MPs honour Jeremy Spinak

Jeremy Spinak, Immediate Past President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, died tragically last week from cancer aged 36. Dozens of dignitaries paid their respects by attending his funeral service and minyan, including: Federal MPs Julian Leeser, Dr Kerryn Phelps and Mike Kelly; NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian; Ministers Gabrielle Upton and Ray Williams; Labor leader Michael Daley and Labor parliamentarians Luke Foley, Walt Secord, Penny Sharpe and Sophie Cotsis; and Nationals MP Tanya Davies.

Tributes to Jeremy have poured into the Board of Deputies office, whilst on Tuesday Michael Daley led the Labor Caucus through one-minute’s silence, an honour usually only afforded to former parliamentarians.

Statement by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian read by Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins at the funeral on November 18: 
‘Jeremy was an outstanding community advocate and an amazing human being. He had a huge impact on everyone he met, including myself, and will be so sorely missed.  Jeremy was dedicated to forging strong links between our multicultural and religious communities and was a champion of an inclusive and harmonious State.  Whether mentoring young Jewish leaders, advocating for policy reforms or strengthening ties with the diplomatic community, Jeremy represented our State’s Jewry with pride and distinction.  Jeremy’s leadership was crucial to the NSW Government’s passage of landmark reforms to protect our State’s communities from the incitement of violence, replacing section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.’

Extract from NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard
November 20
Mr RAY WILLIAMS (Castle Hill—Minister for Multiculturalism, and Minister for Disability Services) (17:19):
I offer condolences to Jeremy Spinak and the entire Jewish community. Today I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jeremy Spinak at the age of 36, a person who has committed so much to the Jewish community and multicultural communities more broadly across New South Wales. During Jeremy’s tenure as President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which he held up until three months ago, the organisation has grown from strength to strength.
A much loved and greatly respected leader of the Jewish community, Jeremy’s presence will be sorely missed. A tireless supporter of social cohesion and harmony across our communities, Jeremy focused on building a safer New South Wales for all our multicultural communities. He was a bridge builder between those communities. My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of members in the New South Wales Parliament, are with the Spinak family and the Jewish community during this time of sorrow.

Memorial service for Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

Over 700 people came together at The Great Synagogue to pay their respects to the victims and survivors of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh. Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton read condolence messages from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Governor-General David Hurley AC DSC FTSE.

The Great Synagogue Chief Minister Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton and Emanuel Synagogue’s Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins.

Rabbis from numerous congregations took part in the memorial service and the community was joined by representatives from many religious and cultural communities in addition to: Bruce Notley-Smith MP, representing Premier Gladys Berejiklian; Member for Wentworth Dr Kerryn Phelps AM; Walt Secord MLC representing Opposition Leader Luke Foley; Paul Green MLC; and Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies.

The memorial was organised by the Board of Deputies, The Great Synaoguge, Emanuel Synagogue and The ECAJ.

80th anniversary of Kristallnacht commemoration

We’re looking for the perfect intern

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is receiving applications for the Saul Symonds Summer Internship 2019 which runs for six weeks starting Monday January 14.

We’re looking for a university-aged person with a passion for Jewish issues, politics and Israel.

The work will be varied and may include a major project to be completed throughout the internship.

The Board of Deputies is the voice of the Jewish community and represents our interests to government, media and other ethnic and religious groups. The successful applicant will gain personal and professional skills from the community’s premier public affairs organisation.

Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 5pm. Offices closes at 3pm on Fridays.

Please send resume and cover letter (no more than one page) to:

William Nemesh
Jewish Community Relationship Manager
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

A stipend is paid.

Applications close Friday December 7.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies congratulates Phelps

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies congratulates Dr Kerryn Phelps on her election as the Member for Wentworth.

Her electoral victory is underscored by the fact that she is the first Jewish Member for Wentworth in the long history of that seat and the first female Jewish MP in the federal parliament, bringing the number of Jewish MPs currently serving in the federal parliament to seven.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies looks forward to working with Dr Phelps as the incoming Member for Wentworth.

Polar opposites of the Israeli-Palestinian spectrum

Australian Jewish News
Vic Alhadeff
25 October 2018

HERE is Dalal Mughrabi and there is Oded Revivi. At one end of the spectrum, admiration and veneration of terrorists and suicide bombers; at the other, islands of peace and inspirational leadership in fostering Jewish–Arab relations.
In between, confusion and chaos, political impasse and violence.

These polar opposites were but two aspects of the morass of information with which participants on the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Journalists Mission returned to Australia from Israel this week. Mughrabi led the most lethal terrorist attack in Israel’s history – the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which she and other Fatah terrorists hijacked a bus and murdered 37 people, 12 of them children.

