Walt Secord: Chanukah

November 28, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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As deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and NSW patron of the Labor Israel Action Committee, it is a great pleasure to wish all my friends and family in the NSW Jewish community a very Happy Chanukah.

Walt Secord and his wife Julia

I am particularly delighted this year as it is the first Chanukah that I get to celebrate as husband to my wonderful wife Julia.

The Chanukah story remains relevant to our time because, even today, we are challenged by both the materialism of the modern world, and by the forces of darkness.

Chanukah means “dedication” – and it reminds us that there is a higher, spiritual dimension to life, beyond the mere material.

The Maccabees were prepared to fight, and pay the ultimate price, to defend something beyond themselves. It is worth each of us reflecting: what is it that we, today, hold so sacrosanct that we will fight to defend it?

This year we have faced many of those forces of darkness – after a torrent of antisemitic incidents connected to COVID and the lockdowns.

As a proud NSW resident and Australian citizen, I find such expressions of hatred simply abhorrent and I believe we must do more to repel them – to drive out the forces of darkness.

This is just one of the reasons why I fought for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism within the NSW Labor Party.

And, of course, my position on Israel is clear. We must support Australia’s democratic ally in the region and stand behind her.

That said it feels fitting that we mark Chanukah as we joyously emerge from those months of restrictions. Of course, the lockdowns were necessary to save lives, but as we light the Chanukkiah, it does feel as if we are ushering in the light after a long period of darkness.

Finally, I again wish all Jewish community members across NSW and Australia a Happy Chanukah.

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