Monthly Archives: December 2020

Chag Chanukah Sameach!

Kislev 5781/ December 2020

“Hanukkah is the festival on which Jews celebrate their victory in the fight for religious freedom more than two thousand years ago. Tragically that fight is no less important today – and not only for Jews, but for people of all faiths.”
The late Rabbi Lord Jonathon Sacks

Wishing you a joyous and meaningful Chanukah

The UPJ Executive and Staff

David Knoll AM and Brian Samuel OAM, Co-Presidents
Roger Mendelson, Immediate Past President
Dorothy Graff, Vice-President
Helen Shardey, Vice-President
Sally Castle, Honorary Treasurer
Larry Lockshin, Honorary Secretary
Committee: Judi Hall, Danny Hochberg,
Associate Professor Joshua Keller,
Marsha Rosenberg, Sue Silberberg, Franklin Tate

Rabbi Nicole Roberts and Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky, Moetzah Representatives
Lior Kalisse, Netzer Federal Mazkir
Sefi Shalam, Progressive Community and Netzer Shaliach
Sharene Hambur, WUPJ Representative

Jocelyn Robuck, Executive Manager

The ARZA Australia Executive

Helen Shardey, President
Steve Denenberg, Immediate Past President
Sue Silberberg, Vice-President
Tony Leverton, Honorary Treasurer
Alex Knopoff, Honorary Secretary
Rabbinic Advisor: Rabbi Fred Morgan
Committee Member: Cassie Barrett
Ex-Officio: Lior Kalisse, Rabbi Nicole Roberts and Sefi Shalam

Click here to learn about Chanukah events throughout the UPJ region.

2021-03-01T19:43:19+11:00December 10th, 2020|Events, News|

Miracle of Lights

As the festival of Chanukah approaches, we think of Judah Maccabee and the other Jews who were able to drive the Greek-Syrians out of Jerusalem and cleanse the Second Temple, leading to its rededication. It is remembered as the Miracle of Lights whereby the small amount of temple oil, only enough to burn for a single day, continued burning for eight days.

This festival is traditionally thought of as the miracle of light over darkness that saw the maintenance of an independent Jewish Kingdom at around 200 BCE, allowing the Jews to continue practicing their religion.

Today, the land of Israel is seen as the home of the Jewish people, regardless of where they reside in the world.

For those of us who live in the Diaspora and practice Progressive Judaism, the importance of a free and democratic Eretz Israel is part and parcel of our beliefs and values; a land where we seek freedom of religious practice, like the Maccabees, religious equality for all streams of Judaism, and a pluralistic society where men, women and Jews of colour are treated as one.

We are, at this time, blessed by the world bodies of Judaism seeking to share the light: the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the World Zionist Organisation and our own Union for Progressive Judaism, including our many Progressive synagogues, schools and organisations.

As we celebrate the first night of Chanukah on Thursday 10 December, we will, I believe, be hoping for the spreading of light over darkness to deal with the scourge of COVID-19 in Israel and the political instability that is currently rife in the Jewish homeland. We will also be hoping that, whatever the political outcome, our Progressive movement will continue to grow and be strong in Israel so that we in the Diaspora will feel welcome and at home in the land of our ancestors.

Chag Chanukah Sameach!

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2021-03-01T19:43:00+11:00December 9th, 2020|Events, News|

A Message from the Chairman


On October 30 this year I received a letter from Yaakov Hagoel, the newly elected Chairman of the World Zionist Organization. He talked about Menachem Begin as the person who inspired him in the way he hoped to manage the WZO. I will quote some of his letter. The full letter can be downloaded here.

“In 1897 a scattered people gathered together in what seemed almost surreal. For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, Jewish representatives from dozens of communities around the world assembled to discuss the return to their homeland. Theodor Herzl, the Visionary of the State and the other early leaders saw Zionism as the fulfillment of the natural and historic right of our people and instilled within the delegates of the Zionist Congress a sense of unity.

The World Zionist Organization is the organization that brought about the rebirth of the State of Israel. It serves as the government of the Jewish people, which gathers and unites under its wings various opinions, views, denominations and challenges faced by the Jewish people, both in the Diaspora and in Israel.

When Menachem Begin was elected prime minister in 1977, he was asked in what style he would run the government. He replied, “in a good Jewish style.” Inspired by this great leader, I strive to manage this important organization in a good Jewish, Zionist, ethical style, working together with the members of the Zionist Executive in Israel and in the Diaspora.

Today I take on the important role of leading the Zionist movement. I do this out of humble reverence and the realization of the eternal values of our people — values of freedom, mutual respect, identity and tradition.

My dear friends, members of the organization, representatives of the Jewish communities, those from different denominations with various views, we all share one goal with one vision reserved uniquely for our people.

I look forward to working together for the continued fulfillment of our vision.

“Behold, a people that rises like a lioness and raises itself up like a lion.” Numbers 23:24 “Turned a rag into a flag, and a miserable rabble into a people, gathered upright around that flag.” Theodor Herzl, 1901

With the love of the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.

Yaakov Hagoel
Chairman of the Zionist Executive

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

2021-03-01T19:56:54+11:00December 4th, 2020|News|
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