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JCCV Annual Report 2013

JCCV Annual Report 2013

25 November 2013

Inevitably, self-assessments are subjective, so when writing this report, I have sought to define the year’s achievements, in so far as possible, by quantifiable and objective outcomes. Some are obvious, such as greatly increased attendances at Plenum meetings, more engagement with affiliate presidents, far wider and more frequent media coverage, increased involvement with politicians and greater interaction in the area of interfaith and multiculturalism.

Some outcomes are not as clear, as they concern projects and initiatives which are still in progress. During this year JCCV has taken a number of significant initiatives which we anticipate will develop more fully in the coming year.  It has been both a year of consolidation and of laying the groundwork for what we hope will be a highly productive 2014.


Much of our focus this year has been to ensure that we work internally with our own community with the same diligence and vigour as we devote to representation and interaction with other communities and faiths. Building a more robust and a more cohesive Jewish community is our prime imperative. The stronger and more united we are, the better we are at representing our community in the wider communal context, at all levels.

Much emphasis has this year been placed on programs which fall within the rubric of social justice, issues which involve the entire community and in which JCCV needed to take a leadership role.


Following the adoption of the Child Protection Policy and submissions to the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations, the JCCV has given evidence to the Inquiry and formed a Child Protection Reference Group, led by Andrew Blode. The Group, comprised of people with expertise in the area of child abuse and members of the JCCV Executive and staff, is designed to provide support and practical assistance to the community in developing policies and procedures and ensuring that organisations have the ability to implement these.

Much of this year has been spent in raising communal awareness, including a well-attended workshop in August.

JCCV has now taken the next step and is developing a training program for 2014 to provide a series of professional training sessions to those organisations in our community which consider that such a program would be of benefit to them.

A Child Protection Directory has also been compiled and is available on the JCCV website and provides a summary of services available to parents, victims, carers and community workers.


The JCCV Youth Alcohol Project’s (YAP) aims to educate students and their parents about the short and long term effects of alcohol, the legal aspects relating to the supply of alcohol to minors and offers strategies for managing peer pressure in relation to alcohol.

After three years of YAP operating in the Jewish schools, primarily in Year 6 and Year 7 levels, the JCCV considered it to be timely to assess the effectiveness of the project. Debbie Zauder, the Project Manager, has completed an Evaluation Report which underlines that YAP has created awareness on the issue of alcohol misuse within the Jewish community and that both parents and students find the program extremely valuable.

The committed and well-qualified Youth Alcohol Project Committee considers that the program would be greatly enhanced by increasing parent participation and is hopeful that this can be developed in 2014.


On the recommendation of the JCCV GLBTI Group, which continues to meet on a regular basis and to provide valuable input into our policy, JCCV has signed up to the “No to homophobia” campaign. To date, over 20 affiliates have also joined the campaign and their names and the JCCV message are listed on the campaign’s website.

The GLBTI Group regards this as a very positive response from the community and we have received feedback that the community as a whole has welcomed JCCV’s proactive stance.


JCCV Jewish Pastoral Working Group is planning to issue an Information Sheet to be used in hospitals, including at nursing stations, which should greatly facilitate pastoral care for Jewish patients.

There are also plans in progress for training for Pastoral Carers as part of the Multifaith training program in March 2014, as well as the production of a Pastoral Care booklet for Jewish Pastoral Care coordinators. This Group has been extremely effective and has done a lot of work to ensure that the existing gaps in Pastoral Care for Jewish patients are being met.

The above three projects have been ably led by Rimma Sverdlin, Community Research portfolio holder with much professional support from Jo Silver, Project Manager and Debbie Zauder, YAP Project Manager


“Connects” is a JCCV project to create a Young Jewish Leaders Networking Group, aimed at supporting and engaging young community leaders. The project is the outcome from ongoing youth engagement.

This is an exciting concept that is now well on the way to becoming a reality, with much hard work from Jo Silver, with assistance from Jesse Sharp, Atida Lipshatz and Anton Hermann, amongst others.

