Chanukah Commitment from Jewish Care Melbourne

December 7, 2010 by Feygl Cylich
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Taking his cue from the festival of Chanukah, Jewish Care’s CEO Bill Appleby reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment to the values of tolerance and diversity.

Bill Appleby

Speaking at the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia’s Golden Age Club’s Chanukah celebration on 2 December, Mr Appleby said that Chanukah’s message of “inclusion, tolerance and diversity” was embedded in the values of Jewish Care.

“The Maccabean victory over the Greek army won for the Jewish people their entitlement to self-determination – to live life as they choose, with their own lifestyle and beliefs,” he said.  “This is embedded in Jewish Care’s customer service charter – of choice, accessibility, advocacy, independence, and diversity.”

Jewish Care provides a range of programs and activities for Russian speakers, including twice-weekly Russian-speaking Dementia day respite groups, multilingual home staff, weekly Holocaust survivor program, as well as Russian-speaking counselors, intake officers, staff, carers and volunteers.

“We believe that people are entitled to live life as they choose, and our role is to support them to do that on their own terms,” he said.

Run in partnership with the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, through Claims Conference funding, the Golden Age Clubs provide fortnightly socialization for elderly Jewish Russian-speaking migrants from the former Soviet Union, many of whom are Holocaust Survivors.

“It is moving and inspiring to see such a warm and joyous embrace of culture and tradition,” Mr Appleby continued, “particularly since many migrants from the former Soviet Union may not have had the opportunity or the freedom to do so. This reconnection with culture and community, and the human contact provided by the National Council’s caring team of volunteers, goes a long way to helping Golden Club participants to maintain their dignity and their independence.”

“I could not think of any time more fitting than the first day of Chanukah,” Mr Appleby concluded, “to acknowledge the value and importance of supporting self-determination and diversity in our communities.”

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