Home » Joel Lazar, Recent Posts, Religion and Jewish Thought

Placing Your Flag Somewhere

January 10, 2013 – 10:11 am194 Comments

Photo by James Faris, from his book Nuba, Personal Art (1972)

By Joel Lazar
One Shabbat last month, I deliverd a dvar torah to my congregation, Beit Aharon (Gandel Besen), about the war crimes and atrocities perpetrated daily in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. With the same heart-wrenching difficulty that I face every time I speak of what is happening over there, I spoke of the abductions and the rapes; I told of the systematic waves of government-sanctioned bombings, killing defenceless families; the ethnic genocide-by-attrition that is starving hundreds of thousands as villages and farms are torched. The measured attempt to destroy any trace of the Nuban people – indigenous to the land since the ancient Pharaohs.

I spoke about the parashah too; the importance of the ‘ish’ (‘The Man’) in the story of Joseph. The ish was a random, unnamed man who, on account of giving Joseph the correct directions to find his brothers grazing in the field – the beginning of the descent to Egypt, the Exodus, Sinai and a return to the Promised Land, he likely set the course of Jewish – and hence all of – history.

After shule, one member approached me as I reached for the egg salad:

I agree, Joel. About what you said today. Terrible, terrible things happening over there. Everywhere really.

I nodded and wiped the eggy residue from my lip.

The thing is….

I waited for the kicker.

…people find it hard to pick something to care about. There’s a lot out there. You’ve chosen Nuba, and that’s great. But it could well have been anything else, and people have limited time and precious attention.

In the most pragmatic of ways, he’s right. When you’re campaigning for a cause it’s not enough to illustrate why we should care about the people we hope to help. That’s undoubtedly seminal. However, much of the story is convincing people that this person and this cause is one worth fighting for and giving time and/or money to.

That puts me, and all others who campaign for any cause, in a precarious position; because you are inadvertently saying: Choose this cause. Not that one.

That’s a difficult moralistic and existential environment in which to dwell. Raising funds to save a three year old, malnourished, or dehydrated child in the Yida refugee camp who has fled the bombings of the Nuba Mountains could have been funds directed to a Melbournian mother of three from an abusive relationship or a Sri Lankan teenager from the sex slave trade. The same applies in volunteering time to one cause and not another. The world, it seems, is a large public hospital with bed, nurse and doctor shortages a daily reality.

And in placing my flag somewhere, some would argue that I’m playing God; I’ve chosen and valued one life, and indirectly unchosen another. And yet, in truth, that action isn’t playing God – it’s just playing Man as man has always played; making choices as best he can.

So when I hear this dilemma posed – how do I decide? – I find myself answering an altogether different question: Have I done all I can do?

Because truthfully, many people do have an extra minute or two and dollar or two; often more. That applies even to those who ask: How do I decide? as though they’re entire life is booked sunrise to sunset and only a single slot remains.

And the answer to: ‘Have I done all I can?’ tends to trigger generalisations of broad proportions: No matter how much I do – it will largely still say the same.

So what is this ‘it’ we refer to when we argue that, no matter our effort, it stays the same? We refer to conflict, death, disease and misfortune as a global whole; a unified cesspool of misery. We speak in large, unfathomable numbers because this world is an unfathomable calculation and numbers purport to grant catharsis of understanding. We speak in flavours of distance, with words like ‘they’ and ‘those’; with phrases like ‘the 3rd world’ and ‘those places’. We speak at arm’s length. We feel we must – consciously or not – lest we be faced with the true choice of this mother versus mother. This child versus child.

Yet there are two antidotes to this attitude: adopting personalisation and sum of parts philosophies.

Personalisation means appreciating the sanctity of life. It means recognising the cognitive dissonance that should rage when we realise we would cry a thousand more tears for the death of a child than a thousand others. I’m not about to propose solutions and approaches to Singer and Kantian philosophy. What I do demand is that we appreciate when we are placing an emotional value on life, and distancing that, to the degree that we can, from the essence of life. In the vein of Talmudic thought: He who saves a life has saved an entire world. In simpler terms – every life is someone’s world.

The second philosophy is a belief that everything counts. The evidence of history points unflinchingly to the causes of historical change: a combination of small acts. We must not shy away from the perceived cliché of this idea. It is the purest of Truths. No sociologist has ever identified an action that is – at its essence - a ‘big’ or ‘small’ action. All acts are the same ‘size’; it is their effects that oscillate between rain drops and oceans. All change is comprised of a gesture, a glance, a conversation, a question. A decision. This is the act of playing Man, not God. The only question is, in hindsight, did that small act create a big change?

Herein lies the rub. See all change as big change.

When we regard people as mere symptoms of some larger, ephemeral sickness of humanity, we are bound to misdiagnose and worse, mistreat. Do the reverse, see each set of eyes for the unique snow-dome worlds that they are, and we will no longer question: ‘How do I chose’ and ‘it will never change’. The point is to choose as much as you can, perform lots of little actions – with money or time – and believe in the truth that is change.

Joel Lazar is the Education Coordinator at Jewish Aid Australia.

You can book to host a 25 minute Nuba Now presentation by emailing Dean Levitan – dean AT jewishaid.org.au

You can donate to JAA’s Nuba Now appeal to support the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan at http://www.givenow.com.au/nubanow.

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194 Comments »

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Great. Plenty of worthy causes where we can all chip in to do our part to help. I look forward to booking a presentation with you where yoy will speak about the plight of over 1 million of our Jewish brethren living under ongoing missile threats, jewish chikdren living under the povery line in israel, as well as the forgotten plight of thousands of gush Katif residents who are still homeless.

  • Joel says:

    Hi Levi,

    Thanks for your thoughts. We don’t offer presentations on the topics you suggested, but I’m sure many Jewish organisations across Australia would and do address those issues, for example(to name a few): ECAJ, ZFA, AIJAC, WIZO, MDA (+ Young MDA) and UIA (+ Young UIA) and the Zionist youth movements who regularly put on wonderful and informative talks on poverty and war in Israel.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Levi

    Why should Australian Jews be providing funds to the former residents of Gush Katif? Doesn’t Israel have a responsibility as a State to look after its own citizens?

    I would think that placing your flag somewhere should be within your own community first, then the broader community/State, then international concerns.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Hi Joel

    ……….I am impressed, Peter Singer – will come to him a bit later -, Immanuel kant – I wont come back to him -, “cognitive dissonance”, “your” shull noch mit a Hebrew name, wow !!! And why am I not – in fact – impressed at all, but let’s say politely, feel sick in the guts !?
    Parading vacuous lectures on ethics and geoplotical moral beautician sallons to which the conclusion is that one is most welcome to go elsewhere if addressing strict Jewish issues, makes your exploits so unpalatably dissonant with the pretence of a Jewish ethical stand that, indeed, I am reminded of one of Peter Singer’s ethical line that “whatever makes you happy must be permitted “.
    While not directly related to your choice of topics and selective principles, it reeks of fallacy, just as your claims of expressing a Jewish stance.

  • frosh says:

    Otto, as often is the case, I find your writing painful and laborious to decipher. So while I am not confident of the meaning of what you have written, I’m nevertheless going to take a stab at providing a translated summary. Here goes:

    You think it’s appalling that the author is trying to take some action to prevent an ongoing genocide?

    Is that right?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Frosh

    let me ease your pain and promise it wont hurt.

    No ,I did not allude at all to that, but here is my own translation of, otherwise to my mind and style, a very clear message:

    In his reply to Levi – the one I appologised to a few days ago – Joel tells Levi that if wants to vent some strict Jewish concerns within the intellectual space of Joel’s shull, Levi should try the list of OTHER Jewish outlets, as his own (!!) is not available for that stuff.
    Re genocides in the various geopolitical areas, matters that seem to be of exclusive concern to Joel and “his” Jewish – I suppose -shul, those are subjects that we all, decent people, should show concern and activism. I “simply” expressed a very, very singular, make it egotistic, inward looking (!!!), shamefully exclusively Jewish view that if one fronts up as a Jewish ethicist, at once also dissmissing Jewish issue to the …exclusive concern for “other” issues, this does not bode favourably for the Jewish ( once again) claims to acceptable, let’s make it comprehensive, identity.

    If you want me to explain all of this stuff I just explained, I am right here by the computer forya !

    o

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    TheSadducee, doesn’t the government of south Sudan or it’s neighbours have a responsbility to provide for it’s citizens?

    Unfortunately, the government of Israel hasn’t really honored its obligations or commitments toward the ppl of gush katif, hasn’t done much to address those who live under the poverty line or living under missile barrages. That’s where we can come in & help our own brethren in line with the code of Jewish law & ethics thats states that we should help our brethren first….like the good Jews we are.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Joel, there are many international organisations & hollywood celebraties (like George Clooney) who are addressing the issue that you are addressing and taking up the cause of sudan….

  • TheSadducee says:

    Levi

    There are plenty of poor Jewish people in Australia that should be the benefit of our attention in preference to those in Israel.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Their conditions aren’t as bad as the Jews of Israel (where many holocaust survivors are also living below the poverty line) or countries like Russia…but I agree with you 100%.

    Here is the following preference list – First the Jews here, then Jews abroad & then somewhere along the lines we can fit in the Nuba people of Sudan, the chukchi people of Siberia, saving rainforests & beached whales. Sounds fair?

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Sadducee
    do you have the breakdown of expendiure allocations by the JCA ?!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    How does one qualify priorities, by amounts, timing, display of efusiveness and ostensive affection and all that with the intent of not offending any of the “listed” priorities !!??
    Considering the variables in people’s ellective priorities, satisfying the entire mob is almost impossible.
    While saving that important beached wale we are ignoring the plight of the endangered blue spotted rabbit in Southern Sahara, because we cannot take the beach to Central Africa to attend to both major issues at the same critical time etc. Sounds completely absurd ? Of course, for how else can I make the absurd available and also, at the same critical time, understood !!

    P.S.
    Let’s see the all the : “you lost me there !”.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Joel I have many friends associated with Jewish Aid.
    They are great people.

    That said, I find myself very ignorant of what the organisation stands for, and how it prioritizes… so this article really interested me.

    As the education officer surely the questions raised by the others above should be easily answered by the organisation’s vision, philosophy or policy on priorities. There must be a decision making logic.

    Personally I don’t like your answer that other organisations do this or that… the same can easily be said about the Sudan or any cause…

    There must be some basis on why Jewish Aid would focus on Sudan ahead of Timor or Aborigines or Homeless or health, or elderly, issues.

    I am running the campaign for free Jewish Education at Glen Eira College… why not fund us?

    It is true that any good deed is a good deed, but deciding where to place your resources and energies is not acting Gd! It is thinking about where you can achieve the most good with what you have against some vision and criteria. So Jewish Aid Melbourne focusing on Nuba… come on… why?
    Otherwise, you’re random…and unsupportable.

    Nothing personal buddy but I don’t feel this article does any justice to getting any insight into why anyone would bother supporting Jewish Aid on this. It really does feel like random egg dip activism.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    To answer my own questions… from the JAA website..

    But I Still don’t get why Nuba over any other emergency cause… it doesn’t obviously create value against the statements given except that it helps a struggling community… I’m sure I’m missing something…

    “Why Jewish Aid?

    There are many aid and development organisations that coordinate similar programs. However, JAA fills a niche in the international and community development sectors because the organization:

    Represents the Australian Jewish voice in the Aid and Development industry.
    Mobilises the Jewish community, which is well resourced and in a position to provide aid.
    Links in with other Jewish humanitarian organisations overseas.
    Provides opportunities to implement Jewish values.*
    Through these efforts, JAA:

    Builds a Jewish social network.
    Presents a positive image of Jewish people.
    Provides meaningful Jewish experiences.
    Provides an opportunity to express Jewish identity through social action.
    We aim to be the first port of call for Jewish Australians who wants to donate time, money and skills towards improving the world. JAA is a connection point for all Australian Jews, from across the religious and political spectrum.

    *These are the Jewish values that drive us:
    Tzedakah (justice) sharing our wealth to make a more just world.
    Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) addressing ourselves towards overcoming injustices and inequalities in the world.
    B’tzelem Elokhim (in the image of God) recognising that all human beings are created equal and deserving of equal respect.
    Shutafut (partnership) recognising the expertise that those in the developing world have and can share with us.
    Darchei Shalom (the ways of peace) fostering peace and pleasant relationships between Jews and non-Jews.
    Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name) acting in a way that brings credit to God and the Jewish tradition.”

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Sorry, one final comment Joel… this article has really sparked my interest… and confusion…

    The more I think about the “Jewish Aid Australia” Organisation title, the more confused it seems…

    How did you guys get away with that title???

    Is seems an intentional attempt to illegitimately make JAA sound like the representative umbrella body for all Australian Jewish Charity overseas? Can’t be…

    Very misleading… and I think very dangerous – given your decision making is not transparent or based on any community representative process. Add to that you’re out there actively campaigning on issues that potentially create anti-semitism in those you are campaigning “against”.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    You are not placing your flag… you claim to be representing our flag…

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Our sages set up very clear guidelines of what concepts like tikkun olam and tzadokah are. Anything outside that guideline is a pure distortion…

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Sorry kept reading the entire JAA website… so the money in this case goes to CARE Australia to use… so why not just encourage direct donations to ALL of CARES activities as an ongoing activity?

    They are all very worthy causes…

    I’m too confused… I’ll shut up now…

    I’ll go back to the clarity of adopting “personalisation and sum of parts philosophies”.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    CARE? Oh that’s great. They actually channel aid money to the Hamas run Gaza and Judea/Samaria. The “Palestinian Authority” is notorious for misusing aid money for all of it’s terrorist activities and lining the pockets of it’s leaders. The only thing that keeps the terrorists active is international aid money. As a matter of fact one Aussie aid organization is being sued by Israeli victims of terror.

    So in addition to saving the good people of Nuba, you are also funding Ahmed and Moahmmed’s next rocket launching project. Keep that in mind the next time someone rocks up to your temple to give you a dvar Torah. When it comes to Tikun olam – you can’t get any better than this.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Sorry that’s “dvar Torah.” Peace out(or maybe not).

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Levi I’ve never been able to agree with your views… but on this one.. I’m getting you…

  • Hi Levi and Jonny,
    Thanks for your comments about JAA and your interest in the organisation.

    My name is Gary Samowitz and I’m the CEO of Jewish Aid.
    I’d like to clarify a few of your points that you made above.

    1) *Choosing our Causes*
    Please click on the link below to read JAA’s emergency appeal decision making criteria. Whenever we launch an appeal we go through this process. http://jewishaidaustralia.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/jaa-emergency-appeal-decision-making-process.pdf

    2) *CARE is not Anti-semitic*
    When I stared my job at JAA 4 years ago, I met with over a dozen International aid organisations to figure out which org most aligned with our values and development philosophy, and to ensure that the organisation that we ended up supporting was not anti-Israel and not anti-Semitic. I have met with the CARE CEO many times and they are non-political, non-religious and are definitely not “channeling money to Hamas”. Levi, please can you give me your source for that information so that I can follow up on it asap.
    JAA only has tax deductibility for our programs in Australia, that is one of the reasons we partner with CARE for our overseas work.
    Members of the Jewish community can obviously donate to CARE directly, doing it through JAA allows the donation to be seen as being part of a Jewish communal response.

