The Grand Mufti, the Archbishop, the Lulav and the Etrog

October 22, 2011 by  
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During Sukkot, the Australian Islamic Cultural Centre, invited Jeremy Jones, Director of International and Community Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, to a function at which he welcomed the newly elected Grand Mufti of Australia and to farewelled the Archbishop of the Melkite Church finishing his term before returning to Lebanon.

Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, Jeremy Jones and Archbishop Issam Darwich

When asked to address the gathering, which included federal and state MPs, senior bureaucrats, media, religious and cultural personalities, Jeremy Jones referred to the fact that it was held during the Sukkot period, and expounded on themes of education, religious freedom and the opportunities for dialogue in contemporary Australia.

Having described the lulav and etrog, he was asked by one of the VIPs if they could see the “four species”, and having his set in the car brought it to the reception hall, where Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, His Grace Archbishop Issam Darwich and many other Muslim and Christian leaders, as well as diplomats from Middle Eastern countries, enjoyed the opportunity to smell the etrog, hold the lulav and join an impromptu prayer for communal harmony and peace.

While Archbishop Darwich has enjoyed a long and constructive relationship with the Jewish community, including participation in the national “Conversation” of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Committee with the Jewish delegation from the ECAJ, which is chaired by Jeremy Jones, it was Dr Abu Mohamed’s introduction to the Jewish community.

“As the evening progressed, it was stressed over and over again that there are very few, if any, places other than Australia where a Grand Mufti, an Archbishop and a Jewish community leader can meet, speak openly and build friendships”, Mr Jones said.

“We should be grateful to Shafiq Khan, who had the foresight and imagination to bring the diverse group together” Mr Jones concluded.


5 Responses to “The Grand Mufti, the Archbishop, the Lulav and the Etrog”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Norm and Community 2 are perfectly right !!
    Jeremy Jones does NOT represent me, for instance. I am shorter than him, Jeremy has lost most of his hair at a very early involvement with the Jewish Community, whereas I still proudly display quite seductive curls. Jeremy wears spectacles, I do NOT, Jeremy constantly cracks jokes, I am almost mannic about seriousness etc. As about Vic, he was not available on the occasion being overseas between Rekjavik and my native La Valletta where I asked him to run some errands for me. ( recently I decided that I was no longer born in Bucharest, but in Malta, being sick and tired – mainly tired – of being persecuted as a Romanian ).Yair Miller definitely wrong, due to some strange accent he has acquired while residing in St. Ives. The best would have been my good haver Ernie Friedlander,but he was busy running a cooking class on Kolozsvari Kaposta a Hungarian speciality Yair should avoid if he wants to run the Board without the dangers of heart failure among other failures.
    Paul, edes kommam ( Hungarian for “dear kuz” )you’ve been away for too long.
    Nowdays the Mid East religious leaders of non Jewish persuasion love those of the Jewish persuasion as seen in the attached picture where they all laugh at something undisclosed on the right corner of the photo. I reckon JWIRE should run a competition about ” Waht are the three amigos laughing at !!!”.
    First prize a free trip to Bucharest where I need something fixed up.

  2. Community2 says:

    Norm – if you’d read Community’s post properly you would have seen where they said “Surely Mr Jones should be referring invitations for such gatherings to prominent rabbis…”. Good on the organisers for inviting a rep of the Jewish community, but they don’t necessarily know who is whom among Jewish orgs, and it should be up to the invitee to judge whether or not they are the most suitable person to represent NSW Jewry and Judaism. Given that this was a religious gathering, it is logical that a religious rep attend, not a secular one!

    Also, if the rep is meant to be representing NSW Jewry, then one needs to question whether Mr Jones is able to do so as an employee of AIJAC which is a private lobby group that is not elected by members of the community. AIJAC fills an important role, but there should be a clear line between its role and that of the NSW JBD. In this regard, Mr Miller, the NSWJBD president or Mr Alhadeff, the NSWJBD Executive director, are better placed to represent Jews in the state at official events… (though, as I said, a religious gathering should have a rabbi present).

  3. Paul Winter says:

    Community (the community,some community, whatever) makes (the singular is assumed), makes a good point; interfaith activities are in the domain of our rabbis. And as pleased as I am that Mr Jones was invited to a function at the Australian Islamic Cultural Centre, I do wonder if the new Grand Mufti’s views differ from his predecessor who thought that Osama bin Laden was a good Muslim because nothing had been proven against him. It would have been rude of Mr Jones to use the lulav occasion to ask the new Grand Mufti about his attitude to Iqbal Patel of some other Aussie Muslim group, who was hostile to Jews and to Israel, and to the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, but I am still curious about those minor details. I accept that each small act of interfaith work is good, the question is though: good for whom?

  4. Norm says:

    A response to the earlier post.

    “AIJAC and Mr Jones should stick to what they are there for – combating racism and antisemitism and promoting positive views of Israel…”

    That was exactly what Jeremy Jones was doing. He was the person invited by the Australian Islamic Cultural Centre. What should he have done, refused to go? That would have promoted positive views on Israel, I’m sure! LOL.

  5. Community says:

    It’s commendable that Mr Jones is promoting good interfaith relations with the Islamic and Christian communities, but where are the rabbis? Why has it become the role of a secular organisation like AIJAC (which, incidentally, is a private organisation that does not represent the Jewish community) to engage in matters of a religious nature? Surely Mr Jones should be referring invitations for such gatherings to prominent rabbis in Sydney who are active in interfaith efforts, eg Rabbis Lawrence or Freedman? AIJAC and Mr Jones should stick to what they are there for – combating racism and antisemitism and promoting positive views of Israel – rather than encroaching on the religious territory of the rabbis…

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