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President's Report

President's Report

06 February 2017

Inquiry into the Racial Discrimination Act

Following on the Plenum’s resolution to support the retention of sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the JCCV has joined with a broad coalition of ethnic and faith communities in making a submission in support of the current legislation to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Racial Discrimination Act.  Last month David Marlow and Andre Oboler, together with other representatives of the coalition, appeared before the Inquiry at public hearings held at Parliament House in Melbourne.  The ECAJ has also made a submission in support of the legislation, and appeared before the Inquiry at a public hearing in Sydney.

 

 

Bourke Street Incident

Along with the rest of the Victorian community, the Jewish community has been deeply affected by the tragic event which occurred in Bourke Street on Friday 20 January, in particular the loss of Thalia Hakin (of blessed memory).  The JCCV issued a statement in response to the incident, and I attended the Community service organized by the Rabbinical Council of Victoria which was held at Werdiger Hall on Sunday 22 January.  Together with David, I also attended the vigil organized by the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne which was held on the evening of Monday 23 January at Federation Square.  It was a moving event.

Holocaust Commemoration

This year International Holocaust Remembrance Day fell on a Friday, so the JCCV joined with the Jewish Holocaust Centre to mark the day with an event held at the JHC on 30 January.  A full auditorium heard a moving testimony from Baba Schwarz, and David Ritchie AO, retired diplomat and former Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Germany spoke about the importance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IRHA).  There were also contributions from representatives of March of the Living, and Dalia Salzmann spoke on behalf of the Fourth Generation.  The event was well attended by Politicians, Diplomats and leaders of a variety of ethnic and faith based communities and Jewish community organisations.

On 29 January I participated in an event co-hosted by the JHC, Elwood Shule and Melbourne Hebrew Congregation to mark the 75th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference.  The key note speakers at the event were Rabbi James Kennard, Dr Gerard Henderson and Sam Lipski.

Planned visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Sydney on 21-22 February.  Although he was originally planned to visit Melbourne on Thursday 23 February, due to other commitments the visit has been cut short, and the visit will no longer be taking place.  Mr Netanyahu will be speaking at community function at Central Synagogue in Sydney, and some members of the Melbourne Jewish Community will be invited to attend.

Child Protection

On 29 November 2016 the Royal Commission into Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse published a report which focused on the responses to Yeshiva Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi.  The JCCV issued a statement welcoming the report, and reiterating the need for proper training of professional and volunteers working in or around children within the community.

JCCV published it Child Safe Policy on 30 November, which establishes’ a code of conduct for the JCCV executive, staff, committee members and volunteers.  This complies with the JCCV’s responsibilities under the new Child Safety Standards which came in operation on 1 January 2017.

Meetings with the Acting Ambassador for the United States

Last week I met with James Carouso, Chargé d’Affaires and Acting Ambassador for the United States.  Mr Carouso was interested in learning about the Melbourne Jewish Community and multiculturalism in Victoria.  Later on the same day I joined Mr Carouso at an afternoon tea at Parliament House hosted by the Speaker the Hon. Telmo Languiller and Minister for Multicultural Affairs the Hon. Robin Scott.

Multicultural and Interfaith

JCCV was signatory to two statements issued by the Victoria Police Multi-faith Council.  The first statement expressed despair and dismay at the horrors unfolding in many parts of the world, most notably at the moment in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Myanma.  The second statement condemned the alleged planned terrorist acts in the Melbourne CBD at Christmas.  David Marlow also represented the JCCV at a Multifaith service held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 24 December.

Community events

I attended a number of community events late last year, including the opening the new kindergartens at the Dandenong Road/Denbigh Road campus of The King David School, the Temple Beth Israel AGM, and the Chabad of the CBD pre Chanukah event at Parliament House.

I also had the opportunity to meet with B’nei B’rith International President Gary Saltzman.  Gary is based in the US, and we had an interesting discussion about some of the issues and challenges facing the Jewish communities in the US and Australia.

Forthcoming events

  • 15 March: JCCV/Beit Aharon Debate on the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 at Gandel Besen Campus of Mt Scopus Memorial College
  • 20 March: JCCV/ICV Comedy Debate at Melbourne Town Hall

 

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