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Jeremy Spinak

Opening of German-Jewish poster exhibition

Speech by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Jeremy Spinak 
Shalom Institute 15.06.2017

Your Excellency and distinguished guests.

It is a great pleasure to be here today representing the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies as we open an exhibit that looks to the future with hope and promise.

German Jewish history has always been fraught. Even before the 1930s. I remember one of the first essays I ever wrote at university was an attack on the so called German-Jewish Symbiosis that supposedly occurred during the years of the enlightenment.

I could not believe the naivety of those who thought such a symbiosis existed..couldn’t the German Jews see that their so called “dialogue” was always one sided….that they were never truly accepted… how tragic that they only awoke from this delusion after Hitler’s rise to power.

But the German-Jewish relationship has always been a complex one.

My polish grandmother not only refused to ever go to Germany, she wouldn’t even get on a plane that would fly over Germany.

But my German grandparents loved the country all their lives. They would return every year from the 1960s onwards for two months at a time. They still considered themselves German and my ailing grandfather, refusing to miss yearly trip, died in Baden Baden in the early 90s. I could never understand how they could have felt this way considering what happened to their family members who weren’t lucky enough to escape.

As the exhibition demonstrates, a new chapter is now being written in the complicated history of German-Jewish relations and it appears there is now so much to be hopeful about. 250,000 Jews freely living their lives in a welcoming and tolerant society that seeks to send a signal to the rest of the world that its history should serve as a warning about man’s capacity for wrong. Just yesterday Angela Merkel spoke at a Jewish synagogue in Argentina and noted that Germany’s past is a reminder of the need to fight against antisemitism and for freedom and democracy. She implored the international community to fight antisemitism where it is present.

This exhibition speaks of reconciliation, of lessons learned, of hope and it shows that it is possible to completely embrace a dark past while still striving for a bright future. The renaissance of Jewish culture in Germany is as moving as it is powerful. What better way to show that the Nazis failed than for berlin once again to become a hub of international Jewish life.

If I was to write that university essay again I would say that, unlike old times, today’s German-Jewish dialogue is no longer one sided, the Jews are not talking to themselves but to nation happy to receive their entreats. The exciting possibilities of the beginnings of a true partnership are there for all to see in this exhibit and we are very proud to be here today to join in its launch.

Six Day War Plenum

Call to Six-Day War soldiers and volunteers

Soldiers and volunteers who served during the Six-Day War are encouraged to attend the commemoration of the war’s 50th anniversary at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum next week.

Former Israel Defence Force Sergeant Harry Schnapp will share the experiences of his service during the Six-Day War in a Q&A session conducted by Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff. This will be followed by a political commentary by Dr Ron Weiser AM, who will speak about the aftermath of the war and the political ramifications which can still be felt today.

Sergeant Harry Schnapp was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1948 and made Aliyah in 1961. He commenced IDF service in August 1966; a year later he served during the Six-Day War. On the community front, Harry has been a member of Mount Sinai College Board of management, and served on the Coogee Synagogue Board of management for over 20 years, the last five of which he served as President until July 2006. Following his IDF service, Harry studied biomedical engineering at the Milan Polytechnic in 1971 and holds an engineering degree from the University of New South Wales. During his professional career Harry joined the NSW energy industry in various capacities.

Dr Ron Weiser AM is the Honorary Life President of the Zionist Council of NSW, Past President of the Zionist Federation of Australia. He was awarded his Member of the Order of Australia by the Governor General of Australia for “service to the community through leadership roles with the Zionist Federation of Australia, to the promotion and development of Australia-Israel relations, and to youth”. He has been the recipient of multiple awards for his service to the Jewish community and Israel and is widely recognised for initiating and implementing the Birthright/Taglit and MASA Israel programmes in Australia.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum will be held on Tuesday 20 June at 7:30pm in Darlinghurst. Inquiries: 9360 1600.




Harmony on the harbour

Over 80 high school students came together at St Paul’s Catholic College in Manly for a day of sharing and learning as part of the Board of Deputies schools harmony program – Respect, Understanding, Acceptance (RUA).

Students from the Emanuel School, St Paul’s Catholic College, Brigidine College St Ives, St Pius X and Australian Islamic College shared knowledge about their religious practises and spoke of common experiences as young people living in Sydney.

Peace in the 21st century?

An evening with Ambassador Dennis Ross

AN adviser to no fewer than four US presidents will speak in Sydney next month.

In his only address in Sydney, Ambassador Dennis Ross will deliver the ADC Gandel Oration on Tuesday evening July 11 at an event to be co-hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

An expert on Middle East politics, diplomat and author renowned for his intensive involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Ross served as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama, Director of Policy Planning under President George HW Bush, Special Middle East Co-ordinator under President Bill Clinton and Director of Near East and South Asian Affairs under President Ronald Reagan. He is currently a counsellor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and co-chair of the Jewish People Policy Institute – a think tank based in Jerusalem.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity for the community to hear from one of the world’s foremost experts on the Middle East,” Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said. “He brings unprecedented insights into the workings of four US administrations – two Democrat, two Republican – and we urge members of the community to avail themselves of this great opportunity.”

Born in 1948 and raised in a secular household by his Jewish mother and Catholic stepfather, Ross became observant after the Six Day War. He co-founded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and in 1993 was named Middle East envoy by Clinton. He facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, as well as the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Ross has published extensively on the Middle East. His most recent book, Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.—Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama, released in 2015, comprehensively chronicles the personalities, policy debates and evolution of Israeli-American diplomatic relationships from the time of Israel’s founding through to the Obama administration.

“Ross has been at the centre of US policy in the Middle East for three decades,” Tom Donilon, former National Security Advisor to President Obama, said of the book. “No US diplomat has known the key policy makers in the Middle East for as long as or as well as Ross. Doomed to Succeed is destined to be an important work for a long time to come.”

The 2017 ADC Gandel Oration will be held on Tuesday 11th July at Moriah College at 7:30pm. There is no charge, but registration is essential. To reserve your seat email edna.lipson@antidef.org.au.