The remains of a Mulberry Harbour (artificial port) at Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandy © Bertl123 / Shutterstock

The remains of a Mulberry Harbour (artificial port) at Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandy © Bertl123 / Shutterstock

Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Last week we commemorated 2 significant days in history. One is D-Day, June 6, 1944 that symbolises the turning point of the Second World War when the Western allies counter attacked Nazi Germany and the Axis forces leading to Germany’s surrender within less than a year.

The other is Jerusalem Day , that symbolises the “reunification” of Jerusalem on 5 June 1967, following 3 weeks of Syrian and Egyptian troops gathering on the borders, accompanied by threats from Arab leaders, leading to great fear of a second holocaust.

Both events symbolise in my eyes the victory of the “free world” representing liberal values of freedom and democracy, seeking peaceful co-existence against authoritarian and oppressive regimes with less values to individual human rights. This links to current events. Despite all the hardship we are facing I believe we must maintain hope and aspire for a better world that will see freedom and liberty winning over fundamentalism and extremism.

Order of the day

General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day, delivered to Allied personnel on June 6, 1944. (Image: Eisenhower Presidential Library.)

I would recommend this great talk by the late Rabbi Sacks on Jerusalem, faith, hope and peace.

I would also highly recommend listening to this podcast with Dr Einat Wilf, an Israeli intellectual from the peace camp:

How to Achieve Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (on The Michael Shermer Show)

It provides a very articulate insight into her experience in negotiating peace and researching the conflict leading to a view of a realistic pathway to peace, identifying key obstacles and what is required to overcome them.

Although this is long, it is worth, in my eyes, every minute of your time. You can listen in any of the following links:

I would like to share with you an article I wrote recently regarding this very topic emphasising the need for courageous leadership at this time in order to stop the Hate and protect our community:

I would also recommend reading the following article by Dr Michael Milstein (the head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Dayan Centre at Tel Aviv University) regarding his view of the most realistic way forwards for Israel and the Palestinans:

I would also like to share the sad news that Michael Livni passed away last week. Michael was the visionary and grandfather of Reform Zionism, leaving behind a tremendous legacy and vision.

He was laid to rest in the rocky desert earth of his beloved Kibbutz Lotan – coincidentally appropriate as we begin reading the Book of BaMidbar (literally “in the desert”) this week.

In his foreword to Michael Livni’s book Reform Zionism: An Educator’s Perspective, Rabbi Hank Skirball z”l wrote that Michael Livni’s success was:

“…in his contradictions and creative tensions. He is, in Achad Ha’am’s terminology, both a cohen (priest) and navi (prophet). He is a stubborn ideologue and a flexible pragmatist, energetic and contemplative. He takes his mission seriously but not himself when it comes to seeking praise and crest. Not shrinking from the controversial and unpopular, he is courageous and compassionate. He is at home in the halls of academia and washing dishes in the kibbutz.”

You can read more in the following link:

We have had great interest in this highly subsidised program. It is not too late – with a few places left please get in touch:


As some of you may be aware, we have been working on a program to empower our young community members facing the challenges of antisemitism on university campuses and elsewhere. This program is still being developed and if you have skills that may be of assistance we would love to hear from you. In particular we are looking for expertise in the fields of mental health and how to engage in conversation involving complex and sensitive topics.

We started this project before the 7th of October as we identified this need was prevalent in our community.

Please find below 2 links that demonstrate this need which as we are all aware has increased significantly over the past 8 months.

The first is a student sharing her experiences over the past several years:

The second is a survey published August 2023 with some astonishing findings that led us to initiate our student empowerment program:

Experiences 1
Experiences 2

Jewish students are hiding their identity on campus

Experiences 3
Experiences 4

Last week I participated in an informative panel discussion organised by the JCCV on antisemitism at universities. Participants included Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation director and Loti Smorgon Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture, Dr David Slucki; Paris Enten, Monash University student and immediate past vice president of AUJS; and Sara Lupton, President of the Melbourne University Jewish Students Society (MUJSS).

We are happy to share with you that TBI is hosting Rabbi Danny Schiff in a wonderful 3 part Scholars series. He will speak on Jewish Ethics in testing times.

$75 for all three sessions for PJV affiliates. Registration via this link:

Private Zoom links will be made available for those who can not attend, upon payment.

If you or others would like to attend but are suffering from financial hardship, please let TBI know, so they can make the necessary arrangements.

Hope to see you later this month!

Finally we are happy to share the joy of the entire Jewish community at the rescue of four of the hostages who had been held in Gaza since 7th October 2023. Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 41.

Israelis and Jewish communities around the world shared a few moments of joy. In Melbourne hundreds of people gathered to sing, dance and wave Israeli and Australian flags, while passing motorists honked their horns in support.

We continue to pray for the release of all hostages and the end of hostilities.

Am Israel Chai


Thank you for continued support of ARZA, helping to promote progressive Jewish voices both here and abroad. To continue our efforts, we need your support. If you have not yet renewed your 2024 membership, the cost is only $18 and your membership will provide us with priceless votes at the upcoming World Zionist Congress in Israel.


We also always welcome donations, for as little as $10. This helps us to continue advocating on key local issues on behalf of Australia’s reform community.


Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Ayal Marek
President ARZA