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Ginette Searle, Ruth Calderon, Philip Chester

Ruth Calderon to headline ZFA Plenary

Ruth Calderon to headline ZFA Plenary

Secular/traditional MK, scholar and teacher to address Australian community for first time

24 June 2013

Dr Ruth Calderon MK – who has quickly become one of Israel’s most influential new politicians – will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 ZFA Plenary, in Sydney on 11 August.

Ginette Searle, Ruth Calderon, Philip ChesterThe Plenary will mark the first time that Calderon will address the Australian community.

“We are thrilled that Dr Ruth Calderon will be coming to Australia as a guest of the ZFA and will be our keynote speaker at the Plenary Conference. Dr Calderon is a superstar of contemporary Jewish thought – an intellectual, Torah scholar and politician committed to social justice.” Said ZFA President Philip Chester.

Calderon’s connection with Australia dates back to her high school days, when she attended Canberra High School when her father, a scientist, was posted in Canberra.

The connection has been reinforced by her recent appointment as the chair of the Israeli Parliamentary Friends of Australia. Her impending visit will no doubt afford opportunities to develop connections between MKs and Australian parliamentarians.

Calderon, who has a PhD in Talmud from the Hebrew University, was 13th on the Yesh Atid party list. Her maiden speech at Knesset became an immediate YouTube sensation. In her 14-minute speech, titled “Heritage of All Israel,” she told the Talmudic story of a rabbi who died after he failed to come home to his waiting wife, and she equated it with Israeli society’s need for all people to share equal responsibility.

Before entering politics, Calderon studied Talmud at the Hartman Institute with the late Rabbi David Hartman. She then founded Elul in 1989, a secular beit midrash in Jerusalem, and in 1996 created Alma: Home for Hebrew Culture, in Tel Aviv.

The ZFA will also arrange a program of events for Calderon in both Sydney and Melbourne.

The ZFA Plenary will also feature Israeli Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth, of religious Zionist Orthodox rabbis group Tzohar.

The ZFA Plenary, which is held biennially, is an opportunity for about 120 leaders of the Zionist community across Australia to gather, learn and set directions for the Zionist movement in Australia.