I hope the year has started well for you - welcome to JCA’s first newsletter for 2023! At JCA we have a busy year ahead and planning has already started on what I know will be an exciting campaign for our community.
On this, International Holocaust Remembrance Day we focus our newsletter on History, Holocaust and Heritage. Our Member Mention is unsurprisingly Sydney Jewish Museum as we review the latest Reverberations exhibition, an incredible curation which I encourage you all to visit.
Jewish History is a sector that is particularly poignant for me as an Irish Jew. I come from a generation who escaped the pogrom terrors of the 1880s. Fortunately, the Jacobsons found sanctuary in a new country and established a small local Jewish community for the following generations. Knowing the passion, determination and resilience that fuelled their success, I believe in the potential for small but strong communities to make a significant impact. Our roots are important and this is undeniably the base on which we establish ourselves.
Remembering where we came from and honouring that ensures we remain vigilant in protecting who we are, both physically and in broader society.
Telling and re-telling history ensures that lessons are learnt and hopefully, never repeated.
Wishing you Shabbat Shalom,
Shari Lowe Acting CEO
A copy of the 1901 Census showing the Jacobson Family, 74/13 Hammond St., Belleville
Monthly Mensch George Sternfeld
Our monthly mensch is our beloved George Sternfeld who has been a guide at the Sydney Jewish Museum (located in the building adjacent to ours) for 18 years. George is a regular at the Museum where he shares his story with students and adults from all walks of life so that they can learn to be human beings that stand up for kindness and humanity. In addition as a member of the NSW Council for Christians and Jews he is highly committed to interfaith dialogue and has made an incredible impact when it comes to Holocaust education and teaching tolerance.
George has written a book, titled Chocolate to Anzac Biscuits, which tells his full story of escape, survival and migration. For more details and to purchase a copy, click here. In addition, he has also written a children's book “A Miracle in My Pocket” – a story about miracles and lives saved and friendships formed. The story is based on a boy with a silver dreidel in his pocket, given to him by his Zaide before parting in the Warsaw Ghetto.
When at the Sydney Jewish Museum, George tells his students that we are all part of “one race”, the “human race”. "What we see around us is a beautiful and colourful mosaic of different faces from different places. We practice different religions and come from different cultures, we speak different languages and enjoy different cuisines. This is the wealth we should share. Acceptance will bring us together, hate will destroy us all.”
George’s wife, Liz has also been volunteering at the Sydney Jewish Museum for a decade and says her favourite part of the job is meeting new people and seeing smiling faces.
We thank George and Liz for their outstanding contribution to our community – Kol Hakavod to this special couple.
Member Mention Sydney Jewish Museum
Where History has had a voice for 30 years
This year Sydney Jewish Museum celebrates 30 years of giving a voice to the victims of the Holocaust, where survivors still visit to share their stories with people from all walks of life, so they can start conversations and inspire change within modern Australia. Since opening its doors, hundreds of thousands of people from different walks of life have come to bear witness to the testimony of Holocaust survivors and the many stories of courage, endurance and resilience they reveal.
Reverberations : A future for memory.
The immersive new high-tech exhibition, Reverberations : A Future for Memory, shines a light on the humanity and life experiences of 43 of the Holocaust survivors who have shared their stories at the museum in recent years.
An interactive tech-enabled experience
The exhibition takes you on a journey through a high-definition gallery of recorded footage, where you’ll encounter Holocaust survivors’ thought-provoking answers to questions like:
Why do survivors choose to share their experiences? Is it difficult to talk about what happened to them? Can they forgive? Was there justice? What is their responsibility to those who were murdered?
You’ll be able to immerse yourself in conversation with the interactive biographies of three Holocaust survivors: including the late Eddie Jaku OAM, which use cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to respond directly to any question they ask.
This will give you a glimpse into how future generations will be able to engage with Holocaust survivor testimony, for when the time comes that there are sadly no more survivors alive to tell their own stories.
The stories told in this exhibition, direct from Holocaust survivors, are deeply moving and will stay with you. You’ll leave contemplating the powerful role that those who survived play in keeping alive the memory of the six million Jewish people who were murdered in the Holocaust.
The Sydney Jewish Museum’s Senior Curator, Shannon Biederman said Reverberations, and the stories it reveals, will have a powerful impact on how the dark chapter in history is remembered and understood.
“Our community of Holocaust survivors live with the constant and everlasting trauma of what they went through. Telling their stories to visitors, especially children, is often very painful but they choose to endure this pain in the hope that listeners will learn lessons and stand up for peace, kindness and humanity.”
