Sydney Jewish Writers Festival

September 2, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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Over 600 people attended this year’s Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival with Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli series Hatufim (Prisoners of War), one of the drawcards.

Tim Fisher meets a fan

Tim Fischer meets a fan Photo: David Sokol

The venue of Waverley Council Library proved to be an apt and popular choice. Participants took the opportunity to preview the Eat, Pray, Naches exhibition in the foyer ahead of its official opening on September 6.   The exhibition was introduced in a session by Simone Collins and Matthew Fallon of the Council.

This unique project celebrates Waverley’s Jewish community by preserving and sharing the stories of its post-war immigrants and their families.  It is expected to tour other venues.

Gideon Raff

Gideon Raff Photo: David Sokol

A wide variety of sessions were offered.  Facing Adversity with Martin Chimes and Greg Fisher and TV Espionage with Gideon Raff sold out in advance.

Tim Fischer, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, explained to a large crowd for Monash: The Life of a Jewish Military Legend how he came to title his recent biography Maestro John Monash.

When asked about his time as the Australian ambassador to the Holy See he said: “I learnt in Rome that networking is made up of four things – Protocol, Vitriol, Alcohol and Panadol!”

Alan Gold

Alan Gold Photo: David Sokol

Dvir Abramovich and Philip Mendes shared their insights into why and how world opinion is swayed by the BDS campaign in BDS and the Politics of Israel and Anti-Semitism.

Participants relished the opportunity to hear overseas presenters such as German-Nigerian author Jennifer Teege who shared her experience of grappling with the discovery that she was the grand-daughter of a brutal Nazi commandant.

When J-Wire asked Sharon Berger, Program and Marketing Manager, Shalom Institute why the festival is now an annual event, rather than every two years as previously, she said

Martin Chimes Photo: David Sokol

Martin Chimes Photo: David Sokol

“There are so many talented and prolific authors and presenters in Australia, we need to showcase them annually. Participants also like to take advantage of the opportunity to hear international guests.”

Berger paid tribute to the volunteers.

“It’s a festival and we couldn’t do it without them.  Many worked above and beyond their brief and we appreciate their support to keep

Jennifer Teege and Avril Alba Photo: David Sokol

Jennifer Teege and Avril Alba Photo: David Sokol

the festival running smoothly” she said.

“I have been involved with LimmudOz and like the Writers Festival. We get to hear people that we might not get to hear elsewhere and I really enjoy the experience” said volunteer Yvonne Selecki.

Feedback from both presenters and participants was very positive while the temporary bookshop did a roaring trade.

Check out the J-Wire Sydney Writers’ Festival Photo Gallery

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