Young people in our community are integral to our future and engaging them is pivotal to our success. This newsletter is dedicated to the organisations, programs and services that bolster that engagement and create the connections that we hope will carry forward from generation to generation. Since I arrived in Sydney, I have been overwhelmed by the opportunities that present themselves to our young adults, and the innovative ways that people find to connect whether that be through traditions, through imbuing a love of Judaism and Jewish identity, through food or networking.
While education presents a formal way to teach about our traditions and ways, there are so many informal touch points that are not only meaningful but are sometimes the only way that young adults will connect. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are constantly looking to be dynamic and relevant and to open the tent to ideas, people and the diverse nature of our community.
Opportunities exist across our supported organisations for young people to get involved in helping each other – JewishCare’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program is just one example, the buddies that support campers annually at Camp Sababa is another. (More details are available in the article).
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom,
Shari Lowe Acting CEO
Monthly Mensch Dr Ron Weiser AM
Dr Ron Weiser AM is a name synonymous with our community. He has been dedicated to fostering engagement and connection with young adults through youth groups and trips to Israel.
“Over my 50 or so years of communal involvement I have seen time and again that those who participate in Youth Movement camps and programs generally become the biggest influence on the directions that our community takes. The leadership skills, independence and organisational skills gained, serve them well in their individual careers, but also are a fertile training ground for their future communal endeavours. Camps and Youth Movement activities generally are experiential, living, breathing constructs that are powerful motivational factors – we have nothing that really compares to this. Of course, meaningful peer programs to Israel over a very wide spectrum are the pinnacle of experiential Judaism and Zionism. In Israel one can experience many different forms of Jewish expression and she offers options that are simply not available here. Of my various communal endeavours I believe that there is nothing more worthwhile than being involved in continuing to offer the opportunities I and my children and now grandchildren have to as wide an audience as possible.”
Ron has been instrumental in ensuring that this leadership pipeline in our community has been available to all and it can truly be said that he has nurtured the future. Kol Hakavod Ron – you are a true mensch.
Member Mention Y2i
Y2i is a JCA Endowment Fund and has now supported over 2,000 Year 10 students to participate in a life changing five-week Israel experience.
Providing subsidies of up to $5,000 towards Year 10 Israel programs run by any of the Jewish day schools or BJE (for those at non-Jewish Schools), these life changing programs develop a real connection for our students to their Jewish and Zionist identity, strengthening our community going forward.
2022 saw the return of Year 10 Israel programs that came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Y2i were able to host their largest cohort ever with 570 students including the largest ever BJE program with 162 participants attending.
On 18th December, Y2i Day in Jerusalem saw the coming together for an afternoon of speakers, activities and watching the World Cup Soccer Final. The feeling of unity, the sense of belonging, and vibrant energy was palpable.
Our younger community members had a jam packed summer holiday, as supported organisations including Y2i, Kesser Torah College and BJE crafted and executed engaging, educational and enlightening programs. Students across Australia had the opportunity to travel to Israel, exploring their Jewish identity, creating memories and forming lifelong friendship all whilst learning about Israeli culture and the importance of community.
KTC Israel Tour
Connecting education and bringing it to life, Year 10 Kesser Torah students had a phenomenal time on the 2022-2023 KTC Israel Tour.
This robust five-week tour included sightseeing across Israel from the Golan Heights in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. Highlights included Jeep rides along the Israel-Syria border, visiting iconic Synagogues in Jerusalem, the grave sites of Rabbi Isaac Luria and Rachel Imanu and a dawn trek up Masada to daven shacharis as the sun rose .... and of course the food!
"To touch the Kotel. To walk along the stoned paths that our forefathers walked on thousands of years ago. To unite in song. To taste the food. To feel Israel's heartbeat. What an amazing trip"
This incredible experience was made possible by Y2i and the generous KTC Foundation donors - with a very special shout out trip coordinator, Michael Berkovits.
BJE Nesiah Israel Program
The Nesiah Israel Program is the focal point of the BJE High School Jewish Journey. The program is a well-structured, highly organised, bespoke five-week educational experience in Israel, for Year 10 students at non-Jewish public or private schools, in NSW, QLD and the ACT.