Grotesquely, she is honoured across Palestinian society as a hero to be emulated, with public squares, girls’ schools and other public facilities named for her. “Every one of us wishes to be like… Dalal Mughrabi,” exhorts a 2017 Palestinian Authority fifth-grade schoolbook, her smiling face beaming beatifically from its pages and the Palestinian national colours flowing beneath. “Heroes have an important position in every nation … We are proud of them, sing their praises, learn the history of their lives, name our children after them and name streets, squares and prominent cultural sites after them. Every one of us wishes to be like them.”

At the other end of the spectrum is Revivi, the Mayor of Efrat, one of the
“consensus settlements” that will remain part of Israel in the event that a two-state solution eventuates. Articulate, confident and a champion of Jewish–Arab relations, he notes defiantly that Efrat was the first place where Jews and Arabs united against the security barrier.

“Fences create a sense of security, they don’t actually create security,” he told the Australian journalists; as a result, there is no barrier between Efrat and three neighbouring Palestinian villages. Two years ago, the area was rocked by two terrorist attacks. Revivi paid his condolences to both bereaved families, after which – reeling from the inconsolable grief he had encountered – he was scheduled to make one of his regular courtesy visits to a neighbouring Palestinian village. “There are usually 10 people there to welcome me,” he recounted. “This time there were 60.” They understood and they wanted to reach out.

Soon afterwards it was Succot, so Revivi reciprocated by inviting 10 representatives from that Palestinian village to his succah; 30 arrived. He also invited 20 residents of Efrat; 80 arrived. As did an Israel Defence Force general and 30 Israeli army and police commanders.

Some of the Palestinian guests posed with the general, the photograph was posted on Facebook and four of them were arrested by the Palestinian Authority, accused of conspiring with the enemy. They were incarcerated for four days, with Revivi advocating for their release and paying the $US15,000 bail.
At Succot 2017, a year later, Revivi again invited the Palestinian village leaders to his succah, although uncertain whether they would attend, given the arrests of the previous year; the response – tradition! They came.

“The challenge is against human nature,” he said – “which is to run away when an attack happens. But we shop together in our supermarket, Jews and Arabs; we mustn’t let the 99 per cent of positive days be dominated by the one per cent of bad days, which get reported. We have 1100 Arabs working alongside Jews in Efrat. We do something different here, it’s a bottom-up approach. We’re an island of peace. Let’s duplicate and multiply this and make it policy. It’s harder to build a bridge than a fence.”

The general told Revivi that the more that such gatherings occur, the less the IDF would need to spend on security. Unrealistic? Not necessarily. Indeed, the Journalists Mission encountered several encouraging programs, such as Roots – which sees settlers and Palestinians working together to change the discourse from competing ownership of the land to mutual recognition that both peoples belong to the land; and Save A Child’s Heart – an Israeli initiative which has given cardiac treatment to 4800 infants from 57 nations, 50 per cent of them from Gaza and the West Bank. On the other hand, the frustrating political impasse endures. Yet as strategic analyst Dr Eran Lerman observed, “conflict management is not
such a bad solution”.

Alhadeff is the CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of

Deputies, and accompanied the
Journalists Mission.

Haifa Day commemoration at Parramatta Synagogue

Jewish community calls for action against MP

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies calls on the leadership of the NSW Labor Party to formally censure Shaoquett Moselmane MLC for ongoing antisemitic conduct and comments.

This follows Mr Moselmane tweeting an encouragement to his followers to visit the website of notorious former Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who is on the record as saying “Our clear goal must be the advancement of the white race and separation of the white and black races. This goal must include freeing of the American media and government from subservient Jewish interests.”

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called out the incident when Mr Moselmane recently denied the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish community’s peak body access to the launch of the Labor Union Multicultural Action Committee, despite having received an invitation from General Secretary Kaila Murnain.

The incident prompted Opposition Leader Luke Foley to apologise for Mr Moselmane’s conduct and for Shadow Minister Walt Secord MLC to publicly condemn the display as “stupid, malicious and vindictive”.

In 2013 Mr Moselmane referred to Australian Jewish and Israeli groups as a “political lobby group that is cancerous, malicious and seeks to deny, misinform and scaremonger” during a speech in parliament. The Jewish media has also never received an invitation to attend Mr Moselmane’s Multicultural Media Awards events.

In addition to the above, Mr Moselmane wrote on Twitter in December 2017 that he was “honoured to speak at the rally in support of Jerusalem” – an event at which Hezbollah flags were openly waved by participants.

Further, Mr Moselmane recently hosted controversial University of Sydney academic Dr Tim Anderson at Parliament House; Dr Anderson has drawn criticism for defending badges carrying the slogans “Death to Israel” and “Curse the Jews”.

Given Mr Moselmane’s ongoing pattern of offensive conduct, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies calls on the leadership of the party to formally censure him – i.e. to make it clear that racist conduct of any form will not be tolerated by the party leadership and that he will be denied all leadership positions within the party should it recur.

Despite expressions of regret by party leaders, the abuse which he directs at the Jewish community continues, and we find it profoundly concerning that he is free to persist with such vilification.