The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australian Jewish News

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Compiled by Garry Fabian 

Cooking duo eyes $100,000 prize

MELBOURNE,  3 February – Forget the stereotype of  the Jewish grandmother slaving away over bubbling  chicken soup and kneidlach in the kitchen,

Australia’s newest Jewish super chefs are Clint Yudelman and Noah Rose.

The culinary duo are the Victorian contestants on  Australia’s newest reality TV cooking show, My Kitchen Rules.

It took some organising to catch  up with  Yudelman in his family’s home in Caulfield North
to talk about the show and the prospect of fame and fortune.

The quiet but confident Mount Scopus Memorial  College graduate said he had found his way onto the cooking show after a friend applied to be a contestant.

Following phone and face-to-face interviews, the  24-year-old cooked a dish of seared tuna with Asian greens and Japanese sauce in 15 minutes to wow the casting agents.

And wow them he did, with Yudelman and Rose, 23,  selected as the only Victorians on the Channel  Seven show which premiered on February 1. In the  show five pairs travel to each others’ dinner  parties under the watchful eyes of celebrity chefs, and My Kitchen Rules judges, Peter Evans and Manu Feildel.

“It was a great opportunity to travel the country,” Yudelman said.

The pair ate at homes in Sydney, Adelaide,  Brisbane and Perth — where they stayed a few
extra days to surf and discover the culinary  delights of the Margaret River region.

After the initial dinner parties, the show moved  into a commercial kitchen, where contestants  pitted their abilities against each other.

“It was daunting and hard to be natural,”  Yudelman said of his first television experience.
“You had to pretend [the camera was] not there.”

He explained that the pair teamed up in the  kitchen because they both used to be vegetarians.

“We couldn’t eat salads all the time, so we had to get creative,” he said.

Rose agreed: “You need to be creative or it just  becomes boring being vegetarian. But it did
expose me to many different vegetables and spices.”

Eventually, however, they both returned to eating  meat, and Yudelman — who graduated as a vet last  year and has just begun practising in Brisbane —  joked that he is familiar with animals “from paddock to plate”.

Somewhat surprisingly for a couple of Jewish  boys, they list their favourite ingredient as fresh seafood. Rose opts for scallops, which he likes to serve  seared with seasonal produce. Yudelman’s  signature dish, meanwhile, is pan-fried Wagyu beef eye fillet finished in the oven, on lightly  sauteed snow peas with caramelised shallots,  sweet potato puree, red wine sauce and mushroom duxelle.

On a more Jewish note, though, Yudelman’s “dream  dinner party guests” are mostly members of the  tribe — the three lead men from the hit TV  comedy Seinfeld, Albert Einstein and Woody Allen.  Rose would also invite Jerry Seinfeld, as well as  Napoleon Bonaparte, Oscar Wilde and Tiger Woods.

It is not celebrities, however, who the boys will  have to impress to be crowned kings of the
kitchen, but their fellow contestants. And with a  $100,000 prize up for grabs, the winning chefs will certainly get their just desserts.

New Jewish School opens up in Sydney’s west

SYDNEY< 3 February – A new Jewish school, ­ the  B’nai Yakov School, ­ has opened in Sydney’s western suburbs.

Located at the Parramatta and District Synagogue,  the B’nai Yakov School is registered with the NSW  Board of Studies and will cater to children in years K-6.

Inaugural principal, Rabbi Yoseph Wernick, said:  “Although the Parramatta Jewish community has  always been small with around 100 families, it  has always been a vibrant and youthful community.

“For many years, families wishing to provide  their children with a Jewish day school education  would have to travel to Sydney’s larger Jewish  communities. Now that has changed.”

Rabbi Wernick said the school is integrating  Jewish and general studies in order to provide a Jewish knowledge base, while at the same time meeting all the requirements of the NSW Board of Studies.

It caters to students of all academic levels and  offers sports and physical education,
extra-curricular and social activities, as well  as enrichment and extension programs for gifted students.

The school is named after the synagogue’s former  minister, Rabbi Gerald (Yacov) Blaivas, who  served the Jewish community as a sofer (scribe)  and as rabbi of Illawarra Synagogue before  heading to Parramatta. He was also an advocate for Jewish children in court.

Rabbi Wernick said: “His dedication to the youth  in general, and to Jewish education in particular, is legendary.”

Countdown begins for Maccabi Games

SYDNEY, 3 February –  Maccabi Australia has  appointed Ellana Aarons to head Australia’s team  management at the second Maccabi Australia  International Games (MAIGs), to be held in December 2010 and January 2011 in Sydney.

With the tournament set to attract a healthy contingent of international competition, Aarons  said her challenge is to “better that and get  quality Australian teams on the field”.

