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The Jews Down Under…Roundup of Australian Jewish News

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Garry Fabian

Compiled by Garry Fabian

Senior global role for NCJWA president
MELBOURNE,  8 May – Former National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA) president Robyn Lenn is set to take up a top-level position with
the organisation’s global roof body next month.

At the quadrennial International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) convention, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa from May 6-12, Lenn, NCJWA’s immediate past president, will be appointed vice-president representing Australia.

The Sydney-based piano studies examiner and mother of four, who has been with the NCJWA for
37 years, will wind up a four-year term as the ICJW’s community services coordinator, working
with various regional constituent bodies on community projects.

A devotee of NCJWA’s “humanitarian approach”, Lenn said the organisation’s support activities
for Russian Jewish immigrants in Melbourne, its “Mum For Mum” motherhood mentoring project in
Sydney, and its one-on-one work with breast cancer patients, in addition to its work for Israel, are some of the reasons she continues her close involvement.

Eva Robey from NCJWA in NSW will take on the mantle of chairing the ICJW’s Asia-Pacific region.

A total of 13 NCJWA delegates will join representatives from 50 countries at the conference, to be themed “B’Yachad, Ubuntu, Together”, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ICJW.

The conference will see ICJW president Leah Aharonov stepping down, and Sharon Gustafson inducted as the new president.

NCJWA national president Rysia Rozen will deliver a report on the Australian organisation’s activities over the past four years, including the visit of Israeli lawyer and women’s rights activist Sharon Shenhav last month.

The ICJW has NGO observer status at the United Nations, promoting women’s and children’s rights worldwide.

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Politics – the Jewish connection

SYDNEY, 7 May – The battle for Sydney’s most Jewish seat, Wentworth, is for now all on the
Labor side, as this week Malcolm Turnbull backed down on his decision to resign and NSW Jewish
Board of Deputies president Robin Margo emerged as a potential ALP candidate.

Turnbull said that after receiving messages of support and pleas to remain from both his constituents and the party, he reversed his decision to step away from politics.

“There was a very large body of opinion encouraging me to reconsider my decision, so I did reconsider it and I came to the realisation that my passion for public service and my commitment to making a contribution to the many issues that affect our nation today, and in the years ahead, is as strong as ever, and the best place to participate in that debate is as a member of parliament,” he said on Monday.

But while Turnbull was declaring his return to politics just weeks after announcing he would
leave, a stoush was emerging on the Labor side between two senior Jewish figures.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) president Robin Margo was approached by the ALP to consider
standing for preselection in the Eastern Suburbs seat, but he stated that he had not made up his mind.

“I said last week that I was talking to people and considering whether or not to nominate when
nominations are opened,” Margo said.

“Nominations are not yet open, and I am still talking to people. Whatever my decision, the
board [of Deputies] has always been, and will remain, entirely non-partisan.”

However, declared Wentworth ALP hopeful Steven Lewis – himself a long-time member of the JBD –
said Margo should show his hand for the sake of the Jewish community.

“It is not a difficult decision to make,” Lewis said. “You are either running or not, it is about time he declared his intentions to the Jewish community.”

He added: “I think it would be very unfortunate if two seniors members of the Sydney Jewish
community are in conflict over preselection.”

While Margo only signed on as an ALP member a few weeks ago, It is generally understood that he has
been courting members of the ALP Left in Wentworth.

He has circulated a leaflet to members detailing his “progressive activities”, including his participation in the Save the Franklin Dam campaign, his contribution to the Free Mandela movement, and his pro-bono work on civil proceedings against Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben.

He has also used the JBD as an example of his progressive credentials.

“I have changed culture of the NSW JBD during my presidency; bringing in more Jewish members of
the Left and more young people; creating space for freer expression of all view on Israel and Palestine,” the leaflet reads.

The NSW ALP is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss preselection, and an ALP insider said the
only two names in contention as of this week are those of Margo and Lewis.

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Melbourne has strong showing for Lag b’Omer

MELBOURNE 6 May -A huge Lag b’Omer parade brightened up what was otherwise a grey Melbourne day last Sunday.

Hundreds of children and adults took part in the parade on motorbikes, on trucks, in open-topped
cars and on foot. There were clowns, elephants, rabbis and politicians all taking part in
celebrations for the 33rd day of the Omer – the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot.

The parade, organised by Chabad Youth, culminated in a family fun day at Princes Park in Caulfield South.

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Klinger named Red Back’s captain

ADELAIDE, 6 May  – Prolific South Australian Jewish batsman Michael Klinger has been named
captain of the Redbacks, after just two seasons at the club.

He replaces wicketkeeper Graham Manou, and will have Australian one-day batsman Callum Ferguson as his deputy.

“It’s an honour to be endorsed by the hierarchy at the SACA [South Australian Cricket Association],” Klinger said

“Jamie Cox, the high performance director, as well as the board have to approve this decision,
so for them to believe that I can do the job is an honour and pretty exciting as well.”

Despite a largely disappointing season in 2009/10 for the Redbacks, Klinger believes it is an
exciting time to take the reins. The 29-year-old said he is keen to foster the talent of the
Redbacks’ younger players, but believes a more disciplined approach is called for.

