Founded in 1927, the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Victoria) (NCJWA Vic) originated at a time when women were virtually unrepresented in any Australian Parliament. Seeking a platform to ensure a better world for all, Dr Fanny Reading established a ‘parliament of volunteers’, united by our mission to empower women of all ages to create a better world and be a voice for change.
Today our voices unite to wholeheartedly support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a Voice to Parliament to be protected in the Australian Constitution.
Many will be surprised to know that there has long been a close and unique relationship shared by Jewish and Indigenous Australians. The Jewish and Aboriginal peoples share many profound commonalities - a deep connection to land, a history of dispossession and genocide, the importance of memory, and a rich, vibrant culture that is thousands of years old.
William Cooper, the indigenous activist and community leader who saw the injustices of the world around him, at a time when his own people, the Aboriginal peoples, were struggling for acceptance and their place in Australian society, is one such example of our profoundly deep connection.
In 1938, when William Cooper heard of Kristallnacht, a night of utter destruction of Synagogues, Jewish homes, schools and business in Nazi Germany, he organised for a delegation of Indigenous men and women to march to the German consulate in South Yarra and presented them with a letter condemning the Jewish persecution.
Now, in 2021, it is our obligation as Jewish women to ensure our support is returned, and our voices used to amplify the support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
We stand side-by-side with Indigenous Australians in support of this country hearing the call for a shared future, and seek durable reform to empower our Indigenous peoples with self-determination through the pillars of Voice, Treaty and Truth.
For these core reasons, we call for the Government to:
1. Honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the Voice has been settled;
2. Enable legislation for the Voice to be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament; and
3. Ensure that the voices of previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures.
NCJWA Vic accepts the invitation of the Uluru Statement from the heart with gratitude, and commits to working along-side the Jewish community, First Nations people, and the country at large to achieve a better future through the values of Voice, Treaty and Truth.
On International Women’s Day, NCJWA Vic applauds and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We reiterate the right of all members of our Jewish and broader community to live in a safe and equitable society, with equal access to opportunities, representation and resources, and to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness.
Women should be free to participate equally without fear of bullying or sexual harassment.
When NCJWA was founded by Dr Fanny Reading MBE in 1927, women were virtually unrepresented in our nation’s leadership. Dr Reading gave Jewish women a voice and provided an outstanding model of leadership.
Today, through our programs and advocacy, NCJWA Vic works tirelessly to create a community that reflects these values by empowering women and girls throughout their life cycle.
On IWD2021 we #ChooseToChallenge all Jewish communal organisations to encompass the values of Gender Equality. We commend those organisations that have taken positive steps on the path to a fair and equal society by signing the NCJWA Vic Gender Equality Pledge, and call for community-wide action to accelerate gender equality.
The NCJWA Victoria community breathes a sigh of relief at the news of Malka Leifer’s return to Australia to face 74 charges of alleged sexual abuse.
Leifer’s departure, mere hours prior to the closure of Israel’s airport due to COVID-19, further highlights the importance of ensuring her trial is held without delay. We are confident that the Victorian legal system will ensure a just and fair trial.
As we have done throughout their years-long fight for justice, NCJWA Vic stands together with Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer, Elly Sapper and all alleged victims in this tragic and drawn-out saga.
Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.
NCJWA Vic applauds the Israeli Justice Minister for promptly signing an extradition order to send Malka Leifer back to Australia to face 74 charges of sexual abuse.
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn said it was Israel's "moral duty" to allow for Leifer to stand trial in Australia after a years-long legal saga. The extradition order was signed one day after Israel's Supreme Court rejected Ms Leifer's final appeal.
Leifer's lawyers have indicated they will not be seeking a judicial review of the extradition order. Australia's Attorney General Christian Porter and Foreign Minister, Marise Payne said that the two countries will work together to organise Leifer's surrender to Australian authorities for her return to Melbourne which is "required within 60 days of the conclusion of all formal Israeli processes".
NCJWA Vic together with the Australian Jewish community at large, now awaits the forthcoming legal proceedings in Victoria and the delivery of justice.
NCJWA Vic is disappointed to learn that the only female member of the Mizrachi Executive has not been re-coopted to the Executive.
Mizrachi was one of the early signatories to our Gender Equality Pledge (the Pledge), which amongst its founding principles dictates that all members of our community are to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. We lament the recent loss of the only woman from their Executive, which now comprises solely of men. The Mizrachi Executives’ conduct demonstrates disregard for its commitment to more equitable female participation and to actively pursue a culture of respect for women.
