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JCCV Annual General Report 2014

JCCV Annual General Report 2014

24 November 2014

Download the JCCV 2014 Annual Report

The focus this year, more so than in most, has been to maintain a balance between external representation and community strengthening.

There were difficult weeks in July and August, during the Israel-Gaza conflict and the concomitant rise in antisemitism.

JCCV worked assiduously to allay local concerns, particularly around the ugliness surrounding the pro-Palestinian rallies and the outbursts of antisemitic vitriol.

JCCV participated in events which not only reinforced the strength of the commitment of Victorian Jewry to Israel, but also reflected our communal solidarity, bringing together many disparate strands of our community.

Meanwhile, we continued with our core initiatives, to ensure communal normality and stability.


JCCV played an active role at State level to prevent the repeal of S18c of the RDA, resulting in a strong statement - “Racism is Not Free Speech”.

The heightened level and degree of antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment created disquiet and a sense of insecurity in the community. We were therefore heartened to see strong bipartisan political support for Israel and for the Jewish community.

This is a reflection of the close working relationship which the JCCV has with both Government and Opposition. There were public statements by politicians in support of Israel, as well as strong condemnation of antisemitic activity and emphasis on the need to maintain the social cohesion on which Victoria prides itself.

A number of functions were held with politicians, including:

  • Politicians Jewish Familiarisation Day in March 2014 with State members of parliament of all sides of politics.
  • Annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Cocktail reception with politicians and faith and community leaders
  • Rosh Hashanah luncheon with parliamentarians which was again organised by David Southwick MP and Marsha Thomson MP, who co-chair the Parliamentary Friends of Israel Group. We are indebted to both of them for the work they do with and for our community and in particular, for their strong and articulate support for Israel.
  • Numerous meetings with State and federal parliamentarians as set out in my Report


The JCCV continues to have a close and co-operative working relationship with Victoria Police which ensures that the Police are fully apprised of the needs of our community.

Meetings with senior police, on issues of security concerns.

This is what they said in part:The close contact and briefings which the JCCV has with politicians and with Victoria Police have been effective in creating support for Israel and for our community and enabling us to live safely as Jews in the Victorian community.

Two emails which I received, one in July and one last week, reinforced the support for our community.

July: “…….. my sincerest condolences for the tragic and senseless death of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. …………. this was just so wrong in so many ways! These three young men, supported by family and friends, deserved the opportunity to grow old and to see their dreams realised. I'm so sorry.”

Last week: “……. my sincerest condolences to the Jewish Community in the wake of the truly horrific murders of 4 Rabbis and a Police Officer at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof on Tuesday.

Both these emails came from Victoria Police.I am at a loss to fathom such savagery, which I am positive is how all people of good will are feeling at the moment.”I was utterly heartbroken to lean of this mindless act of brutality and wickedness. Just when the world needs all the prayers it can get we lose a number of innocent people who were engaged in the very act of prayer.

I was utterly heartbroken to lean of this mindless act of brutality and wickedness. Just when the world needs all the prayers it can get we lose a number of innocent people who were engaged in the very act of prayer.

I am at a loss to fathom such savagery, which I am positive is how all people of good will are feeling at the moment.”

Both these emails came from Victoria Police.

Interfaith and Multicultural

“Overview of the Jewish Festivals” - publication of booklet providing information to Government, to Police, to health professionals, to interfaith and multicultural bodies.

JCCV is a member of interfaith and multicultural bodies and has conducted a number of events with diverse religious and ethnic groups as set out in David Marlow’s and Dr. Helen Light’s reports and in my report.

These personal contacts, based on friendship and goodwill, help to break down stereotypes and immeasurably improve understanding and relations between our communities.


Focus on strengthening and supporting our community, particularly in the area of social justice.

Child Protection

Child Protection has been covered comprehensively in the Report, and quite justifiably so, because what JCCV has achieved in the area of Child protection has literarily been a cultural shift in communal thinking. The imperative to care for the welfare of our children is now very much on the agenda of a large number of communal organisations, schools and synagogues.

