Clergy and Student Leaders address AIJAC Luncheon

August 1, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Clergy and student leaders who recently returned from two Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)/ Rambam study missions to Israel have addressed AIJAC in Sydney.

Glen Falkenstein, Chaneg Torres, Cameron Petrie, Lizzie Green, Jeremy Jones

Glen Falkenstein, Chaneg Torres, Cameron Petrie, Lizzie Green, Jeremy Jones

Mentioning a number of highlights, including a briefing from Rabbi David Rosen, of the American Jewish Committee, Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force Reverend Ian Lambert said “I may have not made it to Jerusalem or Israel if not for this program, I am very grateful for that and more aware of the delicate strategic situation Israel is in relation to her neighbours.”

Reverend Andrew Johnson from the Hope Uniting Church, Maroubra and the Chaplain to the University of NSW Uniting Church commented that it was “a blessing, a challenge and an honour to be included in the program… We are grateful that there was the opportunity to learn.”

“There is no way other than being on the ground, to be there in person, to have the air in your lungs and to walk the streets to see how small the country really is in terms of size,” said Reverend Johnson.

Cameron Petrie, National General Secretary of the National Union of Students (NUS), told the gathering that “It was incredible to see such a multicultural society.”

Further, “being on the border with Syria and then Sderot made me think, wow, this country is tiny, we live in a very big country and what I’ve seen here is something I’ve never experienced,” said Petrie.
 Rev Andrew Johnson, Jeremy Jones, Rev Ian Lambert

Rev Andrew Johnson, Jeremy Jones, Rev Ian Lambert

Elizabeth Green, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer for NUS, commented, “from Jerusalem and the Old City to the Erez checkpoint and Sderot, to the Ziv hospital and Tel Aviv, it was just surreal… We heard from Professors, students, political advisors, locals and many more.”

“Seeing Jerusalem’s sites meant a lot to me coming from a religious family and I was able to learn things I couldn’t learn in a textbook,” said Green. “It was the trip of a lifetime, I am very grateful to be given this opportunity.”

Chaneg Torres from the NSW Young Liberals and staffer to Arthur Sinodinos, together with the other participants, spoke of their visits to Yad Vashem and the opportunity to sit down for a Shabbat dinner with Jerusalem locals as stand-outs of their experiences, adding that “Around the table were a group of ordinary people, like us.”
“But there were different accents: middle eastern, British, American, eastern European, but all Jewish. All had stories of families who had come to Israel to make Aliyah, to go up, to find a place they felt they truly belonged to. This sense of a defiant return from exile to me colours the deep sense that Israelis seem to have to make a success of their small but incredible state.”
Participants in the Clergy program also included Father Roland Agrisola, Rev Dr Murray Earl, Canon Heather Patacca, Rev Jayson Rhodes, Rev Peter Rivett, Rev Kay Webster and Father Isuru Weliwatte. The Clergy program was led by Rabbi Ralph Genende and the student program was led by AIJAC’s Glen Falkenstein.


2 Responses to “Clergy and Student Leaders address AIJAC Luncheon”
  1. Oliver Colman says:

    It might be a good idea if along with Naplan testing, some lessons in geography and how to read a map with a distance scale calibrated in kilometers and or miles was tested as well.

  2. Leon Poddebsky says:

    More strength to AIJAC and Jeremy Jones.
    In our era of pervasive mendacity and ignorance about Israel and Zionism, they project the light of truth for any who seek it.

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