The Jews Down Under~Roundup of Australian Jewish News
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