Wholesailors?

April 18, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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20,000 sailors, 70 warships and 20 tall-ships from 50 nations will participate in the International Fleet Review in Sydney in October…and the local Jewish community will be involved.

The Spanish navy in Sydney

The Spanish navy in Sydney

The last time the event came to Sydney – on a far more modest scale – was in 1913, a century ago.

The events of the Fleet Review will run for a week and will coincide with the Sea Power Conference, also to be held in Sydney.

A team of 150 Royal Australian Navy personnel has been assembled to organise and manage the week, headed by Captain Nick Bramwell.

Countries sending warships include China, Russia, Canada, France, India, South Korea, Thailand, Brunei, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain Singapore, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom and the United States.

Ships involved will include frigates, corvettes, submarines and patrol boats.

While the events will run over eight days, including the Labour Day long weekend, the fleet will sail through Sydney Harbour on Thursday October 3 and Friday October 4.

And on Sunday afternoon October 6 a service will be held at The Great Synagogue, to be hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (NAJEX) and the synagogue. It will welcome the naval chiefs to Sydney, as well as dignitaries and Jewish sailors from the visiting ships and from the Royal Australian Navy.

A committee comprising community representatives and chaired by former NAJEX president Warwick Abadee has been working on the community’s involvement since late last year.

The service at the Great will follow an ecumenical service to be held at St Mary’s Cathedral.

The week’s events will include fireworks displays, military demonstrations, concerts, parades, receptions and open-days on the warships, allowing members of the public to go on board.

“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime event,” observed Board of Deputies chief executive officer Vic Alhadeff, a member of the Jewish community’s organising committee. “The community will be encouraged to turn out at The Great to welcome the visiting Jewish sailors and dignitaries. It will be a momentous event, and it is appreciated and appropriate that the Royal Australian Navy has seen fit to include the Jewish community in what is a very packed program.”

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