“This exhibition will change the way that you think about history.”
“It showcases some of the innovations we are introducing at the museum, to ensure that we can continue to impact future generations with real stories of survivors. There is still a lot to learn about how we treat people in the future by examining the events of the past.”
Currently open to the public, Reverberations: A Future for Memory redefines the way we remember the history of the Holocaust.
"I have volunteered for JCA for over 30 years because no other organisation in the community supports such a diverse range of local Jewish community groups. I want this community to thrive and survive for my children, grandchildren and beyond. I want them to understand their past, preserve our institutions for the future and protect us daily."
Rose Temple - Volunteer Coordinator
My mother, Pola Borenstein (nee Netel) was born about 1920 in Ludmir, 100 Km from Lvov, Poland. In May 1942, the Germans forced the 20,000 Jews into two ghettos. She was on an outside forced labour detail when the final liquidation occurred in September 1942. On return to the Ghetto gates, a Ukrainian guard hit her with a truncheon telling her to get lost. She searched without success for her newlywed husband, Ruben Kutcher. While looking for Ruben, she arrived at the home of Maria Litwinowa, who offered to hide her despite the five mouths she had to feed. Pola was safely kept there until the arrival of the Russians in July 1944. The Litwinowa's daughter Mrs Darowska owned a hat shop where she supplied finery to wives and girlfriends of German soldiers. During this time, Pola learned to become a seamstress and milliner, thus helping the Litwinowas with their shop.
In February 1945, Pola married Ela Borenstein in Lvov. They returned to his hometown of Chelm in South-Eastern Poland that summer. Pogroms and individual attacks increased through 1945 and like many, they decided to flee Poland. They were captured, but bribed guards and managed to cross the border into Germany. A farmer's son took them to Berlin by train and there they lived in a DP camp until they found an apartment in the British sector. In 1953 they emigrated to Melbourne to start a new life.
Homemade kreplach, poppy seed biscuits, helzel, onion rolls, rugelach - Pola baked them all and she was a wonderful cook. It is said that the bank manager salivated over this famous chocolate cake, recipe below.
Pola's (Bauba's) Chocolate Cake.
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 tablespoon coffee
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon chocolate
¾ cup oil
¾ cup of warm water
2 cups of self-raising flour
Dash of vanilla
Preheat oven at 150⁰C
Lightly grease 9 inch/23cm cake pan or you can use baking paper.
Place sugar & eggs in bowl and beat.
Slowly add the oil and mix.
Slowly mix in the flour.
Sift cocoa and chocolate into mixture.
Add coffee to warm water and add slowly to mixture.
Add a dash of vanilla
This is a very runny mixture, so don’t panic.
Put cake in oven for 15 minutes and then turn temperature to 160⁰C for a further 15 minutes, then turn temperature to 165⁰C for 30 minutes.
This way you won't frighten the cake.
Discovering and Preserving our Heritage
Heritage in ACTion - The ACT Jewish Community Museum
Located in the foyer of the Mona and Louis Klein wing of the National Jewish Memorial Centre the Community Museum, along with the library and an art gallery have delivered a public Jewish cultural site in Canberra, visited each year by schools, groups from other denominations and interested members of the public and tourists.
The central display cases of the Museum are designed to educate on five basic aspects of Judaism: *The Story of Judaism *Rabbinic Judaism and the Jewish Life Cycle *The Sabbath and Jewish Festivals *Modern Jewish People and *the State of Israel.
In addition, on the left-hand side of the foyer is a display entitled Australian Jewish Community, highlighting a Canberra Community, and on the right-hand side of the foyer is a display dedicated to The Holocaust, focusing on a member of the Canberra community who survived the Holocaust. Two audio/visual screens also display videos related to Judaism and The Holocaust.
The collection consists of over 200 objects which have been owned by the ACT Jewish Community for many years, as well as items which have been donated, or are on loan, especially for this display. The collection incorporates many of the items which were gifted to the Community by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as official presentations by visiting dignitaries to former Prime Ministers.
The museum is designed to be self-guided for small groups, and an attractive, easy to follow guidebook in two sizes has been developed for this purpose. The book contains photographs of all objects with explanatory information.
The art gallery compliments the museum, focusing on historical and cultural themes including exhibitions on loan from embassies located in Canberra.
A Canberra Holocaust Museum and Education Centre is currently being planned under the auspices of the ACT Jewish Community and is expected to be opened in 2024.
