TWENTY-two people under the age of 35 have been elected as NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) general franchise deputies.
The new crop of young people, including Joshua Moses, who is a board member of the Youth Parliament of World Religions and Sophia Kwiet, who was recently elected as the Australasian Union of Jewish Students’ national campaigns coordinator for 2018, will be joined by former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who became a deputy of the organisation for the first time.
JBOD president Jeremy Spinak said 40 per cent of people who nominated have never been deputies before and 34 per cent were under the age of 35.
“We are extremely impressed with the calibre of all the new deputies that have been elected this year,” Spinak told The AJN.
“In particular, the large contingent of people under 35 shows that the board has become the place for young people looking to make a difference to the community.
“It bodes very well for the future and we are very excited.”
More than 11,500 votes were cast for the 70 general franchise deputies, who are independent members of the community and comprise 50 per cent of the Board of Deputies plenum.
The other 50 per cent are representatives from constituent organisations.
They play a role in deciding the policy direction of the community, can nominate as members of Board of Deputies committees and are eligible to vote on key issues, the most recent significant motion being the resolution on same-sex marriage, which was passed by an overwhelming majority at the September plenum.
The plenum also remembered the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, which paved the way for the Jewish homeland.
Two Aboriginal Australians, who had family members in the Australian Light Horse Brigade and were able to attend the commemorations in Israel with the help of the Rona Tranby Trust, spoke to the plenum.
Elsie Amamoo, whose great- grandfather Frank Fisher fought in Beersheba, was in tears as she addressed the plenum.
“This was the closest I have ever felt to my family’s history, closer than being on the soil of Australia,” Amamoo said.
“It was really emotional and something that I will take with me forever.”
Amamoo told the plenum that she was made redundant and wasn’t sure if she would be able to make the journey to Israel, but then she was contacted by somebody from the Rona Tranby Trust.
“When the opportunity arrived because of you guys,” she said looking at the room, “It was as if a miracle had happened.
“It was the experience of a lifetime … I cried during the Israel national anthem.”