NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Bridge building tour.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies charted new territory last week when it expanded its bridge-building work to the far-western Outback town of Broken Hill and to the State’s second city, Newcastle, for the first time in about 20 years.

The Board annually conducts comprehensive outreach programmes to centres throughout regional NSW, recent excursions including such towns as Coonabarrabran, Mudgee, Byron , Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Parkes, Griffith and Narrabri.

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Board, Vic Alhadeff spent two days working in Broken Hill – which is also known as Silver City because of its rich silver, lead and zinc deposits.

 He then joined Board Education Committee chair Marilyn Immerman and Education Manager Suzanne Green in Newcastle for three days, conducting an intensive programme of presentations and meetings.

Suzanne. This is her with Marilyn Immerman, Education chair and students

The week’s presentations reached a total of about 1500 high school students, principals and teachers, as well as untold thousands of people through television, radio and newspaper interviews.

 The itinerary included presentations on “The Jewish experience in Australia”, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Holocaust and Judaism to audiences of up to 250, meetings with political, civic and faith leaders, as well as Rotary Club presentations and media interviews. The programme included a cordial meeting with leaders of Broken Hill’s Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches, Salvation Army and Indigenous Church, along with a broad-ranging discussion with the Bishop and Dean of the Newcastle Anglican Church.

 In Broken Hill – which had a Jewish community dating to the beginnings of non-Indigenous settlement in 1885, peaked at 250 people and waned after World War II – Alhadeff visited the 103-year-old synagogue, now owned by the Broken Hill Historical Society.

Historian Margaret Price, who once ran a road-house at the edge of the Simpson Desert, runs the Historical Society and in that capacity diligently takes care of both the synagogue and the Jewish section of the local cemetery, arranging tours and assiduously promoting the once-proud Jewish history of the area.

In Newcastle the Board emissaries attended a Chanukah service at the 80-year-old synagogue – in desperate need of repair – after which they engaged in a candid discussion with members of the 70-strong community.

“These tours to regional NSW are a vital aspect of the work of the Board and fulfil a range of objectives,”

Alhadeff told the Australian Jewish News.

 “They are a means of forming relationships with key sectors in areas where there is minimal or no Jewish presence; they enable us to disseminate in-depth perspectives on Israel, the Holocaust and Jewish practice; and underpinning all that is a message which promotes acceptance of diversity and the need to counter racism. Ongoing connections always flow from the tours, enabling the positive interactions to endure.”

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  1. The old NSWJBD………………………

    ………..for something’s or someone’s sake I wish I could get excited about what the BOARD is doing, I wish I could get inspired by SOME !!!!!! attractive N E W idea, new , once again, inspiring initiative, some !!!! creative, original mind, brains, voice, face, words, gestures, manifestation, just ANYTHING that could get my eyes bulging with interest…………….

    Year after year , decade after decade we see, hear, sense the same BOOOOORING stuff emanating from that grey place in Darlinghurst.

    I’d give ANYTHING to see, hear ONE single motivating syllable out of ANY of the “LEADERS” of this comatose body of IRRELEVANT photo opportunity non-entities.

    For some years now younger, fresher faces are supposed to mill around the monthly plenums.
    Yet a groisse GURNISCHT is emanating from that “freshness”.

    The Board has NO impact on its own community. Certain regular functions take place. The same dance and song are played time and time again. Nothing new, nothing worth writing home about, EVER !!!
    The provincial tours have been going for decades, absolutely NOTHING new about them.
    The “information/revelation tours organised by the Board for whoever wants to go and use the precious time of Israeli VERY BUSY people, have no rationale at all. They tour with its dine and entertain and YES, inform people who have NO specific purpose or training in disseminating what they learn to anyone once they are back home, serve no communal edifying purpose.

    This Board has no new life infused in it, it is brain dead from the waist up and down……

    yes, tell me again, I criticise everything. Sorry , but I’d rather extol the virtues of some organisation with a vibrating pulse of attractive vision, an inspiring programme, an agenda that would attract the attention and participation of the tens of thousands of local Jews.

    Here’s an inspiring motto for the NSWJBD:


    Otto Waldmann,
    once upon a time a dedicated Deputy.

    • How true Otto!! I am trying, but they are even more trying.

      I worked hard to get young people on to the Board and the oldies are so bloody crotchety when it comes to young people and now we have quite a few and there some great youngsters on the way up

  2. Otto Waldmann

    I don’t want to carry on like an old kvetching grumpy nuisance – and it had to be ONLY you, Shirl, to use the rare “crotchety”,… boy how I miss your London town…..-, but, speaking of young active men on the Board, I can recall a few of them who came, showed terrific dedication and passion, got on the Executive, filled in their CV with “On the Executive of the NSWJBD “, got some plum job in State politics, Parliament etc. and we never saw them again at the Board.
    Some career launching Board it could be…………