We call on Mizrachi and all Jewish communal organisations to increase the participation of women on their boards and take positive steps toward realising goals of more female voices around decision making tables, not less female voices. In a recent letter to the Mizrachi community, the Mizrachi Executive noted that its "gender balance is consistent with its obligations under the Gender Equality Pledge”. This position suggests a disregard for the spirit and intent of the Pledge. It is unclear how an Executive, which consists of men only, considers itself aligned with obligations to pursue more equitable female participation. We hope that during future elections and cooption processes, Mizrachi honours its pledge to increase female participation at all decision making levels of the organisation.
Through the #makespaceforher campaign, NCJWA Vic is dedicated to ensuring women’s voices and skills are elevated. We will continue working with pledge taking organisations, calling for transparency and accountability in honouring the pledge and providing education and resources that ensure all pledge takers adopt best practice in the pursuit of gender equality. Our society, our community and our organisations benefit when the aspirations and voices of women and girls are equally respected, valued and heard.
NCJWA Vic commends the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to extradite Malka Leifer to Australia to face 74 charges of sexual abuse.
This decision, to be enacted “without delay”, comes following years of hardship and heartbreak for the victims of her alleged abuse.
As highlighted by Judge Anat Alon in her decision, this case stands as a landmark - an important reminder that “anyone who seeks to escape himself... will not find a city of refuge in Israel”.
For years NCJWA Vic, together with the Australian Jewish community at large, has supported Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper in their brave and heroic acts. Their fight for justice reached the hearts and minds of the highest echelons of Australian and Israeli society.
Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof.
This week justice has been served.
The National Council of Jewish Women Vic mourns the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg z’l. Ginsburg, the first female Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court, died on one of the holiest days in Judaism, Erev Rosh Hashanah as many of her country’s nearly six million Jews welcomed the new year 5781, based on the Hebrew calendar. Those who die on the new year holiday are considered “tzadik,” a title given to the righteous and saintly. She was 87.
Ginsburg was raised in a secular household but explained in 2018 that her religious background influenced her life’s work: “I am a judge, born, raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice, for peace and for enlightenment runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.” Ginsburg was a great Justice, a woman of valour, and became something of a hero to liberal women for her decades-long battle in pursuit of women's rights and gender equality.
In 2017, Australia was ranked 35th on a global index measuring gender equality, slipping from a high point of 15th in 2006. While Australia scores very highly in the area of educational attainment, there is still a lot of progress to be made in the areas of economic participation and opportunity and political empowerment.
The work of the NCJWA Vic is not done, our campaign #makespaceforher is a step in the right direction to ensure women are equally represented. We remember and honour RBG’s legacy and will work to continue her life’s work as women, wives and mothers we remember her and the words of the Torah: "Justice, justice, shall you pursue."
World-first gender equality research that has been recently released is showing that companies with more female leaders tend to outperform and those with fewer women underperform. The study is based on 6 years of Australian companies' gender reporting to the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency (created by the Gillard Government in 2012).
"The study is a world first because of the causal role it identifies between greater gender diversity and business success. While other studies have concluded that such a connection is likely, the data provided by the WGEA allowed real case studies and leadership appointments to be tracked over a number of years to establish direct proof of the link."
Read more here:
#genderequality #makespaceforher #ncjwavic
NCJWA Vic is delighted to congratulate all those Australians who were honoured in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours and in particular to those men and women in our community who were celebrated with an award. We congratulate the Victorian Jewish women: Naomi Milgrom AC, Tottie Goldsmith OAM, Helen Mahemoff OAM, Sue Morgan OAM, Natalie King OAM and Etkaterina Danova OAM. We would also like to mention the two other Jewish women honoured, both from NSW, Bess Rosen OAM and Emily Matters AM.
At the national level, 41% of honourees were women while in Victoria, women made up 49% of honourees. However, of the 29 people from across the Australian Jewish community (reported in the AJN) who received an honour, only 8 were women. In Victoria, 40% of Jewish honourees were women including one of only 2 Jewish recipients recognised as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
We still have a way to go before men’s and women’s contributions are celebrated equally. It’s time for the Jewish community across Australia to nominate more exceptional women so that they can be acknowledged for their achievements through the highest level of public recognition; an Australian honour.
Privacy website statement
03 9523 0535
PO Box 2220Caulfield Junction VIC 3161
131-133 Hawthorn RoadCaulfield North VIC 3161