    3) *JAA – the name*
    I was not around when the name of our organisation changed from Keshet to Jewish Aid Australia in 2004. As you know, there are many Aid organisations with similar names: Christian Aid, Muslim Aid, Surf Aid, Water Aid, Action Aid etc….
    Our name implies that we are a Jewish humanitarian organisation (inspired by Jewish values) that aims to eradicate poverty and create a better world (similar to those orgs above)

    If you are keen to learn more about JAA, you can click on this link to download our latest annual report. http://jewishaidaustralia.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/jaa-annual-report-2012.pdf

    We are proud of the work we are doing to stand up against injustice, alleviate poverty and to create a better world for all.

    I am also proud to work with Joel Lazar, who is a great role model and thinker in our community. Kol Hakavod for writing this article Joel.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts,
    Regards,
    Gary
    gary@jewishaid.org.au
    https://www.facebook.com/jewishaid

    P.S: Otto, Levi, Jonny etc.. – I would be more than happy to meet you for a coffee to discuss JAA and our mission face to face.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful response Gary.

    Joel and the organisation should be able to easily articulate publicly how a cause like Nuba is scored against that criteria. The criteria are fine and understandable enough…. How Nuba was scored would be interesting. Say compared to West Papua – much more local or the Bushfires – much more immediate.

    I mean Nuba is not a new conflict/problem per se. Since 1950s it is a very complicated political and historical conflict where the Nubans were actively involved as I understand it with the Southern Alliance. Im not an expert at all but its not a straight ethnic cleansing situation… They took a side. And the refugee camp is terrible because of its location and access not lack of attention, resources or global effort or recognition of the issues.

    Sudan itself is ultra Muslim… So Jewish funds going to what could easily be (deliberately) (mis)interpreted as the Governmrnts enemies and one side of a decades old civil war has some danger, edpevially given you are so activrly running on a specifically jewish values religious platform…

    And the criteria in your process suggests that the Sudanese community actively sought our Jewish funds… Hard to believe. Why? Whats the connection? I can’t believe they would have approached us…too obscure.

    Levi is right that CARE has a significant Palestinian agenda and calls the Palestinians “refugees caused by the creation of Israel”. That doesn’t mean they illegitimately fund anything bad, but again it’s pause for caution given again your explicit choice to call yourself JAA and claim to represent us all. Which is simply not accurate.

    In terms of getting involved, as I say I’m mates with some of your Board and they are spectacular people. Its clearly not my area, but Perhaps your focus on the private Jewish schools can be reviewed to included Glen Eira College project… See articles here on Galus.

    Once again thanks for the response. I highly recommend Joel actually be able to defend the decision rather that heading off on messages of “are we all doing enough generally”. He was asked, why Nuba… His response sounds unintentionally patronising and pompous … Not just for the individual that asked the obvious question; but for the tenuous link to the parsha and salesy speak about an individuals decision making about charity.

    Ultimately Nuba is your JAA choice. It is not The Community’s choice and published articles and presentations should be more careful on that.

  • Hi Jonny,

    JAA was founded in 1994 as a response to the Rwandan Genocide, where we raised $40 000 to support the victims of that genocide. (All the founders were sons and daughters of Holocaust Survivors).

    8 years ago JAA was very involved in the activism surrounding the Darfur Genocide. When we were protesting in the city we began building a strong relationship with the Darfuri community living in Melbourne.
    That friendship has grown exponentially over the last 8 years and we have a whole range of programs that we run with the the community on a weekly basis (homework clubs, womens groups, mens groups, employment support and regular outings). <— all this info is in the annual report and on our website.

    Over the last 6 years we have also been working very closely with the Nuban community in Melbourne, and they take part in all the programs listed above. We meet with the leaders monthly, and they requested support from JAA to run an appeal for their family and friends suffering back home. At the launch of our appeal several months ago, 25 leaders of the Nuban community attended, many of them traveling from Shepparton to be there.

    As you can tell from the information above, choosing to support Nuba is not a random choice. As an organisation that is driven to speak out against injustice (eg:genocidal dictators -Bashir is wanted by the ICC for war crimes for his actions in Darfur) and seeing as though we have a very strong friendship with the Nuban community, this was an easy decision for us to make!
    _____

    Last week JAA ran a holiday program for the youth in a remote Aboriginal community called Cummeragunja. This is the community where William Cooper was born and raised, where he is buried, and where he still has descendants living.

    Levi, do you condemn William Cooper for protesting at the German Consulate in 1938 against the Nazi's treatment of the Jews? Was Cooper neglecting his responsibilities as an Aboriginal elder by speaking out on a different issue? Do ethnic and religious groups always have to only speak out on issues that affect them, or can we also care about the oppression of other groups? (interesting to ponder this point when walking around Yad Vashem and seeing over 20 000 trees planted, each representing one of the righteous among the nations, who risked their own lives to saves Jewish lives)

    Regards,
    Gary

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Hi Gary, thank you for coming here and taking the time to respond.

    I wasn’t trying to imply or prove that CARE is anti-Semitic or political in anyway. That wasn’t my point. My point was that the “Palestinian” Authority (whether it’s Fatah in Ramallah or Hamas in Gaza) misuse and abuse all the aid money that they get from international organizations. They rely on aid money to line up their own pockets ( Suha Arafat is notorious for using aid money to buy homes in Paris and live a lavish life style in Europe) and more importantly for terrorism. I’m sure James wolfschon and Bill gates had really good intentions and were not motivated by political considerations or anti-Semitism when they donated millions of dollars to purchase green houses in gush Katif for the local Arab population. Those same green houses were not longer after transformed into rocket launching sites…as the saying goes “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    If I was going to donate money to people on the middle east region…why wouldn’t I give this money to my own brethren who live under the poverty line or live under missile barrages? Why should I donate money to an organisation that is linked to an organisation that gives aid to a hostile population? And why would a Jewish organisation want to link up with such an organisation..,especially when you can link up with another international Jewish organisation like Zaka which provides emergency relief and aid to people all around the world?

    In regards to William Cooper, I actually met with his relatives at an airport and got a fascinating account of Cooper and his life. Cooper worked on an orchard in sheparton that was owned and run by an orthodox Lubavitch family (the Feiglins.) The Feiglin family employed many aboriginal workers and treated them really well. Cooper was very touched by this and felt indebted to the Jewish people as a result.

    I don’t have a problem with Jews helping and aiding others…but not when they devote 90 or 100% of their time to this when they could also be assisting their own brethren here and overseas. I thought Joel’s response to my query was insensitive – I.e. but there are all these other organisations that help troubled Jews out. Well first of all, not enough is being done to help Jews who need assistance and secondly I can apply Joel’s indifferent logic and state that “well there so many organizations and Hollywood celebraties who are already helping the Nuban people…why should I help?

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Gary. Thanks Levy. I think you guys have captured both sides of the discussion well.

    Appreciate the insights Gary. makes more sense. So JAA have a special relationship with Sudanese Australians that (curiously) influences it’s world view, priorities and decision making. It stems from rallies against Darfur and relationships built years ago.

    Although its ironic that this “working with friends” idea goes against the very philosophy in Joels article of “everyone is equal and valued in the world” And favours Levys argument of charity begins at home. At least that special relationship born through Darfur gives the Nuban decision some trandparent and honest basis. That it was not a difficult decision based on this bias is not good to hear.

    In any event…That it is a region rife with human crime is not disputable. And all Jews get that. That we as a community should always speak up for the down troden is not disputed.

    So when asked next … why Nuba?? Rather than being flippant or overly BS philosophical … and changing the question, to something completely different….
    Joel should simply say:
    1. Yes we support Jewish causes too
    2. Yes we have a personal and special relationship with the Sudanese in Melbourne at JAA for a decade; we accept that relationship significantly biases our resourcing decisions, focus and priorities right now.
    3. There is no disputing the need to help The refugee camp conditions
    4. We are very careful with the funds we receive and how they are used
    5. Against our current vision at JAA this project fits all the criteria we value better than any other cause currently being assessed. But we are doing many campaigns that fit the criteria.
    6. We acknowledge not every Jew would accept or even understand Nuba as a sensible “Jewish” priority.
    7. We are certain every Jew is in favour of positive action. This is the JAA responding to a current community request from a friendly group in need.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Also I think the statements on the website about the role of JAA need to be toned down to be more accurate…. Suggestions:. add the CAPITALISED words:

    JAA…

    Represents AN (not the) Australian Jewish voice in the Aid and Development industry.

    Mobilises ELEMENTS OF the Jewish community, WHO ARE well resourced and in a position to provide aid, AND WHO ARE ALIGNED WITH THE JAA PHILOSOPHY

    Links in with other Jewish (REMOVE JEWISH) humanitarian organisations overseas.

    Provides opportunities to implement THE JAA’S EXPRESSION OF KEY Jewish values.*

  • Joel says:

    Thanks everyone for commenting.

    I find this form of debate very difficult to conduct online as many of your comments accuse me of things that I a) did not do, b) did not intend and c) are not me. When I suggested organisations that help Jewish people I merely provided a list of important organisations (many of which I’ve been involved with for 10+ years!) that do great work on the front that Levi suggested. So please, until you know me, don’t judge me.

    I’m always open for a coffee and chat about these important issues and far prefer that – in true back-and-forth conversational form, than character assassinations and venomous speech.

    Jonney – I can “easily articulate” our decision making process. It is because I am oversees right now (leading a 5-week Israel Academy program that builds strong Jewish and Zionist identities – again, don’t judge me till you know me…) that I cannot respond with great haste. It is not because I have something to hide as many of you have directly and indirectly [and unfairly] suggested. Gary has responded exactly as I would have had I been at my computer.

    I look forward to this important and ongoing conversation.

    I would like to continue the conversation to ask Levi – when I suggested in my article, by asking ‘are we doing enough generally?’ – do you feel that the Jewish community does do enough by way of giving as much time and money it can afford to give to causes of all kinds? And do you agree or disagree that the feeling of: ‘issue x is too big to solve’ frequently drives people to a feeling of helplessness and hence, inaction? (This is not a loaded question – I’m genuinely interested in your, or anyone’s, position).

    Lastly, I’m sorry if I unintentionally offended anyone in my article or my response. I did not mean to.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    jOHNNY
    YOU ARE SPOT ON !!!

    The ostensive intention of JA to monopolise major, not just small stuff, ethical notion within the Jewish community can only be counter-productive to their strategies and, to some extent a bit irritating, to say the least.
    Joel is attempting to mend the fence and we are dealing here with a fence. It is the one he errected earlier when rejected Levi’s suggestion.
    My suspicion is that the academy and other inner Jewish community initiatives undertaken by JA are designed to persuade Jews to align to JA’s “philosophy” of tikun olam. I wish to emphasise that it would be a JA version of the often badly used important principle.
    How we arrive at hat simple conclusion ??!! I amy ask and also I may answer:
    – all principal projects on JA’s charter address crisis situations (granted) outside the strict Jewish perimeter. I wont even dwell on the obvious that JA are not part of the JCA “family”, but only to say that the insufficient funds JCA musters could be seen as being misdirected toward JA from the Jewish community to projects, evidently, not within the VAST, as it is, JCA scope. And here we conclude that Johnny is even MORE right. The ethical resposibilities contained in the more traditional, tested, Jewish orgs. are beyond dispute. Re Johnny again, we, those unafilliated to JA are fully aware of what we must do to satisfy the highest moral grounds as responsible Jews. Joel’s efforts are commendable in hoisting and updolding those principle, but not to the exclusive “use” of JA’s SPECIFIC agenda, and, most definitely, not in a patronising manner, again back to Johnny’s comments.

    – Joel’s rebbuttal of Levi’s innocent suggestion was a regratble faux pas, one that could emerge from one’s degree of success in his job and respective accolades to which a certain policy cum ideology offers a solid base. That solid base is also predicated on the MOST irritating peddling of the “SOCIAL JUSTICE” mantra by “certain” groups. When I see that attached to Israel I recognise immediately the implicit assertion that, to some important extent, Israel does NOT observe satisfactory degrees of social justice. What follows is the inevitable laudry list of “injustices”, Israeli Government moral failures and conversly the creation by the same entity, who else but Israel of a”certain” proble………….. guess who, yes the poor opressed, yes, palestinians. They figure if only discretely at times on this “social justice” radar and we, the totally unawares, are called to redress the injustices with funds diverted from let’s say at least ten orgs. members of that JCA family.
    I shall be honest, Darfur cannot be jammed on my mind with the urgency dictated (!) by JA’s ideological structure, as SIMPLE as that. Call me ANY horrible name, if Otto could conjure horribilis.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Hi Joel, if you can demonstrate to me where I engaged in character assination or attacked you personally in anyway, then I will unreservadly apologise to you. I also never implied or stated that you had something to hide…I merely expressed disagreement over who you chose to focus your activism on and which organisation Jewish Aid choses to collaborate with in the process.

    In my mind, any Jewish organisation that excusively does not choose to aid Jewish people in need both here and abroad is not worthy of my money. There is nothing wrong with aiding people who are not Jewish…it’s a very noble thing. international jewish organisations like Zaka do this. There are Jewish organisations in the US who in addition to helping Jewish families in need also provide soup kitchens for african americans and Hispanics…one Lubavitch organisation comes to mind.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Otto. Unusual for us to agree. But nice.

    Joel, I’m sure you are a great guy and positive person. I do not judge you. I’m not offended by you per se. And I love activism for the improvement of the world.

    My concerns are:

    1. The article sets up a question, makes fun of the person asking, “here’s the kicker” then avoids answering it.

    2. It has alerted me to assertions by JAA that I find misleading. I am Jewish, I am Australian… And JAAs aid agenda doesn’t solely represent me; and this article does offend me see point 5. Not deeply offended, just confused about what you’re doing?

    3. I appreciate Gary’s time and thoughtfulness. But his explanation of why Nuba is a local Jewish community priority is still not persuasive. Far too based on personal agendas, and historical relationships, than genuine analysis. Again… I’m sure there is some valid basis and there is genuine need. But priority status for a campaign?

    … if public claims of representing me and my community are involved I expect the organisational analysis involved to be exemplary.

    4. That you would be sent to Jewish schools or Shuls to try to make people believe they should prioritise Nuba over other more local and immediate (jewish or non jewish) needs is worrying. Especially if you are suggesting to represent The Community somehow; and are targeting easily influenced school kids.

    To use your example I definitely believe that priority should be the local abused mother of three kids for funds. Why? Because if we don’t help that woman and her kids who will? Her well being is our primary and direct responsibility. Not because she is more important than others in the world scheme of things but because she is in our immediate community, sphere of direct control and in desperate need that can be immefiately impacted. Does that mean ignoring other causes? No. But it certainly doesn’t de-prioritise the clearly more immediate need.

    5. And finally, I am reacting to your article and position about not doing enough. I find the repeated question simply offensive. Maybe it works with kids. In the question you must be assuming we (the community) don’t do enough… Seems a very arrogant, judgemental and baseless accusation. Please demonstrate that we are a paralysed or myopic community if you want to run that argument.

    The Melbourne Jewish community might be one of the greatest giving communities… Wings of non Jewish and State hospitals, jewish and non jewish schools, programs. sponsorships, local and international… Jewish and not, charities, food banks, protests, environmental activism , elderly, protection of animals, volunteerism, multi faith works, governmt lobbying, human rights awareness, advocacy, debate, healthcare, research…

    Nuba is cause already well known and supported by organisations like CARE and MSF that Jews probably already support directly? Is there evidence to the contrary?

    The connection between the question of are you doing enough… Assumed answr…No…

    and the recommendation being… Well therefore please give to Nuba via JAA.

