Update from the NCJWA NSW Steering Committee

 

Anne, Miri & Viki1

Steering Committee:
L-R Anne Reid OAM, Miri Orden, Victoria Nadel (Immediate Past President)

HIGHLIGHT EVENTS 2016 –

In February 2016 NCJWA NSW co-hosted a very successful event with The Zakynthian Association of Sydney and NSW as part of our Transcultural programme screening the documentary “Song of Life”. This documentary covers the bravery of the Zakynthos community, when in September 1943 Mayor Loukas Karrer and Archbishop Chrysostomos of the small Greek Island of Zakynthos refused to hand over their Jewish citizens to the Nazis. All Jewish citizens of the island survived WWII. Vic Alhadeff, CEO of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies addressed the audience. 330 members of the Sydney Jewish and Greek community attended.

February 2016 NCJWA NSW established the NCJWA Cancer Support Network which meets monthly with facilitator Dr. Mandy Goldman Strous, President of Cancer Counselling Professionals Inc..  The co-chairs of this programme are board members Isabelle Shapiro OAM and Mandi Chonowitz-Jacobson.

A Tu B’Shvat function was held in February with Rebbetzin Dina Gourarie as guest of honour discussing “The Seven Species of Tu B’Shvat within our Soul”.

On March 13, 2016 we screened the film “My Name Is Richard Rozen”, a play depicting Richard Rozen’s story as a child survivor of the Holocaust. The event was introduced by National President Rysia Rozen OAM, wife of Richard.

4 April, 2016 featured Helen Bersten OAM “Writing Women Back Into History” as a Jana Gottshall Memorial Library event.

May 2016, an event in support of the LGBTI community was held – “What place is there for gays and lesbians in the Jewish community – Are LGBTI people welcome”. In what was described by one panelist as “monumental”, an Orthodox rabbi, a Reform rabbi, lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and intersex activists came together to discuss the place of LGBTI Jews in the Jewish community.

Also in May 2016 we hosted Jewish feminist Dr Elana Maryles Sztokman National’s Scholar-in-Residence. The NSW Section were extremely excited to welcome the award-winning author, sociologist, educator, activist and renowned thinker in the field of Orthodox Jewish feminism. Many questions were raised in the Q & A session. Her challenge to Jewish women, “stand up, be counted and not accept discrimination” sent a powerful message to the enthusiastic audience.

June 2016, MUM FOR MUM NCJWA held a CPR and First Aid workshop co-hosted by the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. The workshop was specifically geared to mothers with babies 0-1 year.

At the NCJWA NSW AGM in June the Steering Committee with Miri Orden, Anne Reid OAM and Victoria Nadel (Immediate Past President) agreed to continue to “steer” NCJWA NSW.

August 2016, Rebbetzin Jana Gottshall Memorial Library presented eminent Australian composer Elana Kats-Chernin playing piano and in conversation with Gael Hammer. Elana’s story is a remarkable Australian migrant success story. The audience gave a standing ovation at the conclusion of the evening.

August 10, 2016, we co-hosted an event with Or Chadash. “Who’s Afraid of Orthodox Feminism?” – Rabbi Selwyn Franklin moderated a panel discussion with Dr Diana Brawer, a dynamic Orthodox feminist leader in the UK; Judith Levitan and Rabbi Moshe Gutnick as well as Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton of The Great Synagogue.

Our Birthing Kit packing morning held at Council House has become an annual event in our Transcultural programme. We packed 1,000 kits in August of 2016 and this event included a screening of “I Am A Girl” with producer/director Rebecca Barry discussing her award winning documentary.

NCJWA Anitsemitism Forum 2016 “Dealing with Antisemitism – respond or ignore?” was co-hosted with NSW Jewish Board of Deputies dealing with casual and other forms of antisemitism in our daily lives. The event was held on Sunday 4 September. The panel comprised Julie Nathan, ECAJ research officer and author of ECAJ’s annual antisemitism reports; Vic Alhadeff, CEO of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies; Victoria Nadel, Steering Committee, Immediate Past President NCJWA NSW and Co-Vice President NCJWA and Samantha Khavin, National Convenor Australian Union of Jewish Students. Moderator: Alex Ryvchin, Public Affairs Director of ECAJ.

November 6 we screened the award winning Israeli documentary ‘Mr Gaga’ with funds raised going towards the Ilan Foundation, Tel Aviv.

Celebrating Israel 2016 “A Cultural Narrative” was held on 29 November, co-ordinated by Dalia Ayalon Sinclair OAM. We were thrilled Alan Hoffman, CEO and director-general of the Jewish Agency and Dorit Herscovici, spokesperson for the Embassy of Israel, were guest speakers. Members of the Sydney Jewish Youth Groups took part in the event.

