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President's Report

President's Report

01 February 2016

Anti-Semitism and Security
Late last year there were a number of crimes against members of the community which had anti-Semitic overtones. In the first, a community member was ‘mugged’ on the corner of Balaclava Road and Hotham Street late on Friday evening.  An off duty police officer came to the assistance of the victim, but before fleeing, the perpetrator uttered anti-Semitic abuse.

In the second incident, which occurred outside Adass Israel Shule, an attempted theft of scooters outside the Shule resulted in the apprehension of a person who also resorted to anti-Semitic abuse.  This event was caught on video, which went viral.  I was interviewed on Channel 10 News the following evening regarding anti-Semitism in Melbourne.

The same week saw the cancellation of Chanukah in the Park due to security concerns.  This also got quite a lot of coverage, and I appeared was interviewed by Red Symons’ on ABC Radio. The Chanukah celebration was moved to Caulfield Racecourse, and I understand it was a great success.

In a related incident, before Chanukah in the Park was cancelled, there was a debate at a Glen Eira City Council meeting concerning security arrangements.   Some Councilors raised concerns regarding possibility of armed security guards being present at an event held in a park.  As has been widely reported, during the debate, Councilor Oscar Lobo made comments which, as I said in the Jewish News, could be constructed as anti-Semitic.  I have subsequently had a meeting with Councilor Lobo, who I thin has a greater understanding the situation facing the Jewish community, and the actions we take around security. The issue was also picked up by Channel 7, and story which ran on the evening news, painting it as a gun control issue.

Welcome Back
I would like to welcome everyone back, and wish everyone a happy new year.

Despite the time of year, the JCCV staff and executive have been busy since the AGM.

Meeting with Matthew Guy
David Marlow and I met with the Leader of the Opposition, Matthew Guy, and David Southwick on 1 December.  It was a useful meeting at which we discussed a range of issues affecting the Jewish community and Mr Guy expressed his continuing support for the community.

United National Holocaust Memorial Day
JCCV and The Jewish Holocaust Centre jointly hosted an event to mark United Nations Holocaust Memorial Day and Glen Eira Town Hall on 27 January.  The key note speaker was His Excellency Dr Helmut Boeck, Ambassador for Austria.

Boardroom Lunch
The first JCCV Boardroom Lunch was held on Wednesday 26 November with the Human Right’s Commissioner, Tim Wilson as guest speaker.  A number of the people attended would not have had much exposure the JCCV previously, and Tim was an interesting and engaging speaker.  Thanks to David and staff for organising, and Michael Naftali and Credit Suisse for hosting us.   The lunch was a success, and I hope we will be able to hold a similar event in 2016.

ECAJ AGM
Victoria was well represented at the Executive Council of Australia Jewry Annual General Meeting, which was held at Shalom College in Sydney on 29 November.  The guest speakers included His Excellency Shmuel Ben Shmuel, Ambassador for Israel, and Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment.  Senator Wong reiterated the ALP’s support for Israel, despite some of the resolutions passed at recent ALP conferences.

Interfaith and Multicultural Affairs
On 24 November I attended the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria AGM.  Helen Light was re-elected to the board, and she continues to represent the JCCV in that forum.

I met with the Victorian Multicultural Commissioner, Helen Kapalos on 8 December, and last week I sat on the VMC table at the Australia Day Lunch.

I attended the ceremony for Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence at Government House, where the Jewish Holocaust Centre received an award in the Education category.

David Marlow and Frances Prince continue to represent the JCCV at a variety of Multicultural and Interfaith events, and engage with organisations such as the Jewish Christian Muslim Association and the Faith Communities Council of Victoria.  We also meet with representatives of other faith and cultural communities, continuing to build relationships.

Pastoral Care
As I reported at the AGM, the JCCV Pastoral Care Committee, led by David Marlow, is working with Spiritual Care Victoria, Jewish Care, Progressive Judaism Victoria, Kehilat Nitzan and the Rabbinical Council of Victoria through the JCCV Pastoral Care Committee on a program for accreditation of Jewish pastoral care workers.  The first draft of the accreditation program has been completed, and the next step I development of training and assessment processes.

Community Events
I represented the JCCV at a number of community events in later 2015.

The Victorian Police Jewish Community Dinner was a successful evening.  Organised by VicPol, the evening included a Q & A with students from Jewish Schools.  As well as leaders of the Jewish community and police officers, a number of leaders of Multicultural and interfaith organisations also attended. The JTAFV Breakfast, Standing Firm against Family Violence was well attended, and the speakers included representatives of Victoria Police and crime reporter John Silvester.

Forthcoming Events

  • 3 March - Professional Development - Governance & Financial Reporting
  • 7 March – Hon. Robin Scott will be guest speaker at JCCV Plenum

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