The group of 20 organisations which participated in the 5 months long JCCV Child protection training program was diverse and included Adass Israel, Hathzolah, Jewish Care, Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence, Kehilat Nitzan, Maccabi Victoria and Temple Beth Israel, as well as schools and other organisations.

I would like to reiterate my thanks to the Child Protection Reference Group, and in particular to Andrew Blode, Rimma Sverdlin and Jo Silver. I felt privileged to be a part of the Group and supported by it.

Youth Alcohol Project (YAP)

My thanks go to the YAP committee and particularly to project manager Debbie Zauder, whose comprehensive report I commend to you. In addition to the work with schools set out in the report, there are plans for next year for greater parent involvement, for the publication of an information booklet and participation in a proposed community forum.

Pastoral Care

The JCCV Pastoral Care Working Group, with funding from Spiritual Care Victoria works to improve the quality and effectiveness of pastoral care in hospitals for the Jewish community.

GLBTI Working Group

The ongoing work of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (GLBTI) has been greatly enhanced by the receipt of a substantial HEY (Health Equality Youth) Grant from the Youth Affairs Council to focus on communication and produce a video, with input from young people, about the importance of inclusion.

Key community events

Apart from events which I have already mentioned, JCCV also held

  • Yom Hashoah Commemoration commemorating the 70th anniversary of the destruction of Hungarian Jewry
  • Hazkara ceremony at Carlton Cemetery
  • Babi Yar Commemoration commemorating one of the most tragic and for a long time, lesser known events in the history of the Shoah
  • JCCV Community Awards Evening recognising the significant contribution of volunteers in our community, awarding the inaugural Youth leader’s Award to Josh Back and the JCCV General Sir John Monash Award to Professor Louis Waller AO, who has made an immense contribution to very many aspects of communal life
  • Seven JCCV Plenums and 3 Council of Presidents meetings

Professional development and networking

To increase its engagement with the community and to help develop expertise and professionalism within our community organisations, JCCV has hosted a number of forums and workshops, including:

  • Seminars and workshops on management, leadership, personal development and philanthropy including with Adam Slonim, David Cygielman, the Founder and CEO of Moishe House and Andres Spokoiny, CEO of American Jewish Funders
  • Forum on Organ Donation for the Jewish community
  • Forum on the Rights and Responsibilities of Elderly People


By means of:

  • The JCCV website
  • JCCV Directory and Diary
  • “Jewish Community in Action” , which is the quarterly JCCV e-Bulletin
  • “What’s Nu”
  • increasingly active on social media
  • increased our media coverage and acknowledge the assistance in this of The Australian Jewish News, J-Wire and J-Air

JCCV has focused more on greater communication this year, and this is an area that I believe needs to be even more widely expanded, to take advantage of all available means of communicating.

Enhanced community collaboration

The level of collaboration which we have seen across the Jewish community has been outstanding, with close cooperation across a number of important areas to the community, such as:

  • Pro-Israel rallies involving JCCV, ECAJ, ZCV, ZFA and AIJAC as well as other community groups, as well as the services of support and memorial service for the three kidnapped Israeli boys, involving all streams of religion coming together to share our grief and show support for the families.
  • Twenty diverse community organisations working together over five months to participate in and share ideas as part of the JCCV Child Protection Training program
  • Diverse streams of Judaism, including Rabbinical Council of Victoria, Progressive Judaism Victoria, and Kehilat Nitzan (Masorti) together with Jewish Care, cooperating to develop new materials, improve service delivery and to educate non-Jewish healthcare professionals as part of the JCCV Pastoral Care project.


  • Monitors the risks which face our community
  • Rise in antisemitism resulted in a far heavier burden being placed on CSG Victoria

The volunteers responded with great dedication and together with the professional staff, CSG showed its total commitment to the protection of the Victorian Jewish community and we owe a debt of gratitude to all of them.

Advisory Board continues to ensure the financial viability of the CSG and the community is truly indebted to the Board for its commitment and hard work.

