6 million problems and the Jewish Centre ain’t one

Everyone would agree that the current Jewish Centre needs to be demolished and rebuilt. For too long now it has been a representation of Perth from the 1980’s. Forty years on, the appearance is dated, it is not functionally usable or economically sustainable. With all the hoopla surrounding the recent funding announcement, and there will be more in due course isn’t it nice to see hysteria building in the community ? Every institution is now re-assessing their income streams, as a redeveloped Jewish Centre incorporating a Holocaust Museum has the potential to cause a massive shift in what businesses are run where, and who derives the ultimate financial benefit.

Now that the initial funding for the Jewish Centre has been announced, it would appear that our community leadership (the silent faces) only know a few possible courses of action.

Defense – The proposed Jewish Centre Redevelopment (JCR) is going to rock the boat and denying this will only make it worse for the affected. There is every chance it will contain a day care that will compete with The Ruth Landau Harp Centre at PHC. There is strong likelihood that some kind of area will be set aside for retail which could form the basis of a Kosher Centre. Nothing is for certain and there is still much to determine, but realistically this once in a generation redevelopment, will need to be self sustaining, so determining the best mix of tenants is going to need to be a high priority.

Silence – A lot of noise has been made about the Jewish Centre Redevelopment (JCR)  and the incorporation of a WA Holocaust Museum. However the actual plans for the Jewish Centre Redevelopment (JCR) are not be found online, no real detail has appeared in the bastion of journalistic insight, The Maccabean or anywhere else for that matter. A picture here and an illustration there don’t count for detail.

Who is officially behind the redevelopment ? Maybe a press release from those in the know would be a good start at communication within our community rather than treating us as mushrooms.

What our leadership needs to consider, is removing the veil of institutional bias and start looking at “The Community” from the member’s perspective. Their lense needs to change for all our sakes.

We don’t just need a new Jewish Centre we need a Jewish “Community” centre, that embodies every aspect of our community.

  • A place where we can remember those lost in tragedy and recognise triumphs
  • A place to celebrate a simcha or milestone events
  • A place to connect spiritually across the full spectrum of Judiasm
  • A place to recognise community and individual achievements
  • A place to live our Judaism, think daycare, shopping, eating andmost of all enjoying
  • A place to identify culturally with the external community

Rather than every institution focusing on defending their turf as their mandate for existence, it is high time the leadership spend their time looking at the community from a holistic point of view.

We need less buildings and more multi-purpose facilities that cater to the needs of the community.

We need to be thinking about how Jewish Observance and cultural traditions can be shared together across the entire demographic of our community, rather than the current tribal approach.

This is not our once in a lifetime opportunity to build something. This is our once in a lifetime opportunity to create a united community, that realises the future is in their hands, and the importance of speaking up now and having a voice in the decisions that need to be made. We also need to be thinking about the next generation, and the ability to sustain infrastructure for the next 50 years.  Capitalising the cost of development is only a small part of the discussion

2 Comments

  1. M S

    Firstly I’d like to point out that I find it ludicrous that the author chooses to identify as a pseudonym, while referring to those he perceives as leaders as ‘silent faces’

    This article was clearly written by someone with an agenda who thinks that a WordPress post will somehow move the pendulum in their favour.

    Out of interest, how is it feasible for the Jewish Centre to publicly announce any redevelopment plans? Do you think that allowing communal input would lead to a better outcome? In reality it would lead to no outcome because nobody would agree on anything.

    If the author would care to address the following queries, that would be great:

    – How is the current Jewish centre not ‘economically sustainable’, and how would demolishing and rebuilding increase revenue streams?

    – You make a lot of conjecture, including childcare, retail, and a museum, how much money do you think they are getting, and how much land do you think they will be able to build on?

    You have some admirable ideas such as ‘removing the veil’ and stopping everyone from ‘defending their turf’, so we can address communal needs As utopian as these ideas are, they are also unrealistic.

    Modern society works on a democratic system whereby decision making is delegated to elected leaders. It’s not ideal, as it’s impossible for any decision to please every individual.

    I can tell by your idealistic perspective that you are young, and I hope that at some point the world you dream of comes to fruition as the world you see is that of the Moshiach

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