So we had some more folk popping bye this week to admire the tents. There’s really nothing quite as fun as showing off to a visiting Melbourne macher the wonderful thing we have going here with our cohesive, collaborative community through JCA. And we got a chance to do that on Wednesday when Sam Lipski (former editor of the AJN, and now CEO of the Pratt Foundation) joined the CEOs of the JCA member organisations and shared a bite to eat, good news and challenges, over our quarterly lunch at the Monte (thank you again to Robert Orie for hosting us all).
First up, we (JCA staff) got to tell the CEOs about the campaign to-date, and the news this year is good (having raised nearly $10m so far – but if you haven’t contributed yet – we are still quite some way from our target of $13.65m, so feel free to chip in. Every dollar and every donor really does count). One of the big successes in this year’s campaign has been the increased effort and involvement of all of our 22 constituents, sending emails (did you get a few of them?), putting up signs (remember the smiling girl?), and having their board members and volunteers and students help out at every one of our functions.
And then we got to whip around the room, which was effectively a tour of our Jewish community in 12 CEOs.
We heard from Mick Vasin about Maccabi’s new Year 7 camp, and the upcoming celebrations of 90 years of interstate sport between Vic and NSW. (If you want to know who won the inaugural interstate Jewish cricket match in 1925 – as Sam seemed keen to know – read my postscript.)
Wendy Barel told us that Masada was relieved to have sold the Lindfield site and now the whole school will be together at St Ives. Phil Roberts from Mount Sinai, was super excited about their newly opened Feuerstein Centre catering to kids with cognitive and other challenges, and John Hamey just couldn’t stop beaming from the Moriah boys’ big win in the soccer. And Anne Hastings shared with us that their new Kleinlehrer Family LINC building had opened that very morning and kids were flowing through the doors with big eyes, their mouths wide open, and loving what they saw.
Vic Alhadeff gave us an update of where the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is at with the complaint lodged regarding the anti-Semitic hate speech of a Lakemba local Hizb ut Tahrir bigot. On the other hand, Vic also noted that as we sat at and ate together, so too did a group of Jewish and Muslim women – also in Lakemba – as part of the Board’s Shared Table project.
Hilton Immerman of the Shalom Institute was still on a high after another successful Graf Oration, where visiting Professor Boaz Ganor delivered some sobering but clear-eyed thinking on Islamic extremism. As always, David Rothman’s CSG update gave us all food for thought and reminded us why we are always so grateful to see the many CSG volunteers.
Rachelle Schonberger and Robert Greenfield from BJE were excited about the upcoming Y2I Community Endowment campaign (watch this space), but seemed even more excited to have the CEO of the Pratt Foundation in the room as our BJE has been increasingly successful in attracting Victorian participants to its Emet Israel Experience. They offered to drive Sam back to his hotel. Very slowly…
Richard Spencer (who we can tell will be sad to hand the reins of JewishCare back to Claire Vernon when she returns from her sabbatical), told us about some of the challenges facing his organisation in a world of diminished government funding and the new world of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). But on a positive note, he advised us all that JewishCare had been successful in receiving additional funding from the German Claims Conference – and to that end if anybody is aware of any survivors of the Shoah who might require a bit of extra assistance (especially as they age and their circumstances change) then please contact JewishCare, who are ready to help.
Finally, John Tucker advised that Wolper Hospital is tracking well with all of their beds full almost all of the time. Wolper will not be requiring an allocation this year (again), and John Tucker advised that the Wolper Foundation will shortly be making additional grants to health related projects in the Jewish and General community. Which really is wonderful for the entire JCA family.
And that was just one week in the life of the JCA family – a pretty busy and spectacular bunch of tents. Oh and some of the family members couldn’t make it, like the ACT Jewish Community (who keep suggesting we host the lunch in Canberra), the Burger Centre and COA, and of course the Fund for Jewish Higher Education, which to be fair, was too busy preparing for last night’s tribute dinner to mark the retirement of Professor Suzanne Rutland (which was why Sam Lipski was in Sydney in the first place). On behalf of us all, Mazal Tov and huge thanks to Suzanne for her remarkable contribution to Jewish education and academia.
So without wanting to get too biblical, at the end of the CEO lunch we heard the same thing from both Richard Spencer and Sam Lipski:
“Hine mah tov, uMah-Nayim, shevet achim gam yachad.”
“Here is something good, and pleasing, constituent organisations that sit together in unity.”
Well OK, so David’s Psalm 133 perhaps didn’t quite cover the redrafted JCA Trust Deed, but you get my drift.
Shabbat Shalom – and now the cricket scores from 1925…
P.S. As I sit here watching Australia fold like a house of cards – again – I assume it is not the second test you are interested in. Through the magic of Trove, we see that a brave team of Jew South Welsh cricketers (I made that up), travelled down to Melbourne to over the summer in 1925. They were all “triers” – here’s the evidence:
Unfortunately, despite their efforts, and a strongly worded editorial in the Hebrew Standard endorsing their trip (definitely worth a read – the issues are the same 90 years later) the match played on the Fitzroy Cricket Grounds on January 1 “resulted in a win for the home team”. As if our boys had a chance, having to play on New Year’s Day after a banquet at the Kadimah Hall, a picnic to Warrandyte (where apparently “the River Yarra duly appreciated and admired.”)
According to the press: “’Day Free’ was written for the 31st but is safe to say every member of the team had something to do to fill in the time. There were numerous private functions held in addition to those on the official syllabus.”
The words of one correspondent to the editor of the Hebrew Standard following this first interstate Jewish sporting competition prove both prophetic and relevant to this day:
“12 Collins Street, Melbourne.
Sir. — The recent visit of the Jewish Young Men to this city marks an event in Australian Jewish life. Eighteen cricket representatives of your State played interstate cricket with our men and distinguished themselves by their conduct and gentlemanly bearing. On our part we took them to our homes and entertained them as best we couJd and I believe, to our visitors complete satisfaction.
This League issued the invitation. It represents five clubs comprising over seven hundred members. (Words fail me to express gratification at the result. Our Clubs have been revivified and stimulated as a result of the visit. Unbounded enthusiasm prevailed here during the vacation and I can only express appreciation at what has been a memorable event in the social history of the two States. Not the least important function was the attendance of both teams and executives at the Melbourne synagogue where Rabbi I. Brodie delivered one of his characteristically powerful addresses on ’The Jewish Religion and Sport.’
This visit of your men to us is historic— more — it is prophetic. Would that we seniors would take a lesson and show that in Australia that we Jews are one, that Melbourne and Sydney Jewry are quite close together and that miles matter nothing. Even more than that all the Australian Jews should be federated under a Federal organisation. To Mr. Einfeld the manager of the team and for H. Solomon the captain are due especial thanks. We have no complaints — we want a return of these visits. I commend the action of the Maccabean Hall committee for its enterprise and trust that they realise, as we do happily, that these interstate visits are so necessary to the welfare of the Jewish youth as any other institution — be it educational, social or communal — for the preservation of our individuality and a bulwark against assimilation.
D. ROSENBERG, 8/1/25. President.”
P.S. Do you want to join our team? JCA is hiring!