    Logical?…yeh I find it somehow offensive.

    I’m saying I don’t get it. That’s not personal to you. The decision to prioritise nuba as a publicised and invested in Australian Jewish “emergency” and to be investing critical funds and offering lectures about it seems nice… but daft to me.

  • Joel says:

    All I will add at the moment are two brief responses (I’m on the road and it’s hard).

    1. This article never concluded (and certainly didn’t articulate) a drive to give money to JAA. If u concluded that, great. If not, also ok.

    2. My question “are we doing enough” does NOT have an “assumed answer”. Ironically, that was your assumed answer. This entire piece, if nothing else, is meant to raise our thoughts towards silent voices of suffering and the continued importance of not feeling distant to them bc they are far away/part of a large conflict etc. If u already knew about them-then I am extremely glad (Nuba has been a difficult cause for the media to access for various reasons). And if You persoanlly have gone through that detailed process of prioritising ur giving and giving where u can (to which, it seems, I happily say ‘yes’) then perhaps this article is less relevant to you.

    Having said that, Regardless of how much we give as a community, the question of : “am I doing all I can?” Is a lifelong one that we must all ask til the day we die.
    It is BECAUSE the Australian Jewish community has asked this question through the years that it has achieved so much-not in spite of (by saying:”how dare u ask me that question”)
    I do appreciate all of ur comments, truly.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Um… ok… Joel, your first point is a bit cheeky given the last paragraph says,

    “You can book to host a 25 minute Nuba Now presentation by emailing Dean Levitan – dean AT jewishaid.org.au

    You can donate to JAA’s Nuba Now appeal to support the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan at http://www.givenow.com.au/nubanow

    Your second point again is strangely patronizing (I can explain to you why that is… but its enough now… I’m sure your intent is good)… and the sentiment can’t be argued at a basic level.

    Thanks for your time and commitment and Gary’s attention. Enjoy Israel. Hope it’s not too cold. Been an interesting education for me about JAA.

    Thanks Levi and Otto.

  • ittayf says:

    p>
    Shalom Gentleman,

    The conflict in the Nuba mountains is different from other conflicts in the world. The US Holocaust Museum lists Sudan and the Congo as the two most likely places where genocide will occur in our generation. Sudanese President Omar
    Al Bashir recently described the land of people of the Nuba Mountains using the following language:

    “Our lands in the Blue Nile Province and in South Kordofan continue to be defiled by their forces. Your role and your jurisdiction right now — we don’t
    want any vermin left in the Blue Nile Province. We don’t want any insects left in the Nuba Mountains. …

    We want [Defence Minister] Abd al-Rahim here to deliver us the land in its entirety before the end of Autumn — and leave the land of Sudan free of any
    poisonous vermin, God willing.”

    See:

    http://www.aijac.org.au/news/article/sudanese-president-s-all-out-call-for-genocide

    As I read through all the comments on Joel’s article, the only thought that comes to my head is that expressed so many years ago by Pastor Neimoller, an
    outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler who spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.


    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–

    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–

    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Joel, good for you. You are doing a great job. Ignore those critics who still live in the ghettos. I like you feel part of the international community. Keep up your great work, you are a credit to the Jewish community

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Wow… now that’s offensive.

    Thanks guys.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Omar Al Bashir sounds like he would fit right in with either the “moderate” Fatah party or Hamas and become a model member of either party. It’s interesting that you cite the holocast and Niemoller’s poem. Keeping that in mind, would do you think about chanelling aid money to Fatah and Hamas controlled territories?

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Ittay, I would have been more persuaded if Gary or Joel had simply shared the link you shared. I hope my request for clarification of reasoning and data was clear. For those interested in learning more please do read Ittay’s link:

    http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/take_action/atrisk/region/sudan

    It explains the magnitude of the crime. And I don’t think I was ever suggesting Nuba is not a legitimate target for support and advocacy generally speaking.

    Ittay, my discomfort centres on the concept of making a point that we are Jewish and this is Jewish money to be given under a banner of Jewish values by a body claiming to represent all Australian Jews.

    Your reference to Neimoller feels an unfortunate away to criticise others for sharing their personal opinions. Views about which causes should be supported under the explicitly religious banner of “Jewish Aid Australia” as opposed to being supported through a straight humanitarian organisations like CARE, is worthy of discussion.

  • Levi, why do you keep bringing up the issue of channeling aid money to terrorists? There is no-one on this thread that supports that, and it is very clear that the organisations JAA support do not channel money to terrorists.

    Jonny, JAA provides an opportunity for Australian Jews to donate to humanitarian disasters as Australian Jews. We raised half a million dollars for the victims of the Victorian bushfires. Last year I met with the premier of Queensland to hand over a cheque of $100 000 from JAA for flood relief. When we were raising money for the Haiti earthquake a donor called me to say that he is skeptical of international aid organisations and their stance on Israel, but he trusts JAA and our choice of partner. He then donated $20 000. <– I doubt whether that money would have been donated to Haiti relief if JAA was not running an appeal.

    Jonny, I'm not sure why you are so confused about Jewish Aid and our work. We are a proudly Jewish organisation that seeks to empower vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas. We are the only Jewish organisation in Australia (out of 160) that has this external focus. We have partners in America (AJWS), Canada (Ve'ahavta), UK (Tzedek), and Israel (Tevel Btsedek). These sister organisations do similar work to JAA inspired by the same values.
    We have many volunteers who are very involved in the Jewish community, and we also have many who are not involved at all. Volunteering with JAA is their only connection to the Jewish community, and provides them an opportunity to express their Jewish identity in a meaningful and positive way.
    A volunteer that took part on our Derech Eretz program (which takes place in a remote Aboriginal community) recently told me that her fist Shabbat Experience was on Derech Eretz.

    Jonny, you'd be interested to know that there are many Jewish kids who go to non-Jewish schools who participate in JAA's Stand Up program for Bnei Mitzvah aged kids. Joel and I had a fantastic meeting with UJEB recently to talk about how we can work together more.

  • Otto, Levi, Jonny et al – You don’t need to love Jewish Aid, and you obviously don’t need to support Jewish Aid and the work we do. You do need to realise, however, that there are thousands in our community who strongly connect with JAA and our vision. We have grown from 2 staff members in 2009 to 17 staff members in 2013, and we unfortunately have to turn away many people who wish to volunteer with us as we don’t have enough spaces available in some of our programs. One of the things I love most about JAA is that we have volunteers aged 13 to 85 and everything in between, and we have volunteers who identify as ultra-orthodox, orthodox, secular, reform, and just Jewish.

    “If I am only for myself what am I?”
    Helping Jews and Helping non Jews is non mutually exclusive. We can do both!!

    “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

    Layla Tov

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Gary
    thanks for replying, but where is your answer !!!
    Telling me that I expressed my views does not address the…..views which were seriously critical of what I perceive to be an obvious misuse of therms and cathegories ascribed to Jewish ethics.
    Call it obfuscation, avoidance – these are your only choices – but persisting in engrossing what I see at a serious tendency of monopolising ethics cannoy possibly persuade that the scope of JAA is to dismiss the work of most of other Jewish orgs., AND the people involved simply in order to elicit the singular virtues of your set-up. Pride in your achievements is on thing, dismissing the dedication in earnest of those NOT affiliated to your entity is, to say the least, unfair. You do that not explictely – so pleased no ” where did I say that !!??” stuff – but you imply all that self ascribed superiority by imperiously mounting a crown on your own head atop the highest built pedestal.
    I am compelled to repeat that, while of ethical value, Central, West or even East Africa problems, issues, crisis, WHATEVER do not rate as a priority of any significant order at this juncture of massive, historically UNEQUALLED formal State policies enmity against the Jewish State and, implicitely all Jews who DO care with prevalence for Eretz Israel. TIKUN OLAM IS THERE, ON OUR MINDS, BUT PLEASE, HOLD YOUR HORSES !!!!
    ( gees, if I hear that tikun olam once more !!!! that’s all you guys can chant and peg the ENTIRE Yidishkeit on ” tkun olam, tikun olam, tikon olam, bloody tikun olam “…………c’mon mate genuch ist genuch , MASPIK KVAR !!!!!! )

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    on my last posting, pls read; “…cannot possibly persuade that the scope of JAA is NOT to dismiss the work of most other Jewish orgs…….”

    o

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks so much Gary that’s all very helpful to understand.

    Apologies for being confused. My questions are genuine. Maybe I’m slow. Otto has accused me of such things in the past on this blog.

    Clearly I dont understand really your organisation well enough. Maybe im alone in that ignorance.

    My kids have Sudanese friends but the Sudanese/aboriginal connection is not something that I have prioritised to explore. You’re saying jewish people want to identify these good works as specifically an expression of their being Jewish, and they need you guys as their Jewish vehicle rather than getting involved in more general humanist groups. I accept that. I think I asked the same question of the Jews for Refugees on an article in the past.

    I didn’t like this article so perhaps i read responses and your web site too extremely through that lens.

    I still think a claim to be THE Australian Jewish voice on international charity just because you might be the largest, best resourced or best known is too strong.

    There are many Jews who do great international works. There are groups like Jews for Refugees and other advocacy and volunteer groups. And there are many community members that have not consented to your representation of them. Just saying.

    “So when I hear this dilemma posed – how do I decide? – I find myself answering an altogether different question: Have I done all I can do?” …

    It seemed to me like the article was recommending a de-prioritisation of local, community and direct Jewish causes in favour of distant ones.

    To me the article was criticising/making fun of the average Jewish congregant (namely the man in the story) who asked the obvious question about priority of funding, and might choose personally to give to a more direct causes… as being narrow minded, stupid, unworldly or stingy.

    That JAA gives people an avenue to do good is not in question. I just found the messaging concerning.

    Thanks for the clarifications. May we all continue to have the dilemma of where to give our next $2 or $20k, 2 minutes or 20 years… of support for others.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Gary,
    thnx for the response. You completely misunderstand my points.

    “why do you keep bringing up the issue of channeling aid money to terrorists? There is no-one on this thread that supports that, and it is very clear that the organisations JAA support do not channel money to terrorists.”

    Again, I’m not questioning your motivations & intentions nor am I questioning the motivations/intentions of your sister organisation, CARE. Let’s say for argument sake, that we accept their assertion that they are non-partisan…the question is, given the Palestinian Authority’s long history of abusing & misusing aid money…where does the aid money go to exactly?

    “If I am only for myself what am I?”
    Helping Jews and Helping non Jews is non mutually exclusive. We can do both!!”

    So why do you chose to exclusively exclude Jews in need from your aid activities? That is the actual question.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Sorry Otto I didn’t see your post this morning. I get what you’re saying and appreciate the passion. I think you were arguing a similar line in reaction to Mannys last article; and that was in relation to community causes being prioritised by the right organisations over Israeli causes. The argument is much clearer in this context for me in regard to the use of scarce community resources, and where the lines are drawn.

    Gary I should have acknowledged your initiation with UJEB. That’s great. It will be interesting to see the direction you take. Of course for kids in public schools the experience of inter cultural contact is very different. They potentially sit next to the refugees and aborigines in their classes. Sharing homework and learning is not a charitable act but one of simple friendship; visiting impoverished homes is called a play date with a mate. So the angle will be interesting. I assume the direction will be about giving more direct Jewish opportunities? UJEB could do a lot with an extra 50k mate.

    All the best guys.

  • ittayf says:

    Hi Levi,
    Even though it’s not related to Joel’s post, given the concern you have about providing aid to Palestinians, I thought you may interested to read this report from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs, which highlights that one of the most significant donors to the PA, is in fact the State of Israel.

    The report states:
    “Israel has twice taken upon itself to transfer advance payments to the PA in
    order to facilitate the timely payment of salaries to PA employees. These
    Israeli measures reflect the common interest to support PA economic stability
    and help the PA manage the fiscal crisis successfully. “

    “Through the Implementation of its policy, Israel supports economic
    development in the West Bank and humanitarian sustainability in the Gaza
    Strip, while commending the international community for its crucial financial
    support, and calling upon the Palestinian leadership to return to the
    negotiating table to revive the bilateral track, which is the only way to reach
    a sustainable solution, based on two states for two peoples.”
    http://www.mfa.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/C92628D9-FC1A-442D-A93E-A468DAB3C209/0/AHLCSept2012.pdf

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    That’s not news to me. Under the Oslo “peace” accords, in addition to giving them billions for years they have also been arming them to the teeth and these same weapons have been used to murder Israeli civilians. That’s why ensure to never to donate to any Israeli government organisation. My own personal choice. Starting with President Peres (the architect of Oslo) all the way down to the little bureaucrats, the Israeli government needs to be held accountable and Israeli victims of terror should have a right to seek civil & criminal damages.

  • Plus1 says:

    Hi All

    I’m not sure where I got lost here, but I feel like the point of Joel’s article was missed a little.

    Despite ending with opportunities to support JAA, I felt that the central point of Joel’s article was not to give to JAA – but to give MORE (financially and/or in time or kind) if possible (the if possible is important – he isn’t suggesting that everyone can or should give more, just that we should all consider if we can or not).

    If I’m wrong, then so be it, but if I’m not – does anyone disagree that encouraging others to give a little more is a positive message?

    Joel writes:

    “So when I hear this dilemma posed – how do I decide? – I find myself answering an altogether different question: Have I done all I can do?”

    He doesn’t find himself answering ‘support JAA’ or ‘send money to Sudan’ – he finds himself asking “Have I done all I can do?”.

    I don’t believe the point of his article was to stress the virtues of JAA or the extent to which they represent all of Australian Jewry (this is not my major point, but out of interest, a quick question to those of you who have complained about the name because you feel it falsely represents the community – If I found you a single Jew that didn’t feel he/she was represented by the ECAJ would you ask them to change their name too?). He was simply using the example at hand as a trigger to the important message – if you can, try do a little more. Yes – the Jewish community relative to the broader Australian community probably punches above its weight when it comes to charitable giving – but since when does doing relatively good stop us from trying just that little bit more?

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Plus
    I dont respond to anonymous normally but orgs like ECAJ have a version of democratic representative processes for their governance… Different. Still no great fan of them saying they represent all… And they don’t claim to be the only voice.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Executive Council of Australian Jewry Inc.
    – the officially elected representative organisation of the Australian Jewish Community and speaks on its behalf…. From their website…

    And yes… Give give give… Too simple.

  • Representative? says:

    So elections give any organisation the right to claim to be representative?

    I’m not in any way saying that ECAJ isn’t representative – I simply don’t understand the fuss being made about the JAA name.

    I’m also trying to work out what their name should be:

    J – Can’t be Jewish, because some may dispute the ‘Jewishness’ of their cause
    A – Can’t be Aid, because some might question whether 100% of all funds go to organisations they personally approve as reputable and reliable aid organisations
    A – Can’t be Australia because some of their activities are outside Australia.

    Any suggestions?

    If you don’t approve of, or rate highly enough, the JAA cause, then don’t support it – but give them a break – they’re just trying to make a positive difference in this world that can certainly do with it!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Yes elected makes a big difference…

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “J – Can’t be Jewish, because some may dispute the ‘Jewishness’ of their cause”

    the fact that they purposely chose to exclusively not aid Jews in need is beyond dispute.