I also draw to your attention the work of Jewish Emergency Management Plan (JEMP), whose Technical Committee (TC) meets on a regular basis in order to ensure that JEMP is ready and able to respond in the event of any emergency and to that end, maintains its level of preparedness to co-ordinate resources. (KK’s Report).


Patrons - generosity, both financial and by way of support and encouragement of the Patrons makes a quantum difference in what JCCV can achieve.

Estate Jakob Frenkiel

The Estate of Jakob Frenkiel has very generously supported the work of the JCCV over the last three years and I thank the Executors of the Estate, Richard Greenfield and Emilio Bortignon for their support and interest in JCCV activities and in particular in the Youth Alcohol Project.

Donors and Appeals

Major donors, Mr. and Mrs. P. Birnbaum, the Erdigroup and the Werled Foundation assist the JCCV significantly in maintaining its financial viability. I thank them for it their continued donations and I thank our entire community for its support of the JCCV through our Community Appeal.

My gratitude goes also to all the participating synagogues for their cooperation and generosity in each year enabling the JCCV to hold a Kol Nidrei Appeal.


JCCV works closely with ECAJ President Robert Goot AM SC and Executive Director Peter Wertheim AM. I appreciate their support and advice, as I do that of Julie Nathan and Alex Ryvchin, who are always available to discuss matters of common interest and concern.

The relationship between ECAJ and the State roof bodies is vital to the wellbeing of our entire community and I congratulate the ECAJ on maintaining the strong and collaborative relationship as well as its vigorous and targeted representation of Australian Jewry, both within Australia and internationally. (Acknowledge Dr. Danny Lamm Immediate Past President).


אַחֲרוֹן אַחֲרוֹן חָבִיב

Last but far from least

It is customary to express ones gratitude at an AGM and there is sound reason for this.

Everything that the JCCV has been able to achieve has been because throughout my term, we have functioned as a team. The Executive and the professional staff have worked together with one aim in mind and that is the well-being of the Victorian Jewish Community, by way of the best possible representation and by providing all possible support.

I would again like to acknowledge the work of the various JCCV committees, working groups, reference groups and volunteers who have worked so hard to help us turn our vision into reality. Their input and commitment are truly appreciated.

In my report I have individually thanked each of the wonderful Executive members for their unique contribution, and I won’t repeat this tonight, but would like to thank them as a team. Whilst it was a strong and rigorous Executive, which never hesitated to express its views, it was also a wonderfully supportive Executive, and this has been particularly the case with Vice President Jennifer Huppert.

The professional staff – David Marlow, Hilary McMahon, Julie Batty and Jo Silver have been similarly focused and committed.

My gratitude goes particularly to David Marlow and Hilary McMahon whose dedication to JCCV has no bounds. Neither of them seem to understand the concept of a working week – they just work until everything that needs to be done is done.

To all of you – thank you for your warmth, your support and your friendship.

It is also customary to thank one’s family, and I do so in full recognition of how supportive they have been.

Our children, Sally, Andrew and Paul, their wonderful spouses – David, Sharon and Natalie – together with our tribe of grandchildren, are our lodestone. They are what makes the sun shine every day. I thank them for their love, their support and their advice – often unsought, but always wise!

Bassats don’t do “public and emotional”; we are not even all that good at “private and emotional”. But I need to make an exception and acknowledge my husband Bob. For more than 5 decades, we have grown up together (although the jury is still out as to whether we actually have grown up). Throughout that time, Bob has been my mainstay and so much more.

He has never allowed me to be weak and he has taught me about generosity of heart and spirit. In his only public statement about our marriage, Bob said “Marriage is a combination of luck and hard work; I got all the luck and Nina does all the hard work”. As always, he was being exceedingly kind – I am the lucky one. Thank you - I will always be grateful that we both went to that 16th birthday party!

And finally, I would like to thank our community – this vibrant, diverse, sometime fractious, but always wonderful and embracing community, which once again has shown me so much warmth and support. This is a community without compare, and I feel very privileged to have been so deeply enmeshed in it.

Thank you.
Nina Bassat


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