This article was supplied by Adele Rosalky (Hon. Curator - The ACT Jewish Community Museum)
Jewish life in Australia over the years
A century of Australian Jewish life – in a single chart
For a Diaspora population, the demographic story of Australia’s Jewish community is stunning. Just one graph sums it up, and up and up. With the exception of two ‘troubled’ censuses (1976 and 2016 which captured unreliable religion data), almost every census in the last 110 years shows growth. On the surface, it looks like this growth happened in two distinct periods either side of the 1970s but the reality is more complex, predominantly driven by global upheaval.
At the end of World War II, a wave of Jewish refugees arrived from Eastern Europe. This wave of mainly Holocaust survivors, peaked in 1949. Soon after, following the Hungarian Revolution, there was another wave this time peaking in 1957. Following each wave, migrants partnered and formed families with the ensuing ‘baby boom’ driving the steep increase seen through the 1950s and 1960s.
Demographically, things quietened down after that, but they soon picked up once more as the community benefited from two new pools of migration. The first came from the Former Soviet Union. An initial wave made up of refuseniks peaked in 1979 and later, a second wave followed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union. This wave peaked in 1992.
But a second group was also arriving in this period, slowly at first and then in a flood. This, of course, is the South African migration. The first wave also peaked in 1979 following the 1976 Soweto uprising. However, while anti-apartheid economic sanctions were being imposed, a second, much larger wave arrived, peaking in 1986. Another decade passed and following the end of apartheid, a huge third wave arrived peaking in 1997. Although there was one more modest wave which peaked in 2008, this was the last hurrah as numbers from South Africa have been in perpetual decline ever since.
In the end, we can see that the curve has begun to flatten once more as over a century of astonishing migrant-driven growth comes to an end and the community continues its transition from being a predominantly migrant population to one that is Australian-born and bred.
Graph: The Jewish population of Australia from census returns, 1911 to 2021
This article was written by David Graham, Demographer at JCA
National Council of Jewish Women Australia NSW Bulletins from 1926
Thanks to NCJWA NSW for sending through this fantastic insight into the early years
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]
BJE is delighted to welcome Ronnen Grauman to its Executive Team in 2023, in the capacity of Head of Jewish Life.
Ronnen will work together with the Education Team, to redefine the future of Jewish Education for Jewish students in non-Jewish Day Schools.
Ronnen brings with him years of experience in both the formal and informal education space. His knowledge and skills will add to our growing team of educational professionals who bring BJE’s Educational Programs into the 21st Century, aligned with the needs of our community.
We have gathered together some of the exciting activities and events taking place in our community in the coming month.
Community Call Out - Articles & Publications Needed!
Australian Jewish Historical Society:
The AJHS is always looking for archive material with local Jewish communal interest. If you or your organisation has items or documents that you think might be of interest please contact them at [email protected]
Sydney Jewish Museum Journal:
Musings: SJM Journal - Issue 2: Reverberations
Call for papers for the next issue of the SJM online journal are now open. Musings: SJM Journal is a cross-disciplinary, scholarly and educational publication that promotes research into all topics relevant to the Sydney Jewish Museum’s exhibitions, collection and programming.
We invite contributions from scholars and practitioners working on original material relating to the issue theme to submit to the journal here.
Your chance to win 2 tickets
Driftwood the Musical
A magical story of art and creativity, survival and perseverance, family, freedom and love, and the endurance of the human spirit.
DriftwoodThe Musical tells the inspirational story of the renowned Austrian/ Australian sculptor Karl Duldig and his artist-inventor wife, Slawa Horowitz-Duldig. We follow their lives in pre-war Vienna, the family’s narrow escape from Nazi Austria, Slawa’s ingenious invention of the foldable umbrella, and the incredible chain of events that took place after miraculously escaping the Holocaust and rebuilding their careers as artists in Melbourne.
This epic story that covers three continents and three generations has been adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Jane Bodie, based on the original memoir by Eva de Jong-Duldig. It features original music, lyrics and arrangements by Anthony Barnhill with lyrics by Tania de Jong AM and Jane Bodie.
“A moving, enthralling story of a family surviving the ravages of war. It is so timely, that it’s both poetical and painful. The stagecraft is mesmerising. The music is sublime. The acting and singing are superlative. This story and stunningly crafted musical deserves to tour the world as a beacon of hope, and a reminder to avoid history repeating itself.” Australian Stage
Glen Street Theatre, Cnr Glen St & Blackbutts Rd, Belrose
To win complimentary 2 tickets to Driftwood the Musical 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.