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President's Report

President's Report

06 August 2012

Council of Presidents

The JCCV constitution provides for the calling together of the Council of Presidents, composed of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of each affiliated organisation, together with the Executive. This Council has the power to be an advisory body making recommendations to the JCCV. It has been very many years since the Council of Presidents has been formed and we felt that the Presidents of our organisations constituted a human capital, containing much combined experience and wisdom and a resource which the community cannot afford to ignore.

For this reason, I have invited the presidents and Vice presidents of our affiliates to a Council of Presidents meeting on Monday, 6 August 2012, prior to the Plenum.

At this preliminary meeting it is hoped to scope the areas which the Council of Presidents will address in the future. I do not want to pre-empt the topics to be discussed, as the major focus is for the JCCV Executive to listen to its affiliates. I do however anticipate from discussions with various Presidents throughout this year, that some of the topics would be current matters of concern within the community, such as child abuse, alcohol abuse and the structure and function of the Plenum, as well as affiliation fees and Appeal Period Rules.

Minute for Munich

In a gesture of strength and solidarity the Melbourne Jewish community came together on the morning of 27 July 2012 to commemorate the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. In a dignified service held jointly by JCCV and ZCV, David Berger, Ze’ev Friedman, Yossef Gutfreund, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Romano, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andrei Spitzer, Yakov Springer and Moshe Weinberger were remembered by one minute of silence, Kaddish, Kel Mole Rachamim and memorial candle lighting.

Affiliation fees

Over a number of years, and often for very sound reasons, affiliates have negotiated individual fees with various JCCV treasurers. This has resulted in lack of uniformity and lack of transparency, which we are seeking to rectify.

The Executive is currently working on clear guidelines, so that every affiliate will understand how its fees are calculated. I thank the sub-committee, consisting of Ian Jones, Jackie Phillips, Helen Light, Michelle Coleman and Hilary McMahon for the enormous amount of though and work which they are putting into this initiative.

This is an extremely complex process, but we hope one which will result in an equitable and understandable scale of affiliation fees. The proposed affiliation fees, together with an explanation of the methodology, will be circulated to the affiliates well before the next Plenum meeting and will be brought to the Plenum for discussion and ratification.

Appeal Period Rules

Following an extremely useful meeting of Appeal Period participating organisations, Michelle Coleman has drawn up a position paper and the Executive has approved a policy which will be circulated to the relevant affiliates shortly and then brought to you for ratification at the September Plenum.

Child Abuse

The Executive has formulated and ratified a policy on Child Abuse and I thank Rimma Sverdlin and her committee for the work that has gone into this. The policy will be circulated to the affiliates and ratification will be sought at the September Plenum.

The Government is holding an Inquiry into handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations”, to which JCCV proposes to make a submission.

In order to obtain maximum input from the community, we propose to send a series of questions to our affiliates and would ask those who wish to participate to send their responses to us no later than 17 August 2012, to enable us to analyze and co-ordinate the community response prior to the closing date.

Governance Pack

Our staff is currently preparing a Governance Pack, to assist our affiliates in the running of their organisation. This pack will be launched shortly and will be available to all our affiliates free of charge. We expect it will prove a valuable tool in assisting affiliates in matters of governance and compliance.

E-bulletin and “What’s Nu”

We know that the community likes our E-bulletin which is sent out periodically and the “What’s Nu” email which JCCV sends weekly.

We know because we are getting excellent feedback in relation to both. My congratulation to Jo Silver for the excellent and professional E-bulletin, which is widely read and to Julie Batty for the informative and user-friendly “What’s Nu”, which enables our affiliates to share information about events, programs and all matters of community interest.

All items requested by our affiliates are listed free of charge. This is a service which we are happy to provide to our affiliates as a means of promoting their organisation and staying connected with other organisations. Because of the large demand for entries, and the time it takes to compile “What’s Nu”, this free service will now only be provided to affiliates. Non-affiliates will be charged an administration fee for having their items included.

Grants

Congratulations to Michelle Coleman and everyone involved in work resulting in recent grants. These include grants for our website, for a festival of comedy and humour, to be held jointly with the Islamic Council of Victoria, for a function with the Buddhist Council of Victoria, for our Pastoral Care Project and for the Youth Summit which we propose to hold towards the end of this year.

