National Israeli Culture Photography Competition
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Dr Les Glassman recently visited Melbourne as the official Israeli commissioner at the World Stamp Expo, 10-15 May. Read Glassman’s narrative of the exhibition as well as his impression of the Australian Jewish Community.
By Dr Les Glassman, Israel Commissioner
It was a great honour and privilege to be invited as the Israeli commissioner to the ‘World Stamp Exhibition’, which was held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne from the 10-15 May. The Right Hon. Lord Mayor Robert Doyle opened the exhibition. One of the unique qualities of the world stamp exhibition was its inclusive nature, in which representatives including commissioners from over 60 countries were present. The exhibition was originally initiated with the
aim of fostering friendship and cooperation among philatelists worldwide. Israel featured prominently at the exhibition. On the opening day the launch of the Australia and Israel joint issue was released, commemorating the ‘Battle of Beersheba’ which took place in 1917. This issue turned out to be extremely popular with people waiting for hours in line, to purchase their stamps and first-day covers. Furthermore, there were many exhibits from all over the world based on Israeli and Judaic themes. The iconic Max Stern and Charles Laski, two well-known local stamp dealers, befriended me and went the extra mile to assist me in every way possible. At the Palmares Award Ceremony, the Israeli exhibits which I had brought with me received 4 gold and 3 vermeil medals.
Just as stamps know no boundaries – they cross oceans and seas throughout the world – the array of commissioners, judges and representatives from all over the world became like a family of actions, built on common interest for the love of philately, united in their acceptance of diverse cultures, nationalities, race and religion. By interacting not only on a philatelic but personal level, genuine friendships and new acquaintances were made. Amazingly, my closest affiliations were with the Iranian, Egyptian, Turkish and Slovenian commissioners. My kippa did not in any way hinder the genuine friendships that were formed.
However, for both my daughter and I, the highlight of our trip was being embraced by the genuine warmth of the Melbourne Jewish community. During my brief stay in Melbourne, my close friend and internationally renowned philatelic mentor Yossi Aron introduced me to the community and to the very special Rabbi and Rebbetzin Dovid Gutnick of the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation. Not only did they open the synagogue for prayer services but also transformed the house of prayer into a home away from home. I was welcomed with open arms and experienced firsthand the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests).Coming to Melbourne was also an opportunity to reunite with our dear Sonnenberg family.
I had heard about your special community but after experiencing firsthand the warmth, hospitality and care, I realized that the strength of your community is based on Torah values and a special commitment to Israel. This explains why your community is renowned for having the most successful aliyah.
I left Melbourne feeling a deep appreciation for having the opportunity of meeting this unique community that I had heard so much of. Yours is a model community that we can all emulate!
Hopefully there will be ‘no worries’ and we should all be united ‘next year in Jerusalem’.
Reprinted with permission by Dr Les Glassman
Read more about Les Glassman at the 2012 World Stamp Exhibition, in Jakarta, Indonesia:
Times of Israel: In the Far East, stamp collecting envelops an Iranian and an Israeli
Ha’aretz: Israeli philatelist gets stamp of approval in Jakarta (no paywall)
11 June 2013
Zionist Federation of Australia President Philip Chester is in elite company with current and former world leaders (including Shimon Peres, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Mikhail Gorbachev), innovative academics (Professors Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely, and Dr Rush Westheimer) and international superstars (Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone and Israel’s Rita): They will all be presenters at the 2013 Israeli Presidential Conference, 19-21 June in Jerusalem.
More than 4,000 of the world’s most influential Jewish community leaders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, politicians and academics from around the world are expected to attend the conference.
Chester is one of five community leaders who will be on the 20 June panel “The Tomorrow of the 20%: Jewish Communities Outside Israel and the United States”.
“So much focus of discussion and news about Jewish continuity outside of Israel comes from the United States, but it is so important for others to note how different other Diaspora communities are from each other and from the United States,” Chester said. “The panel will be an opportunity for the rest of the world to see and understand different ways that Australia has maintained a strong Zionist and Jewish identity in the Diaspora. It will also give us a chance to have a dialogue with other communities and learn ideas and ways that may make our community greater.”
The other panellists hail from France, Mexico, the former Soviet Union and Israel. The panellists have a wide range of community, academic and business experience.
12 June 2013
CinemaTEK continues to be a great success, bringing the latest Israeli film releases alongside the classics, to the young adults of Sydney, with the latest screening, in Bondi, a gathering of 30 young adults from across Sydney on June 4 for “The Other Son”.
