After some extensive travel around the world, I am pleased to resume blogging on this site. It will be my intention to post on a weekly basis.
During my time abroad I was privileged to spend time in Israel. I can only marvel at the industry and innovation, stellar pace of infrastructure development, and the technical capabilities that sit within the Israeli marketplace. I was stunned by the compassion, positive outlook, and general sense of happiness and wellbeing I encountered from meeting people in a range of settings. I hope to draw more on these observations and experiences for future posts.
I also visited other Jewish communities, large and small. Travel always assists to put matters into perspective. By contrast to many other Jewish communities, large and small, Perth has a lot to be proud of. We have so many people in our community that dedicate their time and effort towards sustaining our institutions. We have so many incredibly talented and capable people that create opportunities for community life to thrive. We have a strong and vibrant youth. There are Jewish communities in this Country and around the world that would only dream of the facilities and collective strength that the Perth Jewish community has to offer.
When I returned to Perth I started the laborious task of clearing email, reading publications, and catching up. In normal circumstances I shift the copious and ever growing mountain of knowledge reasonably quickly. However when several thousand emails and large piles of newspapers and magazines pile up, a different approach is required. As I scanned each and every communication, I noticed a disturbing trend. There is far too much negative energy.
In particular our newspapers and publications have much to answer for. They are full of editorials and op-ed commentary relating to anti-Semitism, security threats, rising tensions, and as much doom and gloom as you would care to digest with your caffeine.
It is true that the climate of public opinion and the geopolitic that surrounds Israel is not improving. However continue despondency relating to such matters is an opportunity cost, stealing airspace, oxygen and electrons away from what can be positively projected.
What type of community do we build if we entertain a sub-culture that effectively espouses that everybody hates us, uncontrollable media bias depresses us, and that the overt display of Jewish identity needs to be supressed for the sake of our own safety? Who wants to be the member of a club or community that needlessly flagellates itself on the basis of a complex built around what other people think?
It is time for a more positive approach. We can learn from those communities in Israel, where children are nurtured in such a calm manner, with such great faith. They are strong moral arbiters, exuding confidence and it is inspiring to observe their non-material, considered appreciation of their lot.
Talking about lots, the festival of Purim is upon us. Haman had a fate that was predicated on the delusional state of political power and self interest. The Jewish people, led by Mordechai, were guided by the covenant that binds us to G-d. Notwithstanding, there was a spiritual preparation prior to the repreive granted to the Jewish people which is marked by the Fast of Esther.
The joy of Purim is unbridled. Yet behind the mask is a complex manuscript full of political intrigue. To unlock the joy of Purim we need to do more than simply arrive at the party. We need to intellectually contemplate the lesson of Purim. At the end of the day, although events can be seemingly random, the truth is that little is left to chance. There is a divine plan that sits behind all; our deeds and actions included.
On a communal level, we deserve the community we make for ourselves. Community is about people working together to acheive great things. So I hope you have a joyful and meaningful Purim, and channel the simcha of the occasion into a positive Jewish identity for yourself and those around you. Be grateful for all that you have on offer in the Perth Jewish community. Don’t take it for granted. Make the effort to support our organisations and their activities. We are truely fortunate to be living where we are with what we have available. So make the most of it this Purim, and if you can’t make it to a Messibah, at least try not to stay home to read emails and news publications.