Lay and rabbinic leaders, and shlichim from Mizrachi communities across the country, rejoiced in attending the first Mizrachi Australia national conference able to be held in several years, in Perth late last month.
The much-anticipated event also doubled as an opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Beit Midrash of Western Australia, the 25th anniversary of Dianella Shule in its current location, and the 40th anniversary of Bnei Akiva Perth.
A community learning program was a feature, exploring topics such as conversion, surrogacy, the meaning of Purim and cancel culture.
Leading the way were 12 visiting rabbis, educators and senior representatives from Mizrachi institutions, along with a contingent of participants from Perth.
A highlight was a panel discussion titled “Israel from 75 to 100: What is the judicial reform in Israel and is it the end of democracy?”, chaired by Mizrachi Perth founder Rabbi Marcus Solomon, who is also a justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
The panellists embraced local and international perspectives, helping to inform about the legal complexities involved.
A professional development stream for religious Zionist shlichim brought together dozens of young Israelis currently serving across the communities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
In addition to their affiliation to the Mizrachi communities of Australia, the shlichim also contribute to Jewish education within Jewish schools.
Conference attendees were inspired by Torah Mi’Tzion director Zeev Schwartz, and World Bnei Akiva deputy director Efrat Metzler, who have worked tirelessly to sustain religious Zionist shlichut, here and around the world.
The shlichim enjoyed networking and socialising on campus at the Carmel School – Perth’s only Jewish school – and at Dianella Mizrachi Shule.
The shlichim also attended a session presented by Deborah Blackman on child protection in informal education.
To celebrate the various anniversary milestones, Dianella Shule was transformed into a museum, with photo displays, video memorabilia, stories and publications, that recounted many of the communal and educational initiatives undertaken.
There was even a photo gallery wall showing snaps of married couples who’d met through the Dianella Mizrachi Shule.
Rabbi Shua Solomon of Mizrachi Sydney delivered a keynote address, encapsulating the journey that he and his colleagues enjoyed as children growing up in Perth’s Jewish community, and the strength of the educational infrastructure they benefited from.
There was also a session on planning ahead, with input from Mizrachi Australia and deputy chair of World Mizrachi Dr Danny Lamm, deputy CEO of World Mizrachi Rabbi Danny Mirvis, and the presidents and administrators of many Mizrachi communities, and their vision for enhanced collaboration.
Discussions focused on ways to enhance youth leadership participation, Israel programs, intrastate events for young adults, further development of educational programming and the enhancement of Jewish literacy.