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interfaith activities update

Ester Steingiesser co-ordinates interfaith and intercultural activities in Australia. 

On the 27th of January NCJWA WA once again organized a commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in partnership with the UNAAWA. We had a teacher explaining "March of the Living" and three students that spoke about their experiences on this trip and spoke about respect and the rights of every human being. This was a fantastic opportunity to invite to the event friends from different faiths and different countries as well as religious leaders. This is in my opinion a very positive way to build bridges of understanding between groups. 

NCJWA Vic & NCJWA Gold Coast also marked the day with talks and movies with the story of Richard Rozen OAM, a Holocaust survivor and husband of our National President Rysia Rozan OAM. 

NCJWA NSW regularly hold an interfaith and multicultural morning “Women helping Women” to pack Birthing Kits to send to needy communities overseas. They were joined by volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and faiths as well as from the Jewish Community. 

Di Hirsh OAM - NCJWA VIC & our past National President, had a fantastic initiative last Chanukah, inviting members of different faiths for a Chanukah meal at her home. 
NCJWA Victoria held a women’s interfaith seder once again, on Monday 4 April. Eighty women attended with almost half being not Jewish. Faiths represented included Christian, Muslim, Bahai and Buddhist. They organised the seder with UJEB, the United Jewish Education Board, once again, with a number of batmitzvah-aged girls attending with their mothers and also some friends. Di Hirsh, who co-ordinates the event each year, believes this
is an excellent way to introduce girls to interfaith activities, giving them the opportunity to meet people of other faiths and backgrounds. 

This year the seder was led by Rabbi Allison RH Conyer, from Etz Chayim Progressive Synagogue. Rabbi Conyer prepared a haggadah and involved all the participants in discussions of the symbolism in the seder and the questions raised. She particularly engaged the young girls well. This was the ninth women’s interfaith model seder that they have held. The Passover seder is a wonderful opportunity to engage with women of other faiths and demonstrate an important aspect of Judaism, full of joy and celebration of freedom from oppression. 

Ester Steingiesser, NCJWA - Interfaith, Intercultural Chair