Chanukah enhances Chinese-Jewish relations

December 12, 2013 by David Marlow
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Over fifty community, business and political leaders from the Victorian Jewish and Chinese dined together over Chanukah to help build closer ties between the communities. 

Wellington Lee, a prominent Chinese community leader, Nina Bassat, President of the JCCV and Chin Tan, Chairperson of the VMC

Wellington Lee, a prominent Chinese community leader, Nina Bassat, President of the JCCV and Chin Tan, Chairperson of the VMC

 

The dinner was the first such event between the two communities and was hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), and kindly supported by the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC).

Nina Bassat AM, President of the JCCV thanked the VMC for their support and introduced the Chinese guests to the Chanukah festival, the reasons for lighting of the candles, menorah, dreidel, sufganiyot, Chanukah gelt and latkes.

Saul Eslake, Chief Economist Bank America Merrill Lynch, was the keynote speaker at the evening and he explained the recent economic history of China and their current economic conditions, and outlined the implications for Australia.  He also pointed out that the Jewish and Chinese communities in Australia had both made disproportionately large contributions to Australia, in terms of business, community and philanthropy.

Chin Tan, Chairman of the VMC explained the importance of breaking the ice between communities in a multicultural society and of building strong cross-communal partnerships.  He suggested that there was a great need to build tangible connections, and welcomed the dinner as a great first step in building friendships and partnerships between the Jewish and Chinese communities.

After the formal part of the evening, the audience were entertained by Segal and Glass with traditional Jewish music, and Josh Segal who is fluent in Mandarin and works in China, was applauded greatly for his terrific performance of a well-known Chinese song.

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