An extremely successful function was held in September to launch the program and a 5 year plan has been scoped. The aim is to retain young leaders, enable networking and develop skills and knowledge for the 20 – 28 year old section of our community. The project is in its early days, but from all accounts, has caught the imagination of young people in the targeted age group.

Earlier in the year JCCV together with ZCV held a pizza night with youth leaders, enabling both organisations to obtain greater insight as to what we can do to support the young leaders of our community. I would particularly like to thank Stephen Machet of AUJS and Danii Arnold-Levy of AZYC for their input and cooperation in this event and throughout the year.

I also addressed Year 11 students at the Mt. Scopus Memorial College Kehilati Conference on the topic of “Leadership, Community and Identity”. The students were engaged and keen to participate, and will hopefully be encouraged to become future leaders.

Whilst the social justice programs have been strategically targeted at community support in specific areas other aspects of communal strengthening have been both strategic and structural.


In 2013 there has been a marked increase in Plenum attendances and with it a far greater engagement with the affiliates. Part of this may be due to the fact that three of our affiliates have hosted Plenums, resulting not only in more people attending, but also enabling our affiliates to have a better understanding and greater appreciation of each other’s activities.

In May the Plenum was held at the Jewish Holocaust Centre and incorporated a farewell to Croatian Consul-General Antun Babic. Delegates were briefed on the activities of the Centre and more than 30 members of the Croatian community were guided through the Holocaust Centre. Many subsequently spoke and wrote to us about the impact of the visit.

The June Plenum was held at the Jewish Museum of Australia, with delegates having the opportunity to view exhibits prior to the meeting and hear about the work of the Museum.  Delegates were also privileged to hear the views of seven Labour parliamentarians, who had just returned from an AIJAC sponsored visit to Israel.  Marsha Thomson MP, James Merlino MP, Martin Foley MP, Joanne Duncan MP, John Eren MP, Geoff Howard MP, Telmo Languiller MP and Don Nardella MP gave their individual perspectives, which were insightful and moving. The Plenum was also addressed by Grahame Leonard AM, Commissioner for Victorian Multicultural Commission

In October National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic) Inc hosted the Plenum and President Vivien Brass gave an overview of NCJWA (Vic) activities. David Southwick MP presented a 2013 Victoria Volunteer Award for Caulfield District to our highly valued JCCV volunteer Mervyn Chait.

All other Plenums were held at Beth Weizmann with equally good attendances and were addressed by a broad range of excellent speakers:

  • Dr John Serry, Chairman, Jewish Mutual Loan Co. and Jewish Mutual Aid Society
  • Michael Debinski, President, Jewish Care Victoria and Bill Appleby, CEO, Jewish Care Victoria
  • Professor Tim McCormack,  Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne, Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague - The Turkel Commission's Report for Phase II - Enquiring Into Israel's Processes for Investigating Alleged War Crimes
  • Michael Danby MP - Funding for Security & Schools
  • Mr Kelvin Crombie – Israel and the ANZACS

Council of Presidents meetings have resulted in an increased degree of cooperation between the JCCV and its affiliates. Introduced last year, these 3-monthly meetings of JCCV affiliate Presidents and the JCCV Executive, with briefing papers provided well before each meeting, have resulted in valuable feedback for all.

From this advisory body, the Executive is able to formulate a clearer understanding of the views of its affiliates and to brief the affiliates on its strategic direction and plans and the affiliates are able to share and discuss issues of common concern. The Presidents have been generous in their readiness to adopt the concept of external Plenum meetings and to host them and gave valuable advice on the restructuring of affiliation fees, among other matters.

Some of the issues which the JCCV has brought for discussion to the Presidents have included:

  • Community Security Group update
  • Child Protection update
  • JCCV Affiliation Fees
  • Appeal Allocation Calendar
  • JCCV Constitutional amendments
  • Treatment of Long Term Non Paying Affiliates
  • JCCV delegates and their responsibilities

I greatly value the input of the Presidents and the courteous and cooperative manner in which the JCCV Executive and Presidents discuss matters. The degree of civility at these meetings sets a benchmark for how to conduct communal business.