    Their inability to accept criticism with an open mind, take the time to actually understand the criticism & as a knee-jerk reaction opt to go on the defensive by painting the criticism as a personal attack on this forum, has given me another reason (on my very long list of reasons) not to support them.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Plus 1

    try to detect the Minus plenty in JAA’s current public venture in attracting support.
    May be you haven’t noticed, but most comments right here under your oblivious nose, derive from minds quite cappable to notice the obvious whic, in this case is incredibly different to what you are so enthusiastically to construct. Would you be a party to a website that attarcts poorly endowed minds ??!! Of course not. You want to be in respectable company. If so I suggest you treat it accordingly.
    JAA has made a mission in offering us its bear bones with the customary among orgs. to attract attention and support. As said before they miscalculated certain tactics cum statements. NOTHING has been misunderstood, quite to the contrary, including your funny attempt to redeem their gaffes. Look, whoever hides under that “name”, you also failed. Not a big deal, it happens to most people who reckon that they have a great idea only to find out that when the idea takes a ” Free Willy ” dive, they do NOT.

    There are moments when I feel that the entire exercise of constantly regurgitating FUNDAMENTALS of Jewish identity courts futility.
    Here we are grown up people debating not just motherhood matters by childhood expectations.
    On one hand anxious authors engage in didactic crusades, some with lavish displays of imperious vanity, on the other we see genuine interventions of ethical salvage on behalf of, yes fundamental, but elementary notions. Peddling a couple of “specialised” chromatic terms, such as “tikun olam” “dereh ” of all kinds enhanced by interminable sophisms, some acquired, some improvised, make for seemingly endless exchanges that refuse to lead to any tangile, practical outcomes.
    Once the topic is exhausted, irrelevace and redundancy set in and the next locum of passion will sound like “Is Jewish Breakfast Tastier ??!!”. Mr Webmeister, interested !!??

    P.S.
    Levi, mate, right here you are back to very food stuff, but where I posted some not so happy comments ,I reckon that I was dead right….

    o

    Incidentally Aussie Open is on right now !!!!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    ….typo: I meant ” Levi back to GOOD stuff ….”

  • TheSadducee says:

    “one of the most significant donors to the PA, is in fact the State of Israel.”

    @ ittayf

    – isn’t this tax revenue that Israel is obligated to pay the PA? I don’t think it classifies as aid if that is the case.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “Ignore those critics who still live in the ghettos.”

    @Reallitycheck

    – yeah, because Jews who are concerned about the prioritisation of Jewish funded aid going towards fellow Jews rather than non-Jews in Africa are really living in the ghetto.

    Reality-fail.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    What’s in a name?

    Gary, I think Representative was being sarcastic but the points are a core of this discussion. I realise Joel was writing on the very simple point of “just give more” “you make a difference” and how to change the message to encourage people to do so. And maybe he wasn’t expressing this message on behalf of JAA.. All accepted.

    And frankly even now with your clarifications and my own reflections I still think the JAA agenda is confusing:

    Jewish – But NOT for the priority support of Jewish people local or international… (eg. Russian Jews or Syrian Jews or African Jewish tribes living in poverty or high risk- Jewish victims): So this term is intended as a strong statement about who gives not who receives.

    Aid – But it isn’t just a straight Aid agency where a pool of money is collected and distributed on a set of neutral or ideological criteria to a wide range of identified causes. And it seems most of the work involves providing structured programs for sections of Jewish people to access cross cultural and educational experiences.

    Australia – Suggests some formal status, wide community ownership, membership criteria and collective representation of our national community which it isn’t.

    I understand why the organisation was called Keshet at the beginning – Rainbow – … that makes far more sense. A strong group of Jewish activists standing up for causes that are critical to their Jewish world-view… and gathering support locally for those causes… great! Awesome… amazing… no issue!! Very humble. Very focused. Very valid. The 2004 change in name must have been a signal of some significant change in direction or leadership or perceived self status, or recognised status, or cause selection, or method funding collection?

    And I appreciate the honest answer Gary gave… of I don’t know why it changed?

    Just to contrast…

    Muslim Aid Australia … clearly are Muslims who give to Muslims … wider causes too it seems (sort of), but Muslim mainly. Their website is clear that they don’t represent the entire Muslim Australia world on the international stage. They just provides funds for the receivers… not experiences for the givers. Completely different use of the terms. (and their emergency cause right now is Palestine BTW – but that’s a different discussion).

    Gary quotes Hillel, but the first line of that famous framework provides intentional balance and guidance, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me”? This line is not accidental.

    It provides a genuine ethical platform and priority set for Jewish ideological thinking and decision making.

    It is not about being selfish or greedy or self centred, but it is about being able to determine and evaluate priority needs in the staged way.

    Levi applied the model very early in this discussion. He was indirectly supported by Saducee – which is unusual given they have almost always opposed viewpoints.

    But that demonstrates how the framework is a global Jewish ethical framework that has stood the test of time and diversity and puts Jewish people in need in the mix, up front.

    I was honest up front in my ignorance of what JAA are all about which is why the article has continued to spark my interest. My intent on this (deliberate public discussion) journey was to get clarity for myself and provide an opportunity for others who might be interested to discuss it. If 17 staff are involved, that’s at least 2 million dollars of community funds being used on this vision. Jewishcare, which also exists to reduce suffering, and has a non-jewish agenda too, makes a loss of that amount each year.

    I believe the public discussion is valid.

  • Hi Jonny,

    Please have a read of our annual report to see many of the answers to your questions. Click on this link: http://wp.me/P24JX6-3p8
    You can see our financials, our board, staff, history, details of all our programs, and a list of our donors and supporters. At JAA we aim to be as transparent as possible. I’m happy to send you our audited financial statements as well.

    I wish JAA had a budget of $2 million. Our annual turnover last year was around $400 000. Many of our staff are casual, so we have equivalent to 5 and a half full time staff.
    We are able to achieve so much on such a tight budget because we have 60 active volunteers every week, and our volunteers who go to Aboriginal communities and to Nepal with us pay for the experience.
    We also charge for many of our education programs in the Jewish schools.

    Jonny, I invite you to come have a coffee with me at the JAA office in Malvern. Unlike Otto and Levi, it seems like you have really good intentions. I’d like to chat about why JAA is an organisation that I am very proud to lead and how I think it is not only benefiting the communities we work with, but is also benefiting the Jewish community.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    That’s a very generous response to my thoughts Gary. Thanks. Will look at the report.

    Perhaps when you next meet with UJEB, may I join you guys? I will ask Marlo too. I am not involved directly with UJEB, but their role is crucial in my main project this year.

    I appreciate that you have taken my points as they are intended with overall community interest at heart. I love that you guys are so active, I love that you are proud, and I love that you are public. I hope my questions help you to answer the Otto and Levi questions simply and quickly. Their observations are also well intended and very honest – even if framed aggressively some times.

    Any chance you can adjust the language on your website opening line?

    Happy Wednesday mate.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “I hope my questions help you to answer the Otto and Levi questions simply and quickly”

    not @ all, his response only raises more questions. His implication that I have bad intentions, once again reinforces his inability to take and/or accept any form of criticism & feedback.

    And I stand by what I said earlier – if his colleague Joel, can demonstrate how I personally attacked him, then I will unreservadly apologise.

    As I’ve said, helping people outside of our community is very noble. There are also many Jewish people both here & abroad who are in need of assistance. Why would you exclude them…particularly when call your organisation “Jewish aid?” A valid question…one that Gary is unwilling to address.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    I can sort of just imagine Levi standing on the steps of the Cancer Council’s HQ screaming “WHY WON’T YOU CURE HEART DISEASE, YOU UNCARING BASTARDS?!?!?!”

  • TheSadducee says:

    Levi

    Because helping the poor people in Nepal is so much more exotic and interesting than helping the poor people in Melbourne.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Gary mate, you are so funny……
    My bad intentions are as good as your cute obfuscations.
    Tell you what. I shall desist from being THAT bad once you clarify WHY on earth AND websites youse guys avoid explaining where is the void in all other legitimate Jewish orgs. that neglect Africa, Asia or any other continent and country NOT called Israel while ALSO promoting strong Zionist activities, let’s say EXCLUSIVE of any other generous ethical “olam hakol” !!??
    In a certain, well conceived pegging order I do suffer for all opressed ( truly ) non Jews.
    I shall not indulge in any famous quotes that chain my mind to specific principles !!!

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    No Daniel, if I’m questioning why an organisation that calls itself “Jewish aid” exclusively chooses to not aid Jews in need…shouldn’t I be standing at the steps of the Cancer Council and state “if you call yourself the cancer council, why are you entirely devoted to rescuing beached whales rather than actually focus on providing a cure for cancer?”

    Fair point?

  • TheSadducee says:

    Daniel

    Cheap and tawdry shot – you’ve done better than that before.

    Levi’s position is completely reasonable – why isn’t Jewish funded aid being prioritised to Jewish causes first? International non-Jewish concerns are a luxury in terms of aid priorities. This is fairly uncontroversial to be honest.

    Btw, do Jewish aid have the opt-in/out choice for aid/donations? I.e. can Jewish donors say they want all of their donation spent only on Jewish local causes? Might be an idea to satisfy concerns.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Sadducee

    …and what can be more entertaining than, at the well attended dinner table, carry on about the funny way one can pronounce those exotic Napelese names you sponsored for the massive amount of $50.00 and search/speculate/improvise their meaning. After a few glasses of Chards can you imagine the spectacle and joy…….

  • Representative? says:

    I’m a little confused.

    Even if you think the JAA name is misleading (which I don’t), I think JAA is quite clear and transparent about their activities. That being the case, if you choose to prioritise your charitable giving to JAA’s cause then great, and if you choose to prioritise elsewhere – also great.

    Unless you’re suggesting Jews can’t/shouldn’t give money to Sudan or non Jewish causes until every Jew in the world is 100% taken care of here is a group of people looking to make a positive difference in the world.

    If you have other areas of focus, then fine, but why not go after the people who aren’t making an effort in any area rather than those who (in your not so humble opinions) are doing good work, but simply not prioritising well enough.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Otto

    Possibly accurate, but too cynical for even me!

  • TheSadducee says:

    @Representative

    – why even reference Jewish at all in the name? Why the need to tell people that it is associated with Jewish concerns? An attempt at PR to say that Jews also help others with charity?

    Your points are completely valid btw.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rep. ?

    nonsense !
    You are not confused at all, but, as a good rep., you are doing a great job …doing it to us, the not quite so confused ones.

    Carry on, it’s good fun !!

  • Representative? says:

    @Sadducee

    I’d have to leave the actual answer as to why reference Jewish at all to JAA themselves. My guess is that it is included because their activities are a Jewish inspired response (the inspiration is clearly noted as Tikun Olam, not general ethical behaviour) to these issues. Personally I don’t have a problem with that at all.

    @Otto

    I’m glad you are finding me entertaining, although I’d appreciate if you could reciprocate the favour and in addition to your insistence on using big words that repeatedly require clarification you use your intellect to actually answer the questions asked, not simply rubbish everyone who doesn’t see the world in exactly the same way you do.

    I’ll try and put my question clearly for you: Why the need to rubbish JAA instead of (a) just ignoring them; or (b) putting your energy into promoting other actual causes instead (if indeed you are concerned about the other causes, not just rubbishing JAA) which may lead to two well supported causes instead of one well supported cause and one angry blogger.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “Even if you think the JAA name is misleading (which I don’t), I think JAA is quite clear and transparent about their activities….Unless you’re suggesting Jews can’t/shouldn’t give money to Sudan or non Jewish causes until every Jew in the world is 100% taken care of here is a group of people looking to make a positive difference in the world.”

    Still unable to answer my question and more strawmen style responses. The question was – why does Jewish aid exclusively choose not to aid Jews in need?

    No suggestion on my part was ever made that people outside of the community should not be assisted…pure misreperesentation of my questions with a straw men style of discussing the issues. I’m sure you can come up with something better, no?

  • G’day Levi,
    You are going to hate this answer, but here goes:

    Jewish Aid has a focus on engaging with the wider community. Our goal is to empower vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas, who are outside of the Jewish community. Every organisation has a focus area, and this is ours. We are not focused on providing humanitarian assistance to Jews in need.

    I encourage people to support organisations like Jewish Care, UIA, JCA etc… I have been a volunteer, donor and activist in many of those organisations and still am. I’ve also been lucky enough to lead 12 different Israel programs.

    I believe that it is important we support our fellow Jews who are in need in Australia and overseas, and it is also important to play our part in creating a better world for humanity at large.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    I don’t hate your @ all answer. Thanks for finally getting round to addressing my question directly after all this time. Whatever you do, don’t hate it when others provide your organisation with criticism and/or feedback re your mission statement & activities. opting for the knee-jerk reaction & going on the defensive is probably not an option in terms of “tikkun olam” & general community PR.

  • Sam says:

    I have just read a large display ad for JAA in the Melbourne AJN.
    I would feel almost certain from the wording that Jewish causes are the sole or at least the main beneficiary. It would be a shock to be informed, (assuming I had no other information), on this forum that Jewish charities are being excluded.
    Maybe JAA should fess up in their print advertising.
    I guess that would NOT be a pragmatic idea.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Healing the problems of the world etc – noble folly, self-indulgent etc.

    Now that people have the rub of what they get up to – if you want to help the Nubians, give them funds. If you want to help your local Jews, give them to someone else. Simple as that, nothing more to see here folks.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    If anyone wants to aid the people of nuba – I scored well over 100 google hits for international charities, aussie charities and aid groups who are already helping these people…in including UN organisations like the UNHCR and they are all backed up by Hollywood celebs. If you are concerend about what goes in that troubled part of the world, you can donate directly to these organisations…

  • Hi Levi,

    Thank so much for encouraging people to donate towards assisting the Nuban people in their time of need. This is an important cause and the more support the better.

    You are a mensch.

    Gary

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks for the annual report.
    Mate, I guess I’m just from another place and I probably interact with a very different part of the Community. I realise its not Gary’s problem to convince me about what you do. Gary, you don’t need to respond to this comment – I’ve taken way to much of your time already. Different people choose different paths. Sorry for the intrusion. My education is complete from my perspective.

    1. There are Elements that I find misleading…

    “WE ARE UNIQUE
    … we represent the Australian
    Jewish voice in the Aid and Development sector.”

    2. There are elements that make no sense to me…

    Mark Baker writes,
    “…Yes, charity begins at home, and if we are not for ourselves, then it is true to say – who will be for us? For this reason, I
    am also proud that as a Jewish community we have
    always supported Israel, and Jewish welfare and
    educational institutions in Australia. Yet to be a Jew,
    is to be entrusted with a mission to ‘repair the world’.
    Tikkun Olam has always been central to the Jewish
    conscience. If we are only for ourselves, then we have
    failed in our role as Jews and human beings.”

    This doesn’t match a choice to make it a policy to not provide humanitarian assistance to Jews (anywhere) in need. And that astonishes me. That decision is not explained (or really even mentioned) at all in the annual report. I’ll let it go now.

    And but for the genocide/holocaust, never forget ethic, many of the activities otherwise seem random to me… Random is OK. Jews work on random acts of kindness… I get that. The Sudanese have clearly won the ongoing Melbourne JAA jackpot. Good.

    3. That is it is all important work is not in dispute.
    Anyone who goes out of their way to help others changes them forever…your volunteers do that. And it is a massive volunteering agenda.

    4. That the donors in your list are the backbone of amazing local Jewish works in unquestioned and undeniable. If any of them unbalanced their giving in favour of JAA’s agenda, and away from local causes, our community would be in genuine crisis. But I guess everyone gets that.