In a bid to build the profile of the MAIGs and encourage Australian Jewry to support the event,  Aarons plans to “keep costs to a bare minimum” to entice local participation.

Aarons’ vision is for the MAIGs to not only be a  fierce international competition, but to attract  such local numbers that interstate Australian  rivalry can be rekindled at senior level by  fielding separate sides from NSW, Victoria and  Western Australia in major sports, such as basketball, football and netball.

“We would hope if there are quality athletes that would allow us to have two teams in a sport, we will be doing that,” Aarons said.

“We need to keep in mind it’s an international  competition, but in many ways for us, because we  won’t be able to get together [for training camps], our state-based sides will be stronger
anyway. Then you’re coming with mates, you’re  going to have a good time, it’s not ripping teams  apart to create new teams . it’s an opportunity to re-ignite state rivalry.”

The long-time Maccabi player and administrator’s  first task is to assemble a management committee,  before player nominations open in mid-April.

Meanwhile, MAIG’s chairman Jeff Houseman said  that 13 countries have confirmed their
attendance, with further details to be formalised  when he attends a meeting in Israel in May.

The Games will be officially launched on February 14 with a gala function at the IMAX theatre’s  Star Room, in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Heads of delegation from the US, Canada, and  possibly South Africa and Brazil, will join
Maccabi Australia in launching the MAIGs, and  Houseman has implored Sydney Maccabi clubs and players to support the event.

While it is still early days, Houseman has  declared that preparations are “going well”.

“The sports are going extremely well,” he assessed. “It’s just a matter of countries
putting their hand up and hopefully we’ll have a better idea after the meeting. Cycling [which was not on the original list] has come on big time, which is just incredible.

“The rugby club has asked for rugby to be put on, and we’re seeing if there is any interest. If
countries put up their hands, Australia has to as well.”

Rabbi Apple reflects on a lifetime of issues

SYDNEY, 4 February – Rabbi Raymond Apple says he  is “not a great believer in people writing  autobiographies unless they’ve had a very  exciting and dramatic life, which I really haven’t.”

So, in shaping his memoir, he resisted the idea of writing a standard autobiography.

“But to amuse myself, I started writing a series  of reflective chapters about the involvements and  commitments that have been part of my life. And  it ended being around 100 such chapters,” said  the emeritus rabbi of Sydney’s The Great Synagogue.

Sorted alphabetically, these essays, from  Aborigines to Zionism, give a thematic view of
the issues that have mattered to him ­ among  them, social justice, Jewish history, the arts,
his rabbinic colleagues and sport ­ rather than a chronology of events.

“If you want to know what I did in a particular  year, you won’t find it, but if you want to know  the sort of person I am, you’ll get the impression by looking at the book,” the
Australian rabbinic doyen, who now makes his home in Israel, he said.

The book, To Be Continued, will be launched by Professor Alan Crown and the Australian Jewish  Historical Society at The University of Sydney on February 8.

Both Prof Crown and Rabbi Apple are honorary  masters of the university’s Mandelbaum House, where the event will take place.

Describing his writing style as “light-hearted  and almost self-deprecating,” Rabbi Apple
declared: “I think it’s important almost to be able to laugh at yourself.”

Rabbi Apple was educated in Melbourne, attained  his s’micha in London, and took up his post with The Great in 1972.

An Australian interfaith pioneer, he was a  founding member and joint president of the
Australian Council of Christians and Jews, and  has spoken out on social justice issues.

As suggested by the memoir’s title, Rabbi Apple  saw his departure from The Great as a chance for continuity.

Living in Jerusalem with his wife Marian, and  writing there, has inspired the rabbi, who said
he spent a lifetime enhancing others’ religiosity “to work on my own soul.”

A taste of Kosher comes to town

MELBOURNE, 5 February – Kosher foodies will have  the opportunity to sample the latest products and innovations later this month.

Eskal KosherFest Australia 2010, Australian  kashrut’s trade fair, will take place on Sunday,
February 14 at St Kilda Town Hall, with  organisers expecting around 5000 people to pass through the doors.

The exhibitors will include Australian manufacturers, importers and retailers of kosher foods and beverages.

Josh Bartak, head of the exhibition’s organising  committee, said the event allows those in the  industry to use their stands to demonstrate and  explain the development of a particular product or company.

“KosherFest gives manufacturers, importers,  distributors and retailers of kosher products the  opportunity to showcase their goods in a fun, family-friendly environment.”

Organisers have added rides to entertain children, while parents and grandparents can
enjoy food samples and live cooking demonstrations, Bartak said.

Organisers are emphasising the broad appeal of  kosher products beyond the Jewish community, and  quote figures from the Israel Trade Commission  showing that the potential market for kosher  foods in Australia is more than one million people.

