Message from the Chair

It has been a very eventful few months at IJAANZ, with many more to come.

IJAANZ’s inaugural ‘Journeys in Watercolours – Synagogues of India’ Exhibition on June 1, 2022, at Sydney’s beautiful Millie Phillips Gallery was an incredibly special night indeed, stirring interest in Professor Jay A. Waronker’s unique artworks, as well as discussion, questions, and some emotion about the Jews of India.

More than eighty people enjoyed the ambience of the Gallery’s elegant décor and partook of the generous spread of food and wine. Emanuel’s Reverend Sam Zwarenstein opened the evening’s proceedings with a beautiful berachah that set an aura to the spirit, and essential meaning behind, the entire evening.

From left to right: Rev. Sam Zwarenstein, Plus61J's GM Ilona Lee AM and Publisher, Uri Windt, Emanuel Programming Director Marina Capponi, Indian Consul (Commerce and Trade) Sanjay Muluka, IJAANZ Chair Yoel Samson and IJAANZ Sydney President Angelica Jacob.

One of the main highlights of the evening was when Professor Jay A. Waronker Ph.D. joined the gathering via Zoom from Atlanta GA at what was indeed an extremely late hour AEST for him. He shared with us the inspiration behind his art and the deep emotional connection synagogues have to their congregants. IJAANZ is incredibly grateful to Professor Waronker for preparing and sending the artworks, and for being so generous with his time. I would also like to thank the Marian and Abraham Sofaer Foundation, Palo Alto, USA for their artwork sponsorship.

I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people on the night – in particular, I had  an engaging conversation with Sanjay K. Muluka, Consul (Commerce & Trade) and Head of Chancery of the Consulate General of India. We thank him for his time and presence, which was important to us. I also had the great pleasure of meeting our generous sponsors, Ilona Lee, AM, General Manager, and Uri Windt, Publisher, of Plus 61J. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their kind sponsorship, enthusiasm, and unwavering support of this Exhibition.

In other exhibitions, an engaged and enthusiastic group of seniors admired and pondered over the ‘Synagogues of India’ Exhibition at a Jewish community centre in early July in Sydney’s east. I’d like to thank the Burger.

The Exhibition will also be held on 18 September, 2022 at the Leo Baeck Art Centre, a Progressive Jewish congregation serving Melbourne’s eastern and northern suburbs that has many Jews of India among its congregation. We thank Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, Valerie Silberberg, Head of Arts, and their team in advance for kindly hosting our Exhibition.Community Centre in Randwick for hosting this for their members.

I’m saddened to inform you of the recent passing of Rabbi Shmuel Ben-Shalom (Divekar), may his soul Rest in Peace, and extend our deepest condolences to his family in Jerusalem for their loss. Shortly before his sad passing, Rabbi Ben-Shalom kindly sent IJAANZ several beautiful leather-bound bilingual English-Marathi Haggadahs and other publications, for which we are very grateful. Please donate generously to this worthy cause.

In other plans for the rest of the year, I’m very pleased to let you know that, for the first time, IJAANZ will participate in this year’s Yom Limmud to be held on Sunday 11 September 2022 at the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales, Sydney with a 60-minute talk about “The Jews of India – Not a People Apart”. As well, we will have a stall with select books, fliers and membership forms. Do visit our stall to say hello and support us – we hope to see you there!

Yoel Samson, Chair, IJAANZ

Categories: News