Shmooze, Sushi and a Show

May 30, 2017 by Roz Tarszisz
Read on for article

In a bold move to host six functions in one venue on one day, the fund-raising appeals for 2017 JCA (Jewish Communal Appeal) were all held at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter.

Photo: Giselle Haber


The tight organisation required still allowed time for a communal schmooze before entry to the cinema complex. The guests were spread over several cinemas in which they were addressed before key JCA leaders before watching an amazing film showing many of the JCA constituent organisations work within the community in a innovative filmed message.

At the Communal Fund Raising event, food boxes of sushi and salad were offered before Lauren Levin, Jumpstart Volunteer Chair addressed guests in the cinema this reporter attended. She talked about her motivation for getting involved as JCA sought to address the next generations in a way “that resonated with them”.

“JCA realised a fresh approach was needed that involved engagement in a new, modern, and somewhat disruptive way to the old formula” she said.

JCA CEO Bruce Goldsmith     Photo:  Giselle Haber

“Jumpstart has had a very successful 12 months. I have been involved with a project called Jumpstart Volunteer.  It’s an online platform designed to provide our community with an opportunity for young professionals to give back by using their professional  and generational skills while at the same time assisting JCA and its member organisations” she said.

“We continue to build on the legacy of previous generations and want to preserve what we have and dream big for what we can still create she said.

Bruce Goldsmith, JCA’s CEO, spoke about his experiences growing up a in a small, tight-knit Jewish community in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Lauren Kavnat and Lauren Levin

He said it is now 50 years since leaders of the Jewish community decided to “pool resources and allocate funds where the community need was greatest.”  The JCA model, based on collaboration, put the needs of the community above that of individual organisations.

“It took vision and hard work of generations to get us here” he said.

“ 2016 was a tremendous year for JCA and there is every reason to be optimistic. Our new engagement initiatives are gathering momentum with the 25-39 year olds”  said Goldsmith.

However he emphasised that there are still challenges to be faced, one being that Jewish community in NSW is declining.  “Our birth rate barely covers deaths. We clearly need to reach out and reconnect with those who have opted out of the Jewish community.

“We need to ensure that every dollar is wisely spent and are asking you to help us write the story of this community for the next 50 years” he said.

A collection of filmed vignettes from some of the recipients JCA’s 23 constituent organisations were a moving tribute to the work of JCA’s constituent organisations.

The Jumpstart initiative has improved the attendance of the under 40s and early 40s age group by about 30 percent, auguring well for the future of the community.

Pics: Giselle Haber and Vicki Lauren

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