JCA lights the way

May 28, 2019 by Roz Tarszisz
Read on for article

JCA Sydney’s annual fundraising event promised a night of insight and illumination as the lure of two inspirational speakers attracted a sell-out crowd.

Avril Alba in conversation with Bernard-Henri Levy

The object of the evening was to “see the world, our community and JCA in a whole new light”.

Seven recipients of JCA spoke about how the organisation’s support was important to them and their short and sharp insights were very moving.

Ginette Matalan, who has been legally blind for 18 years, opened the evening in a darkened Hordern Pavilion. “When your world is dark,” she said, “you become much more aware of your other senses like hearing and touch. And touch isn’t just a physical sensation, it’s the connections we have to each other.” Expressing the overwhelming sentiment of those who attended Sunday’s event, she concluded, “Being a part of JCA’s fundraising night is very special. It connects all of us together. We’re part of a brilliant, vibrant network”.

JCA President, Stephen Chipkin, spoke to the vital importance of Jewish community. He placed its origins in our collective past. “Through our many exiles and escapes we have learned the secret of community making: to provide our children and grandchildren with a sense of belonging.” And he spoke to the future. “When our children or grandchildren ask: Why is Jewish identity and community so important to you? Tell them that community is our Legacy to them. It is their responsibility to cherish it.”

Avril Alba, Senior Lecturer in Holocaust Studies & Jewish Civilizations at the University of Sydney, introduced Bernard-Henri Levy, world-renowned French philosopher, activist, author and filmmaker.

Levy said his father believed that there was one Jewish value which had been underestimated for a long time – that of strength and force. Force of spirit, study and the force to physically defend ourselves. Levy said it is important to be clever and “stronger than our enemies”.

He describes Israel as being “part of my spine”.

Andy Kuper

Levy believes that the new antisemitism is different from that of the past and it is founded on a new set of lies. One way to counteract this is to have strong Jewish communities capable of making alliances, such as that which now exists with the Catholic Church.

Andrew Kuper is the Australian founder and CEO of Leapfrog Investments.  He has been hailed as a trailblazer in changing “the way we invest as individuals, institutions and societies”. With its focus on for-purpose, social-impact investing, Leapfrog was named in 2017 by Fortune as one of the top five Companies to Change the world.

Kuper was inspired to make a change for the greater good by the compassionate actions of Nelson Mandela when he went from “prisoner to president”.   Kuper said that he repeatedly failed before he found a way to make a “transformative difference”.

Bernard-Henri Levy with JCA president Stephen Chipkin

His experience trying to help subsistence farmers in India change the way they did things, made him realize that it required a new approach to enable low-income people to improve their lives. Ten years ago he came up with three ideas that helped him make a difference to many people.

Safety nets and springboards plus help from business could help deliver changes on a large scale. The third idea was that mobile phones would change everything – something which proved to be true.

He launched Leapfrog Investments, a private investment group that focus on investing only in companies that serve low-income earners around the world. Today, ten years after being founded, Leapfrog companies serve 168 million people.

“Purpose-driven business and investment can change many lives,” he said.

Over 1700 members of the community packed the Hordern Pavilion to experience a special evening.


To learn more about the programs supported by JCA in 2019 and to choose how to donate, visit www.donations.jca.org.auor call the JCA office on 9360 2344.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.