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Assistance for those in Need

Assistance for those in Need

04 October 2010

The Victorian Jewish community is not immune from poverty and mental health issues that prevail in many societies around the world, according to John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, the peak body of Victorian Jewry.

“Given that we have just concluded the reflective period of the High Holydays and the joyous days of Sukkot, it is an apt time to consider the messages of Mental Health Week (10-16 October) followed by Anti-Poverty Week which runs from 17-23 October”, Searle stated today.

“Poverty and ill-health, which are often closely related, cut across every imaginable line: age, race, social, geographic and religious. And while Australia has been termed the lucky country for many reasons, it too has its share of human suffering.  Certainly some have been affected more than others. These include the indigenous community, single parents, unskilled immigrants and the elderly. There are also particular concerns about mental health issues faced by members of the GLBT communities.

To live in poverty or with mental health issues is to live with uncertainty, indignity and misunderstanding, and too often with harassment by those who blame the victim, as well as by others who are also poor and desperate.

As Andrew Markus’ research has demonstrated, the Jewish community is far from immune from these concerns.  Yes, Jews are a people traditionally generous with both time and money.  Our community is also blessed with organisations such as Jewish Care, Access, Australian Jewish Psychologists, Melbourne Jewish Charity Fund and Wings of Care which seek to address such issues.  Nonetheless those of us who are able to assist should strive to do better. In particular, I ask all of us, communal organisations and individuals, to think and act creatively in regard to programs, mentoring, partnerships, activities and regarding our behaviour generally so that we can all make a long-term and lasting difference to peoples’ lives.”

For further information, please contact Geoffrey Zygier 9272 5579

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