In November 2016 members of NCJWA NSW toured “Jewish Ballarat”, visiting Dr Fanny Reading’s childhood town. We visited the Ballarat Hebrew Synagogue, the oldest synagogue of mainland Australia, where the synagogue’s President John Abraham shared details of the Reading family and their contribution when prominent members of the community in Ballarat in the early 1900’s.

December Founders Day Library Event – Agnes Walder Silberstein was born in Budapest, in 1943. Agnes’ father Lajos Walder was a playwright and poet living in Hungary prior to World War II. “Become A Message”, Lajos Walder’s complete poetry in English translated by Agnes Walder Silberstein was published by Upper West Side Philosophers in NYC. This volume won the IBPA’s prestigious Benjamin Franklin Silver Award in April, 2016. We were very privileged to hear actor John Grinston recite the poems with Agnes’ commentary.

January 2017 saw the expansion of the MUM FOR MUM NCJWA programme to the North Shore under the co-ordination of Lyn Brand.

February 2017 the Progressive Group screened the documentary “Broadway Musicals, a Jewish Legacy”. Lunch was served as part of the event and over 60 people attended.

Also in February Northsiders Group invited all members to join them to “Paint On Silk” with guidance of Alla Melman. Guests included mothers, grandmothers and grandchildren painting together.

In March 2017 we co-hosted Professor Tsvia Waldon, daughter of the late Shimon Peres at Council House. Hosted in conjunction with the United Israel Appeal (UIA) and Progressive Trust, the event touched on issues concerning human rights and Middle East peace. “We all want to better society and much is decided by the place you live in and the values you decide to live by,” Walden said. “The Jewish community’s existence was always pluralistic, with many languages, many cultures, never one person being right, never one opinion being the only one. This is the heart of our tradition”.

March 2017 Jana Gottshall Memorial Library event – “Why is this night Different? Let’s talk about Jewish Humour” featured R. Jeffrey Cohen, actors John Grinston and Elaine Hudson.

In March 2017 the Social Justice/Status of Women programme screened Director/Producer Ros Horin’s documentary “The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe” celebrating the remarkable spirit of four African women survivors of sexual abuse, followed by a Q & A with cast member Aminata Conteh-Biger and Ros Horin and moderated by Nadene Alhadeff. More than 140 people attended the event, the audience standing applauding at the conclusion of the event.

On 20 March our BOOKS OUT LOUD programme, reading to residents in nursing homes, held a morning tea for volunteers. Guest speakers Rose Winn, Lifestyle and Leisure Officer Summitcare Waverley and Gabrielle Calvert-Evers, Manager Accommodation and Services facilitated discussion “Exploring human connection with communication through reading”.

In April 2017 as part of our Status of Women programme we began co-hosting Mixed Gender Talmud Classes with The Great Synagogue, Or Chadash and the Women’s Tefilla Group. Classes will be held monthly and facilitated by Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton.

PROGRAMS

BOOKS OUT LOUD programme has been revitalized under the co-ordination of Miri Orden. We have more nursing homes now that want volunteers so we are in the process of trying to enlist more volunteers.

NCJWA CANCER SUPPORT NETWORK are now raising awareness in the community not only of different types of cancer but also of different aspects of treatment. In addition to the monthly support network meetings, we are holding public events and workshops, inviting speakers to address cancer-related topics. We have welcomed guest speaker Professor Alex Swarbrick from the Garvin Institute in May 2017, and in June 2017 Dr Leslie Andrews will address the group. Our big event will be on 6 November 2017, with Petrea King as our special guest. Since an unexpected recovery from leukemia in 1984, King has devoted her life to assisting sufferers of severe illness to cope with the emotional, mental and spiritual impacts of disease and trauma on their lives. She is a leading voice in holistic health in Australia, the CEO of Quest for Life Foundation and the author of eight best-selling books including Spirited Women, Quest for Life, Sometimes Hearts have to Break and Your Life Matters.

MUM FOR MUM NCJWA has expanded to include the North Shore with facilitator Lyn Brand employed on a part-time basis as MUM FOR MUM NCJWA North Shore facilitator. The success of this programme is due to the effort of our Programme Manager Nadene Alhadeff and our committed MUM FOR MUM committee and Board of Directors co-chaired by Sylvia Lenny and Josephine Holland. 

Volunteers from both the North Shore and Eastern Suburbs attend talks the most recent on Postnatal Depression by Vered Gordon from the Black Dog Institute. We hope to do a Domestic Violence training with Tammy Rossman for new volunteers and current North Shore volunteers.

On the 27th April, 2017 we held a Mother’s Group event at Council House marketed as a Mother’s Day event. There was a fantastic response from both mums in the program and Jewish mothers in the community, with a record number of more than 30 mothers attending. The feedback was extremely positive with the Australian Jewish News sending a photographer and we are hoping to be able to publicise the program with the coverage we receive from this event.

Miri Orden, Anne Reid OAM, Victoria Nadel (Immediate Past President)
Steering Committee NCJWA NSW