It has been my great pleasure throughout the year to continue to attend and address events and AGM’s to which I am invited by affiliates. In this way, I have been fortunate to see the work done by our affiliates and to obtain a greater appreciation of the breadth of engagement within our community and the vibrancy which continues to be a source of comment from visitors from other communities.


The interactive Communal Events Calendar, which is on the JCCV website, enables organisations to enter their functions directly online and has been well-received and is used to great effect. The calendar can be synchronized to upload events and festivals onto personal computers and greatly facilitates the functionality of the communal calendar.

“Jewish Community in Action”, the JCCV e-Bulletin which comes out periodically and is edited by Jo Silver and “What’s Nu”, the fortnightly online bulletin, overseen by Julie Batty continue to provide the community with relevant information and updates. Both are widely read and have become an accepted source of communal communication.

These, together with the JCCV website, Facebook and Twitter have enabled us to reach a much wider audience and we are continuing to develop and enhance our online communication.


Shoah Commemoration

Community commemoration is both an imperative and a privilege. This is something of which we as a community are very aware and this is why over 1,000 members of our community attend the annual Yom Hashoa Commemoration.

This year, the Commemoration focused on remembering the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, with testimony from Maria Lewit and moving personal commentaries by H.E. Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Ari Leski and Jake Glanc. The evening also included candle lighting by survivors, and participation by schools.

The JCCV is fortunate to have the support of many people in planning and holding the event. My gratitude goes to the candle lighters and their families, to all the participants on the night and to the crew, as well as to all the JCCV staff for the many hours they put in to the planning of the event and on the night.

As always, the organising committee spent many hours in thinking about the theme and the format and in discussing the commemoration.  Michael Cohen, Lena Fiszman, Randi Grose, Leah Justin, Hilary McMahon, Bram Presser and Adam Yee make a wonderful team, with which it is a great pleasure to work and their dedication is such that we are already planning next year’s commemoration.

On Yom Hashoah, JCCV conducted a Hazkara at Carlton Cemetery, together with the Association of Katzetlers, Partisans and Fighters and with AUJS and AZYC participating in a well-attended event.

As well as the formal commemoration of the Shoah, JCCV ensures that survivors are provided with assistance whenever it is required, whether it be by way of information or through referrals to appropriate services or by witnessing life certificates.

Yom Ha’atzmaut Reception

The Yom Ha’atzmaut reception, a joint JCCV and ZCV annual event, was this year hosted by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, the Hon. Nicholas Kotsiras MP, on behalf of the Government. This is a key event for our community, enabling us not only to celebrate the birthday of the State of Israel, but also to share this celebration with members of Parliament and other faith and ethnic leaders. JCCV also participated in the Yom Ha’atzmaut Family Day.

Shloshim for Abram Zeleznikow ז״ל

The contribution made by Abram Zeleznikow ז״ל to our community was invaluable. Much of what we now take for granted, particularly in the area of community building and welfare, was due to his drive and vision.

A dignified Shloshim Service was conducted by the JCCV in July to pay tribute to Abram Zeleznikow. The speakers addressed Abram’s multi-faceted and wide-ranging contribution to our community and his strength, conviction and compassion in an evening which enabled us to express our condolences to the family and our respect to Abram’s memory. It was an event that showed the ability of our community to bring together widely diverging groups in a spirit of which Abram Zeleznikow would have approved.

Farewell to H.E.Yuval Rotem, Israeli Ambassador

It was truly a communal farewell to Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Ambassador for the State of Israel to Australia and his wife Miri Rotem, enabling Victorian Jewry to say thank you and goodbye to an Ambassador who has not only gained our respect by his outstanding representation of his country, but has also endeared himself to all by his participation in our communal life and his warmth and his understanding of the community dynamic.

The function was a collaborative event, organised by JCCV, ZCV, ZFA, AIJAC and ECAJ with co- sponsor organisations representing a cross section of the Victorian Jewish community, including COSV, PJV, VAJEX, JHC, ADC, Hadassah Australia, B'nai B’rith, ADC, NCJWA, UIA, WIZO and AICC.

Organ Donation Forum

An extremely successful Organ Donation Forum was held in October, with Chalachic, medical and recipient viewpoints being presented. The focus of the event was for the community to be provided with the opportunity to understand some of the complexities, both religious and medical and to enable them to access further information to make appropriate decisions. The presentations by the recipient were  inspiring, making all of us acutely aware that organ donation is the gift of life.