Kosher products have attracted interest from  Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist communities, as well  as vegetarians, vegans and those with special dietary needs.

“This year, there is also a cheese and wine bar  for consumers to rest and kibitz [chat],” Bartak said.

Among a diverse spread of 27 exhibitors this year  are Fisher & Paykel, Yumi’s, Coles, the City of  Port Phillip and health foods retailer Bodhi Kitchen.

New Australian ambassador to Israel

CANBERRA, 5 February – Australia will have a new ambassador to Israel with Andrea Faulkner set to  take over from James Larsen in March.

Faulkner, a diplomat who has previously spent  time in Tel Aviv, has extensive experience in the  Australian foreign service. She recently served  as assistant secretary of the Department of  Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Africa branch.

She represented Australia in Vietnam, as  second-in-command of the embassy in Hanoi. She
has also worked in Paris and had a previous stint in the Tel Aviv embassy.

In announcing Faulkner’s appointment, Foreign  Minister Stephen Smith spoke highly of Australia and Israel’s relationship.

“Australia and Israel’s longstanding and warm  friendship is based on Australia’s historical
support for Israel and our shared commitment to  freedom, security and democracy,” Smith said.

Larsen leaves Israel after more than three years in the job.

Arab Bully Boy tactic threatens  UN aspiration

CANBERRA,  5 February – The Jewish community is  calling on the Australian Government to stick to  its guns in its support for Israel, despite Arab  representatives attempting to blackmail the country into changing its views or lose the  chance of a United Nations (UN) seat.

As reported in The Australian this week, Arab  League representative Hashem Yousseff, who is  currently in the country, said Australia’s  staunch support for the Jewish State will be
“taken into consideration” when Arab nations vote  on whether Australia should take a temporary UN  Security Council seat in 2013-14.

The Israeli embassy in Canberra issued a statement rejecting Yousseff’s logic.

“Any nation considering their support for a vote  on a Security Council seat should first reflect on the merits of the nominee and the contribution  that they may make to international affairs,  before considering their own self-interest,” it declared.

“Australia has illustrated its dedication to  upholding its values in the international sphere.”

Israel has already offered its support for  Australia’s bid at a seat on the UN’s most influential body.

“We believe Australia is a nation of principle  and dedication to the betterment of worldwide citizens,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Executive Council of Australian Jewry  (ECAJ) president Robert Goot accused the 22-nation Arab League of using bullying tactics.

“He [Yousseff] should know that Australians do  not succumb to standover behaviour,” Goot said.

“It would be a good thing for Australia to have a  seat on the UN Security Council, but not if the price for obtaining it is to abandon our principles and bow to bully-boy threats.”

Goot put his confidence in the Australian Government, saying he believes Australia’s  leadership “has the moral fibre” to continue  supporting Israel, a two-state solution and peace in the Middle East.

Dr Colin Rubenstein from the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council argued Yousseff’s comments were unsurprising considering his organisation’s track record.

“Unfortunately, the Arab League has rarely  displayed any inclination to be a constructive
force for Middle East peace and their  traditionally retrograde and unhelpful strategy
of focusing on boycotts and diplomatic posturing  to isolate, condemn and debunk Israel was again  on display in Mr Yousseff’s statements,” Dr Rubenstein said.

Australia, together with the United States,  Canada and a number of micro-states, consistently opposes anti-Israel motions in the UN General Assembly.

Since the Rudd Government won its term, Australia  has changed its decision on three unbinding votes pertaining to Israel, but it remained one of only a handful of nations last year to reject the  adoption of the controversial Goldstone report on the Gaza war.

Welcome mat pulled from Israeli academic

MELBOURNE, 5 February – An invitation to an  Israeli academic to speak in Melbourne has been  cancelled  because she heads an organisation that  aided a UN report critical of Israel’s conduct during last year’s war in Gaza.

Professor Naomi Chazan, who was a member of the  Israeli parliament from 1992 to 2003, was to  address a fund-raiser at Beth Weizmann Community  Centre next week. But her invitation by the Union of Progessive Judaism was withdrawn after it  emerged that the New Israel Fund, of which she is  president, has given millions of dollars in  grants to Israeli non-government organistions  that had spoken to a UN investigation team, led by Justice Richard Goldstone.

The president of the Zionist Council of Victoria,  Dr Danny Lamm said that the invitation to
Professor Chazan was extended by an affiliate  member of his organisation.. But he said that her  association with the  New Israel Fund was “intolerable.”

“When I became aware of the  New Israel Fund’s  activities with regard to the Goldstone report, I  withdrew our participation. Organisations that  they have funded have done damage to Israel and  as a consequence we don’t want to have anything
to do with the New Israel Fund,”  Lamm added.

Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

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