    Good luck Gary. Continue to do good.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    @ Ittayf – My final clarification and rant for this article and chain… my wife has put her foot down; my kids need attention, and I have my business to run!

    Please tell me I’ve got it wrong Ittay… Otto, I’ve lost the plot. You warned me so in your last poem to me…

    Just to clarify that I understood one further element of what I’ve read here Ittay… big build up huh?

    So, Mount Scopus and Bialik use their informal Jewish Education finances, gained from their fee increases, to pay JAA. JAA sends out Joel (the author). Joel as a genuine community role model, educates and encourages the elite wealthy Melbourne Jewish teenagers, who are in your trusted care, that they as their “Jewish”… not Human… “Jewish” identity… should !prioritise! significant volunteering time and funds away from local, national and international “Jewish” needy…

    And add to that, as Mark Baker ridiculously states in the annual report… that if you only feed, protect and nourish other “Jewish people” in the world… then you have “failed” in your role as a Jew and human being… and you have failed in your tikkun olam responsibilities. Tell me I’ve misunderstood Ittay… please!!!

    If they do… does Jewishcare or the Melbourne Jewish Charity Fund get the same or more priviledged direct access to the future significant “decision-making-donors” of this community – to run sessions and present the “Jewish-inclusive” version of exactly the same social-justice and aid intent? Do they have the experience of visiting Jewish homes that are in cricial need or visiting JewishCare houses for the disabled or unwell…

    To finish, I’m certainly in favour of charity of any variety but…

    in final contrast… Here’s a testimonial from the MJCF website that helps Jewish families to make ends meet on the basics… “…Just a short note to say thank you (MJCF) for the wonderful gift of …vouchers for shoes for my children (at Pesach time)…”

    Not sexy… but critical… No?

    Thanks everyone for your time and discussion…

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Representative…..

    your confession that you cannot understand my (!!) big words is consistent with the contents of your arguments.
    Those words are not “mine”, they belong to the same language we are both using, English. I suggest you increase the value of its currency.
    Mate also, your advice comes a bit late. I am well past the stage that would consider it.

    Gary

    have you noticed that you have been avoiding my comments directed at your style and substance !!?? and that says it all.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Johnny
    sorry but you are wrong again. You haven’t lost the plot at all. The plot is a complete LOSS. You are right to redirect your attention from what has become some 28 comments earlier a futile regurgitation of the same banalities.
    JAA is using this ripple of concern as a high platform for trumpeting their mantra of overrated virtues.
    You would be very justified to feel as if taken on a circular ride, destination– nowhere and that is equal to JAA’s terminal.

    To the greater sphere of humanitarian concerns JAA is piggy-backing those commendable projects, endorsed by such legends as Princes Di, quite a few redundant rock stars and diplomats, movie stars etc.
    I am not so cronically cynical to deny the need for aid to various furnaces of human tragedy and I do partake to helping those causes. I would not, however juxtapose the Zionist agenda to any other issue and I shall not delve into the reasons why right now.

    I would suggest, in a genuine friendly way, that you do precicely what you signalled and resort to the screams of naches your familly cannot wait, I am sure, to “assault” you with. Enjoy !!!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Otto…

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “Jewish” as in “universalist.” when the two get mixed up it becomes nothing short of a complete distortion…to the point where you ignore the plight of your own people.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    What Levi and Otto really want Gary to do is to feel bad for leveraging a very small portion of the considerable wealth of the Jewish community to reach out to very broken and vulnerable communities, veritable worlds away.

    Except trust Levi and Otto to show the worst of the “me and my family first” of the human condition, and castigate this group for doing this work, simply because they aren’t helping the people of their preference. As if Jewish lives are more important than Nepalese.

    If Levi and Otto had any intentions other than to gladhand and circlejerk, they’d be knocking down the doors of the charities that are supposed to take care of the needy in this community and demand that they do their jobs better.

    No, instead, they’d rather go after the people trying to conduct important outreach. They’ll make vague platitudes like “Oh, yes, these people are needy and deserving of help… BUT NOT FROM JEWISH CHARITIES, THEY SHOULD HELP THEIR OWN”

    People who donate their time and money to charity cannot fix the entire world. They should be commended for trying to fix whatever small pocket of the broken mess that is humanity. If we had more Gary Samowitz’s, and more support from the Ottos and Levis (or at the very least, some ‘Shaket’), the world would be in a much better place.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “to feel bad for leveraging a very small portion of the considerable wealth of the Jewish community to reach out to very broken and vulnerable communities, veritable worlds away…”

    “… be knocking down the doors of the charities that are supposed to take care of the needy in this community and demand that they do their jobs better.”

    So you are actually acknowledging that there are needy and vulnerable people in the community here after all (in addition there been many vulnerable and needy Jews in Israel and other countries?”

    “they’d be knocking down the doors of the charities that are supposed to take care of the needy in this community and demand that they do their jobs better.”

    No, the real solution to the problem is to get the wealthy temple Jews to give their money to to the Nepalese, nubans etc instead.

    “As if Jewish lives are more important than Nepalese.”

    So Daniel, when are you going to knock down the doors of charities, the south sudanese govermemt, the nepalese govt, UN agencies and hoollywood celebraties who claim to be taking care of the Nuban people etc and demand that they do their jobs better?

    And yes, from the Jewish perspective, Jews lives come first. This is where tikkun olam starts. Anything else is a distortion.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    “And yes, from the Jewish perspective, Jews lives come first.”

    That’s all I wanted you to admit openly :)

  • Dean Levitan says:

    Hi All,

    I just read this because I am overseas in South Africa. I am the Nuba Now Campaign coordinator and I am thankful that we have been able to have a conversation about this.

    Both as an onlooker who has been passionate about justice for years and also as the campaign co-ordinator, I have a few things I feel I must add.

    1. For people to suggest that I (in my role with JAA) have not been diligent in my research and decision-making in the causes we support is, frankly, somewhat offensive. I believe that I, and JAA, go through a thorough process, which involves research, logic and thoughtfulness. To suggest anything to the contrary is to discredit our professionalism in our roles, and undermines the real and deep passions we feel toward social justice. Jonny, the article that Ittay posted above which you said you wish Joel and Gary would have posted, is available on our facebook page, along with many other articles which stand as justifications of our choices and our passions toward this cause. I encourage you to explore our facebook page (“Nuba Now Campaign”), read about the situation in the Nuba Mountains and our comments attached to them. Upon doing so, I think you will re-consider your implication that we do not provide evidence or reasoning for the causes we choose to support.

    2. In my 2 years as a JAA employee, I’ve never encountered anyone who’s taken an issue with the representation of our name or our missions/values. The fact that many other organisations in the development/aid industry (i.e ChristianAid, MuslimAid, WaterAid etc) present acutely similar representations is a strong indication that our name is common practice and needn’t be a point of contention. I also think it has t has been an unfortunate and unnecessary distraction from what is the core of the issue here – which is…

    3. For those passionate about social justice, Joel’s article is an eloquent expression of the dilemmas faced by many. I was genuinely moved by his piece (& know of plenty others who were too). I have gained a new perspective on the work we do in the development sector – acknowledging that we can’t do something for everyone but can work hard to improve someone’s everything.
    Thank you for that inspiration Joel and thank you JAA for giving me the opportunity to pursue these values as an expression of my Jewishness and my Humanity.

    Again, I urge all of you to explore our facebook page, read our materials, learn about the Nuba Mountains and maybe even book a presentation. You can email me at dean@jewishaid.org.au

  • Dean Levitan says:

    Levi, your warped logic statement of “….well there so many organizations and Hollywood celebraties who are already helping the Nuban people…” shows either;
    a) A gross under-appreciation of the situation in the Nuba Mountains OR,
    b) A disturbingly insensitive perception of the world

    The reason for this is because the people in the Nuba mountains are the victims of a situation on the brink of genocide; under daily airstrikes, deprived of all food source and forced to seek refuge in the toughest refugee camp in the world. (http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-11-20-the-toughest-refugee-camp-in-the-world)

    Given this, I am not and will not, ever be satisfied with a few celebrities or google hits.

    Thankfully, no Jews are currently suffering under such extreme circumstances. Hence, I am forever comfortable with the cause we are pursuing.

    Nuba Now is a campaign to make ‘Never Again’ more than a mere slogan, but rather a universal promise. At JAA, we are doing all we can to keep that promise.

    Your insensitivity, sarcasm and warped logic is better suited to a forum that isn’t addressing issues of such real and deep concern – those of human life.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Good thing Dean Levitan is in South Africa.
    Maybe, once he finished his spiel of elation at his own importance he may remind us how certain Sth. African “Jews” have sacrificed their lives for the, inded, severly exploited Africans, how they have, actually, set up the ANC and how, once the main battle was won, in Durban and Pretoria/Capetoun anti Zionism also took wings of pride and prejudice.How the locals were dancing an chanting, while holding placcards of hate, telling the whole world how Zionism is evil !!!
    Yes Daniel Levi, I shall acquit myself of my Jewish obligations, mitzvot, conscience FIRST, but, just like you, I do keep an eye on the rest of the world, looking constantly, and in vain, for all those who also worry for the fate of Israel and Jews in general. So far I can only count on a few names doing a fine job in making sure that the world is kept informed that Jews do NOT need any assistance, and these advocates from “Tikin Olam Ltd.” come with “some” credentials, id summus, they also appear to be of Jewish denomination, guys like Danile Levi, Gary Samovitz, Dean Levitan, Joel etc….. I always wondered what motivates the rest of the world to so correctly assume that we, Jews, only desreve indiference at best, followed by denigration and cathegorically enmity, G-d forbid support. Just look at the proud record of the UN some 139 vs 9 !!! Well done boys !!!

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Levi WATCH OUT !!! Daniel Levi is an expert “ball trapper/catcher” .

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    …sorry typo, I meant Daniel LevY.
    See now the mispellllink offensive !!!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Dean, with respect, you’ve certainly missed my points about messaging, education, and policy of an organisation that is self nominated as “Jewish Aid”. Call the org. “never again” and I’m more satusfied.

    But I still would not understand the exclusion of Jews as a vulnerable community.

    There are only 13.5 million Jews in the world, less than 250,000 (I don’t really know the figures) in Melb and Sydney. And JAA deliberately excludes their variety of needs as a policy. I learnt that here thanks to Levi.

    That’s fine, just really surprising for the uninitiated. That I would have to search or have coffee to understand yhese decision about what you guys are doing under the banner of representing our Community voice in Aid… Concerning.

    By the way. SAMs comment earlier is the best example of what I am talking about.

    The criticisms here are not saying don’t help Nuba. Nuba is the example of the principle in action as clearly a critical and shared Human cause… Ie we share it with clooney and the un and many others. the guys are asking about why it is the priority “Jewish” cause. if there is no distinction in your mind then so be it. Daniel Levy for example in his blogs does not make any distinction between Human and Jewish. And so he does nothing Jewish…

    but You keep missing that. They are asking… As Jews, Why not Jews? And you keep ducking that, or you are saying there are no vulnerable Jewish communities in australia or the world to help which would be bizarre.

    Don’t tell my wife I wrote this… I’m not living my own version of Hillel priority by continuing to participate.

  • Representative? says:

    Otto

    At the bottom of this posting I will repost what I said above. I do so for two reasons:

    1. I’d like you to outline where I admitted to not understanding your word (I didn’t even ask you to stop using your big words, which you suggest I did by noting that my “advice comes a bit late”. I just asked that you complement them with actually answering the questions put to you); and

    2. Because your comment to Gary:

    “have you noticed that you have been avoiding my comments directed at your style and substance !!?? and that says it all.”

    Seems somewhat hypocritical in light of the fact that you didn’t address my direct question to you (which, if you care to address, can also be found below).

    As long as it’s in English or Hebrew I should be able to understand you, so just to make it clear, I’m not limiting your use of our wonderful language at all – I’m simply asking for a bit of decent respect in answering a question put directly to you.

    ====
    Previous Post:

    @Otto

    I’m glad you are finding me entertaining, although I’d appreciate if you could reciprocate the favour and in addition to your insistence on using big words that repeatedly require clarification you use your intellect to actually answer the questions asked, not simply rubbish everyone who doesn’t see the world in exactly the same way you do.

    I’ll try and put my question clearly for you: Why the need to rubbish JAA instead of (a) just ignoring them; or (b) putting your energy into promoting other actual causes instead (if indeed you are concerned about the other causes, not just rubbishing JAA) which may lead to two well supported causes instead of one well supported cause and one angry blogger.
    ====
    Otto’s response:

    Representative…..

    your confession that you cannot understand my (!!) big words is consistent with the contents of your arguments.
    Those words are not “mine”, they belong to the same language we are both using, English. I suggest you increase the value of its currency.
    Mate also, your advice comes a bit late. I am well past the stage that would consider it.

    Gary

    have you noticed that you have been avoiding my comments directed at your style and substance !!?? and that says it all.

  • Representative? says:

    Johnny

    FYI – latest Census suggests around 90,000 Jews in Melbourne and Sydney (meaning that you were technically correct in suggesting less than 250,000 :) )

    Have a good one!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Wow rep… we are really a tiny local community!:)

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Ok… I’m addicted… school hols does this…

    To close on that last point, I went back to re-read Sam’s point…

    I would have thought Sam’s comment… re-posted here:

    “I have just read a large display ad for JAA in the Melbourne AJN.
    I would feel almost certain from the wording that Jewish causes are the sole or at least the main beneficiary. It would be a shock to be informed, (assuming I had no other information), on this forum that Jewish charities are being excluded.
    Maybe JAA should fess up in their print advertising.
    I guess that would NOT be a pragmatic idea.”

    This is far more critical and worrying than anything Otto and Levi have written…Nothing personal O and L… but I feel your views are clear on this one… Please guys – Gary, Dean et al… if you are going to bother responding at all, focus on that comment from Sam which has been totally ignored.

  • Sam, please tell us which ad you are referring to.
    I have looked through all our ads (literally 2 ads a year), and none of them are misleading in my opinion.
    Perhaps you could email me the ad so I can see what you are on about.
    gary@jewishaid.org.au

    Jonny, have you seen the ad in question?

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    And Dean.. you say

    “Thankfully, no Jews are currently suffering under such extreme circumstances…”

    Again, clearly I am one of the unworldly, stingy, or just stupid people that would ask the obvious question “here’s the kicker” …

    …it is just so hard to believe that you make that kind of assertion – rationally, ideologically, or philosophically…There are SO many dimensions to suffering!

    Now Joel can wipe the egg dip from his lips and avoid the question… really?… inspirational?

    And if there were such a cause… would JAA change direction? From what I’ve learnt here…the Mark Baker quote and Gary’s clarity about mission and not mission … JAA would not. JAA would wait for other Jewish orgs to act first.

    Fine… OK… do what you will… But please don’t say that (in)action would represent The broad Melbourne “Jewish” Community’s aid voice and please don’t choose to be offended because others don’t get it… or choose to think this is simple to the rest of us just because you use the word justice so easily.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    No Gary sorry I don’t follow the AJN very closely… can’t shed any light…

    Thanks for following it up.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rep.
    Ok here’s me clarification:

    – when you says that my words need clarification it means that them words ain’t clear in the 1st place, while them is big. The expression ” hey, mate stop using those BIG words..” ( complete sayin’ is “… those BIG words in this pub !” ) implies that yourse blokes don’t understant what needs clarification. I says that them BIG words is appropriate both to the maters discussed and as in syntax. Accusing me of the use of syllepsis, as one would in any pub, or even me is “perverse” or what you says “hypocrytical”, whatever that means, in OTHER words me a perve, is not fair, although you hear that kinda stuff said in a pub on a regular basis, but not to a bloke’s face !!! So there.