Youth Alcohol Program

The Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) continues to operate in the Jewish day schools, under the guidance of Debbie Zauder and Rimma Sverdlin.

As a result of a grant received from City of Glen Eira, YAP, in partnership with Maccabi will hold a forum on 13 September 2012 at Glen Eira Town Hall on “Alcohol and Youth: Your Say” in which all schools have been invited to participate. The event is an extension of the Yap program and is aimed at year 8, 9 and 10 students and their parents/guardians.

Holocaust Centre functions

I would like to congratulate the Holocaust centre on two outstanding functions, "The Rescuers" exhibition a function in the presence of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a number of federal and State Members of Parliament to announce that the Australian Government was giving a $500,000 grant to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.

Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Board of Trustees Meeting

The meeting was held in Warsaw on 11 and 12 July 2012 and Yair Miller, President of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and I represented the ECAJ. The meeting dealt with Board strategy for the coming two years, including discussion of financial matters, and also included a number of sessions dealing with Polish Jewry and with the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship.

The opening session of the meeting was addressed by Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, program director of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, being erected in Warsaw and due to open in 2013. It was an excellent presentation, during which she highlighted the fact that the building was designed with the exhibits and the intent of the museum being integral to the design plan, so that the different historical periods of Polish Jewry and their rich cultural achievements could be displayed to maximum advantage.

The trustees also visited the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, where we heard about  the Ringelblum Archives; were addressed by the Director, Yale Reisner and by Chief Rabbi of Poland Rabbi Michael Schudrich about the rediscovery by Poles of their Jewish origins and participated in a symposium at dealing with “Poles and Jews: Reconfiguring the Historical Relationship” in which we heard presentations about possible options in the relations between Poles and Jews, not only in Poland but globally.  The two speakers, Konstanty Gebert, a leading Jewish intellectual in Poland and Zbigniew Nosowski, a Pole and lay leader in the Catholic Church in Poland, were outstanding and moderately optimistic about re-configuring that relationship and the future for Jewry in Poland

At its final session, the Board was addressed by four Nahum Goldmann Fellows: Yair Miller (Australia), Marcello Ellenberg (Uruguay), David Jacobson (South Africa) and Tova Ganzel (Israel) who spoke of the impact of the Fellowships on their respective communities.

The Nahum Goldmann Fellowship was held in Warsaw for eight days before the start of Board of Trustees meeting. Trustees were invited to come early and to participate in the final sessions of the Fellowship. A few of us took advantage of this offer and we were privileged to meet with the Fellows who came from Jewish communities in seventeen countries (including three Australians) and to join in the following parts of their program:

The closing session comprised reports from David Jacobson and Tova Ganzel summing up the impact of the program on the Fellows.

The final lecture of the Fellowship was by Professor Moshe Rosman of Bar-Ilan University on “The Restoration of Historical Memory”.  Professor Rosman’s lecture dealt both with the history and meta-history of Polish Jewry from its beginnings until the Shoah. His predominant theme was that 1000 years of great Jewish civilization and its legacy should not be eradicated by the Shoah, nor should it be forgotten.

We also visited Jewish sites in Warsaw, including the mound which marks Mila 18, (the spot from which the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was led), the monument to the Ghetto Heroes, the (not yet completed) Museum of the History of Polish Jews and most movingly, the Umschlagplatz, from where about 300,000 Jews were taken to Treblinka and where our group conducted a memorial service.

Attended

Croatia's National Day
25/6/2012
JCCV Executive  meeting
26/6/2012
Walter Lippman Memorial lecture ECCV
27/6/2012
Appeal meeting
28/6/2012
Meeting with Jack Gringlas and prospective patron
29/6/2012
Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Trustees meeting
10 - 12/7/2012
Shabbat dinner in Tel Aviv with Victorian MP’s
Holocaust Centre launch of "The Rescuers" exhibition
25/7/2012
Meeting with Simon de Winter and Jack Gringlas re patrons
26/7/2012
Holocaust Centre function with Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Communal commemoration for 11 Israelis murdered at Munich Olympics
27/7/2012
Meeting with Reverend Tim Costello and Professor Tim Maccormack
30/7/2012
JCCV Executive meeting

 

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