JCCV Jewish Immersion Program redefined

October 26, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Twenty staff from the City of Glen Eira Council joined the virtual broadcast of the newly revamped Jewish Immersion Day Program, hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.

After another season of lockdown, during which outreach and engagement can struggle, this was an important first outing for a new and exciting format.

Melbourne’s Jews have a long history of civic contribution. Lockdowns, however, have simultaneously siloed organisations and strained resources. In light of this, the JCCV is excited to deliver a new Jewish Immersion Day Program to a range of Local Councils.

“The pandemic has encouraged us to prioritise and embrace community engagement,” says Judy Fetter, JCCV Executive Director. “We have all spent a lot of the last eighteen months living and working in our homes, and some professional relationships and institutional memory have fragmented over that time.”

Planning for in-person engagement in the near future, the JCCV intends to go much further with its community contacts in 2022. “Were relationships as good as they should have been before the pandemic?” asks Joshua Goodman, JCCV Project Officer – Community Engagement. “It is important for us to strengthen existing relationships and form new ones across Victoria – better relationships, at all levels.”

“Local Councils are an important component of Victoria’s public service, and ultimately we share a lot of objectives. Our Jewish values should be a reason for us to collaborate more often. The Immersion Days are an opportunity for participants to be exposed to the experience of what it means to be a Victorian Jew in an engaging way. We ground things in a historical perspective, leading us to the present, and from there we can establish a meaningful and mutual understanding to help us move forward together.”

The JCCV has recruited an exciting and diverse range of speakers to deliver this program. They include Joel Lazar, CEO Jewish Climate Network; Shelley Cohney, Educator and Jewish Walking Tour Guide; Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, The Ark Centre and JCCV Executive member and Judy Fetter and Joshua Goodman from JCCV. They will address topics including community diversity, waves of migration, cultural heritage and history, shared values, Jewish practice, progressive causes, and the various guises of antisemitism.

“Developing a broader understanding of passive and overt antisemitism is a key motivator for educating and raising a greater understanding of Jewish life in Melbourne,” says Fetter. “The diversity of Jewish life in Melbourne is enormous. Raising awareness and understanding of the differences, and placing these in a historical context, are all key objectives of the program.”

The JCCV will be delivering the program face-to-face in 2022 for staff from the City of Glen Eira, City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and City of Stonnington. Additionally, they will be offering a special program for Councillors from these municipalities in a format similar to what they have previously offered for Victorian MP’s.

With the future looking promising, last week’s online session with the City of Glen Eira was an enjoyable first step. “It’s tricky to create meaningful, fatigue-free programs online these days, but I think we came as close as anyone. The program was dynamic, fast-paced, and contemporary, adding value and context to our participants. A great start to an important campaign”, says Goodman.

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