Professional networking and development

In addition to events for the whole community, JCCV has conducted a number of professional development and networking sessions, targeted at communal professionals and lay leadership:

  • “Tapping into$10 billion dollars of philanthropy”  - Patrick Moriarty, Director of Training and Development at Our Community, dealt with how to win the most grants ever for your community organisation
  • “Protecting our Children”  information session and workshop on Child Protection
  • “Philanthropy Trends and Strategies” – Andres Spooking, President and CEO Jewish Funders network USA

These were all extremely well attended and regarded as highly valuable to organisational growth.


To the wider community, JCCV is indeed the “Voice of Victorian Jewry”, fully accepted by politicians, by the police, by NGO’s and other bodies as speaking authoritatively on behalf of the community, representing as it does a large number of organisations across the spectrum of Jewish life in Victoria.

Whether we speak with members of Parliament, or of the Police, whether we sit on bodies such as Police and Community Multicultural Advisory Committee (PACMAC) or on the Government’s Multicultural Advisory Group (MAG), or whether we are represented at VicPol’s Community Encounters program, we are regarded as having the imprimatur to speak for the community. Again and again we are told that the Jewish Community is a paradigm for communal roof bodies. This is a large responsibility and we treat it with the seriousness which it requires. We are ably represented on PACMAC and MAG by David Marlow and Jo Silver and on Community Encounters by Hilary McMahon.

We interact with a large number of politicians, but are particularly grateful at State level for the ongoing friendship and assistance of David Southwick MP and Marsha Thompson MP.

In addition to politicians addressing a number of Plenums, the following political interaction should be noted.

London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism

A large number of Federal parliamentarians and an overwhelming majority of Victorian State parliamentarians have signed the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism.

The Raoul Wallenberg Citizenship Function in Canberra in  May 2013 is the first time that Australian citizenship has been awarded to a non-resident and the event and the work of Wallenberg in saving Jews during the Shoah received wide press coverage. I represented the JCCV  at the function.

JCCV and Zionist Council of Victoria held the annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Cocktail Reception as well as the Rosh Hashanah luncheon with 40 Victorian politicians. Again, this was an invaluable opportunity to meet with and brief parliamentarians of all parties.

JCCV also hosted an extremely well-attended morning tea with Malcolm Turnbull MP as well as morning tea with Daniel Andrews MP for Jewish women leaders.

Meeting with Hon. Bruce Atkinson MLC

A productive meeting was held with the Hon Bruce Atkinson, MLC, President of the Legislative Council, Marsha Thomson MP, David Southwick MP, Martin Foley MP and Sam Tatarka and myself, to discuss matters of concern to our community arising out of “The Friends of Palestine Exhibition”.

Police Reception

The Police Reception in May was one of the best to date. The function reflected the warm and co-operative relationship between VicPol and the Jewish community and provided us with the opportunity to thank the Police for the work which they do not just for the Jewish community, but for the entire Victorian community.

Farewell to Commander Ashley Dickinson APM

The Jewish community was well represented at the farewell to Commander Ashley Dickinson APM and I was invited to speak on behalf of the community to thank him for his multi-faith and multicultural work and the close co-operation with our community.


Interfaith and multicultural activities enable the establishment of strong relationships with the broader community and JCCV is represented on numerous organisations, as set out in the report of Dr. Helen Light AM, who ably chairs this portfolio and ensures that we play a significant role in this area.

JCCV is also represented by myself on the Steering Committee of “Kynnections”, a Federal Government funded project to develop African-Muslim leadership among young people, and bringing together school students from the African-Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, with two Jewish Day Schools participating

In addition to representing the community on these bodies, JCCV ensures a closer and deeper contact with other faiths by conducting interesting and well-attended annual dinners with the Catholic and Anglican Church. JCCV also hosted a very successful inaugural Jewish-Buddhist dinner and is planning to hold a dinner with the Chinese community in December.  Members of the executive and staff have also attended a number of Ramadan Iftar Dinners.

