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About the Board

What is the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies?

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is the officially-elected representative roof-body and voice of the Jewish community of New South Wales.

It is recognised by the NSW government, its agencies, the media and other ethnic and religious groups as the representative body of the Jewish community. The Board leads, speaks and advocates on behalf of the NSW Jewish community, with 61 major communal organisations as its constituents.

STRUCTURE OF THE BOARD

The governing body of the NSW Jewish Board is the elected plenum of 147 Deputies, which meets monthly to consider issues of communal importance. Half of the Deputies are elected every two years by a general franchise and half are appointed by the constituent organisations. The plenum elects an Executive, which conducts the organisation’s administration.

Purpose

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies leads, speaks and advocates on behalf of the NSW Jewish community.

Vision

A united NSW Jewish community, adequately resourced, enjoying physical and political security as part of a harmonious, inclusive and democratic Australian society.

strategic goals

  • represent and advocate on behalf of the NSW Jewish Community
  • ensure the political and physical security of the NSW Jewish Community
  • combat antisemitism and other forms of racism
  • increase understanding of Israel and its centrality to Jewish life
  • promote social inclusion of all segments of NSW society
  • maintain the unity and cohesion of the NSW Jewish Community
  • ensure the continuity of a vibrant NSW Jewish Community

To view the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies policies, click here.

COMMITTEES

The work of the Board is carried out by professional staff and the following committees:

EDUCATION: Initiates, facilitates and supports programs in Jewish and intercultural education for primary and secondary students, as well as networking and resource sharing between educators in the Jewish and wider communities. Chairperson:  Alan Charak

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE: Organises Holocaust educational and commemorative activities and awareness campaigns for the Jewish and general community. Chairperson:  Danny Hochberg

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Articulates Jewish values in relation to human rights and social justice issues which arise within both the Jewish and general communities; raises awareness with the Jewish community about such issues; and distributes information and organises activities in relation to Jews experiencing oppression or distress anywhere in the world. Chairperson:  Emeritus Professor Bettina Cass AO

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Interacts with the media, government and other institutional arms of the public and private sectors; works to combat racism and antisemitism; monitors the media and works to ensure the physical security and well-being of the Jewish community. Administers a Speaker Service and keeps the public informed of issues relating to Israel and the Jewish community. Chairperson: Lesli Berger

COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Works to build constructive partnerships with non-government organisations, interest groups, religious bodies, women’s’ groups, think tanks and other civil society groups in a manner that will assist the NSW Jewish community in meeting its strategic priorities as determined from time to time  by the relevant organs of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. Chairperson: Gael Kennedy

honorary officers

Jeremy Spinak   President
Yair Miller OAM   Immediate Past President
Yaron Finkelstein   Vice President
Lesli Berger   Vice President
Sam Zweig   Honorary Treasurer
Melissa McCurdie                Honorary Secretary

Executive Members & Committee Chairs*

Lesli Berger
  Public Affairs Chair 
Prof. Bettina Cass AO         Social Justice Chair
Alan Charak   Education Chair
Michelle Filler    
Danny Hochberg    Shoah Remembrance Chair
Michael Jaku     
Jeremy Jones AM
   
Gael Kennedy
   Community Relations Chair 
Jack Pinczewski      
Jackie Rotenstein
   

Honorary Life Members

Prof Graham de Vahl Davis AM FTSE 
Robert Goot AM SC
David Knoll AM 
Michael Marx AM
Justice Stephen Rothman AM  
Peter Wertheim AM

Executive Council of Australian Jewry Councillors (NSW)

Lesli Berger
Jane Feller
Robert Goot AM  
David Knoll AM
Melissa McCurdie 
Yair Miller  
Jillian Segal AM
Jeremy Spinak
Peter Wise
Sam Zweig

Representatives to the Council of War Memorial 

Dr George Foster

Consultants to the Executive

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins OAM
 
Rabbi Gad Krebs     
Roma Shell     
Isabelle Shapiro OAM  
Honorary Solicitor
  Stephen Cordell, Holding Redlich 
Honorary Returning Officer                     
  Roland Nagle 
Auditor   Steven Heller, DFK Laurence Varnay
 

Professional Staff

Chief Executive Officer
Vic Alhadeff
Head of Operations Mary Guth
Manager Policy & Community Relations
Lynda Ben-Menashe
Political Engagement Manager Byron Danby
Jewish Community Relationship Manager  William Nemesh
Education &
Holocaust Remembrance Manager
Suzanne Green 
Public Affairs Manager Natalee Pozniak
Online & Digital Manager  Calvin Stein 
Social Medial Manager
(in conjunction with ECAJ)
Sarita Gold
Marketing & Database Administrator 
Kim Lewis
Events Manager Ydele Nathan
Accounts Manager Cynthia Herman
PA to CEO Hayley Coombes
Public Affairs Assistant Sasha Aronson
Community Relations Officer Iliya Borecki 
 


Address: 146 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Tel: (02) 9360 1600(02) 9360 1600; Fax: (02) 9331 4712

E-mail: mail@nswjbd.com

Emergency number for JEMP is 1300 536 7281300 536 728.
For media inquiries, call CEO Vic Alhadeff on 0408 964 3580408 964 358.

ABN: 82 990 574 147

HISTORY OF THE BOARD

Establishment of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

Until 1942, the NSW Jewish Advisory Board (founded in 1932 and comprising representatives of synagogues only) acted as spokesperson for the entire Jewish community. In February 1942, with World War II on Australia’s doorstep and European Jewry in peril, the Advisory Board invited the other congregational bodies to form the first Public Relations Committee, which in turn established in the same year the Bureau of Jewish Affairs, whose main aim was to combat growing antisemitism.

