PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has told The AJN a menorah gifted to him by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) will remind him every day of “the contribution of the Jewish community to Australia”.
ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim travelled to Canberra on Monday to present the PM with his very own menorah as a gesture of support for him and the government in leading Australia through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morrison told The AJN after the meeting, “I’m so pleased to be able to display this Menorah in my office. Thank you.
“It signifies the light that guides us through challenging times and will serve as a daily reminder of the contribution of the Jewish community to Australia.”
The Prime Minister has a collection of Judaica items in his office but this did not previously include a menorah.
ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim explained the difference between the nine-branch hanukkiah and the seven-branch menorah. He also explained the antiquity of the menorah as both a religious and national symbol of the Jewish people, noting that it is also the national symbol of the State of Israel.
“The menorah is above all a symbol of light and enlightenment, of knowledge and of spiritual awareness,” Wertheim said.
He added, “We hope that this menorah will serve the government and the Prime Minister as an inspiration to light the path forward for the country and bring hope in times of fear and uncertainty.”
Jewish Liberal MPs Josh Frydenberg and Julian Leeser also attended the menorah presentation, along with ECAJ president Jillian Segal via video link.
Segal thanked Morrison for the government’s ongoing support for the Jewish community in good times and in bad.