In December 2022, five senior staff, 10 Australian madrichim and 170 participants, from 36 different schools across five States, left on the BJE Nesiah Israel Program, excited for the opportunity to experience Israel’s land, people, culture and history. Made possible through the support of Y2i and i4y, this is the biggest group ever sent by BJE to Israel and, in fact, the biggest group of Year 10 students from any school, to travel to Israel on an educational program.
Unlike single school campuses, BJE draws from many different schools, some of which have only one or two participants on the program. To this end, there are several pre-Nesiah activities organised, culminating in a Pre-Nesiah Camp, so that all the participants have the chance to meet each other and form friendships, before leaving for Israel.
Likewise, there are a number of post Nesiah activities organised, to maintain social and communal connections. The annual Ash Levi post Nesiah Leadership Camp in April will reunite the group again, allowing them to re-connect and create a social action initiative, for their respective Jewish communities.
The information session for the 2023 Nesiah Israel Program takes place on Sunday, March 5th. For more details click here.
Nosh Nook Alex's Homemade Tahini (Israeli Style)
"I am so grateful for JCA and the opportunities this organisation provides me with. Working within the community has allowed me to travel around Israel, learning about Jewish culture, history, and the various community groups. My personal connection to Jewish identity within the Australian diaspora has never felt stronger and every day I am lucky to go to work and witness the amazing support and impact we give to the local Jewish community.
During my five and a half weeks of traveling around Israel as a Madrich on Yalla Israel (a post high school Israel program administered by Y2i), I was fortunate to go on an incredible five-day hike in the desert. After the long and strenuous hours each day hiking through mountains and lookouts we would collectively help prepare for dinner, slowly becoming this tight-knit family or tribe. Through this experience the most consistent star dish of each meal was definitely the fresh tahini that some lovely locals taught us how to perfect.” Alex Ulis - Digital Marketing Coordinator, JCA
Homemade Israeli Tahini
1 whole head of garlic, broken into individual unpeeled cloves (about 20cloves)
2/3cupfresh juice from 3 to 4 lemons (160ml)
1/2teaspoonground cumin (2g)
1 generous cup tahini paste (about 10 ounces; 300g by weight)
Combine garlic and lemon juice in a blender. Pulse until a pulpy puree is formed, about 15 short pulses. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press out as much liquid as you can with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula, then discard solids.
Add cumin and tahini paste to lemon/garlic juice and whisk to combine. The mixture will seize up and turn pasty.
Add water a few tablespoons at a time, whisking in between each addition, until a smooth, light sauce is formed. Season to taste with salt. .
Refrigerate for up to 10 Days.
Making A Difference
JewishCare NSW Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program
JewishCare NSW provides a wide variety of support services, programs, and volunteer opportunities to community members. Two particularly exciting volunteer opportunities available to young people aged 18+ are the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program and the JewishCare Youth Reference Group.
For more than 25 years, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program has become a touchstone in both JewishCare’s and the community’s history. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring program that matches young people aged 9-15 with a positive adult role model to provide support and friendship. ‘Littles’ (mentees) are matched with their ‘Big’ (mentor) for a minimum of 12 months. Not only do Bigs have the chance to make an impact in a child’s life, but they also gain so much for themselves too. The Bigs often report growing personally because of the program.
As one Big Brother states, “My Little has as much of an impact on my life as I do on his”.
The JewishCare Youth Reference Group was established in 2022. It is a group of young Jewish people (aged 18-25) who meet regularly to work on projects and ultimately improve JewishCare’s youth and mental health services. This provides an opportunity for young people to have a say in the design implementation and services offered to their age group. After an extremely fruitful 2022, we are now recruiting more advocates and would love to include new members. The Reference Group provides young people with a unique opportunity to connect with their peers, share their insights and be a catalyst for change!
Please contact JewishCare on 0412 786 943 or click here to find out more about these incredible volunteer opportunities!
Coming Up In Community
Sydney Jewish Museum
History After Hours Pride Tour
Deepen your understanding of human rights and the queer-Jewish story in this exclusive History After Hours event at the Sydney Jewish Museum during Sydney World Pride.
