No, not the regular media. The Jewish media.
The Australian Jewish community does itself a huge disservice at every level by poorly managing its public relations. Its own media, responsible for connecting and profiling its own community, wouldn’t know a knish from a kneidel.
It is not helped by the producers of media who attempt to manufacture controversy when there isn’t any, ignore the real news, and kind of miss the big critical issues. In terms of setting the agenda, they place no focus on the core religious needs of Australian Jewry. It is the quality and quantity of facilities to support religious identification that is the future difference between having a dynamic community, or no community at all. Yet such issues do not seem to rate as meaningful enough to discuss within the op-ed and opinion pages of our media.
Not a word has been written in the Maccabean in the past few issues about some of the amazing things happening in Perth. The expansion of facilities, the hosting of events, the arrival of new people, the development of new initiatives. But we shouldn’t expect anything more from the paper that expects its readers to serve them instead of, G-d forbid, trying to serve its readers.
It seems Perth is not alone when it comes to missing the big stories. The Australian Jewish News have a story this week of one of the most important developments in the history of the Jewish community of Sydney, being the opening of a Kollel program. This facility, similar in nature to the one which Perth has operated for the past four years is a Torah MiTzion Kollel. It is a religious Zionist institution that brings volunteer yeshiva graduates to Diaspora communities to develop textual based learning in a traditional yeshiva setting.
The abysmal level of reporting by the AJN is beyond shameful. Projecting a visual image of charadim alongside an article for a Religious Zionist Kollel is pathetic enough. An image of Israeli Hesder soldiers would be far more appropriate. This aside, talking in context about the importance of a Yeshivah program, the type of education it brings, and what it means in religious and cultural terms for Australian Jewry is also sadly missing from the coverage.
The operation of Torah MiTzion Kollel programs in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney is perhaps the most significant development in for Orthodox Jewry in Australia over the past decade. The impact and influence these program have, particularly on the young adult sector of the community, is tremendous. The quality of learning and the cultural connections that these dozen or so shlichim inject into informal Jewish education is immense. The opening of the facility in Sydney deserves far more profile and attention, and far less shoddy journalism.