New chapter for Jewish Folk Centre

From left: Miri Orden, Allan Vidor, Jason Sandler, Gabrielle Upton MP and David Nathan in the refurbished centre. Photo: Shane Desiatnik

A FRUITFUL partnership has seen the Jewish Folk Centre (JFC) at 5 Saber Street, Woollahra updated with a bright new commercial-sized kitchen and a refurbished main hall, enabling the venue to host more programs, services and events.

At a reopening ceremony on July 18, Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton congratulated JewishCare and the JFC board for “collaborating so well to realise a wonderful facility and community asset”.

“You know, the best of ideas come from the community – not from government,” Upton said.

“And both organisations, working together here, made for such a powerful combination.

“I really think we [politicians] can take away some lessons on how this project was executed – it was done perfectly.”

The JFC – also known as Ha’Moadon Ha’Israeli – has almost 200 members and holds regular events inside the hall, tailored to Israeli-Australians and speakers of Hebrew and Yiddish.

Co-president, Miri Orden, said the organisation was planning to renovate the hall, when it was approached 18 months ago by JewishCare, which was searching for a suitable venue with a large, modern kitchen, in order to expand several of its weekday programs, particularly for people with a disability.

Successful negotiations ensued, and the upgraded centre will now be used as a home three days a week for JewishCare’s Our Kitchen Hands program, on Mondays for its JDay activities group, and the remainder of the time for JFC events and other functions.

Orden said it was fitting that the building, bought more than 70 years ago by a small group of Jewish refugees utilising funds from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, will enjoy a new lease on life thanks to a Jewish partnership. “It’s such a great achievement,” she said.

JewishCare president Jason Sandler reflected, “In the end, this project is all about the participants, so we thank them, and their families, for joining us here today.”