Marking a milestone in Queensland

THE Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) will celebrate 150 years of organised Jewish life in the Sunshine State with a cultural festival and gala dinner next month.

Also in planning are a suite of activities in regional Queensland as well as the publication in 2016 of a book covering the community’s milestones and some its key identities over the years.

QJBD president Jason Steinberg told The AJN: “It’s a very significant milestone, that a small community like ours can deliver Jewish life continuously for over 150 years and I think it’s really special that we take a moment to celebrate that.

“Our institutions have remained solid, and our synagogue for example, which was built 130 years ago, remains in continuous service and has done since that time.”

He added: “It’s worth acknowledging that over the last 150 years Jewish people in Queensland have played a significant role in the fabric of Queensland society, whether it be in political life or academia or business or medicine, or the arts, welfare, or sport.”

The celebrations will kick off with the cultural festival, JFEST QLD, at the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens on Sunday, November 1.

“We’re very conscious of the fact that a lot of people in South East Queensland don’t know any Jewish people,” Steinberg said. “To break down those barriers we’re opening up to the whole population of Brisbane and Gold Coast to come along … it’s a chance for people to come and experience Jewish food, dance and traditions.”

Meanwhile, a gala dinner will be held on Sunday, November 15, with prominent Jewish businesswoman Jillian Segal as guest speaker. Representatives of federal, state and local government will also be present.

Steinberg encouraged ex-Queenslanders and others to show their support.

“We’re a community of around 8000 people in South East Queensland. I think if you looked at how many people have left, and the families that they’ve created, I think we’d be a community close to 40,000 people.

“We would love for ex-Queenslanders to come up and join us at either the dinner or the festival, or even just send us an email of support.”

More info: http://jq150.jewishqld.com.

GARETH NARUNSKY