New Zealand Opposition leader samples Pesach

April 20, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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New Zealand’s Opposition Leader Andrew Little got a taste of Pesach this week when he visited the Auckland Jewish Community Centre.

Rabbi Nathanel and Labour Little Andrew Little in the youth shule

Rabbi Nathanel and Labour Little Andrew Little in the youth shule

It was Andrew Little’s first visit to a Jewish centre and an opportunity for the Labour Leader to meet with community representatives.

He was welcomed by Rabbi Nathanel Friedler who gave him a tour of the centre starting with Dr R Gibb’s bronze work and plaque to the lost relatives those who fled the Nazi’s Europe to start a new life in Auckland.

Inside the youth shule the Rabbi showed Little  the Centre’s Torah scrolls. The tradition of the Seder dinner was explained while Mr Little was shown through the deli with the Kosher L’Peasch food on display.

Mr Little met with New Zealand Jewish Council Representative Juliet Moses, New Zealand Zionist Federation President Rob Berg, Labour’s former Hamilton East candidate, Jewish community member Sehai Orgad and Astor Foundation chief executive Gael Keren.

New Zealand Jewish Council representative Juliet Moses, Zionist Federation of New Zealand President Rob Berg, Labour Leader Andrew Little, Labour’s former Hamilton East candidate and Jewish community member Sehai Orgad and Astor Foundation chief executive Gael Keren.

New Zealand Jewish Council representative Juliet Moses, Zionist Federation of New Zealand President Rob Berg, Labour Leader Andrew Little, Labour’s former Hamilton East candidate and Jewish community member Sehai Orgad and Astor Foundation chief executive Gael Keren.

Leaders discussed with Andrew Little the importance of Zionism in Jewish life and concerns about the rise of anti-Semitism.

He was told about the Jewish involvement in the  historical and ongoing fight for social justice through the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the New Zealand community’s current support for Syrian refugees.

The parallel values of Jewish people and Labour – fairness, equality and tolerance – was highlighted. Labour’s support for a two-state solution for Israel and the current challenges in achieving that was also discussed.

Mr Little was treated to a Kosher L’Peasch afternoon tea of matzoh, date syrup, nuts and fruit, with the Rabbi joking that Jews can survive anything if they can eat matzoh every year. At the end of the visit the Labour Leader was presented with a copy of Jewish Lives in New Zealand signed by renown photographer Marti Friedlander.

President of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand Rob Burg said: “The discussion with Mr Little was very positive and he showed a genuine interest in what we had to say about the community, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and the community’s deeply felt connection to Israel. We expressed our concern about the move of the international left to a position on Israel that is a major concern for the community, especially when we see what is happening in the UK Labour party. He was keen to listen and discuss these issues. Overall it was a very productive meeting.”

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