Eat, Pray, Naches alive on your screens

September 10, 2015 by Henry Benjamin
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The Eat, Pray, Naches project has been launched by Sydney’s Waverley Council.

More than 200 people attended the opening function at Waverley Library where Mayor Sally Betts officially launched the project’s web site which tells the stories of over 100 Jewish migrants from across the globe on whose life the municipality of Waverley, which included Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, has made a major impact.

Their individual stories are told on their own page on the site accompanied by a photo gallery and videos demonstrating how they ate, how they prayed and how they derived naches.

Mayor Sally Betts

Mayor Sally Betts

The project was the brainchild of Councillor Leon Goltsman and Councillor Miriam Guttman-Jones. Leon Goltsman told J-Wire: “Every time I attended a funeral at the Chevra Kadishah the thought went through my mind that another person with a rich story to tell of setting up a new home in a new country had died without that story being recorded…so this project was created rot ensure the stories live on into the future.”

For the interviews Waverley Council employed the services of a team which had worked on the recent Mad Max movie.

Mayor Betts said that were “at least 10,000 Jewish residents in Waverley” adding that residents of Woollahra and Randwick had also been involved in the project. Having reviewed the project, Mayor Betts said that “every story is different and every person’s journey is different”.

Commenting on her own story, Mayor Betts said that she herself was a migrant having come from South Africa adding that “South Africans are the fastest growing community within the municipality.”

She highlighted as one of the main purposes of the exhibition the opportunity for “people to listen and learn the stories of others”. She said that Australia’s indigenous people treasure The Dreaming – ten stories they never forget adding that Eat, Pray, Naches will document the stories about the huge price many of the participants paid to come to Australia “and find the freedom we enjoy because we don;t want to ever forget what happened to many of the families who came here.”

Waverley became the new home for many Holocaust survivors who made Australia their home following WWII.

The exhibition has a physical presence in the form of storyboards for which the Council plans exhibitions in other municipalities as well as the possibility of its travelling to Israel. Learning kits have also been produced with the intention of taking the exhibition to schools.

Mayor Betts added: “We have had to produce a glossary to cover 400 words and terms used in the stories”.

She made special mention to Simone Collins, Professor Suzanne Rutland and Susan Bures for their input.

You can read all the stories and view photographs and videos at

All photos: Giselle Haber

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