“We usually screen Israeli films, but we chose this time to screen French film The Other Son,” said Hagshama Co-ordinator Dana Amir. “The wall that divides Israel from Palestine towers many times over head. Lined with razor wire, fortified with steel and watched over by a ceaseless procession of armed Israeli guards, it stands as a dramatic physical representation of a people divided. In French director Lorraine Lévy’s The Other Son, the stark and haunting image of this wall also embodies the impenetrable barriers of identity that we build around ourselves”.
The crowd watching the movie start with an impossible twist of fate and end with a random tragic circumstance, totally divorced from the logical progression of the story’s central conflict. The unfortunate result is that the film’s humanistic message of love and empathy triumphing over hatred and violence fails to resonant on any meaningful level. We are left instead with the truly tragic impression that it would take a coincidence of this magnitude for these two families to ever cross over the boundaries that divide them in hopes of finding common ground.
1. In spite of his humble origins, the Palestinian character Yacine is more worldly, confident and ambitious than the Israeli Joseph, who drifts through his life of privilege without much thought for the future. When he learns of his true Jewish identity, Yacine immediately crosses over into Tel Aviv to sell ice cream on the beach, hit on young Israeli women and make a fleeting, yet poignant, connection with his biological mother. Joseph, on the other hand, struggles with the discovery, especially the confirmation by his rabbi that he is no longer Jewish. Why do you think Yacine was more confident than Joseph?
2. Despite their varying reactions, the two sons quickly strike up a bond with each other, finding that, in many ways, they are not so different. They hang out on the beach, go to dance clubs and get stoned together. Joseph wonders to Yacine as he passes him a joint after a night of partying, “I’m my own worst enemy but I must love myself anyway, do you ever think that?” Yacine responds, “Yes. Even as I’m smoking a joint with my own worst enemy. So pass it on.” Do you ever feel this way when meeting Arabs/Muslims in Australia?
Be sure to join us at our next film screening taking place early July.
By Andrew Esensten | May.23, 2013 | 7:10 PM
The Zionist Federation of Australia has partnered with Telfed – The South African Zionist Federation (Israel) to provide absorption assistance to Australian immigrants on a trial basis.
The two organizations agreed last month that Telfed would immediately begin to support Australian immigrants during their first year in Israel by extending to them services already available to South Africans. These services include welcoming them at the airport, checking on them regularly and connecting them with employment counselors and social workers.
“We have the facilities and the wherewithal to provide these services, and we look forward to helping Australian [immigrants] have a soft landing in the country,” said Telfed chairman Dave Bloom. He added that there is a “natural synergy” between Telfed and the ZFA because Continue reading
Participants on Israel by Choice at volunteering sites.
Filming: Gaby Grabin
Editor and Director: Yigal Sela
“It’s a really interesting way to get to know Israel from the inside,” said IBC Program Director Gabi Grabin. “It’s getting to know Israelis that choose a line of work that is hard every day. … It’s important to understand that these places won’t stop working. They bring such an interesting and fun vibe to these places. It just changes these places and brings a whole new light.”
Volunteers are given a variety of options that fit their interests. “We try to get a large variety of different places or would answer to needs, if it’s working with kids, adults or animals,” Grabin said. “We’re always open for new options as well. Giving it a try is a key. Sometimes you come to a place, and it looks like it’s not something where you want to be.”
Sophie Davies, from Melbourne, was volunteering at the Agam School, for people aged 6-21 who have disabilities. “It was a good place to help and see what day-to-day life is for people I would have never seen before,” Davies said. “In my class they don’t speak, but I can already see their personalities, and have made a connection to them.”
Daniel Edelman, from Melbourne, volunteered at Shikma, a village for people with retardation. “At this place, you can see a difference that you’re actually making,” Edelman said. “They learn your names, and they get excited when you come. It is hard, but fulfilling at the same time.”
Jessie Goldberg, from Sydney, chose Leket, Israel’s national food bank, where she could be hands-on and have a direct vision of her accomplishments.”You can see the effect you have. You can see at the end of the day 10 crates or 20 crates – that’s what I’ve done,” Goldberg said. “You know that it’s going to go to some place where it’s going to go to good use.”
MELBOURNE — More than 30 leaders of the Israeli communities from across Australia converged in the Beth Weizmann Community Centre on Sunday, 19 May, for the inaugural “Israelis in Australia” conference. It is estimated that more than 16,000 Israelis live in Australia, and representatives from communities from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast brought to the table their perspectives on issues, challenges and opportunities facing the diverse communities.
The conference was organised by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) and the Association of Israelis in Australia (AIA). Its aims were to develop strategies to connect Israelis living in Australia with Continue reading
Twice a year, youth movements across Australia gather at campsites across rural Australia on their Winter and Summer Camps. This year in July, each Zionist youth movement will be embark on their Winter camps of about 3-7 days each.
Camps are the pivotal experiences in the youth movement calendars. They allow the participants to be Continue reading