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President's Report

President's Report

06 June 2016

Yom Hashoah

The Yom Hashoah commemoration at Robert Blackwood Hall was well attended, and all feedback has been very positive, in particular the response to the theme of this year’s event, “Holocaust – Europe and Beyond”. My thanks go to Randi Grose and the rest of the organising committee, who put in many hours of hard work in order to ensure the evening’.

 

Tales of a City by the Sea

Many of you will have seen the media surrounding the play “Tales of a City by the Sea”, which is a play on the VCE Drama list for 2016, and is currently being performed at La Mama.  The author of the play is Samah Sabawi, a Palestinian activist, who is an active BDS supporter.  Responsibility for selection of the play rests with the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCCA), which is an independent agency.

The play, which was performed at La Mama last month, is set in Gaza during the 2008 conflict, and is extremely one-sided, and uses imagery reminiscent of traditional anti-semitic tropes.

I wrote to the Minister for Education, the Hon. James Merlino, to express our concerns regarding the selection of the play as a VCE text, and a copy of this letter was also forwarded to the Minster for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Robin Scott.  Zionism Victoria also wrote to Minster Merlino to express their concerns.

Last week Dvir Abramovich and I met with Minster Merlino to discuss our concerns. The key outcome of that meeting is that the Minister has asked the VCAA to review how it applies one of the selection criteria for the inclusion of works in the drama list, which is that the work must meet accepted community standard.

Sam Tatarka and I also met with Minister Scott to discuss this issue.

Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha’atzmaut

As usual, JCCV was a sponsor of Zionism Victoria’s Yom Hazikaron Tekes held at Robert Blackwood Hall.  This year Bram Presser represented the JCCV as one of the readers.

Zionism Victoria has ‘revamped’ the manner in which it celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut, introducing the “Blue and White Night” event at Beth Weizmann.  This more informal event was well attended, and is a welcome addition to the calendar.

Once again JCCV had a table at the Zionism Victoria’s Yom Ha’atzmaut Family Festival.  Thank you to the staff for attending, and to those executive members who assisted them.

Meetings with Liberal Party MP’s and Candidates

On 18 May Senator James Patterson, David Southwick MP, and Liberal Party candidates Tim Wilson and Owen Guest visited Beth Weizmann.  Following a tour of Beth Weizmann, David Marlow and I together with Jeff Morrison and Jane Rapke met with the politicians to discuss issues of concern to the community.  This was followed on 31 May by a visit and meeting with Foreign Minister, the Hon. Julie Bishop, who was accompanied by Senator Patterson, David Southwick MP, Tim Wilson and Owen Guest.

Jewish-African Communities Dinner

On 8 May we hosted the first Jewish – African Communities Friendship Dinner at the Catholic Leadership Centre.  The dinner was attended by nearly 100 community leaders, including representatives from 16 African communities.  Guests at the dinner included the Hon Robin Scott, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Shadow spokesperson for Mulitcultural Affairs, Inge Peulich, and Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp.  Guests heard from some of the younger members of the African community regarding the challenges faced by their community, and Gary Samowitz, who spoke about the work of Stand Up.

Dr Elana Sztockman

Dr Elana Sztockman, award-winning author, sociologist, educator, activist and thinker in the field of Orthodox Jewish feminism, is currently in Australia as Scholar in Residence for NCJWA.  On 21 May she spoke at a joint NCJWA and JCCV event at Blake Street Hebrew Congregation on the topic “Gender in Popular Culture”.  Attended by approximately 60 people, it was a fascinating presentation on the representation of women in film, television and music.

Community events

I have represented the JCCV at a number of community events since the last plenum, including the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation Yom Ha’atzmaut Breakfast, the opening of Gandel House at Emmy Monash Homes of the Aged and the Mina Fink Memorial Lecture (NCJWA Victoria).

I have also participated in a number of panels, addressing the future of the Melbourne Jewish Community.  The first was a J-Air panel with Rabbi James Kennard and AUJS President Michael Fisher on the topic “The Melbourne Jewish Community in 2050”.  This was followed by a panel organsied by AUJS on 27 May which explored “Judaism in the 21st Century”.  I also participated in a panel at the Australian Jewish Funders Launchpad Retreat.

Forthcoming Events

  • 8 June – Parliament of Victoria/JCCV/Zionism Victoria Yom Ha’atzmaut Cocktail Reception, The Windsor
  • 15 June – JCCC/Victorian Council of Churches Shavuot Reception, Beth Weizmann
  • 19 June – JCCV/Islamic Council of Victoria Iftar Dinner
  • 20 June – JCCV/Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence Evening Judge Eugene Hyman

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