JCA: ‘Help us write our future’

JCA help us From left: Natalia Wakerman, Sasha Hoffmann, Ashleigh Levett, Cayley Smith and Claudia Hurwitz at Monday’s JCA fundraiser. Photo: Giselle Haber

IT was a night at the movies … but not as you know it. 

JCA’s annual fundraising campaign saw the community gather at Hoyts in the Entertainment Quarter this week for a series of engaging events including a screening of a short film showcasing the JCA’s various member organisations.

Following its successful Humans of JCA campaign last year, which showed powerful images of people and volunteers who are deeply involved in JCA’s family of member organisations, JCA decided, “This year, we want you to hear their words.”

The result is a compelling and moving short film produced and directed by Adam Dostalek, which showcases the hopes and dreams of individuals within our community and the work that JCA and member organisations are doing, much of which is never seen.

From Holocaust education programs at the Sydney Jewish Museum, taught by those who experienced the horrors themselves, to the vital services JewishCare provides to those in need, the film  was highly emotional and had audiences captivated.

“With 23 member organisations, JCA needs us. But even more importantly, we need JCA. Because without JCA, there is no Jewish community,” Sasha Hoffmann, head of JCA’s Jumpstart committee, said on Monday night.

Jumpstart caters to millennials in the community, a crucial demographic according to Hoffmann, given JCA’s “ageing donor base and complete lack of engagement with our generation”.

“Our involvement has now become critical,” she said. “If we are not engaged or properly informed then what future will there be?”

Also speaking at the event was Natalia Wakerman, who after attending her first JCA event last year said she felt a “call to action, a desire to give back to the community”.

“Many of us have watched our grandparents and parents take an active role in building our community and we have felt proud by association,” Wakerman said. 

“However, I am starting to understand that gratification by association is no longer enough.”

She said it is “time for us to step up and make our mark”. 

“We don’t know what our future will look like, but it’s important to me that our community has a future.”

JCA president Stephen Chipkin said the story of our future Jewish community is yet to be written.

“This is your movie. Be in it,” he said. “Find an active role. The only role that will cause us harm is if you sit in the stalls watching and hoping that someone else will write the story for your grandchildren.

“Please help us write our future.”