New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies

The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies is the umbrella organisation for almost every Jewish group within the State.

Contact details

CEO: Vic Alhadeff

Tel: 9360 1600


Greek welcome for Holocaust studies

December 12, 2012 by  

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The Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association in New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland has welcomed the decision to make mandatory Holocaust education compulsory.

In a recently released media statement the association said:

“The Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association welcome the announcement of the NSW Board of Studies that study of the Holocaust will be mandatory for Year 10 students from 2014.
According to history teacher and AHEA President Dr Panayiotis Diamadis, ‘this decision provides scope for Australian students to learn about the Hellenic, Armenian and Assyrian Genocide as a precursor to the Jewish Genocide two decades later’.
The Hellenic and Jewish Genocides are a part of Australian history and deserve a place in the Australian History Curriculum. ANZACs witnessed the Hellenic, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides during World War One. ANZACs rescued survivors across the Middle East in 1917 and 1918. When they returned home, a number of ANZACs assisted in the humanitarian relief effort.
Leading members of the Australian Jewish community such as Sir Samuel Sidney Cohen were involved in the Armenian, Assyrian and Hellenic relief effort in the 1920s. When the Nazis seized power in Germany, these same people set about getting German and Austrian Jews to safety.
Between the 1910s and the 1960s, tens of thousands of genocide survivors found safe haven in Australia: Hellenes, Armenians, Assyrians, and Jews.
The Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association NSW-ACT-QLD will be working with the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia, the Armenian National Committee, the Assyrian Universal Alliance as well as the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Sydney Jewish Museum on this exciting initiative. The effort will be to produce appropriate classroom resources and activities highlighting the role genocide has played in the Australian story in the last century.
This effort will not be restricted to the history classrοom – it will be extended across the curriculum to languages, visual arts and English.
Education is the best way to prevent future genocides. This is why the recent NSW Board of Studies announcement is of such importance: by studying genocide and its impacts, we learn about the forces that shaped Australia and the world.


Holocaust studies in NSW schools

December 9, 2012 by  

Major newspapers have reported that Holocaust studies will be mandatory in all NSW schools.

No statement has been issued by the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies to J-Wire.

Media reports state that the studies will be operative from 2014 and will be mandatory for all history students up to year 10.

Although reports quote the CEO of the NSWJBD, there is no mention if the studies will include the plight of Gypsies, homosexuals, the physically and mentally handicapped and political dissidents.

The reports, appeared exclusively in the Daily Telegraph and in the Sydney Morning Herald as well as The Australian online which carried the Telegraph story.

NSWJBD-Honest Reporting Advocacy Mission – Day 8

December 7, 2012 by  

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Twenty people – mostly members of Sydney’s Jewish community, plus a number of West Australians and Americans  – are currently participating in the inaugural NSW Jewish Board of Deputies-HonestReporting Advocacy Mission in Israel – Day Eight from George Foster.

The final day of the mission thankfully began at 10am to give time for packing and checking out but mostly a well deserved more relaxed start to the day. Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post, began the day’s sessions. Gil is also very well connected to Israeli and Palestinian leaders and makes regular appearances on CNN and Al-Jazeera. He was quite surprised by Bob Carr’s response in summoning the Ambassador but he generally had a positive take on the negative international response to the E1 announcement saying that at least it gave the various Ambassadors world-wide a chance to explain Israel’s position first hand.

Despite the negative reaction he was hopeful that the international community would bring Abbas to the negotiation table. Gil emphasised that Netanyahu has committed himself to peace and has said so in many speeches, however he is equally adamant that Iran be dealt with first.

Apparently the deadline is set for June 2013 and it is no coincidence that Iranian elections are due to be held on 14 June. Netanyahu’s goal is to prevent war but if necessary Israel has the ability and legitimacy to launch an attack on Iranian sites but does not really wish to do so.

In terms of the Israeli elections he was sure that Netanyahu would win although economic issues will be more important in this election than previous ones. Gil believed that the coalition Netanyahu pursues will be more balanced on this occasion. Gil’s main message to us was that Israel was in need of our assistance in terms of educating people, advocacy and solidarity. It was certainly important for us to hear from such a well informed and prominent analyst.

The next speakers were Simon Plosker, Managing Editor, and Joe Hyams, CEO, of HonestReporting, who explained more of the manner in which HonestReporting functions. Joe pointed out a booklet available free from the HonestReporting website: The Israeli-Arab Conflict, and emphasised the importance of quick and even immediate responses when a crisis occurs such the Pillar of Defence operation. He also noted that compelling and emotive responses seem to get far better coverage than a litany of facts and figures. It was pleasing that the IDF now uses the social media to its full extent.

