Meet the family

September 21, 2011 by Jo Silver
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Melbourne’s small and vibrant Jewish Indian community has connected with key Jewish organisations in an initiative organised by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV).

Sharene Hambur, Hilary McMahon, Solomon Erulkar, John Searle, Jane Rapke, Nathan Elijah, Jo Silver and Michelle Coleman.

When the JCCV learned that more than 80 Indian Jews are living in Melbourne, itreached out to learn more about the community and their needs, and found a group of people looking to engage their youth, young adults and seniors to Jewish life and activity.

JCCV President John Searle met Nathan Elijah and Solomon Erulkar, the unofficial spokesmen of the Indian community, in March 2011 and together they agreed to informal introductions to education, sports, aged care, youth, young adults and women’s groups, as well as a possible Indian-Australian cricket match/BBQ during summer.

In a statement released today, Searle said: “It was wonderful to see Beth Weizmann buzzing with children of all ages, their parents and grandparents and so many people interested in age-specific Jewish activities that will enrich and link them into a community with which many have had little or no contact”.

Searle continued: “People drove for up to an hour, with one young man driving from Mt Evelyn on a Sunday morning to be at the function. Everyone present signed up with a group of interest”.

The morning consisted of an excellent presentation by Nathan Elijah outlining the background of Jews in India from the Alibag shipwreck centuries ago to their arrival in Australia. This was followed by Julian Silverman’s DVD of the Mumbai Jews http://www.youtube.com/sweettalkproductions.

Each of the organisations present will involve the Indian community in programs and the JCCV hope to host a larger event for the group into the future.

Comments

One Response to “Meet the family”
  1. Tim Tam says:

    The YouTube video is very moving and informative about the whole of the Indian Jewish community. I warmly recommend it. It is about 15 minutes long, gives some very elementary historical background, has views of the chief Mumbai synagogues and community centrers, and includes interviews with many men, women and even children of the Mumbai community. The focus on Mumbai, and specifically on the Bene Israel segment of it, is due to the present make-up of Indian Jewry. It presently numbers about 5,000 overall, almost all of whom are Bene Israel Jews of Mumbai/Bombay. According to the video, there are perhaps about 70 Cochin Jews left, and only about 250 Baghdadi Jews. That is because about a hundred thousand Indian Jews have emigrated to Israel, where they make up a great addition and asset to the country (I have met some myself, and made some lovely friends, truly warm and good people).

    The web-address given in the article is not accurate, however, and it will be rejected by your browser. The last words in the address, communitiestellingtheirstories, are the problem and should be cut out. The proper title is: http://www.youtube.com/sweettalkproductions Try it; you will like it.

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