 Past Presidents honour former Director of the Board


However, in March 1942, an Open Letter to the Jews of New South Wales was issued over the signatures of 18 men who urged:

"Today, we are confronted with the fact that in Sydney there does not exist a Jewish Community in the true sense of the word. The control and administration of our people is concentrated in the hands of a few. There is a failure to admit to their councils’ representatives from among those Jews for whom they claim to speak. There has been an infusion of many fresh forces. Should not they, too, be harnessed to add fresh grist to the Jewish mill? The establishment of a democratically elected Jewish body, based on universal Jewish franchise, is the only means of awakening our people to the responsibilities and obligations that face them."

The Open Letter created a furore in the community. It was a revolt against the established order. In May 1942 the Advisory Board called a meeting with the representatives of the 18 signatories and communicated with every Jewish organisation in Sydney with a view to widening the representation on the Advisory Board.

It took another two years before a representative gathering of delegates of synagogues and communal organisations in June 1944 adopted the Constitution of the first NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. This provided for "full democratic representation under existing conditions". Preparations were also commenced for the first election. This took another seven months. By then the number of affiliated organisations had dropped from 40 to 23 with 5,182 members registered. 

Finally, after years of agitation, discussion and preparation, the first meeting of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies took place on 29 July 1945. The Bureau of Jewish Affairs was disbanded and its activities taken over by the Public Relations Sub-Committee of the newly constituted organisation.

(This summary by Yehuda Feher based on The Origin and Development of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, by Dr. G.F. Bergman, Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal & Proceedings Vol. VI, Part 8, 1970).

Note: In 1949 the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies agreed to change the Constitution to allow 25 per cent of representatives to be elected by universal franchise, and in 1955 the proposal of 50 per cent elected by the general franchise was adopted.

PRESIDENTS 1945-2008

Since its establishment on July 29, 1945, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has had 15 Presidencies. The late Horace B Newman served two separate terms of office.


Saul SYMONDS *  1945 - 1952
Horace B. NEWMAN *  1952 - 1955
Gerald de VAHL DAVIS *  1955 - 1957
Horace B. NEWMAN *  1957 - 1967
Gerald Y. FALK OBE *  1967 - 1969
Harry S. GOLDSTEIN OBE *  1969 - 1973  
Maurice ALLEN *  1973 - 1975
Sidney MULLER AM *  1975 - 1978
Robert M. GOOT AM  1978 - 1982
Leslie CAPLAN AM*  1982 - 1985
Graham de VAHL DAVIS AM  1985 - 1989
Gerry LEVY AM *
 1989 - 1992
Michael MARX AM  1992 - 1996
Peter WERTHEIM AM
 1996 - 2000
Stephen ROTHMAN AM  2000 - 2004
David D. KNOLL AM  2004 - 2008
Robin F. MARGO S.C.   2008 - 2010
Yair MILLER  2010 - 2014
 Jeremy SPINAK  2014 -

OUR AFFILIATIONS

Apart from maintaining informal liaison and relations with a range of government departments, statutory bodies and other ethno-religious groups, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has a direct affiliation with the following:

This is the national roof-body of the Australian Jewish community. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies became a constituent shortly after it was founded in 1945 and provided the organisation's second national President, Saul Symonds, who served from 1946-1948.

As the Jewish community's peak body, the ECAJ is charged with establishing, administering and implementing policy on issues of concern to the Jewish community at national and international levels.


The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is represented on the ECAJ's Committee of Management by nine elected councillors and its incumbent President, who serves as the ECAJ's Senior Vice President. 

By convention, the headquarters of the ECAJ rotates between Sydney and Melbourne every two or three years.

     


The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies is a founding member of the JCA and the Board's President is a JCA Governor, Executive member and member of the Planning committee. The JCA was established in 1967 as a single unified fundraising appeal and to enable an equitable distribution of communal funds. Of the Board’s 61 constituents 19 are members of the JCA.
 


The NSW Jewish War Memorial

The Board is represented on the NSW Jewish War Memorial by four Councillors who are elected annually. The War Memorial owns and administers premises which operate as the Jewish Community Centre, one of the community’s most valuable capital assets.

Opened in 1965, this three-storey office block houses many important communal institutions, including the Board of Deputies. Its large ground floor meeting room, known as the Benefactors Hall, is home to our monthly Plenum meetings.

The President of the Board is also the Honorary President of the War Memorial.

The Board first joined as an affiliate of the Ethnic Communities' Council in the late 1970s. Since then, it has remained an active constituent of the Council with representation at both the executive and senior management levels. Josie Lacey has presided over our interests there and contributed widely to the organisation's aspirations and achievements over many years.

The ECC is a non-government peak body representing thousands of people in ethnic communities throughout the State. It operates on a voluntary basis and is run democratically by its members. The ECC's primary roles are in advocacy, education and community development. It actively promotes the principles of multiculturalism and lobbies for the development of a culturally inclusive society in NSW.

The Council is involved in some of the most important issues relating to the welfare and status of ethnic communities. It has contributed to the establishment of organisations including the former Ethnic Affairs Commission of NSW (now Community Relations Commission), the Federation of Ethnic Schools, the Association of Translators and Interpreters and SBS Radio and Television.
     







 

 


 



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