    Otherwise, what, me avoiding taking the piss at yourse blokes just because you parade your commitment to a certain cause to the detriment of another, which is so dear to me more or less to the EXCLUSION of other stuff, c’mon mate, I make a decent living out of blokes likeya !!!

    Seriously now.
    I am not in the business of picking on words to the detriment of determining the comprehensive meaning of the phrase. It could be fun, a pastime afforded by some, some of whom populate this very site. The essence of my criticism is one of substance less of form, although let’s be clear, form can determine substance and that is when…………ohhh gosh, one ……must pick on the terms/words used……….

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “That’s all I wanted you to admit openly”

    So if your parents or members of your family were in need & you choose to ignore her and help a stranger in need as a matter of first priority & you call that “tikun olam” then good luck to you buddy.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    *ignore them*

    @Daniel Levitan, wheter intentionally or unitentionally like so many others here you misrepresent my point & resort to strawman tactics.

    I never suggested that we shoudn’t help others in need. When I stated, but “there are already so many charities & aid groups celebraties” etc I was pointing out the irony of Dan Levy’s or Joel Lazar’s logic of refusing to help fellow jews in need when they state “oh but there are so many wealthy Jews and jewish charity groups etc…” we can apply that logic of indifference to other causes as well.

    And yes, you want to aid people who are in a very dangerous and life threatening situation – people who are subjected to daily air strikes. thats a fair point. In regards to the people who are involved in other causes that Jewish aid is focusing on like assisting refugees in Melbourne and Sydney or aborigional communities…are they also living under air strikes? Is their siutation more dangerous or less dangerous than say the Jews who live under constant missile bombardments in Sderot or Jews living in a troubled country like Iran? Sure there are wonderful Jewish organisatoins that are helping people living in communities like Sderot. Does that mean enough is being done? Does that mean that we should be indifferent & ignore their plight?

    “Thankfully, no Jews are currently suffering under such extreme”

    are you sure?

    If you classify my assertion that Jews should not ignore or be indifferent to the plight of other Jews as “warped,” “sarcastic” and “insensitive” and do so in the name of “tikkun olam” then so be it. I’ll wear that with pride.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    *meant to address my lost post to Dean Levitan not Daniel…apologies*

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Oh & Dean in regards to fact that you are another Jewish aid representative…judging by your ad holmium personal attacks, inability to understand another person’s argument/perspective & resorting to straw man tactics, it certainly no surprise that you are indeed a JAA rep. Judging by the hysterical, out of line, insensitive and unprofessional responses of all the JAA representatives here…it seems to be the standard practice of the organisatoin. “Tikkun Olam” anyone? Shame on you.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Hi guys…

    Yeh… please no more offers of coffees or phone calls to discuss this.

    I get it now.

    JAA strictly only give to non Jewish causes.
    JAA do not represent the whole community as stated.
    JAA are a collaboration of good people: givers and volunteers.
    JAA do good charitable works – but not for Jewish need… I get it.
    JAA rely on the other Jewish organisations to do the Jewish stuff. That’s the only explanation I can see. Otherwise it would be racism.
    JAA has a special relationship with the Sudan story and specific aboriginal groups… and Nepal… and that will not be changing in favour of other communities any time soon.
    JAA claims to be unique in its activities… it isn’t.
    JAA believes that this all makes it easier for Jews to be active in the non-Jewish and global community… because it’s Jews acting with other Jews…

    The only unique part as far as I can see is that it is the only “Jewish Aid” titled organisation I have ever heard of that doesn’t give to Jewish needy as a mission based policy. Apparently that’s defensible. To me it isn’t.

    I’ve been told to believe everyone (donors, students, volunteers, community at large) knows all this and do not feel misled. I find that hard to believe.

    But that’s my problem…

    Good. Enough.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Jonny – I think JAA is important and good (for all the reaons you summarised so succinctly in your last post) and I don’t think people have been misled. I had another hard look at the web-site and I can’t see how people could reaonably make the infferences you draw. But good on you for being persistent.

    Reading this prompted me to make a modest donation to JAA today – and I make a pledge that for the rest of the month of January for every comment from now that Otto makes on GA , I will donate $1 to JAA up to $100. When/if it exceeds $100, I will donate $2 for each comment, to the New Israel Fund!

    And the up-side is I can count his comments without reading them!

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Mandi… I always look for your comments! Read them not count them.

    I went back to the website.

    To my happy surprise the first line has disappeared since I first looked!! Hooray…

    This was the line which read: “Represents the Australian Jewish voice in the Aid and Development industry.”

    Thanks Gary. Most appreciated.

    Read back to my second post Mandi which I cut and pasted the “Why Jewish Aid?” from the original site.

    Even if that is accidental I very much appreciate it!

    Good for you for your Gary! Mandi good for you and your charity commitments!

    Finally Mandi I still have to disagree with you…

    “Vision
    Our vision is of an Australian Jewish community active in the pursuit of social justice for all”

    The term ALL here is not confined or defined in the slightest…and would easily be misconstrued by the uninitiated as Jewish and Non Jewish…

    Just proves Joel’s original point – if you act, things can change.

    Gary thanks again.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Aid anyone or any cause that’s not Jewish & when one decides to aid a cause that is related to Jews they decide donate to an organisation that seeks to undermine Israel on every level (diplomatically, security etc)…all the in the name of “tikkun olam…”

    from now on, for every “tikkum olamnik” who decides to exclusively aid every single group and ignore the plight of Jews in need while simultaneously donating to groups that undermine Israel, I will pledge $100 that will go towards the people of Sderot and those Jews living under the poverty line. Thanks for prompting me to donate more money to more worthy causes.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    In fact the paragraph has changed a lot… Thanks so much Gary.

    It was:
    Jewish Aid Australia…

    – Represents the Australian Jewish voice in the Aid and Development industry.
    – Mobilises the Jewish community, which is well resourced and in a position to provide aid.
    – Links in with other Jewish humanitarian organisations overseas.
    – Provides opportunities to implement Jewish values.*

    It now is:
    – Mobilises the Jewish community, which is well resourced and in a position to provide aid.
    – Links in with other Jewish humanitarian organisations overseas.
    – Provides a safe volunteer environment, where participants are able to keep kosher, and celebrate Shabbat.
    – Provides opportunities to implement Jewish values.*

    Much better. Awesome.

  • Jonny, I feel like you should be sending JAA an invoice for all the consultancy work you have done this week for us. I don’t think anyone has spent so many hours looking through our website and annual report. Thanks for all the time and dedication you are putting in to help JAA.

    As JAA’s news “Strategy and PR Consultant”, I have a quick question”:
    Sam came on this forum and publicly tarnished JAA’s reputation by saying that we put misleading adverts in the Jewish News. He didn’t give any evidence of this alleged advert, but said we should “fess up” to our true agenda. He intimidated that JAA is unethical and intentionally misleading the Jewish community.
    You eagerly jumped on Sam’s bandwagon. (along with many others I’m sure)

    What do you think I should do in this situation? I’ve asked Sam for evidence but he has ignored my request, and it seems that Galus Australis are happy to leave unproven defamatory comments on the site.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
    All the best,

    Gary

  • Hi Gary,

    Firstly, the usual process is that if someone feels a comment is defamatory and wants it removed, they should email the editors. We don’t necessarily read all the comments in a timely manner (after all, there’s a lot of them and we run this site as volunteers) and so we rely on readers to contact us.

    For a number of reasons, it’s disappointing that you would suggest that we are “happy to leave unproven defamatory comments [about JAA] on the site”. Principally,
    1) We’ve only recently, via email, told you to contact us if you have any concerns. We’ve even given you one of our private mobile numbers.
    2) The editors, in a personal capacity, have long been supporters of JAA.

    While we don’t generally discuss moderation issues on threads, on a first glance we don’t tend to think the comment in question is defamatory. Although it’s never occurred to either of us to think that JewishAid’s name is misleading, and although we still don’t think it’s misleading, this thread has revealed that some people who aren’t familiar with what JewishAid does, do find it confusing. Perhaps some people assume that any charity that has ‘Jewish’ in the name would only give to Jewish causes.

    We hope that this article has brought more attention to the Nuba campaign, which the editors (in a personal capacity) think is a very important issue.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Gary, I’m sure your wonderful comment is tongue in cheek… but thanks for making the change on the website. I appreciate it. Now… for the vision statement… (which by the way is actually a mission statement) but I don’t have my consulting hat on in these discussions – I’m still in concerned community member mode.

    Mate the great part of this format of communication is that people can share their opinions, have discussions, ask questions and get answers. People say ridiculous things all the time. And the fact that its in writing slows down the action and allows checking.

    But I think you know all that very well… by writing this post to me the way you have, you have very cleverly dealt with Sam’s question. Well played sir.

    The great part of being open to this kind of debate, and posting method is that people do go to read the website, or look for ads, or remember things they’ve seen or heard. I love that.

    In marketing tradition, and back to my key point, over lunch I did a quick survey of my extended family (all over 35 years old BTW – which may make a difference), asking, what do you think Jewish Aid Australia actually does?

    There was a consensus incorrect response of… “I don’t really know… gives Aid to Australian Jewish causes I guess”.

    When I said I’d learned you have a no-Jewish-cause mission, they were all surprised … one called it racist.

    On the flip side IttayF reassures me all under 20’s at private schools know what you guys are on about and can assimilate you message back into a wider Jewish Charity view… I still doubt that. But he suggested he’d look into it for me.

    I know that most organisations only have to tell people what they do – they don’t need to explain what they don’t do… but in your case, I would suggest true transparency is required.

    Either that or solve the problem of being called Jewish Aid when you don’t aid Jews. That requires a very well designed answer to legitimately explain why Jewish communities around the world or at home are not able to be considered “vulnerable”.

    Your frame of projects “beyond” the Jewish community etc.. is all still deliberately vague enough and strategic… to seem manipulative, a little like this post to me – intentional or not.

    Either way… positive assumptions… your responsiveness to my calls for change has been commendable.

    Thanks.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    I pledge that for every comment posted here by Mandi Katz I shall donate $50.00 to the ultra- Orthodox party Yahadut Hatorah !!

    In addition I shall also donate $10.00 to “Im Tirzu” by far the best, most informed group revealing the true face of NIF, including the “faceless” detractors of Israel.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Eds..

    “Perhaps some people assume that any charity that has ‘Jewish’ in the name would only give to Jewish causes.”

    Come on guys… its the assumption that, if called “Jewish” they would focus on “SOME” Jewish causes… not ONLY Jewish causes… all Jewish charities – even ultra orthodox have a non-jewish agenda of some sort in my experience…there’s halachic basis for it…

    Are you seriously telling me that you guys really knew and confirmed, that as JAA supporters, if you asked them for aid for a Jewish community – say in Romania that the policy is NO, definitely not?

    But if you asked for help for Romanian Gypsies the answer would be – we’ll look into it?

  • Hi Johnny,

    I was aware of what JAA actually does, so I knew that they don’t currently give to any specifically Jewish causes (although they do education programs for Jews etc). I hadn’t thought about them having a policy against giving to Jews; Gary, perhaps you could confirm whether or not that is actually the case, or whether it is just not the focus of JAA? I agree that there shouldn’t be a policy against giving to Jews.

    I am aware of other orgs whose main mission is to give to disadvantaged Jewish communities. The two that come to mind are Kulanu and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. In Australia, although there are orgs that give to disadvantaged Jews in Israel and Australia, I’m not aware of any doing similar work to Kulanu or the Joint in terms of supporting Jewish communities globally. Although I am comfortable giving to these American-based charities, I think that it would be good to have an Australian-based org (or branch) doing similar things. Both because it would encourage more Aust Jews to give to these important issues and because it would educate Australian Jews about the diversity of Jewish communities around the world.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Very good Otto – but are you all talk or will you prvode proof of your gifts? (And I’m not too fussed because both those organisations are rolling money, whereas the orgs I’ve chosen still appreciate every $100!)

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Rach… that is my one and only point.

    Seriously.

    Everything else is clear enough now that the line about representing all Australian Jews has been removed.

    Sorry if I have not been clear in making this point in my posts everyone.

    Let me state it again, so that Gary can be chrystal clear…

    – – – – At Jewish Aid Australia it is policy not to aid Jews – – –

    Gary wrote to Levi
    ” …Our goal is to empower vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas, who are OUTSIDE OF THE JEWISH community. Every organisation has a focus area, and this is ours.

    We are NOT focused on providing humanitarian assistance to (any) Jews in need.

    (For Jewish need)… I encourage people to support organisations like Jewish Care, UIA, JCA etc… ”

    I added the CAPITALS and (BRACKETED WORDS)…

    This was backed up by Joel’s first reply to Levi; and Dean’s reply to me about no vulnerable Jewish communities.

    If you read back, I was still wrongly of the belief they gave to Jews somewhere and in some circumstances. I wrote that in my 4th or fifth post which tried to summarise the answer which I believed Joel should have given about Nuba to the egg dip gentleman.

    It was corrected because Levi kept repeating the point. And over time it seemed confirmed.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Mandi and Otto
    You crack me up!
    Each time you post against each other… I promise to laugh.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Rachel, your gentle and rational comment should find a similar response from the JAA supporters/leaders. Judging by the persistent mantra heard from JAA, I doubt very much that they would subscribe to the broader picture of the REAL Jewish ethical attitude to both Jews and non Jews. Extrapolating, as they do, certain Jewish notions JAA are, in fact, indulging in clear fallacies. When acceptable cathegories, indeed indispensible to the comprehensive picture of civilised behaviour, are peddled to the disadvatage of similar or even higher value ethical notions, distortions , derailed course of intent occurs and those who would harbour inimical, hostile stances will benefit. The “simple” policy of not including explicit Jewish causes in JAA’s programme can easily be interpreted by those anxious to cause problems to the Jewish fold, that those Jewish orgs. that do NOT embrace the same philosophy as JAA both lack the quality of judgement JAA posess and also “sacrifice” humanitarian considerations to the selfish benefit of the Jews. This could be one of the reasons that entities known for their oppostion to Jewsih causes would welcome JAA and would not consider sitting at the same table with, let’s say, JCA or ECAJ, organisations that, in fact, comprise a vast array of entities, quite a few doing also the kind of job JAA does .
    JAA must be seen seen, for a good reason, as a non Zionist entity, particularly by those who would gladly split the Jewsih fold to their advantage.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Mandi Katz

    there goes another buck and I would gladly engage in a substantive debate with you once you have something interesting to say.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Johnny you talk Romania, you talk to me !!!
    Romanian people very sensitive people, no think jokes about them very funny are. You want me translate that in Romanian, as I say already, you come to me…………ok !!

    ( for a modest fee, all above can be translated in the best Romanian.Strictly cash !!! Special offer, as sample, on request the four lines posted above will be translated for free)

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    There I was trying to think of an obscure example… obscure enough so people might not get too involved in it. And Ive managed to choose your home town…LOL :D

  • Sam says:

    Gary,

    Does an advertorial count as a large display ad? I am strongly of the opinion that it does. See AJN page 9. January 11th. “Jewish Aid Standing up”. Author is AJN Staff. Two other pieces are also credited to AJN staff that also look very much like advertorials. One on page 6 and another on page 9. Whether JAA paid or did not pay is immaterial. What is much more material to me is that JAA has engaged with young Jewish kids: Bnei Mitzvah to ask that in lieu of presents money be donated to JAA.
    Can you say unequivocally, that these children and their parents have been fully informed that NONE of that money will go to Jewish recipients.
    If you say yes to that question then I find it difficult to believe that more than a few of the Bnei Mitzvah would agree to support your organization. If JAA has not been fully frank and honest in this regard, then that is contemptible.

