Media Release – 28 November 2014
Chief Rabbi of the UK and Commonwealth speaks at Victorian communal event
The Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis spoke on Thursday evening at a Victorian Jewish communal event hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), the Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), the United Israel Appeal (UIA) and Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC).
He is the 11th Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth to take office since the office was introduced in 1704.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis spoke to 200 members of the Victorian Jewish community including community leaders, Rabbonim and many people interested in the Chief Rabbi’s views on ‘Modern Judaism and Contemporary Israel’. The audience included a diverse range of the Jewish community from secular and traditional Jews, representatives from the Progressive movement and many Orthodox Jews.
The Chief Rabbi was an inspirational speaker who spoke passionately about the importance of education, dialogue within and across communities, service to G-d through community and acts of loving kindness, Tikkun Olam. He spoke strongly about the centrality of Israel to modern Judaism, and the importance of demonstrating support and solidarity with Israel.
He also highlighted the need for a fully inclusive approach to Judaism where all streams of Judaism were welcome, whether secular or Orthodox, as all instruments in an orchestra had their part to play.
The Chief Rabbi spoke positively about the hope for peace. He explained that the word for doves and pigeons in Hebrew was the same: Yonah. Doves traditionally symbolised peace as pigeons symbolised communication, as suggested by homing pigeons. Thus, there was one word for peace and communication, highlighting that it was essential that the two went together.
Leaders of the hosting organisations welcomed and introduced the Chief Rabbi, including Dr Danny Lamm, President of the ZFA, Rabbi Genende, Chief Rabbi at CHC, Sam Tatarka, President of the ZCV with Jennifer Huppert, President of the JCCV presenting the vote of thanks.
Prominent Victorian community leaders in the audience included Telmo Languillor – Opposition spokesperson for Multicultural Affairs, Murray Davies – President of the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, Dr Philip Bliss from the Council of Christians and Jews, and Grahame Leonard – Victorian Multicultural Commission Commissioner.