This year JCCV conducted a Comedy Debate on the topic “That Sport is Not a Religion”  with the Islamic Council of Victoria, taking multiculturalism and interfaith out of the realms of serious discussion and onto a less academic level.

These activities are greatly assisted by funding from the Victorian Multicultural Commission, for which we thank the VMC. Both the Chairman Chin Tan and Commissioner Grahame Leonard AM have taken a great interest in our activities and have praised the Jewish community as a role model in community leadership.


Because community security is so ably handled by everyone involved with the CSG, we tend to take the Group for granted. We should not. We owe the entire CSG, whether it be the volunteers, the professional staff or the Advisory Board, a debt of gratitude for their dedication and for their professionalism.

I have had the opportunity on a number of occasions this year to thank the volunteers for their many hours of training and protecting, for their meticulous research and analysis and for their overall commitment to our community. They are a communal asset of which we can be justifiably proud. The volunteers commit thousands of hours to protecting our community, and they are often away from their families at the very time when traditionally, we celebrate together. This is a sacrifice of which the community needs to remain mindful. The CSG needs and deserves our continued moral and financial support.

A similar commitment can be seen in the work of the professional staff, headed by Simon Glynn, who has increased the sense of camaraderie and closeness among the volunteers, creating a strong and cohesive team spirit, whilst at the same time responding responsibly to the needs of the community. The excellent professional staff of Dave Friedman, Dan Goodhardt, Justin Lipson, Adrian Goldberg, Bradley Woolf and Tiffany Goldstein form a great support team and ensure the smooth running of the operation.

The CSG Advisory Board continues to ensure the financial sustainability of the CSG , and to that end, have run a series of events, including two extremely successful evenings, one with the then  Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus MP and another with Chief Commissioner Ken Lay. I am grateful to the entire Advisory Board for their dedication to communal security, and would like to particularly thank the Chairman, Roy Tashi OAM and JCCV Executive representative, Jack Lipson.

This year, in addition to carrying out its basic function of communal protection at the highest level, the CSG has placed particular focus on:

  • providing training for communal professionals to expand the security awareness of the community
  • working with police, particularly strengthening the relationship with the Chief Commissioner, Assistant Chief Commissioner and Inspector level
  • training and awareness briefings for local police members at Caulfield, St Kilda, Malvern, Moorabbin and Bayside

thus ensuring that an ever-widening number of members of our community and the wider community are fully briefed and trained for our utmost protection.

JEMP (Jewish Emergency Management Plan)

The rationale for JEMP is to co-ordinate resources in case of major emergency, educate our community in preparedness for a major emergency and ensure that our communal organisations have in place the appropriate plan and capability.

The JEMP Technical Committee is the backbone of JEMP and I thank them for their ongoing commitment. I would also like to express my gratitude for the work done by the JEMP Executive and for the ongoing support of its members and to Kathy Kaplan OAM, the JEMP Executive Administrator, who fulfils her role with great commitment and efficiency, ensuring the smooth running of JEMP.


The financial sustainability of JCCV continues to be dependent on the support of patrons, whose generosity enables us to provide some of the valuable programs outlined above.

This support is not only financial, but also demonstrates the patrons’ confidence in how JCCV operates and their interest and their commitment to our work is very much appreciated.

Providing a sound financial basis for the JCCV is paramount in ensuring our success. It strengthens not only the JCCV, but our community as a whole. I thank the patrons for this investment in our future.


The Estate of the late Jakob Frenkiel has again this year made a substantial distribution to the JCCV, as it has to a number of communal organisations and institutions.

We are extremely grateful to the Executors of the Estate, Richard Greenfield and Emilio Bortignon for supporting the work of the JCCV and for their interest in the programs which we offer to the community. Their distributions continue to benefit our whole community in a number of areas and are made in a considered and targeted manner.


The JCCV continues to administer the CJES, the CJCS, The Trude Weiss Foundation and has now agreed to also administer The Marion and Kurt Lippmann Foundation, which provides scholarships for young Jewish potential community leaders.

The administrative work for all of the above is carried out by Hilary McMahon, with assistance in monitoring CJES compliance from Alan Samuel JP and I express my gratitude to both of them for their meticulous attention to these matters.


