Perth is Australiaâ€™s third largest Jewish community, and statistically speaking remains one of the fastest growing. In fact, according the last census 5,924 people identified themselves as Jewish, and this figure is likely to be about 20% understated. We are statistically about 7% of the entire Jewish community of Australia â€“ a small but significant minority.
Why is this important? Because if you read the Australian Jewish News, you would hardly know that we exist.
Given that such a small community can resource and support numerous Shules, a school, old age home, sports facilities and a host of social groups and charities, we are probably even more a significant component of Australian Jewry than the raw numbers suggest.
As Perth Jews we are being deprived of news about ourselves, hardly an incentive to subscribe. Our Eastern States counterparts are also deprived of information about Jewish life in the West, that ultimately impacts on our growth profile, and ability to connect to broader Jewish life in Australia.
Several years ago the AJN committed itself to growing a subscriber base and a local news presence in Perth. This has all but dissipated. Without the presence of local correspondents, and without an understanding on what is happening within the community, we are missing out. There is much that needs to be said, many events that need to be reported, and a number of human interest stories that go begging as a result of the neglect extended to Jewish Perth by the AJN.
Rest assured that when bad news occurs, such as the graffiti attacks or other security related incidents, Perth becomes a front page story â€“ sourced of course from an external reporter. However all of the positive developments, including the opening of new facilities, the achievements of community members, and the challenge of issues confronted by a community that is too small to be big, and too big to be small â€“ these are all neglected by Australiaâ€™s premier Jewish media.
Sadly, the Perth Jewish community remains one of the best kept secrets of Australian Jewry.
The Australian Jewish News describes itself as a â€œquintessential part of the story of Australian Jewryâ€. It is in fact missing a chapter, to its own detriment, to the detriment of other communities, and in particular to the detriment of our own Perth Jewish community.