THE New Zealand mosque massacres prompted the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) to launch a crowd-funding campaign in support of the Muslim community in Christchurch.
To kickstart the campaign, JBOD made an initial donation of $1800 and by the time The AJN went to print, more than $60,000 had been raised.
“The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies stands in solidarity with the Muslim communities of Christchurch, New Zealand and Sydney in condemning this act of wanton slaughter,” remarked JBOD president Lesli Berger and CEO Vic Alhadeff. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible massacre, as well as to our Muslim friends and colleagues, and pray for an end to racism, bigotry and terrorism.”
Berger added, “We are in touch with the New Zealand Jewish Council – whose representatives have visited the Christchurch Muslim community to ascertain what they need – and also with local Muslim leaders. We will take the best advice and after careful consideration will disburse the funds appropriately.”
Uniting with other groups to express their solidarity, Berger and Alhadeff represented JBOD at an interfaith memorial service held on Sunday at St Mary’s Cathedral.
“It was very moving to be part of such a large number of faith, community and political leaders coming together and joining forces to grieve the loss of innocent life and to condemn this terrible atrocity,” Berger said.
In Melbourne, Rabbi Ralph Genende addressed the crowd at a solidarity prayer vigil outside the State Library. Also present at Monday’s event – which was attended by Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau and other faith leaders – was the Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s Anton Block, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s Jennifer Huppert and Holocaust educator and communal stalwart Frances Prince.