Religious Freedom Discussion between the JCCV and the U.S. State Department

August 26, 2011 by Michelle Coleman
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The Jewish Community Council of Victoria met yesterday with a representative of the United States State Department to discuss religious freedom issues pertaining to the Jewish community in Victoria.

Heide Herschede and Dr Helen Light

Dr Helen Light, JCCV Executive Member responsible for the Interfaith Portfolio and Michelle Coleman, JCCV Executive Director, held an informal meeting at Beth Weizmann with Heidi Herschede, Political Officer visiting the US Embassy in Australia.

Ms Herschede was in Australia to seek information from several local faith groups regarding the freedom they enjoy to practice their religions in peace in, a value intrinsic to the American constitution.

Dr Light and Ms Coleman emphasised that Australia is indeed a “lucky country” for us as Jews. Nevertheless, they did report that anti-Semitic incidents continue to occur, and increase when there are increased levels of conflict in the Middle East.

The JCCV representatives also raised issues of concern to our community such as the threat to kosher slaughter and the Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign.

Ms Herschede was also interested to learn about the concerns we share with other faith-based organisations relating to our youth continuing to identify with their community into the future.

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