Join us for a tour of our Holocaust and Human Rights exhibitions, and learn from our experts about the history of human rights violations under the Nazi regime and its attack on the LGBTIQIA+ community.
Join Stand Up and some of Sydney's hottest established and emerging comedians! MC'd by award-nominated Jewish comedian Robyn Reynolds (UK). This diverse and star-studded lineup also boasts David Woodhead (Triple J), Guneet Kaur (RAW Comedy National finalist), Thalia Joan (Sydney Comedy Festival), and our very own Vanessa Johnston (Head of Marketing at JCA). Stand Up's aim for this evening is to promote First Nations, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and Jewish comedians. They will also be announcing Stand Up's new and awesome community partnerships and social action projects for 2023.
Step Up intensives are a holiday program designed to explore tikkun olam, your responsibility coming into the Jewish community as an adult and social justice in the world around us. Combining elements of our term program with excursions, intensive programs are a great way to get your child thinking about the challenges facing our global community. They explore all topics through a Jewish lens and explore how students can use these experiences and knowledge to approach the world as their best selves. Book Here!
Project Eden - Information NightNSW
Stand Up's newest program, designed to help new arrival refugees. Refugee participants identified as in urgent need of resettlement by the UNHCR are referred into the CRISP program by the Australian government. They come from a wide variety of countries; most have been waiting to resettle in a safe new country for a long time. Stand Up is helping to coordinate and support Jewish volunteer groups. To hear more about Project Eden - Register Here!
B'nai B'rith will be hosting the Wallenberg Portrait Competition and Portrait classes with Holocaust Survivors speaking to us of their experiences. Please call our office on 9321 6300 to book.
NCJWA NSW Shabbat Zachor
Hear from both Persian Jewish women and a young Iranian Muslim woman about the challenges they have faced at NCJWA NSW's Shabbat Zachor at the Great Synagogue. On the Shabbat before Purim we recall the courageous Queen Esther, who acted with guile and grace within the confines of the Persian patriarchy to save her people. Join NCJWA NSW for the service and/or for kiddush afterwards where these amazing women will tell their stories.
FREE of CHARGE - Register for catering here or call 0439875035.
JCA Relationship Manager (Part-Time) JCA is looking for a Relationship Manager who will be responsible for developing and nurturing relationships with donors. Click HERE to see position description. If you are interested in this role please send a letter and resume to [email protected]
JCA Planning Project Manager JCA is looking for a Planning Project Manager who will be responsible for effectively supporting the JCA Planning Committee. Click HERE to see position description. If you are interested in this role please send a letter and resume to [email protected]
We have gathered together some of the exciting activities and events taking place in our community in the coming month.
Competition Time - Win 2 tickets to Stories From The Violins Of Hope
Stories From The Violins Of Hope
A magical story of art and creativity, survival and perseverance, family, freedom and love, and the endurance of the human spirit.
Stories from the Violins of Hope, a new stage play, brings to life the powerful true stories of violins played during the Holocaust in ghettos, forests and concentration camps…and tells the story of the extraordinary Israeli violin maker who overcame his own family’s losses to repair and give voice to these stringed survivors.
For decades, violins hung silently in the rafters of the workshop he inherited from his father. Some had been rescued from musicians who could not bear to play German instruments, some came from survivors who arrived in Israel after the war with little more than their violins. Every violin came with a story. But his father had refused to speak of the Holocaust and the violin maker recoiled at touching instruments whose bodies bore its scars. His dilemma? Should he honor his father’s wish that they not be played? Or must he honor the musicians whose voices had been lost, but whose instruments could live on, spreading a sound of hope?
Masterfully interwoven with music, this is the World Premiere of a live adaptation of the acclaimed film seen at the United Nations and by audiences world-wide, celebrating remarkable stories of human resilience and the struggle to restore beauty to the world.
Competition Rules - To win 2 complimentary tickets to Violins of Hope simply email[email protected] with your name and phone number with the answer to the following question. There are two pairs of tickets to be won.
Q. Name the Israeli Master violin maker who set up Violins of Hope Collection?