    Then there is the other issue that the majority of reasonable and intelligent readers of “Jewish Aid Standing up” would assume that Jewish recipients would constitute the sole, or at least the majority of those receiving aid.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Sam
    it is quite obvious that JAA ae currently on a massive campaign of placing their flag on a number of spaces. As you so rightly pointed out, readers/targets are in their majority quite savvy and, most of them, if literate and engaged in reading the AJN and also contributing right here, would be aware of most of the Jewish organisations part of the larger communal structure, most members, and fairly well informed of “who’s up there and paying the rent”.
    That JAA’s “mission statement” parades the apellative “Jewish” and, yet functions in terms of its beneficiaries outside the strict Jewish communities, including Israeli Jews, is now an established fact, thanks to its own officers’ galant admissions right on this page. That JAA is, at the same time, appealing to Jewish financial sources cum “understanding” of their mission is also quite obvious.
    To complete the cycle, yes, we do understand precicely where they are coming from and, most imnportantly, where they are heading and, I for one, don’t want to go there………..

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    Thanks Sam

    Your very clear post makes me a bit baffled by Gary’s attack on me and you for asking him to get back to you.

    @Mandi is this all making sense to you?

    – Changing the website based on the discussion, but not letting us know that it had happened
    – Suggesting no JAA content in the AJN when it was on pages 6 and 9 apparently
    – And people like Rachel not knowing of the no-Jew aid policy?

    I’m baffled… feels like a Scooby Doo episode where someone’s going to say… “and I would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for you kids”

  • frosh says:

    I heard Joel give a drosha on the plight Nuba in shul last month. I was quite moved by his drosha, and suggested to him that he adapt his drosha into an article for Galus Australis. Joel’s article is somewhat different to the drosha as I remember it, but even so, I never imagined that it would generate so many comments, nor the type of comments it has.

    I’ve never found it confusing what JAA do (but clearly what’s been unearthed is that some people have), and I’ve been willing to support JAA and a number of their campaigns. After all, if I am happy to support a campaign, for example, to improve the education opportunities for Indigenous youth or refugees who have escaped genocide in Africa etc, then how much better is it to be able to do it through an organization that I feel represents me as a Jew.

    I don’t agree with Sam’s sentiments that not “more than a few of the Bnei Mitzvah would agree to support JAA” if they knew the money was not going towards particular Jewish causes. I actually think there’s plenty of people in the Jewish community who are happy to support outside communities and causes, especially via the banner of an organization that represents them as Jews.

    It’s a difficult challenge to represent in a name what JAA does. Perhaps what’s needed is a brief but creative tagline that encompasses the JAA mission.

    Allow me to share a relevant anecdote. Quite a few years back, in the aftermath of the Melbourne bushfire, my wife gave a donation via Jewish Aid to the bushfire appeal. Very soon after this, the company I work for sent a circular email encouraging employees to donate to the bushfire appeal, and provided a path to donate. The company also offered to match dollar-for-dollar any employee donation. Well, we had already donated to the appeal, so I decided to email our JAA receipt to the appeal coordinator at my employer, with the aim that they would match it dollar-for-dollar (they’re a giant global conglomerate so I figured they could afford it!). In the email, I think I asked if it was “ok” and would they still match it?

    However, after I received no reply, I began to become concerned. Of course, I may have got no reply simply because the person had lots of other things to do and forgot to reply to my email. Nevertheless, I started to think that in all likelihood the coordinator didn’t understand what JAA did, and perhaps thought I had given to a fund to exclusively help Jews, or (worse!) perhaps even further Jewish religious activity. I realised I should have explained what JAA did in my original email. I was reluctant to send a follow-up email, as I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. The coordinator was also based in a different office in another state, so it also wasn’t possible to have a casual conversation about it “around the water-cooler”. So I left it at that, but it remained a source of irritation.

  • TheSadducee says:

    frosh

    How about the tagline – “JAA – Jew gold for the goyim.”?

    Catchy, accurate and definitely not misleading.

  • frosh says:

    Hi Sadducee,

    That’s a nice first effort, but apart from other issues, too many goyim won’t even know what the word goyim means.
    I’ll give it a serious attempt:

    The Jewish Community raising funds for the wider world.

    Admittedly not great, only a first effort, and not as concise and catchy as yours.
    It would be good to see some sincere offerings from other people.

  • Mandi – perhaps your giving pledge should be linked to every *word* Otto writes in comments, not every comment? Now that would up the stakes!

  • TheSadducee says:

    frosh

    Galus should run a JAA tagline competition! Winner gets their tagline incorporated by the JAA and best of all, its free.

    Here’s another – agreeably it is irreverent, but catchy! :)

    “JAA – shekels for the shkotzim!”

  • TheSadducee says:

    David

    Croesus himself didn’t have the wealth to sustain that sort of committment.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    Jonny you stated –

    “all Jewish charities – even ultra orthodox have a non-jewish agenda of some sort in my experience…there’s halachic basis for it…”

    There are number of haredi/orthodox charities and aid organisations that in addition to helping Jews provide assistance to non Jews & even have non jewish volunteers working for them. The most prominent & well known organisation is ZAKA – an organisation that was granted NGO status by the UN. Zaka first gained wide spread attention in the 90’s when its members were the first on the scene to every terror attack in Israel. Over the past decade or so they have expanded their activities & operations internationally & have been dispatched humanitarian aid, search & rescue and emergency response missions to every major disaster in every corner of the world – Indonesia, Sri Lanka, USA, Japan, New Zealand etc, etc. In addition to providing humanitarian aid & emergency services to non jews they also have muslim & druze volunteers.

    Jewish Aid and any other Jewish or non Jewish Australian aid/charity organisation would really benefit from working alongside ZAKA…especially when a bush fire, Tsunami or earth quake occurs in our region. ZAKA is always badly in need of funds and support for their activities so please visit http://www.zakafoundation.org/

    In addition to assisting non Jews & despite the stereotype that we might have of wealthy jappy Jews sporting fake solarium tans and dropping their kids off @ Bialik or scotch in their 4X4 BMW or porsche — there are many, many jews here and overseas who badly need our help. Yes, there are some charities and aid groups who are focused on helping them…but not enough is been done. The more people help the merrier. And if @ least one jew benefits from aid that was provided by JAA because they decided to start a campaign to help Jews in need then this forum discussion was not for nothing…

  • Robert Weil says:

    Well, I’ve been reading all this with great fascianation, especially as I am vehemently opposed to the JAA “Stand Up” program being portrayed as suitable for Bar/Batmitzvah age. I have made my thoughts known on this in the AJN. I have particularly enjoyed reading Otto’s magnificent articulation of the English language.
    I can summarise my thoughts on this entire matter briefly.
    1. The first flaw is right at the beinning of Joel’s article. Joel, you did not deliver a ‘dvar Torah’ on that Shabbat. What you delivered was a political discourse. If I had gone to Beit Aharon hoping to hear a dvar Torah and was delivered a lecture raising awareness of the plight of the Nuba mountain tribe, I would have felt very cheated.
    2. The organization might be called Jewish Aid, and it’s participants may all be Jewish by birth, but what they are all part of is a dynamic ‘religion’ which, along with Islam, is eroding and displacing traditional Judeo-Christian values that have served society so well in the past. The name of this religion? Leftism. Leftism so convincingly portrays itself as solely the product of reason, intellect and science, that most fail to see it for the dogma-based ideolegy that it is.
    3. Yes, they do some great work. Yes, many of their causes are noble but I see no differentiaion between JAA and any of the plethora of aid organizations that exist. Branding it’s activities with the the term “tikkun olam” (a total mis-use of the intended meaning) does not neutralise or make kosher the secularity of the concepts they espouse.

    Thanks Galus for this forum which is generating some great debate.

    Robert Weil.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “The name of this religion? Leftism.”

    Well as cynical as I am & as much displeasure I have from the types of responses I have gotten from JAA reps so far, in this case I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they are not motivated by any trendy political agenda. I would say tha fact that one person here expressed that they support JAA whilst also supporting the New Israel Fund, was just a bad coincidence and represents a minority position of those who support JAA…

    On a slightly different topic but still on the topic of tikkun olam…for years various Jewish community organisations and activists – largely associated with the Jewish reform/liberal movement – have been maintaining inter faith dialogue with the muslim community and hosted many functions and dinners. Over the years they have done a lot of work with muslim immigrants/asylum seekers. Yet none of this has stopped the leader of Australa’s muslims from meeting with Hamas leaders in Gaza and praising the the terrorist group in the aftermath of their attacking Israeli civilians. Nor did it produce an apology from the previous leader of Australia’s muslims – Sheik Hilaly – for making many, many, blatantly anti-Semitic remarks over the two decades that he was leader of the Muslim community. Why?

  • frosh says:

    “The name of this religion? Leftism. Leftism so convincingly portrays itself as solely the product of reason, intellect and science, that most fail to see it for the dogma-based ideology that it is.”

    Robert, what you’ve written above is sometimes true. However, I just don’t think that’s the case with the many JAA people I know, nor with the JAA campaigns I’m aware of.

    Furthermore, I have found that the following is equally true in some cases:

    The name of this religion? Conservatism. Conservatism so convincingly portrays itself as part of the Jewish tradition, that most fail to see it for the dogma-based ideology that encourages arbitrary attitudes and behaviours that are not necessarily in sync with real Jewish values.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Frosh
    I can’t believe it….
    For the most part of my life I have been involved in the study of Marxism. As a matter of fact I was only sic when I was taken to Moscow by by Father who was fairly high in the central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party and, apart from brandishing a black arm bad at the edath of Stalin – a kid of only SIX – and sobbing accordingly, I was saturated from then on with the comprehensive vernacular of the said ideology.
    Later I wasted FIVE long years on the benches of a communist ispired Bucharest University slaving under the yoke of academic terror, also in the mental employ of the same Marxist ideology, more so if one studied history.
    YET “leftism” in its strict usage means something entirely different to what you guys indulge here in. The term “leftism”,, deriving from the Communist Party official language, means a HERESY associated with Bukharin. Lenin called the left “an infantile disorder”. Since 1918, when Lenin coined the notion, the “left”has ecompassed such a wide political spectrum that the abuse from both those who are willing participants in the so branded ideological entities and those averse to anything that resempbles to THEM the “left”, has provided scholars in the field with some of the richest occasions for ridicule. Since the demise of Marxism in its formal structure, “left” is roaming the insuficiently endowed intellects offering some kinfd of existential delusion, they happily call “my ideology”. In our current case JAA is as left as I am the next in line to the throne of People’s Democratic Republic of Korea……….

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    I can see this discussion has become a bit farcical so let me make a few final points.

    I’m a busy guy. For it to take me so long on this article to understand what JEWISH AID actually do and more importantly what they DO NOT do…. Is a disaster.

    All their sister orgs use nice Hebrew words as titles and claim no formal community status. No misleading in their sites.

    My kids go to Glenhuntly Primary. The state school on Glenhuntly Rd. All year they have partnered with a poverty stricken Cambodian School in a war zone … Raised money, skyped, pen pals, activities.

    They didn’t need to be taught that this is good Jewish behaviour. This is good human or Australian behaviour. The Catholics, anglicans, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, and everyone in between all participated together with gusto!!

    If the Jewish schools or bar mitzvah programs have to somehow suggest to their kids that this is a Jewish thing by suggesting JEWIsH AID as some deeply philosophically unique org… Well look… You know I am obviously a very strange person. That the title or policies or activities have never been publicly questioned or tested in the 9 years since it changed from Keshet… Disaster.

    That it is the fastest growing local charity. Disaster.

    I mean I gave my Jewish Thai Tsunami money to chabad Thailand and they used it directly on the ground to help EVERYONE in need… Not just Jews…and they were not the only Jewish agency I could have used…

    This all Probably means that when busy people like me have been asked to give money, based on the JEW AID title, we have just given.

    That we now know not a dollar. NOT ONE single freaking real dollar, goes to AIDING JEWS is a farce. A misleading, disgrace.

    I was just reading about the Indian Tribe who are now making Aliyah. While they were an Indian tribe they could get our JEWISH AID… Now that they are being absorbed into Israel apparently helping them would not be legitimate under JAA Tikkun Olam policy…FK Me… You are kidding.

    Point made. Maspik. Selah.

    Peace out.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    @Levi

    mate on a very personal note thanks for your clarity. We may not always be exactly ideologically aligned, and perhaps we made a range of points here but your clarity on this chain was pivotal!

    From the start you were making it clear that JAA do not give to Jews. Because of all the rubbish written back to you missing your point it took me way too long to get that confirmed in my head. Thanks for the effort.

    Zaka sounds very worthy of support.

  • Hi All,
    I wish to clarify one last point:

    Jewish Aid Australia does NOT have a policy of NOT helping Jews. However, as Rachael mentioned and as I’ve previously stated, we do not FOCUS on the Jewish community, i.e. it does not take priority over other causes, which is the case for most other Jewish organisations (appropriately so). We are currently focused on refugee and indigenous issues.

    In terms of our appeals, if there was a bushfire in Caulfield or a flood in a Romanian Jewish community or an earthquake in Israel….. we would go through our usual decision making process and most likely launch an appeal.

    We are proud Jews and believe that all of humanity, not just Jewish people, deserve our help, an idea supported by most people, religious and secular.

    Shabbat Shalom,

    Gary

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Gary

    I am impressed by your last posting and also would like to admit ( see conditions attached ) that I was SOOOOO wrong in being excessively critical of JAA, not engaging with you guys in lengthy discussions on minute meanings of one word or another, not delving into the mutiple possibilities of meanings of such terms as : “Humanity”, “World responinsibilities”, “Suffering of All People”, “Jewish and being Jewish while demonstrating Jewishness Perticularly in the Sahara Jungle and its Nubian, Congolese, Sudanese and all other Environs” etc.
    I feel terrible for being so decisively intollerant of your disposition to engage in endless debates while digressing at every turn of phrase so that your not so hidden agenda may creep in.
    So here is the proff of the pudding your are so generoulsy attempting to dish out to us:
    Since you have been lookig so hard to help ALSO Jewish causes, but so far found NONE, hows about you consider helping the following who are AT LEAST as deservig of assistance from a genuine Jewish organisation as you are (!!!), lest one may expect legal action for suggesting anything slightly non-kosher about your claim :

    I found the following:

    “Friends of the Israel Defence Forces ” FIDF, helping wounded IDF soldiers program.

    “LEV LA LEV” charity helping orphaned Jewsih girls at the Orphnage in Netanya.

    “Holocaust Survivors Centre” (HSC) helping poor survivors of the Shoah.

    Don’t thank me now, but when I shall send you my own contribution to JAA for your great work.
    Since I mentioned above those “conditions attached”, here’s me conditions: You show me that JAA are helping with its funds those Israeli charities, which, incidentally, function principally on donations, as the ones you appeal and receive from Jews, and I will show you MY money !!!
    Mind you, you are only as good at talkin’ as you are at giving your talk tangible meaning !!

