“WHAT I love about NSW is that when one community has a major milestone or celebration all of us can partake,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at the State Parliament’s pre-Chanukah celebration last week.
More than 100 people, including Jewish communal leaders, politicians and representatives from other faith communities, attended the celebration.
“Today we stand as one in celebrating the wonderful values which Chanukah represents to the broader community,” Berejiklian said.
“We also take this opportunity, in thanking you for your contribution to New South Wales.
“Jewish people were part of the first fleeters and have been an important part of the state since that time.
We are deeply, deeply proud of that history and deeply proud of the contribution the community continues to make.”
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley spoke fondly of the Jewish community and its contribution to NSW.
He quoted “a great Jewish Australian” Sir Julian Salomons, who was a NSW parliamentarian in the 1880s and 1890s, when he said, “I am a Jew. I was born a Jew … and I should be a poltroon and a coward, as well as a fool, if I were not proud of belonging to a race which has given an Isaiah to the world; the Psalms of David, and all the mighty mysteries of the Bible, upon which the civilisation, the consolation, and the happiness of the world depend.”
Foley said “those words should ring out in this place every year” because it was an important message.
Noting that Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Jeremy Spinak said having so many people from different faiths and political backgrounds coming together to celebrate the festival in Parliament was an example of the bright light that continues to shine today.