Article Library / 2015

2014-2015 Annual Assessment

The differences between the Sydney and Melbourne Jewish communities, discussed earlier, are seen most starkly in the fundraising models followed in each city. In Sydney, communal fundraising is carried out through the Jewish Communal Appeal. Founded in 1967, after the Six Day War, the JCA has emerged in recent years as an influential body. It has realized that transparency, accountability, and long term planning are essential for effective fundraising. Today, the JCA partners with 22 Jewish organizations in Sydney, representing the full spectrum of Jewish life, from schools, to welfare, including elderly care, to social, cultural and sporting bodies and including the Jewish community in Canberra in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory). This co-operative endeavor has ensured that all organizations receive financial assistance on the basis of their needs, rather than on the basis of their fundraising abilities. Moves to create a JCA in Perth have also taken place.

The situation in Melbourne is different: there is no central fundraising mechanism. Each communal organization has to raise its own funds, and weaker organizations often face financial struggles. The Jewish Funders Group was formed in Melbourne, on the basis that through collaboration, a much greater impact can be achieved. This group established the Australian Jewish Funders (AJF), based on Jewish values with the belief that “Jewish tradition, ethics and values are at the heart of everything we strive to achieve.”31

An interesting recent development has been the emergence of the organization, “Stand Up: Jewish commitment to a better world”.32 Originally established as “Jewish Aid Australia” by Gary Samowitz, a young Jewish leader in his 20s, with the support of the Jewish Funders in Melbourne, this organization has grown rapidly and has opened a Sydney branch. Based on the Jewish ideals of Tikkun Olam and Tzeddakah, it aims at building a better world. It runs programs for young people to assist indigenous Australians and Sudanese refugees, and has sought to reach out to other peoples globally, including programs in Nepal. Its recent emergence, and its change of name to “Stand Up” are indicative of the changing emphasis among young Jewish Australians from focusing on issues within the tribe, to broader problems in Australia and across the world.

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