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May 2009

May
26
2009

An Email to our Leadership

We have just sent an email requesting comments from the leaders of some of our key institutions. These include, AIJAC, the ZFA, ECAJ, AUJS, Maccabi, and the JCCV. Below is a copy of the email that we sent.
“The Sensible Jew is a web log devoted to discussion of matters pertaining to the leadership and representation [...]

May
24
2009

Where to now? practical questions and suggestions for change in our community and a link to Manny Wax’s Report

Manny Waks, formerly of B’nei Brith has spent considerable time researching our community and looking into the possibility of establishing a nation-wide think tank.
[edited at 10:51pm to add] Manny has now put the report online. You can read it here. He points out that it is not an academic document, but one designed for the [...]

May
24
2009

The New Week: Ideas from SJ Readers 2 – Jewish Priorities, the Media, Jewish Schools, and our Leadership

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Ideas from SJ Readers

While we strongly agree with Yoram on this, we do not agree with his extrapolation that we should not focus too much on the media, or get caught up in its “glamour.” Yoram believes that we are not in any danger of an imminent “pogrom,” and with this we would also agree.

…That does not mean that relations between our community and the Muslim community have not deteriorated considerably. There are many unpleasant actions and events that can take place before large scale violence occurs. It’s also important to remember that communal violence of any stripe never erupts without a long lead-up of perceived insults to honour. One of the hopes of The Sensible Jew is to catch the destructive tendencies of our leadership before any lasting and long term damage is done. Indeed, danger is not imminent, so we are blessed in that we have this opportunity, during a time of peaceful relations with other communities, to build networks and on-the-ground relationships that will prevent a slide into inter-communal animus.

May
24
2009

The New Week: Ideas from SJ Readers 1 – Yoram’s Report from Auburn Rd Shul

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Ideas from SJ Readers

Firstly, Yoram, of the Auburn Rd Shul, conducted a discussion among the Shul’s congregants regarding some of the themes raised on this blog. We thank him for doing that. For more information on that discussion, you can read Yoram’s comment here. The congregants, diverse in age and background seemed to agree that the community requires some form of leadership; however, Yoram contends that even though such a forum was effective at promoting discussion, the “Town Hall” style of meeting may not be best suited to establishing tangible changes.

May
22
2009

Shabbat Shalom

Hello to all our sensible friends.
We’d like to update you on a couple of issues:
1) The Sensible Jew has now been viewed by2,467 unique visitors since we began last week, according to the Wordpress statistics. That’s a pretty big number. Over the last few days, we’ve been averaging around or over 400 visitors. Today, it [...]

May
22
2009

AJN 2: Colin Rubinstein vs David Langsam

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series In the Australian Jewish News

Dr. Rubenstin, after years of faithful service at AIJAC, claims that his organisation was somehow bamboozled into making utterly self-defeating and inflammatory comments to the Australian media that transformed a silly 8 minute play into national news and enabled a partisan beat-up over a ridiculous Kennett painting.

May
21
2009

AJN 1: Peaceful Protests

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series In the Australian Jewish News

In this week’s Australian Jewish News, the protests at the 8 minute play were, of course covered. This gave the head of AUJS (Australian Union of Jewish Students), Stefan Oberman an opportunity to explain why exactly he thought yelling, placards, and raised fists were the answer.

While the article mentioned signs with admirable sentiments, such as, “Peace, salaam, shalom,” being waved, it neglected to mention other Jewish placards referencing dead Jewish children.

May
21
2009

The Age Has Contacted Michael Fagenblat re: The Sensible Jew

Michael Fagenblat said

May 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm e

I was approached today by a journalist from The Sunday Age, Tom Hyland, who is writing an article on β€œthe debate within the Jewish community about how the community is represented in the wider public debate on contentious public issues, particularly the Palestine-Israel conflict.” His editor asked him to write the piece in light of the Lateline episode, but the angle is not restricted to Seven Jewish Children.

May
21
2009

Reader Response 4: Coups, Town Halls, and the Reluctance to Comment

It would seem prudent to gather some momentum, and to get a feel for the common ground shared by all Jewish moderates before storming Beit Weizman.

While the last sentence is somewhat tongue in cheek, it does allude to an idea that emerged at The Sensible Jew: what do people think of an open meeting, to which all Melbourne Jews are welcome, in which we could ask the leaders of the ZFA, ECAJ, AIJAC, and other bodies some questions regarding their recent media performance, and their claims to legitimate representation?

Would such a meeting do any good? Is it at all worthwhile? Are our institutions so rotten that attempting to graft democratic elements onto them would be futile? If so, by what mechanisms could an alternative leadership be established?

May
20
2009

Reader Response 3: Media and Anti-Semitism

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series reader response

Firstly, the observation has been made on more than one occasion that there are genuine anti-Semites (some of whom are Jewish) active in the media. The Sensible Jew believes that this point is moot. Apart from the impossibility of determining exactly which journalists and editors are indeed anti-Semitic, we must acknowledge that certain people with various ideological agendas will always abuse their positions in the media. Such people cannot be “rooted out.”