The year 5783 has been an eventful one.
The first full Hebrew year to be unaffected by pandemic lockdowns, we were able to daven in shule and celebrate yom tovim and milestones with all our family and friends.
Travel to Israel was fully back on the agenda and we visited in droves – by ourselves, with family and friends, with school groups, youth groups, delegations and more.
We had state elections in Victoria and New South Wales, the latter producing a change of government.
On a federal level, there were positives such as the establishment of the Parliamentary Friends of IHRA, and negatives such as the government withdrawing Australia’s recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year, and more recently declaring all Israeli settlements “illegal” and all of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
There were milestones for our community. In Sydney, construction finally began on Hakoah White City. In Melbourne, young Jewish footballer Harry Sheezel was picked in the top 10 of the AFL draft and ended his first season with the Rising Star award.
We finally saw justice served in the Malka Leifer case, ending a 15-year saga.
Israel had a fraught 5783. Its election in November 2022 led to the formation of a right-wing, religious coalition containing radical parties, a government that wasted no time moving to reshape the country’s judiciary and in the process tearing the fabric of Israeli society apart.
Additionally, the Gregorian calendar year thus far has been the deadliest for terrorism in Israel since the Second Intifada.
As we gather in shule and around our tables this Rosh Hashanah, we pray Israel may know peace – both with its Palestinian neighbours and within the polarised factions of its own politics.
May our Australian Jewish community continue to thrive as we dedicate ourselves to self-reflection and self-improvement and rededicate ourselves to pursuing enriched lives and giving back to the Jewish and wider communities.
And in the year to come, may we continue our connection with and advocacy on behalf of Israel, uniting on things where we agree and disagreeing well when we don’t.
We wish all our readers a happy and sweet Shana Tova.