Media Centre
President's Report

President's Report

21 February 2011


I met with John Brumby, Premier of Victoria; the Assistant Commissioner Jeff Pope & Tania Farha regarding Prejudice Motivated Crime and attended a meeting with the Foreign Minister & Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzogovina... I hosted an Interfaith supper with guests from Antwerp, a Shabbat dinner with the Anglican Archbishop and Croation Consul General and attended the Jewish /Anglican dinner ... I was Interviewed by Channel 10 regarding religious education in schools... Click here for a complete list.


I commence this report by extending our condolences to Geoffrey, Louise, Tully and the extended family on the tragic loss of Ben. May they all be spared further sorrow and we wish them all “a long life”.

Condolences are also extended to Rabbi Heillbrunn and family on the loss of his father and Jack Gringlas and family on the loss of his father.


Australia Day Award Recipients:

  • Robert Smorgon AM
  • Professor Louise Newman AM
  • Bernard Korbman OAM
  • Susie Balint OAM
  • Kathy Kaplan OAM
  • Professor David Copolov OAM

Josh Frydenberg MP – marriage

David & Elana Michelson – birth of daughter and Barmitzvah

Braham& Fiona Goldberg on bat mitzvah of Dahlia


It seems that only 7 Jewish families were affected by the Brisbane floods and although offers of assistance have been conveyed, the Brisbane community and their leadership appear to be dealing with the issue satisfactorily.


Discussions have started between the representatives of the Anti-Defamation Commission and JCCV to work out the plans/costings for the new premises which we hope to be occupying by about July 2011.


The election results have not currently affected our community and I have sought meetings with the new Ministers and we will organise Politicians lunches. I am scheduled to meet with the Attorney General this week. Welcoming letters were sent to all new Ministers and letters of thanks to departing Ministers and we continue to maintain relationships with the Shadow Ministry.



Our coverage in the AJN has improved somewhat and we are continuing to feed Media Releases and stories to them. We have met and will continue to have discussions with AJN staff in relation to coverage.

Lion FM

I have given a couple of interviews on Lion FM and hope to get more exposure for the JCCV on that station; possibly even a regular weekly piece. There are still significant rumblings of discontent and I will continue to monitor the situation..


We shall develop a “facebook“ page early this year.


We have produced our 2nd bimonthly edition and continue to receive excellent feedback. We have two primary aims: to promote JCCV activities to the general Jewish community and our affiliates; and to raise awareness of Jewish community organisations, roles and activities to the general Jewish public and to affiliates. We welcome your feedback about the best way to do this and how we can help your organisation.


I met with Assistant Commissioner Jeff Pope and Tania Farha to discuss this issue. There is an acknowledgement that VicPol did not properly comprehend this issue in the past. They are developing a new reporting and training system to overcome this issue and plan to re-educate their officers in the same way as they did with domestic violence, also not understood at first. There is an acceptance of the need to receive reports of incidents directly from us and I met again with Assistant Commissioner Pope on 25 January to discuss completion of incident forms directly by the JCCV. In conjunction with the Anti-Defamation Commission and CSG, we have devised a strategy to inform people of the new reporting system which will be promoted shortly. We will be asking all Rabbis and schools to inform their constituents of the new system as follows:

  • Report all antisemitic incidents.
  • Report to the police.
  • Tell CSG on 9519 8600 or after hours on 9523 0434 –if it is an emergency.


Amit Bar Giora has resigned as head of CSG and we have appointed a replacement being Simon Glynn from England. I will ensure he is properly introduced to the community after he arrives in Australia.


The BDS campaign is continuing to develop momentum and we have seen several demonstrations in Melbourne the last being Friday 11 February We ask community members to appreciate that ZFA & ECAJ are managing this issue and to discuss concerns with these organisations before acting on their own.


AJDS and myself have agreed to meet once their AGM and new executive are finalised.


The interfaith activities we have held in the recent past have been successful. We plan on having dinners/meetings with AIS (Turkish Community), the Croatian community, the Indian Jewish community and the ICV (Islamic Council) this year.