“Last season, with two games to go in the one-day format and four-day format, we were still in the
hunt to make the finals and we just fell away. It’s about putting procedures in place to bring
the talent out, while making sure we stay disciplined through the whole season.”

Klinger was first earmarked as a potential future leader in 1999 when he captained the Australian
under-19 side. He said he would also draw on his experiences under other mentors.

“I’ll take different bits and pieces from different captains and coaches I’ve had along the way. Darren Berry [former Bushrangers captain] was a very fitness-oriented captain, and the innovative approach of someone like a Shane Warne, who I probably played around 10 games under. They’re both guys I will hopefully speak to over the next couple of months to get some ideas off them.”

Since crossing from Victoria in 2008/09, Klinger has twice won the State Player of the Year award
and been arguably the most dominant batsman in the limited overs and four-day domestic competitions.

Many believe the cricketer is close to a call-up for national duties, and he’ll have another chance to prove himself to the Australian selectors when he joins the Australia A team to face Sri Lanka in June.

But if Klinger is to get his chance, he will need to pile on the runs again in this year’s
Sheffield Shield and Ford Ranger Cup competitions – a feat he believes the Redbacks’ captaincy will help, not hinder.

“When I go out and bat I’m pretty focused and I think [the captaincy] will only focus me more.
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t added pressure, but I think I’ll enjoy that. My goal of
playing for Australia hasn’t changed. Now it’s just an added challenge for me to get together a
really strong, cohesive group that will go on to win tournaments.”
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Cheers to Israel

MELBOURNE, 6 May – VIictorian Premier John Brumby toasted Israel on the occasion of its 62nd year
of independence at a gala reception in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

Brumby was joined at the cocktail function by Victorian Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu and Ambassador to Israel Yuval Rotem.

The event, which was attended by community leaders and volunteers, was hosted by the Zionist Council of Victoria.

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JCCV calls for respect of differences

MELBOURNE, 6 May 2010 — At the Jewish Community Council of Victoria plenum held on 3 May 2010, delegates overwhelmingly voted for the following amendment to the JCCV’s policy platform:

3.7          Respect

This Council:

3.7.1  ACKNOWLEDGES the distinctive character of the Victorian Jewish community as part of the
Jewish people worldwide, with a shared history, culture and religious tradition.

3.7.2   RECOGNISES that irrespective of the common traits that bind us as a community,
Victorian Jewry is also diverse and pluralistic and that this is reflected in different, often
strongly held views, on a range of issues affecting the Jewish and larger communities.

3.7.3      CALLS FOR respect for any such differences, while affirming that disagreement is
only permissible in ways that do not vilify other persons or their views.

3.7.4    CALLS FOR abstention from any public or private conduct that incites hatred against,
serious contempt for, revulsion, vilification or severe ridicule of, another person or group on
the ground of their identity (including race, religion, colour, disability, sexual orientation,
gender and national origin) or views of that other person or group.

JCCV President John Searle noted that the JCCV’s policy platform was a living document, continually updated to reflect the views of its affiliates.  He observed that under his presidency the JCCV had demonstrated an ongoing and increasing opposition to vilification in all its manifestations.

He stated that “it is important to realise that this particular policy is not intended to
prohibit robust debate or to demand acceptance of all opinions or lifestyles.  What it does do,
however, is set parameters for the conduct of discussion of such matters, asking for respect
for difference.  Quite simply it’s about playing the ball, not the person.”

Searle concluded, “While our policies are not binding, they are nonetheless a strong statement
of principle and provide guidance to and educate those persons considering a range of issues that affect our community.”

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Charity begins at home in Perth

PERTH, 7 May – Perth’s Jewish organisations are apparently so short of funds that a leading member of the community has called on donors to give their tzedakah to local causes, rather than sending it all to Israel.

Roger Davis, vice-president of the city’s only Jewish aged-care facility, the Maurice Zeffert Home (MZH), said “This is a very touchy subject. It is something few people are happy to talk about, but when you are talking to people one-to-one, everyone shares this view.”

In Perth, he said Israel receives roughly three-to-four times more in donations than the local Jewish community. In the ultimate case of roll reversals, Davis said the community might need to turn to Israel to raise funds.

MZH board members have already started talking to donors in the eastern states, and Israel is their
next stop, if it comes to that. “I was recently there. Israel is wonderful, they have a booming
economy” Davis said. “They’ve obviously got a lot of issues,, but they do a really good job of
charity and looking after old people”. If you speak to most Israelis, they say ‘we don’t need
as much as we once did’ and they know it is important to have a strong Diaspora.”

MZH held an appeal function last month, where Davis made a pitch to guests to get behind a new
project. That project will capitalise on the only profitable arm of MZH, its independent living
unit.  He went on to explain that they would like to redevelop its 30 year old Sir Zelman and Lady
Cowen Retirement Village into luxurious, multi-story units for elderly members as part of kits 10-year plan.

“It has to happen”, he said, adding that $3 million plus is the initial fund raising target.
“If we can’t do that, we can’t develop more nursing bed homes”.

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Fabian is Australia bureau chief for San Diego Jewish World

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