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interfaith report 2014

ICJW Interfaith & Intercultural Report from Australia

In NCJW Australia we are very lucky to live in a country where multiculturalism is so successful, supported and promoted by the Australian government and our state and territory governments. While we must always be vigilant, the Australian Jewish community has very good relations with other communities of different faiths and cultures and NCJWA is prominent in these communal activities.

 All sections of NCJWA are involved in interfaith and intercultural activities to some extent and NCJWA women appear on panels representing our faith and traditions.

In NSW books and videos have been purchased with a number of grants, for group discussions with women from a variety of cultures and faiths. This continues on a regular basis. They have also shared celebrations of Jewish festivals with these women.

In Victoria a Women’s Interfaith Model Seder is held each year. In 2014 we are specifically inviting young girls of different faiths around batmitzvah age with a woman in their life in order to introduce the girls to the experience of interfaith dialogue from a relatively early age. There is a close involvement with the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia (JCMA), especially the Women’s Committee with Di Hirsh being actively involved there. JCMA holds a Women’s Conference and a Winter Conference (for both women and men) each year and other interfaith activities. Di is also a presenter in the JCMA Schools Program and she is also involved on the Committee of Religions for Peace Australia. Di will participate in a Journey to Jerusalem in late May, one of 12 people chosen in Australia, 3 Jews, 3 Christians and 3 Muslims. This is the first interfaith trip of its kind organised from Australia.

In Western Australia we are involved in a variety of interfaith activities including organising an interfaith celebration of UN Peace Day in September.

At the NCJWA National Conference held in 2011 we held a very interesting session entitled “Engaging with other Communities: Civil and Religious Rights”, with speakers from the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities.

Through our interfaith and intercultural activities we aim to learn more about people of other faiths and cultures, while at the same time they have the opportunity to learn more about Judaism and our traditions. This is the ideal way to build harmonious relations with others in our community and beyond.

Di Hirsh OAM