    Your very possible supporter,
    Otto

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    a P.S. to my last posting.

    Observe how Gary shall avoid engaging with me or reply totally oblivious to the evident FACT that I have this ncredible ability to detect verbal bollocks !!!

  • Reality Check says:

    Robert Weil, I was at Beit Aharon the Shabbos Joel delivered his Dvar Torah, and it was great. At Beit Aharon we are an enlightened lot: we talk about all sorts of things. If you think you would have been cheated by Joel’s talk, you would certainly have felt the same way about Arnold Roth from the Malki Foundation and other speakers who have given us insights into charity work they do and situations in poorer parts of the world, including Israel. I, for one, am glad you don’t go to Beit Aharon, you’re much better off at your steitel talking about how badly done we are and how everyone is an anti-Semite, including Jews who don’t share your point of view.

  • Reality Check says:

    PS Joel actually also spoke on the week’s Torah reading with some interesting comments on the meaning of the word “Ish” and who this ish was and what was he doing there. Ish means a man, Robert.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “I, for one, am glad you don’t go to Beit Aharon, you’re much better off at your steitel talking about how badly done we are and how everyone is an anti-Semite, including Jews who don’t share your point of view.”

    – that’s contributing to tikkun olam…

  • Reality Check says:

    Pray tell, what does tikkun olam mean?

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    …it’s being invloved in every single cause under the sun bar any cause that concerns your own people. It’s spending decades having “interfaith dialogue” and providing aid to a community that does condemn, apologise and/or seek to retract any racist/anti Jewish statements of it’s mainstream leadership who openly side with terrorists.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    *does not condemn…*

  • Reality Check says:

    My goodness Levi, a refugee from the USSR, things are indeed grim here. I think I’ll go and slash my whrists. But before I do; tell me, is it so bad here? And, as a refugee, how long were you detention for in Villawood? Maybe coming here wasn’t such a good idea: Maybe you should have stayed in the USSR – “you didn’t know how lucky you were boy, back in the USSR”. (apologies to The Beatles)

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    I wasn’t in detention,

  • Reality Check says:

    And you still hate the place!

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    I wasn’t in detention…I came here legally as a legitimate refugee and did not jump any ques or forge any documents – all at the expense of other real & legitimate refugees. Please don’t slash your wrists…if you want to go live in a communist country I’m more than willing to help you out and be a “refugee” advocate for you. Russia is no longer communist…so are you planning to seek asylum in say North Korea??? More than obliged to help.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    I love Australia & everything that it stands for. On the contrary, I despise people who hate this country & try to destroy it….people like the Grand Mufti of Australia’s muslims, Ibrahim Salem who recently met Hamas leaders & praised them after they attacked Israeli civilians. Or his predecessor Shiek Hilaly who said that Jews “control the world” by “buggery, espionage, treason and economic hoarding,” praised suicide bombers and met with the President of Iran as a member of the extremist muslim brotherhood delegation. I hate the fact that the muslim community never saught to distance themselves from the words and actions of their leaders and have done the exact opposite. I don’t like the fact that “moderate” muslim Walid Ali went out of his way to defend Hilaly and advocate on his behalf and then subsequently become the darling of “our” ABC and the fairfax press. I’m not a very big fan the many useful idiots that are out there – including many Jews who regularly host “interfaith” dialogue with the muslim community, provide aid & assistance to muslims in need yet for some reason are unable to stop the blatant & voilant racism and anti-Jewish prejudice that comes from the Australian Muslim establishment…

  • Reality Check says:

    So levi, you came here legally. Does that mean all those refugees in detention came here illegally? But you didn’t, you weren’t an asylum seeker? I came to this country in 1956 because we too were allowed to, and I absolutely love this country. I am free to say what I want, within reason, I have had all the opportunities to achieve my full potential. I am not descriminated against, although Abbott would like to make descrimination legal, and Australia is a friend of Israel, but that does not mean kissing Netanyahu’s arse. But I take from your rants that you are so anti anything that is left, if Hitler wasn’t such an anti-Semite, you would have thought him a great man for killing all those communists.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “Does that mean all those refugees in detention came here illegally?”

    Hence the reason why they are in detention…

    “But you didn’t, you weren’t an asylum seeker?”

    Refugee. we had no citizenship or passport (it was taken away from us by the Soviet authorities). We were invited by the Australian government to come here…my parents were skilled workers.

    Most of the people (not all of them) who come here illegally are que jumpers who are seeking better employment & financial (aka center link) opportunities. They are not asylum seekers. If they were geniune asylum seekers they would have settled in third countries like Indonesia or Malasia who also happen to be fellow muslim countries.

    “if Hitler wasn’t such an anti-Semite”

    Oh no…going for the old Hitler/nazi analogy. Can you say “Holocaust trivilisation…” I’ll leave that one for the moderators.
    In addition to wearing swastika arm bands I also have horns on my head, eat babies & beat up old ladies. Tikkun Olam anyone?

  • Reality Check says:

    I am sorry about saying you thinking it was great that hitler killed all those communists. But I haven’t had a problem with Muslims here. I leave them alone and they let me be. We have laws in this country to deal with incitement to hate and violence. They are allowed to support Hamas if they wish, like we are allowed to support political parties in Israel who want to remove all the Palestinians. That is what freedom of expression is all about. Get used to it, and shed your xenophobic burdens. You may enjoy life a bit more that way. Goodbye and good luck Levi and welcome to the west.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    “But I haven’t had a problem with Muslims here.”

    No, but you seem to have a problem with making straw man arguments. I don’t have a problem with muslims either…to say that I do is well a straw man argument…

    “I leave them alone and they let me be.”

    So you don’t participate in “interfaith” dialogue or assist muslim families in anyway? Fair enough. That’s one less liberal Jew who does.

    “They are allowed to support Hamas if they wish…That is what freedom of expression is all about. Get used to it, and shed your xenophobic burdens.”

    So I’m a xenophobe because I choose to attack the xenophobic views of the Muslim establishment?

  • Robert Weil says:

    Reality Check,
    Thanks for kind comments about me. FYI I lead a wide and varied life outside of the stetel and don’t spend my time looking for Jewish anti-semites under the bed. And I’m so glad you invoked the name of Arnold Roth in your tirade of denigration of me. It will probably shock you to know that I have been heavily involved with Arnold and his wife and Keren Malki since it’s inception and am proud to have helped raise thousands of dollars for the organization.
    I have heard Arnold deliver many talks and divrei Torah and have never been anything but totally absorbed. And something Arnold Roth and I share in common; neither of us are so cowardly that we have to hide behind pseudonyms when we contribute to blog sites. Or is Reality Check your real name?

  • Alex says:

    This is what happens when you combine an arts degree, too much time on your hands, white guilt and a thesaurus.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    “Reality Check” reckons he is really good at insinuating himself into all manner of Jewish matters only to elicit a reservoir of prejudice based on a serious condition of turbulent anti Semitism.
    I am really amazed at Levi’s tollerance. If not the gentle heart I find myself to be, I would have told “Reality” where to go long time ago.

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    You must all watch the following clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afi56H9r2s8&feature=youtu.be

    This is what the brand Jewish Aid Australia should be about…

  • Jonny Schauder says:

    But it isn’t…
    The brand is misplaced.

  • Reality Check says:

    Yes Robert, Reality Check is my real name. And Otto; go on, put your gentle heart on the shelf and tell me were to go, but please make it simple, as you usually make me dizzy with your verbose nonsense.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “We have laws in this country to deal with incitement to hate and violence. They are allowed to support Hamas if they wish, like we are allowed to support political parties in Israel who want to remove all the Palestinians. That is what freedom of expression is all about.”

    -actually the armed wing of Hamas is listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia. Supporting them would open you up to potential criminal charges of supporting a foreign terrorist organisation.

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    exactly how many political parties are there in Israel who advocate the forcibal removal of arabs from their homes? and if they exist are they mainstream? how many Australian Jewish leaders have advocated for such a policy or accussed muslims of “buggery, espionage, treason and economic hoarding??”

  • Reality Check says:

    Seriously but,The Sadducee, do you know if the federal police are investigation Shiek what’s his name? I know that it’s against the law to support Hamas financially. Otherwise he ain’t breaking the law, I don’t think.

    Hopefully the government can get the anti-discrimination bill through which will make things even harder for our enemies. The coalition would trash it.

  • Reality Check says:

    I know Levi, what do you suggest we do?

  • Reality Check says:

    Levi,how come you spell Muslims and Arabs with small letters while everyone else gets a capital letter? Do you think that will help the cause?

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    deporting Hilaly would be a good start…he came here illegally, was suposed to be deported but only stayed because of the intervention of corrupt politicians. it’s never to late to right a wrong…

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    so in addition to wearing swastika arm bands & beating up old ladies i also intenitonally spell “muslims” and “arabs” using lower case letters.

    here’s an admission – my spelling & grammar isn’t too great…I guess that would make me an anti spelling & grammar racist? Oh & look I did use upper case after all –

    “So I’m a xenophobe because I choose to attack the xenophobic views of the Muslim establishment?”

    That’s Muslim establishment with an upper case ‘M’…

  • Reality Check says:

    Sorry levi, it did look a bit odd. By the way Shiek Hilaly is no longer the main Muslim man here, it’s some other bloke. But regarding Hilaly; I believe you. You may even have a file on him.

  • Sam says:

    Reality Check

    You have written quite a bit of rubbish in your last few postings. You even might have even lost the few fans that you had prior to that.
    I will just take issue with what you said regarding the Federal Coalition trying to “trash” the new Government anti-discrimination laws. It may be all to subtle for you, but there is a very fine line between offensive speech and the right to free speech. Do we wan’t a country that resembles Mao’s China?

    “Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the Coalition has “deep concerns” about any additional restrictions on free speech.

    “We are called the Liberal Party because in our DNA is support for free speech,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

    “And what we’ve seen from this government is a hectoring, bullying attempt to intimidate opponents, particularly the News Limited group.

    “The last thing we need is anything that shuts down legitimate debate in this country.”

    How will the above view make us worse off?

    Furthermore if a terrorist group has a plan to bomb its enemies (us maybe), will a new anti-discrimination law prevent that from happening?

  • Levi (a refugee from the USSR) says:

    RealityCheck, Hilaly is still the imam of Australia’s largest mosque. Does that make you feel any better? I forgot to add that Hilaly also once stated that Jews control the world through sexual perversion and never retracted his statements. Imagine the outcry if the rabbi of australia’s biggest shule said the same thing against Muslims? “moderate” Muslim Walid Aly defended him…

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Reality

    Check this:

    Anything beyond colourful epittetes, passionate ridicule, demeaning analogies would be a wste of lexical effort in respect to your profile. That you reek of primitive musings, backward mental efforts and relentless passion for the most mindless, inhumane, unsophisticated ideology is so incredibly evident that I already regret wasting a single syllable addressd to you, but I am in the business of treating absurdity and low forms of expression with the necessary treatement. Any further “debate” with you is just self insult !!!
    As you would be expected to wallow in insults, enjoy…….

  • Reallity Check says:

    Whatever, this is getting really boring. But Sam, I am so glad I’ve lost you as a fan. Abbott defender of free speech, my bottom: that’s why he complains to the broadcasting authority every time an interviewer gives him a hard time. Hilter was a big supporter of free speech as is Dr Toben and all the Jihabists who want to insult and incite hatred of us. They call it free speech, you call it free speech, but really, it’s freedom to incite hatred. So Sam, I hope you enjoy your freedom of speech where people are free to call you a Jew bastard, just before they punch your teeth out.

  • Reallity Check says:

    Otto, could you run that past me again, I somehow lost the jeest of what you’re on about, you wind-bag.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Reallity Check
    you cnfirmed my very point, i.e. comprehension is not part of your “intellectual” deficiency bag. Let me run your profile again:

    M indless
    O bnoxious
    R udimentary
    O ligophrenic
    N ebesh

  • Reality Check says:

    Otto, you are making a complete fool of yourself.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Reality whatever

    No, “mate”, you are the one that invites this kind of comments.
    It is obvious that you cannot handle any objection to your opinions. More so you cannot accept ANYBODY else having ANY opinion on anything.
    Your knee jerk reaction is one of jerking off such incongruous musings that one is left bereft of a reaction that may have a chance of consideration. You rave on about all manner of subjects in a compound that has no beginning, no core , no rational coda.
    You mix up conflicting notions, names, events not just to “answer” an opinion but to confuse, send astray the other party to directions so “original” that one needs to have a good rest, pause and see if the “evidence” you come up with makes any sense, indeed, in any possible direction. You only want to shock, believing that shock itself will silence he others and place you at the top of the dialectics with “no answer to my supreme tactics, substance – or lack of it – ignored”. And then, because you have decided already that you are controlling the entire scene, dismiss with vulgarity anyone reminding you that you have deralied badly in your rants. This kind of intollerance of the mere presence of another individual within what you have declared your “own” mental space, your cognitive and rational perimeter does lead one to concluding that serious turbulences occur between your ears. One is, then, compelled to resort to radical expressions in the hope that IT will shake you up.
    Consistent with all above, you shall at once dismiss it all and that shall confirm, once again, that I DO know who I am dealing with.
    Just declaring that “Reality Check” IS your actual name, mate………..

  • TheSadducee says:

    Reality Check

    They don’t call you a Jew bastard, they call you a Zionist bastard. Have you been in a coma the last 10 years?

  • Reality Check says:

    Otto, what makes you think that I would waste my time reading your foolish rubbish.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    Reality

    you just read it……………..!!!!!!

    Sad case…………

  • Sam says:

    Reality

    Reminds me of a game we played as small children when the rule was the first person to speak loses.

    After a few minutes the three children have not yet spoken, when the first reminds the others that the rule is the first to speak is out. Then the second child remarks to the first, that he should not have spoken.

    BTW I have never been called a Jew bastard nor had my teeth punched out.
    Can’t you do better than that!!!

  • Reality Check says:

    Sam, Menachem Vorchheimer comes to mind. And then of course was the Holocaust. Remember that: I suspect you think it started when they started throwing Jews into the gas chambers.

  • Sam says:

    Reality

    I wouldn’t go there! I lost 4 grandparents to the Nazi gas chambers and bullets.

    You are an insensitive imbecile for making that sort of comment.

  • Reality Check says:

    There you go Sam, you lost 4 grandparents to hatred and yet you support freedom to incite hatred. Your grandparent would he spitting chips in Gad Aden knowing what an idiot you are

  • Reality Check says:

    PS Sam did that upset you? And I was under the impression that you are a big defender of free speech. What a hypcrite, just like your leader Abbott.

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    No sooner have I finished my descriptive posting of Reality’s character that he could not help confirming my obsrevations…..
    Sometimes being accurate has its own discomforts, like witnessing the latest from the same….

  • Sam says:

    Reality

    I don’t need to continue a discussion with a sub-human. People will decide for themselves their opinion of you as your postings are highly self descriptive.

  • Reallity Check says:

    [Eds: Comment removed due to Godwin’s Law – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law ]

  • Otto Waldmann says:

    NO !!! Reality, whoever/whatever you are , THERE IS NO “US” !!

  • TheSadducee says:

    C’mon folks – lets stop getting nasty and personal.

    We are all from the same tribe and, despite differences, need to agree to disagree with civility and respect.

    [Eds: Quite right. Any further unrelated nastiness on this thread will be removed.]

  • Reality Check says:

    Ed, you’re right, but they started it.

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