The group was then treated to David Olesker, Director of JCCAT, and an advocacy trainer, who has spoken at University campuses and other forums where he has been heckled and vilified just for standing up for Israel. David spoke about peer advocacy and the importance of “conceptual framing”. The success of any communication is in setting the conceptual framework which then will control the outcome. He spoke about “Elevator Conversations”, that is, the short conversations we all have with our contacts at work or even socially and about “bridging” where one refutes an allegation quickly and then moves on to your own agenda. David skilfully went through a couple of role plays with participants to illustrate how such interactions can be turned into positive advocacy for Israel. His most important point was that personal and human experiences carry a more powerful message than simply reiterating facts.

After a short explanation of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies roles and functions by Yair Miller, President, Col (Ret) Ben-Tzion Gruber gave a detailed and at times emotional presentation of the IDF’s Code of Ethics. He notes that often you have a very short time in a combat situation to make any decision but then illustrated his remarks with videos showing how the IDF will abort rocket strikes, even at the last minute, if there is any doubt that there will be collateral damage to the civilian population. This is particularly difficult in Gaza where the terrorists dress in civilian clothing and use human children as shields which he again illustrated with video clips. He pointed out that the IDF warn the population with leaflet drops, text messages and telephone calls when they intend to target a particular building which no other army in the world would do. He noted that in the recent Pillar of Defence offensive 1800 targets were hit by the Israeli Airforce with the loss of 177 people of whom 121 were terrorists. Yes there were civilians killed but this was extremely regrettable and the military mourn any loss of life. In the same 8 days there were 870 people killed in Syria.

The final stop of the mission was a very pleasant, if slightly sad, lunch at Gabriel’s Restaurant.

All participants expressed their gratitude to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and HonestReporting for such a stimulating, revealing, exciting and information packed mission.

There is no doubt that this mission is of vital importance and adds immeasurably to the ability of participants to advocate even better for Israel. There is no doubt that there is no mission quite like it available in Australia today.

All agreed that it was most meaningful to have been in Israel itself to witness and be part of the vibrant life Israeli’s live and the many problems they face. We look forward to the next mission and believe it will be even more successful if that is at all possible.

Dr George Foster is a TAI graduate, former Executive Member of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Board member of the Sydney Jewish Museum and the Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendents.

Margo lays a wreath

April 22, 2010 by  

Robin Margo SC, President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, laid a wreath at a Jewish commemoration service on Sunday to mark ANZAC Day.

Robin Margi Pic: Ingrid Shakenovsky

Margo’s parents served in the Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy, his father as a sapper and his mother as an army nurse. They married in uniform in the Rome Synagogue after the Italian armistice. The service was organised by the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women at the NSW Jewish War Memorial Building in Darlinghurst.

Seder gets an unexpected Eliyahu!

November 28, 2009 by  

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A Seder organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies at Sydney Girls High school had an unexpected visitor when a curious local resident investigating the activity, refused security personnel’s request to leave and was held handcuffed by them until police arrived, resulting in the visitor suing the then NSWJBD president and the 22 others present as well as the security company. Sydney’s Supreme Court this week heard Justice Robert Hulme’s decision denying 68-yr-old pensioner Evangelous Rouvinetis’s  request for a trial by jury on the evidence so far presented in his case against former president of the NSWJBD, David Knoll and 22 others.  The request was based on the presence at the Seder of a Supreme Court judge whom it is alleged the sole director and shareholder of the security company which is the second defendant.

The court heard that Rouvinetis claims he was not unknown to the school and often visited it and had talked with the principal. In 2008, out for an evening stroll, he spotted an open door and, concerned about the school’s security,  decided to investigate. Inside the school the NSWJBD was holding a special Seder. The Community Security Group members confronted the pensioner asking him to leave. When he tried to move past them, he was brought to the ground and restrained hand-cuffed for 25 minutes awaiting the arrival of police. He was released following their arrival.

Rouvinetas is suing on the basis that the 23 defendants “allowed or permitted excessive force by the second defendant [security] to be used after it became aware that the Plaintiff represented no threat” as well as false imprisonment. The judge ruled any claim of false imprisonment or negligence had no bearing as the Board members were not liable for Security’s actions. He claimed false imprisonment citing that security were not instructed to release him after the school’s principal Dr Varady had let it be known that Rouvinetis was known to the school and did not present a risk.

His request for a trial by jury has been refused, but the judgement has permitted the pensioner to file an amended statement.

A previous case in which Rouvenitis sought to sue the school’s principal, the Department of Education and the State of NSW was dismissed in March this year.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said the Board of Deputies could not comment on the case “as the matter is still before the courts”.

Rouvenites has until December 18 to file an amended statement.

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