NZ Jewish community in fight for its existence.

October 25, 2010 by J-Wire Staff
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In a statement headed “Save the Future of Judaism in New Zealand”, the leaders of the two largest communities are preparing for the fight to legalise Shechita…and safeguard the future of NZ Jewry.

The statement issued by the Auckland Hebrew Congregation President Garth Cohen and Claire Massey, the Chair of Wellington Jewish Community Centr, reads:

The prospect of a permanent ban on shechita, resulting in no more kosher meat in New Zealand is very real.

New Zealand recently became the first country in the world to outlaw kosher slaughter since the Nazis enacted similar legislation in Europe over 70 years ago. New Zealand Jews may soon be the only Jews in the world who can no longer eat chicken. Your children or grandchildren may never experience a Passover with chicken soup and matzah balls, or ask the meaning of the lamb shank on your family’s Seder plate.

Some kosher meat (but not chicken) may be able to be imported, for a limited period.  It is likely however that if we lose the right to practise shechita, then the ability to import kosher meat will soon follow.

The absence of kosher meat will mean we can’t engage Rabbis or Youth Leaders. It will mean our religious families will be forced to leave New Zealand. Few Jews will want to migrate here.  We will be seen as a country where Jews are not welcome, and where our traditions and beliefs are not respected or valued. Our rich New Zealand Jewish history and culture, dating back over 170 years to the earliest days of New Zealand settlement, may soon become a distant memory.

The leaders of the Jewish communities in New Zealand feel so strongly about this that they are going to Court to challenge the Government. From a legal perspective they have a good deal of confidence, but only in the Court can the issue be determined.

We need the support of every Jew in New Zealand. Whether you keep kosher, observe Shabbat, or not, we must stand together. Your religious, cultural and social future is under threat.

What you can do to help?

Make a donation:  Everyone can help and for the continuity of your family, your friends and your community you must help. We want every household to donate $150. We want you to ask your friends and families if they have given yet. We need your help and we need to help each other.

Please make your donation now to the following account: New Zealand Shechita Appeal, Account Number: 01-0297-0024731-27 (use your family name and initials as a reference), or post your cheque to the Wellington or Auckland shul offices (marked “Shechita Appeal”).

Write a letter:  You can write to the Minister of Agriculture (David Carter), the Prime Minister and your local MP.  Please also encourage your friends to write.  A short email in your own words is most effective.  The Minister’s email address is david.carter@parliament.govt.nz. The Prime Minister’s email address is john.key@parliament.govt.nz.  You can also copy in your local MP – a list of MPs is available on the Parliament website at http://www.parliament..nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/MPs

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence is the spiritual head of Sydney’s Great Synagogue, a position he formerly held in Auckland. He told J-Wire: “Australian Jewry should be properly informed about Shechita. It has been highly commended as humane by international experts. The New Zealand ban is a manifestation of an international campaign to deligitimise Shechita…and Jewish life. Consider that international scientific evidence used to support the ban has been shown to be faulty in methodology and conclusion. Australian Jewry should stand shoulder to shoulder with our New Zealand neighbours in defending our religious practices.”

The President of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Stephen Goodman, added: “Following the granting of interim relief for Shechita the New Zealand Jewish Council, together with the rest of the Jewish Community, hoped that the government would agree to a permitting kosher killing in New Zealand.  Unfortunately this has not eventuated and a full hearing is necessary.  This will cost the community a significant amount both in cash and time that should have been able to be spent reinforcing its existence rather than fighting for basic rights.”

Comments

3 Responses to “NZ Jewish community in fight for its existence.”
  1. concerned kiwi says:

    I must state here, I am not Jewish and have no association or affiliation with the Jewish community or faith.

    AaronC (aka Aaron Cross, aka VeganBoy), please do not think or suppose that you are representative of all (or even the majority) of New Zealanders on this or any other issue. No-one has made you their voice or representative, so please do not appropriate their rights of voice and representation.

    I am a New Zealander and your statement disagrees with what I hold to be right (such as the fundamental HUMAN rights enshrined in international Human Rights legislation), so what makes your opinion more valid? please do not give your well-worn response (from other websites, such as the 100% Kosher NZ facebook page) about law:
    the 2010 Animal Welfare Code is NOT YET law, it is currently serving a suspended injunction, thus this argument is currently technically invalid. On the other hand, the NZ 1990 Bill of Rights IS law, AND currently accepted law at that!
    Further, just because something IS law, does that make it right or moral? My answer would be “of course not, look at apartheid South African laws on race etc, can those LEGAL apparatuses rightly be conceived of as moral or ethical?”.
    On top of this poorly argued, factually weak, and logically flawed position, any one country’s legislation surrounding issues of human rights must at all times fall within the stipulations laid down by the UN Declaration of Human Rights 1948. This IS a currently legal and binding legislation, unlike the 2010 Animal Welfare Code to which your argument usually returns.

    Moreover, the comment “I dont have any predjudice towards [insert minority group here], but…” is of the same discursive vein as “I dont hate foreigners but why do they have to come to my country…” or any other xenophobic, racist, and hate-based discourse. You can frame your racism in any way you wish that helps you to legitimate your inherent hatred of human difference, but please do NOT stoop to the false assumption that this in any way makes you the arbiter of what is right, moral, correct or even popular to the New Zealand population.
    At the very least, have the common human decency and modesty to accept that your opinion is just that, an OPINION such as: “Animal respect is more important than religious fanaticism”. And again: “dont come to New Zealand, because … we think you beliefs are insane and cruel”. That is not MY opinion, and I am a New Zealander, so the very existence of my position automatically negates the validity of the argument (and your right to present it as such) that you have presented as fact.

    Finally, “So dont come here, not with this attitude”. I am not entirely sure who or what you think are New Zealanders, but people of the Jewish faith have been living and reproducing in New Zealand from at least the mid-1800s. Many of these people are New Zealanders by birth and heritage over many generations. Some of these people have been in New Zealand for probably as long as your ancestors have been (notice here, as I do not know your ancestry, I move from well-established fact to conjecture, but at least I admit this possibility, unlike yourself). This “So dont come here, not with this attitude” statement smacks of the worst sort of racism. What is the heritage of Cross? Does not sound Maori to me. Maybe YOU are the one who should not be here, after all, somewhere down the line, your ancestors came here and did some despicable things, such as the rape, murder, and dispossession of the indigenous Maori peoples.

    All I know is that there is only ONE part of your diatribe with which i agree, and that is this: “Makes me want to hate you”. Except here, my hatred is directed toward you, a bigot and a racist, the worst kind of human.

  2. AaronC says:

    Hi I dont have any predjudice towards Jews, but this:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10683440

    Makes me want to hate you. Animal respect is more important than religious fanaticism, so if you want kosher killing, please go to a country that supports it. That means dont come to New Zealand, because we support animal welfare, and we respect all life. In this case, we think you beliefs are insane and cruel.

    So dont come here, not with this attitude.

  3. JewZealander says:

    A handy Q&A accompanied the statement and can be found here: http://goo.gl/6OxB

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