THE WA government has committed $6 million in funding to the development of a new Jewish community centre in Perth to replace the current building on a site which the Jewish community has called home since Maccabi WA first located there in 1952.
After almost 70 years of service, the facilities, which include meeting, sports and community spaces, require replacement to meet the needs of today’s Jewish community.
The state government funding matches a $6 million Commonwealth commitment, and will be further boosted by $3 million in private funding.
The new centre will include a Holocaust museum, featuring a memorial to Indigenous activist William Cooper who championed Jewish rights on the eve of the Shoah, accommodation for community organisations, a day-care centre, a dedicated youth space, and meetings and events facilities for the wider Jewish community.
WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, representing Premier Mark McGowan’s government, visited the site, noting the plan “will not only ensure the community has a suitable place to gather for decades to come, but importantly will include a new, world-class Holocaust education centre”.
“I’m heartened that included in the plans for the Holocaust education centre is a memorial to Aboriginal social justice activist William Cooper who led a historic protest against the Nazis’ mistreatment of Jewish people in 1938,” said Wyatt.
Mount Lawley MLA Simon Millman reflected, “Learning about the Shoah reminds us all about the threat of authoritarianism, the risk of dehumanisation, and the terrible consequences that can flow when we give bigotry a free pass.”
Maccabi WA Property Advisory Committee chair Tony Tate told The AJN, “We will have a building that will serve the contemporary and future needs of our community, in terms of a gathering place for our youth, a communal office, meeting area and a world-class Holocaust Education Centre.
“It is four years since we commenced looking at how to upgrade or replace the Jewish Community Centre, opened in 1974, to meet the current needs of our community. We are working towards reopening in late 2022.”
Jewish Community Council of Western Australia (JCCWA) president Joan Hillman added, “As president of JCCWA and a member of the Maccabi WA Advisory committee, I am delighted and very grateful that Maccabi WA and the Perth Jewish community will be receiving $6 million from the McGowan government and $6 million from the federal government in funding for the development of a Jewish cultural centre.”