Message from the Chair

IJAANZ had a gratifying 2022 with our initiatives spreading the message of tolerance and inclusivity of the Jews of India.

First things first. It gives me great pleasure to announce that Rabbi George Mordecai has kindly agreed  to be IJAANZ’s Rabbinical Guide (Progressive). After serving as the Cantor at congregations throughout the USA, Rabbi Mordecai returned to Australia to Emanuel Synagogue. Born and raised in Sydney, Rabbi George is of Baghdadi Jewish heritage, and has a deep connection to, and affection for Jewish India. He infuses his teaching with a deep sense of spirituality and historical perspective, weaving his rich cultural heritage into his work as both a Cantor and a performer. (listen to Rabbi George’s album Safra on Spotify). In addition to his musical and liturgical expertise, he is an engaging educator and has more than 20 years’ experience in building community.

I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to Rabbi George on behalf of IJAANZ’s Committee and our members and are grateful for his guidance. We will also be announcing our Orthodox Rabbinical Guide shortly.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank so many people who have  contributed to make IJAANZ’s first year a success. We extend our sincere thanks to Avner Isaac, Chair, Ruth Greenfield, Hon. Secretary  and the team at the Indian Jewish Heritage Center and Cochin Heritage Center in Nevatim, Israel, and their team, for their  partnership and friendship. Sincere thanks to Professor Jay A. Waronker for being so generous with his time and sharing his work with us here in Australia and New Zealand.

I’d like to extend sincere and heartfelt thanks all our partners who made our travelling Exhibition such a success – our sponsors at Emanuel Synagogue,  Plus61J, the Leo Baeck Centre and the Burger Centre for their generous venue and event sponsorships.

Sincere thanks go to Dilip Rao for his tireless work and expertise on so many fronts, including setting up our payments system, as well as our back-end and front-end communications processes; to Naomi Elijah and Val Silberberg for all their incredible help with setting up the Melbourne Exhibition, to Tanya for designing our beautiful logo and website, to Shulamith who formatted and sends our quarterly newsletters this year, and to Ben for personally carrying copies of the ‘Synagogues of India’ books from the US for us.

Finally, a big thank you to the entire IJAANZ Committee for all their hard work for making our first year a resounding success.

I wish all our IJAANZ members, partners and friends Chag Hanukkah Sameach. Thank you for your incredible support and we look forward to seeing you all in 2023! 

Yoel Samson, Chair, IJAANZ

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