There is such an accumulation of isses to blog, that I’d like to run this post as a summary catch-up of recent events.
Shvauot was an outstanding Chag for Perth. The Batei Midrash were full in all Shules. PHC had a scholar in residence, and a dedicated group of all night learning. Noranda Shule was engaged in great discussion with a large crowd, and Dianella Shule ran a panel discussion. By far the biggest Tikun Leil was the Carmel School function where more than 100 students joined the Director of Jewish Studies for dinner and learning. Bnei Akiva also ran learning throughout the night. The year 3-7 children had a program in the mid hours of the evening that received rave reviews.
The Maccabean is slowly getting better, but still occasions to miss the mark. Finally there was a column that countered some of the issues raised in this blog over reformist content. Typically it was introduced by an editorial disclaimer that upheld the variance of perspectives, and was accompanied by yet another ridiculous article that maligned the ten commandments as an aegis of democracy. This is precisely where our newspaper again misses the point – factual inaccuracy is not a matter of religious pluralism or diversity of thought. It was also amusing to see a photo of Yom Yerushaliem that was captioned a “celebration”. Clearly there was no acknowledgement or even realisation that Yom Yerushaliem actually happened last week. One of the most important Jewish festivals of our day, and not an ounce of coverage of the communities activities that actually demonstrated that this occurred. However, on the positive side the Maccabean contained a great review of Dudi Reich’s visit and a brilliant recipe for Cheesecake.
The assault on young members of our community continues to be a topic of discussion, and received coverage in the media, including the AJN. There are many unsettling issues starting to emerge. One is clearly that our State has a very thin blue line, and that our police are not adequately resourced to respond to serious crime in a timely manner. This places even more emphasis on the Jewish community provisioning for its own protection and security needs, which is a sad reality of the environment in which we live today. The cost in terms of dollars, people, and equipment is a very significant overhead associated with our communities activities.
Societal standards in our neighbouring country New Zealand are slipping badly. There was an advertisement that recently appeared on roadside billboards, and in major publications, including the June 9 edition of Time Magazine. It promoter was a Television company and the text of the ad read “All business considered, even from Jews”. By the time the ad was withdrawn and an apology made the damage was done, and the effect of drawing attention through controversy was very successful. You can read about this incident here. One has to wonder.
In our other neighbouring country, South Africa, Jews are aiding refugees from Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries who have been attacked in a wave of anti-migrant violence. The JTA report that thousands of immigrants to South Africa have been hunted, beaten and torched in a wave of violence against refugees from neighbouring countries, including Zimbabwe, who have fled economic and political turmoil in their homeland. Dozens have been killed by mobs seeking out foreigners in a manner akin to the pogroms of Europe in the 1930s and 40s. The Jewish community has responded overwhelmingly to appeals for help for the victims from South Africa Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and other Jewish organisations. “We know from centuries of bitter experience what it means to flee from your home in fear,” Goldstein said. “Indeed, South African Jews are descendants of refugees who fled the barbarism and anti-Semitism of Europe. He said the Talmudic precept to love and not oppress the stranger was the most oft-repeated Torah commandment.” All I can say is that I am proud to be part of a people and a nation who are morally proud and just. Australia must become more active in effecting regime change in Zimbabwe and promoting social tolerance and economic prosperity for Africa.
Finally, a comment in support of the Maurice Zeffert Home. I visited the Shule during Yom Tov and can only stand in admiration at the commitment that this institution makes towards caring for our elderly. They have a newsletter out at the moment, which notes the cost of keeping the home kosher incurs them additional expenditure of $500,000 per annum. This is not a statement made in a vindictive manner, but does show the real extent of their commitment. The home needs and deserves our support for providing kosher food and shule services to its residents. It does not come without effort, but it would be a travesty if our elderly did not have the ability to retire to a place where kosher facilities did not exist. Kol Hakavod!
That’s a range of topics to kickstart this blog again. Your comments are always welcome.