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Queensland shows its support for Pittsburgh victims

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More than 500 members of Queensland Jewry gathered together, joined by politicians and members of other faiths, last week in Brisbane and the Gold Coast to remember the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Speaking at the Brisbane memorial service the Life Governor of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD), David Paratz delivered a moving keynote address commencing by asking the gathering about the “significance of 14,987” and the “importance of 14,057”.

“Numbers have a mystic symbolism in Judaism. Yet these numbers are not mystic, but very poignant,” David said.

“14,987 is the number of kilometres that Pittsburgh is to the north-east of Brisbane. In a sense it is a world away, because that is a distance greater than the diameter of the earth (12,472 km).

“But, tonight there is no distance between Brisbane and Pittsburgh. And, 14,057 is the number of kilometres that Jerusalem is to the North-West of Brisbane – not much different to the distance to Pittsburgh.

“We in Brisbane stand equidistant from Pittsburgh and from Jerusalem – that is not a distance, it is a continuum, and we are all joined together.”

The memorial service was co-ordinated by QJBD president Paul Myers, who said he was deeply touched by the outpouring of support by the community, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

“It was a truly representative turnout, not only from all of our synagogues, the Sunshine Coast and Jewish organisations, but also from the wider interfaith community, as well as all levels of government,” Paul said.

“Many thanks again to Gail Paratz, Phillip Zavelsky, David Bentley and Michael Arenson for their roles in making the event very meaningful.”

Queensland Minister for Multicultural Affairs, The Hon Stirling Hinchliffe, represented the Government and shared his reflections with the attendees about this horrific act of hate.

Brisbane Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Jaffe, who was travelling to a conference in the US, was unable to attend, but provided guidance for the event.

The Gold Coast also held a moving memorial service, led by Rabbi Gurevitch at the Gold Coast Hebrew Congregation and his message was, similarly, one of unity.

“As we grapple with this calamity, we need to accelerate our activities to foster love and unity among all members of the Jewish family and beyond. Let us draw strength from the timeless and fortifying bond that we share,” Rabbi Gurevitch said.

Queensland Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Stirling Hinchliffe represents the Queensland Government at the Pittsburgh memorial service

QJBD President Paul Myers at the Pittsburgh memorial service

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Queensland Labor party’s unfortunate anti-Israel motion

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September 2018

Unfortunately, at the August 2018 Queensland Labor conference, their members have once again voted to condemn Israel and call on the immediate recognition of a Palestinian State.

The spokesman for the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, the roof body of Queensland Jewry,  Jason Steinberg said the vote was very unfortunate.

“There are some elements of the Queensland ALP, led by Wendy Turner, that do not understand the well established requirements for statehood stipulated by international law,” Jason said.

“Wendy Turner is also the Labor Friends of Palestine and the Queensland convenor of the Australia Palestinian Advocacy Network – so her motivations are clear, but her understanding of the issue is floored.”

Despite the motion passing, there where members of the Labor Party that argued against it during the debate.

“It was good to hear there was vocal opposition from the floor, most notably from the Member for Logan, Linus Power,” Jason said.

“Mr Power warned against any form of recognition that was not conditional on ‘Palestine’ respecting independent trade unions, women’s rights, LGBTI rights and the rights for minority groups.

“His premise was the whole question of recognition should be left to an incoming Federal Labor government to ensure these outcomes.”

The QJBD calls on all Labor members throughout Queensland and Australia to seek more information about the topic.

Read here an article by the ECAJ’s Peter Wertheim on the topic.

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Life-saving defibrillators secured for the Qld community

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Queensland’s Jewish community has taken delivery of five new life saving CardiacScience G5 defibrillators for use at its synagogues and Brisbane’s Gan Gani Kindergarten, thanks to the generosity of the Pelerman Foundation and coordination by the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) and welfare body JCareQld.


“The first 10 minutes can be the difference between surviving a major cardiac event and not, so now we have a defibrillator at hand we can be prepared,” Professor Abramson said.The project to install the defibrillators was initiated by Professor David Abramson, from the South Brisbane Hebrew Congregation, who said the units would be invaluable if there was an incident at one of the community’s key venues.

In addition to generous support from the Pelerman Foundation, received through welfare organisation JCareQld, each organisation matched the funding to cover the costs of the units.

Organisations that now have new defibrillators include Gan Gani Kindergarten, Brisbane Chevra Kadisha, Temple Shalom Gold Coast, South Brisbane Hebrew Congregation and the Gold Coast Hebrew Congregation.

QJBD President, Paul Myers, gratefully acknowledged those organisations that accepted the opportunity to purchase a defibrillator and thanked Real First Aid who provided a significant discount.

“This is a great example of how the Jewish community in South East Queensland can work together towards a common goal,” Myers said.

“Our synagogue facilities are used for services and a wide variety of functions, attended by many members of the community and Gan Gani is a key source of Jewish education in our community. We genuinely hope these defibrillators won’t need to be used, but having them there is a great comfort.”

The defibrillator units can be used by anyone, regardless of training. The unit gives clear instructions on what to do, and only delivers a shock if required.