Shalom Chaver

April 7, 2019 by Michael Kuttner
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Just over a year ago we had the pleasure of hosting Rabbi John Levi, Emeritus Rabbi of TempleBeth Israel in Melbourne, at our home in Efrat…writes Michael Kuttner.

Rabbi John Levi and hs wife Robyn

At that time he promised, all going well, to return as soon as possible. True to his word he has indeed done so and this time we again had the pleasure of entertaining him and his wife, Robyn.

In the course of a leisurely morning’s encounter and conversations which covered a multitude of topics it became apparent that this energetic couple had not come to Israel just for rest and recreation but rather to recharge their Jewish batteries. In addition the general cultural events on offer in Jerusalem have been an added attraction.

Both were amazed at the enormous pace of development which has taken place in the Capital as well as in surrounding areas of which Gush Etzion is a most strategic and important component. Travelling by car from Jerusalem to our home they could see that the increase in traffic has already necessitated an expansion of the tunnel road. On a short tour of Efrat they noticed that once barren hills a year ago were now filled with inhabited apartments and houses with hundreds more under construction.

Being here in Israel at a time when election campaigning was underway naturally resulted in an exchange of views and comparisons between the Israeli and Australian scene. We even discovered a party leader who has an Australian connection, namely Moshe Feiglin. Other subjects discussed over coffee and cake included the general state of Jewish life in various countries, the alarming rise in hate against Jews and the Israel disconnection which seems to be a worrying trend amongst certain sectors of American Jewry in particular.

This exchange of opinions is very valuable because on the one hand it enables those of us living here on the front line to hear a wide cross section of views and on the other hand also provides overseas visitors from diverse backgrounds with feedback on realities here which normally they would only glean from a totally biased media.

It is obvious that John and Robyn Levi look on Israel as their second home. They represent a generation for whom Israel is an integral and vital part of Jewish life and because of their stature in the Australian Jewish and wider Community are able to influence and enlighten countless individuals who would otherwise be misinformed.

Hopefully we will have the pleasure of welcoming them many more times in the near future.

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