Page 2203 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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Jewish memorial centre

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.04): Mr Speaker, I rise this evening to talk about the National Council of Jewish Women, Canberra section, and the fact that they have just celebrated their 50th anniversary. It was my great pleasure and privilege to attend their 50th anniversary celebratory dinner on Saturday night just gone with my husband, Brendan. It was veritable feast of food and culture.

As I said, the Canberra section of the National Council of Jewish Women, or the NCJW, started 50 years ago. Their 50th anniversary celebrations were held in conjunction with the national biennial plenary meeting, which was also held in Canberra over the weekend. About 80 people attended the event, with 30 coming from across Australia. The President of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, Robyn Lenn, opened the event and unveiled a plaque commemorating the Canberra section’s 50 years of service and support. NCJW has been an integral part of life in the Canberra community from fundraising to social philanthropy to social activities. The guest speaker for the evening was ANU Professor Hilary Charlesworth, professor of international law, specialising in human rights.

Australian Jewish Women in the Arts, AJWA, a network affiliate of the NCJW, also launched a program at the event. AJWA aims to raise the profile of all Australian Jewish women working in the arts and is a free online service for making contacts, providing mentorships and presenting seminars for women in fields of music, drama, dance, fine arts and writing. The event was organised by the Canberra section volunteers including Canberra section former President Sylvia Deutsch, Sarit Cohen, Juliet Morris, Anita Shroot and many others. And they are all to be congratulated for putting on such a superb evening. It was a lot of fun. There were quite a few speeches but none of them was boring, I am happy to report. I think everybody who was present had a great time.

Founded in 1923 by Dr Fanny Reading, and formed nationally in 1929, the NCJW is one of the oldest Jewish women’s organisations in Australia. The food for the evening was provided by Ethiopia Down Under and complied with the Kashrut laws by providing vegetarian food, as well as fish, so that people could partake in milk products.

An article recently put in the Jewish News by Darren Levin states:

One of the ACT’s oldest Jewish community organisations has turned 50.

The National Council of Jewish Women’s (NCJW’s), Canberra section will celebrate the milestone with a gala dinner at the Canberra Jewish Memorial Centre on Sunday.

Founded in 1955 by members of the community, including inaugural president Ruth Mendelsohn, the organisation has been at the hub of Jewish life in Canberra since its inception.

“We’re the community,” said Sylvia Deutsch, former president of the NCJW Canberra and current board member of the NCJW Australia. “As far as women’s organisations go, we’re it.”

Attended by NCJW dignitaries including President of the NCJW Australia Robyn Lenn, who will unveil a commemorative plaque, the gala dinner will feature

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