I hosted a Shabbat dinner with the Anglican Archbishop, the Croatian Consul General together with A Block and Zeddy Lawrence on 11 Feb to further/continue relations. The evening went very well although clear differences of opinion on the mid east situation still exist between our community and the Anglican community.


As the JCCV role is to advocate on behalf of and represent the Jewish community to government, media, council etc, I request that affiliates discuss these matters with the JCCV prior to attending any high level meetings to which affiliates are invited for comment or representation. This way, we can plan what messages we wish to convey to ensure there is no confusion or duplication and everyone benefits.


Based on requests from National Council of Jewish Women of Australia and others, we shall re-word our policy document to state explicitly that the JCCV is inclusive and amenable to the inclusion of women.


The dispute arising out of the alleged breach of the Appeal Rules that existed between MDA & Jewish Care was successfully “mediated” by me on 25 January 2011. Similar discussions between representatives of JewishCare and FOBH resolved the issues. All organisations must ensure they do not transgress other organisation’s appeal periods.


The GLBT Reference group had a very positive meeting with Roy Steinman, Principal of Yavneh College and will be arranging meetings with the other principals.


The forum with parents on 16 November 2010 went very well with 50 people in attendance. We have recently received a grant of $10,000 for this project from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and will discuss the balance of funding needs at the next YAP meeting. We plan on continuing the school sessions for year 6 students next year and also having a program for students in year 7.


Chanukah in the City was again washed out and we will need to discuss the future of this event.

The State Politicians Forum held in conjunction with Blake Street Hebrew Congregation on 14 November 2010 was very successful.

The community awards night held on 16 December 2010 was excellent.

The community tribute to Helen Shardey took place yesterday, 21 February 2011. 29 organisations participated and about 180 people attended. Despite having other commitments, the Premier, Ted Bailleiu attended and addressed the audience. It was truly a memorable and extraordinary event.

Fed Square is hosting a luncheon for our community to which ED’s have been invited. It will take place on 24 February.

Laurence Joseph and the JCCV ran a joint event for Rivka Carmi, President of Friends of Ben Gurion University on 8 February. It was very successful.


Due to discussions with Mimi Lax, the Israeli coordinator of “Israel by Choice” (IBC), a fair was organised for February 14th at Beth Weizmann to promote volunteering opportunities in the Jewish community for approximately 30 enthusiastic young adults who returned from the 2010 IBC program. IBC compiled a list of organisations with whom they wanted to volunteer and invitations were extended to a few others when ZFA’s Israeli program co-ordinator also came on board and promoted the Fair to all past and current alumni. The evening was successful for the following reasons:

  • Around 30 youth attended and nearly all signed up with at least 1 organisation
  • Organisations were delighted by the opportunity to gain volunteers and a majority of those invited, attended.
  • Presenters commented an added value was learning about other community organisations
  • People other than youth and IBC attended through word of mouth looking to volunteer

JCCV is grateful to have provided a valuable role to its affiliates and will look at extending the fair to the entire Jewish community possibly during next year’s Volunteer week.  Thanks must go to Helen Lewitan and Lexie Mand (IBC), Brendan Bensky (ZFA) and our own Jo Silver for their efforts in making the evening a success.


A networking program has been developed for the professional community leadership in 2011. The first session to be held at ACJC, on 9 March is Assoc. Prof. Mark Baker speaking on “Embracing Dissent”. The aim is to link community leadership to facilitate networking amongst colleagues in order to build community capability and effectiveness. Further sessions will be planned based on feedback form the first.


The ECAJ Annual conference took place on 21 & 22 November 2010. Robert Goot stepped down after his term of office and Danny Lamm has now replaced him. Robert is to be commended for the outstanding job he did during his term of office. There is still much priority being given to the BDS campaign and we are actively assisting.


The JCCV has engaged the services of Joel Barolsky to conduct strategic planning and visioning workshops. We are currently surveying the executive and staff and of this week will be surveying the affiliates. Please give 10 minutes of your time to enable the JCCV to act as your roof body today and into the future. The survey will cover affiliate services, communications, effectiveness, role, structure and representational matters.   The first strategy meeting of our Executive is scheduled for March 27th, 2011.

John Searle


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