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Inaugural Dinner With Anglican Diocese

21 November 2008

Block's last supper: the inaugural Victorian Jewish and Anglican communities' dinner

The inaugural dinner for the Jewish and Anglican communities of Victoria provided a fitting conclusion to Anton Block’s presidency of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.

“One of my major goals as president was to have increased and more meaningful engagement with other faith and ethnic communities in our State”, Block said. “Improving friendships is obviously essential for creating a harmonious society and there is the added benefit of building strategic alliances in the political arena.”

During the last three years the JCCV has become more outward-focused with Executive and staff participating in ever increasing committee work and ceremonial events. Annual dinners with the Muslim and Catholic communities have been occurring for some time, but this dinner with the Anglicans was a first.

“This was a significant event”, Block continued. “Historically Jewish/Christian relationships have been complex. Even more than that, Jews often have been persecuted under Christian rule. And while that has not been the case in Anglican societies, various issues still require addressing. A very important example is the Anglican Church’s position on the Middle East conflict, which we believe does not sufficiently consider Israel’s difficulties.

At the dinner, both keynote speakers Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn and Archbishop Philip Freier acknowledged these issues. More importantly, however, they also expressed the desire to deal with them and noted that the commonality of our respective faith traditions provides a sound basis for doing so. Indeed, this was clear from the many interactions taking place around the room, with guests obviously enjoying each other’s company, as well as the food.

I am confident that this first get-together augurs well for the future. Under the leadership of my successor John Searle who has a demonstrated commitment to interfaith work and multiculturalism, this relationship will undoubtedly grow from strength to strength.”

For further information, please contact:

Anton Block 0418 320 417 or Geoffrey Zygier 0413 731 545

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