In compiling this report, I have in many instances noted with gratitude the input of a very significant number of people, and none more so than the JCCV Executive, the professional staff and volunteers.

David Marlow joined the JCCV as the Executive Director in January 2013, bringing to the position a high level of professionalism and a deep commitment to our community. He has contributed greatly to the smooth operation of the office and facilitated the work of the Executive. David has also met widely with affiliate presidents and professionals, ensuring that JCCV better understands what the community requires. David Marlow has also ensured that our activities receive far wider media attention, enabling  the community to have a broader understanding of the work of the JCCV.

I am greatly indebted to Hilary McMahon, Jo Silver and Julie Batty for their ongoing contribution. I am constantly mindful of how much work is being done by them on a daily basis. Events, projects, financial management, the smooth day to day running of the office – all of these and so much more make up the framework of our structure as the communal roof body. Without their constant commitment and the long hours they dedicate to their work, much of what is in this report would not have occurred.  As always, my deep gratitude for what you do.

The Executive continues to work in a dedicated, responsible and thoughtful manner, ensuring that we work as a team. Jennifer Huppert, who took over as Vice President in February, has been extremely supportive in that role, as well as handling matters of strategy and governance. I particularly thank Jennifer, Sharene Hambur and John Searle for the many hours they have devoted to the constitutional amendments which were adopted in October 2013. My thanks also to Helen Light AM, for her valuable contribution as Vice President until  she resigned the position in February to focus more strongly on her portfolio, where she so ably represents the JCCV; to Ian Jones for ensuring that our financial status remains sustainable and for his meticulous financial reports; to Rimma Sverdlin whose work in Social Justice has been of great value to the community and formed a pivotal role in this year’s work; to Jack Lipson who fulfils the responsibilities of the Security portfolio with great commitment; to Daniel Fox for his expertise in planning online engagement and marketing  and to John Searle for his extremely sound advice. My thanks also go to the three new members of the Executive, Jeremy Samuel, the ADC representative for his thoughtful contribution to our discussions, to Atida Lipshatz for her enthusiastic approach to the Affiliate Support portfolio and to Anton Hermann, who has taken on the Community Engagement portfolio and been an invaluable contributor to the Child Protection Reference Group.

My thanks and appreciation also to Anne Livnat, Mervyn Chait and Michael Rosen, who so generously volunteer their time and expertise to assist the JCCV. Your support is greatly appreciated.


This year, during which JCCV has celebrated 75 years of service to and on behalf of the community, we have sought to ensure that we live up to the expectations of those who have led this organisation in the past. We have worked to be a representative voice for the community and a cohesive force within it. We continue this role because you, the affiliates empower us to do so and we do so fully aware of the responsibility which this places on us.

Much of what we do is “work in progress’ , but end of year allows us to take stock, and it is useful, by way of summary to encapsulate just some of  the quantifiable outcomes which are in this report:

  • Greater communal engagement, as evidenced by increased attendances at Plenums and increased interaction between JCCV and communal organisations
  • Constitutional amendments have been completed and adopted
  • Child Protection  policy has been adopted and the Child Protection  Reference Group has been working with community organisations and a  Child Protection Directory has been posted on the JCCV website
  • Youth engagement program has resulted in the formation of “Connects”
  • Hosting of forums on topics of communal interest and focal communal events
  • Communication with our affiliates and with the entire community has been broadened through the JCCV e-Bulletin, through “What’s Nu” and by the introduction of an interactive o online Communal Events Calendar
  • YAP has produced an Evaluation Report and proposes to broaden its alcohol education program
  • In consultation with the affiliates, a more transparent and more equitable affiliation fee structure is being developed to deal with current anomalies
  • Communal Appeal Calendar for 2014 has been streamlined and the Appeal Allocation fee for all the participating organisations has been substantially reduced.

Much has been achieved this year, but we are conscious that the high standard needs to be maintained and that the relationships both within and outside our community need to be nurtured and strengthened, so that the Victorian Jewish community continues to be vibrant and a paradigm for other communities.

Nina Bassat AM


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