News and Events

Days Of Awe – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Days of Awe Greetings
Warm regards from the ARZA Australia Board

Helen Shardey OAM President
Ayal Marek Vice-president
Ben James Vice-president
Cassandra Barrett Secretary
Tony Leverton Treasurer
Steve Denenberg Immediate Past President
Avishai Conyer Netzer Federal Mazkir
Naama Yeruham Shlicha Melbourne
Hada Lev Tzori Shlicha Sydney
Rabbi Fred Morgan AM   Rabbinic Advisor
2023-09-13T18:32:08+10:00September 13th, 2023|News|

WUPJ Rosh Hashana message


Dear Friends

The WUPJ mishpachah sends our prayers and good wishes for a happy and sweet new year to you and your loved ones throughout Australia, Asia, and New Zealand.

Hopefully, most of you will be safely re-entering your synagogues during this significant time in our Jewish calendar; while some will choose to ‘attend’ online services streamed here and around the world. Either way, we hope you feel that you are part of our strong, supportive, and like-minded communities, celebrating together in over 50 countries, in synagogues and a range of different settings; sharing the same prayers, maybe to different melodies, old and new; surrounded by family, enjoying welcome hospitality and looking forward to the sound of the Shofar.

Especially at this time, when we also remember those less fortunate than us, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to you, for your continued financial support, through the UPJ Progressive Trust Campaign. Your generosity enables WUPJ to:

  • Provide humanitarian aid to Jews and other refugees in Ukraine, and the other countries to which they have fled,
  • Sponsor programs for Jewish education and leadership development,
  • Connect Jews around the world with each other and Israel,
  • Engage Jewish youth as proud and active community members,
  • Advance Progressive Judaism in Israel; and advocate for a just, civil, and inclusive society.

We hope that 5784 brings you good health, renewal of spirit, acceptance of, and comfort with, change, a full and meaningful communal life, and for us all, peace, where there is none.

G’mar Chatima Tova


Rabbi Sergio Bergman, President

Phyllis Dorey OAM, Chair

2023-09-13T18:29:41+10:00September 13th, 2023|News|

Women Under Threat In Israel From Extreme Government

The girls sitting at the back of the Nateev Express bus, after being told to 'cover up' on Sunday. Credit: Haaretz

The girls sitting at the back of the Nateev Express bus, after being told to ‘cover up’ on Sunday. Credit: Haaretz

Gender segregation in Israel is being promoted and forced on women by an extreme government which is completely out of touch with Israeli citizens and most of the community who are getting sick and tired of an unacceptable level of discrimination, particularly against women.

Women are being openly discriminated against on public buses and on international flights. Women are literally being sent to the back of the bus, and told to cover up, even on hot days and on flights women are told to change their seats for orthodox men who won’t go to another seat themselves. A women’s advocacy group remarked that what is happening is the continuation of “Israeli government policies that actively work to exclude and erase women from every space”.

An example is the push by Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman for a pilot plan for gender segregated bathing in public nature reserves and parks regardless of legal objections that it is illegal. But the Minister continues her outrageous crusade showing her contempt for the law and seeking to undermine the principle of equality as laid out in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

A recent article talked about the government’s frightening steps against women to “reduce women’s status in Israel by weakening state bodies intended to advance women to strengthening rabbinical courts and avoiding actions meant to protect women from violence.”

In the Knesset the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality headed by National Unity Party lawmaker, Pnina Tamano-Shata has been sidelined in the discussion of legislation to now be debated by a joint committee headed by far-right MK Simcha Rothman against the advice of the Knesset’s legal adviser. The bill to be discussed was importantly one for cancelling the statute of limitations on sex crimes. A bill which had already passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset.

An angry Pnina Tamano-Shata is quoted as saying “Do you think I’ll be your fig leaf so you can crush the status of women? You might as well dismantle the Status of Women’s Committee.”

Also, in the Knesset Haredi women’s groups are being barred from a Knesset panel on the “Right to Gender Segregation in Israel”. Two groups were denied entry on the basis that there were already enough organisations representing Haredi women. The two groups happened to be Orthodox feminist groups which represent women in rabbinical courts. There has sadly been an expansion of rabbinic court’s authority.

To drive home the point the Netanyahu government has appointed 23 men to the position of director-general of ministries-and not a single woman. “An attempt to roll back the presence of women at the cabinet table and in the public arena”. Finally, the legal discrimination in providing services on the basis of religious belief is an excruciating attempt to deny women access to medical treatment in favour of men.

As Progressive Jews, let us continue our support for IRAC, the IMPJ and the WUPJ in support of Israel and Israeli women.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2023-08-27T23:38:48+10:00August 25th, 2023|News|
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