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President's Report

President's Report

03 February 2014

One month into the new year, JCCV already has a significant agenda for 2014, with plans to have even greater interaction with affiliates than in the previous year, particularly in the social justice area and a broad multicultural and interfaith program.

One month into the new year, JCCV already has a significant agenda for 2014, with plans to have even greater interaction with affiliates than in the previous year, particularly in the social justice area and a broad multicultural and interfaith program.

JCCV Child Protection Reference Group

JCCV Child Protection Reference Group workshops commence on 25 February 2014 and the response from community organisations has been beyond expectations. 48 people from 16 organisations have registered to participate in the five session course, to be run on a monthly basis.

These sessions are being offered to the community by the JCCV at a subsidised cost, as we consider this to be a vital component of our child protection strategy.

I urge any organisations which have not yet registered to do so for the next series of workshops.

Racial Discrimination Act (Section 18c)

There has been considerable activity in this area, both at the ECAJ and JCCV level.

I attended, together with David Marlow, a roundtable meeting hosted by VEOHRC with

Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner at which the issues and various strategies were canvassed.

David Marlow has worked assiduously to bring together a substantial coalition of community, ethnic and faith groups together to issue a joint statement “Racism is Not Free Speech” (www.jccv.org.au)

At ECAJ level, a second meeting was held on 15 January 2014 between the coalition of ethnic and community groups and the Attorney-General, George Brandis.

If Section 18c is to be repealed, which seems highly likely, it would appear that consideration is being given to racial vilification becoming a criminal offence at the Commonwealth level. At present, section 80.2A of the Commonwealth Criminal Code outlaws incitement to racial violence but not racial hatred.

Affiliation Fees

The change to affiliation fee structure has now been under discussion with affiliates for over a year. JCCV has for many years felt the need to create a more transparent and more rational structure  and this has been discussed at number of Council of Presidents meetings, as well as numerous discussions which have taken place between our Honorary Treasurer Ian Jones and affiliate representatives.

I have been encouraged by the affiliate Presidents to put this matter to the Plenum and we propose to put a resolution at the March Plenum.  At the February Plenum, Ian Jones will present the issues and the resolution for discussion by affiliates. This, together with the previous discussions throughout 2013, should ensure that delegates will be fully briefed and will have full instructions from their organisations in readiness for the vote to be put on 3 March 2014.

Politicians’ Jewish Familiarisation Day

JCCV, together with our local Member David Southwick MP, has invited State Parliamentarians and a number of Victorian Federal Members to a Politicians’ Jewish Familiarisation Day on 7 March 2014.  Visits are planned to the Jewish Museum of Australia, Temple Beth Israel, Jewish Holocaust Centre, Lamm Library and Beth Weizmann finishing with a Model Shabbat.

Pastoral Care

JCCV has prepared an information booklet for pastoral care workers and healthcare professionals, to assist them in working with Jewish patients.  This is an initiative of the JCCV Pastoral Care Working Group and we greatly appreciate the assistance of Rabbi Nerenberg and Rabbi Fred Morgan in the preparation of the booklet.

A full day of Jewish immersion is planned for 24 healthcare professionals from various faiths on 19 March2014. It is proposed to include the Jewish Museum of Australia, a  synagogue, the Jewish Holocaust Centre,  Mikvah,  Chevra Kadisha, and Beth Weizmann with presentations from Orthodox and Progressive pastoral carers.

Professional Networking and Development

A successful session was held on 5 December 2013, with David Cygielman, the Founder and CEO of Moishe House. This year’s first session, with Adam Slonim discussing “Time Management” will be on 27 February 2014.

Polish Ambassador

The newly-arrived Polish Ambassador, HE Pawel Milewski will address the Plenum on 7 April 2014.

JCCV Events to end May  2013

  • JCCV Plenum – 3 March 2014 at Kehilat Nitzan
  • Jewish -Indian Community Dinner –10 April 2014
  • Yom Ha’Shoah Commemoration – 27 April2014
  • Yom Ha’Shoah Memorial Service at Carlton Cemetery –4 May 2014
  • Council of Presidents meeting – 19 May  2014

Matters of concern to community members

Two matters were raised with me during January:

•          National Gallery of Victoria – the  Gallery Palestine posters, which form part of an installation by Tom Nicholson in the “Melbourne Now” exhibition

•          Heide Gallery swastika/Magen David symbol on artwork

I have written to NGV, as has Sam Tatarka  and we are examining the response, with the likelihood of a follow-up meeting.

My letter to Heide Gallery also received response, agreeing to provide adequate notice where artwork may be offensive and hurtful.

Media Statements

The following media statements are available on the JCCV website:

•          On the passing of Ariel Sharon

•          JCCV Response to Cyprys Sentencing

•          Victorian Jewish Schools Blitz VCE

•          Mandela Mourned Throughout the Jewish World

Jewish-Chinese Chanukah Dinner

This was held in December 2013, with over fifty community, business and political leaders from the Victorian Jewish and Chinese communities. The dinner was designed to build closer ties between the communities and was supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. The event was so successful, that a similar dinner on a larger scale is being planned for later this year.

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