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Australian Freedom Network

02/12/15 19:17:38

Dec2

Rabbi Meltzer represented the ACTJC, RCANZ and the ECAJ at the launch of the Australian Freedom Network at Parliament House today.

He stated "Signing my name in the Global Freedom Network to affirm the pledge made by Pope Francis exactly a year ago to eradicate slavery and human trafficking by 2020 was humbling. To stand with other faith leaders today in the halls of power, at Parliament House, was a moving experience." 

 

Below is his statement that was released by the AFN - for more details see www.afn.org.au

 

Australian Freedom Network

Maimonides the 12th Century philosopher, Joseph Caro, the author of the Shulchan Aruch (codification of Jewish law) in the 14th century, and modern day philosophers have maintained throughout history that slavery is not a Jewish attribute, and that fair treatment of all workers is mandated due to the fact that we are created b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of God.

Rabbi Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine, transposed the ethics taught in the rules surrounding slavery, as an opportunity to educate the industrial hierarchy of their responsibilities to their workers. Kook, realising that each of us works for someone, describes these laws as a way to ensure that each of us should be granted rights to combat injustices.

The Jewish people are commanded numerous times to remember that we were slaves in Egypt, strangers in a strange land. These principles govern much of our interactions between our fellow human beings. It is why Jewish communities have been seen linking arms in various civil rights movements and actions.

At this time, when the Australian Freedom Network is launching, at the centre of our democratic institution, that the ACT Jewish Community of which I am the Rabbi, the Rabbinic Council of Australia and New Zealand, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, stand with our entire Jewish community, and faith leaders from around the country, to decry human trafficking, the exploitation of men women and children, and the very concept of slavery.

For too long, we have seen reports and the impacts of human trafficking, and for too long the world has sat idly by doing too little. Now is the time to stand up and make our voices heard, joining a global network of faiths and organisations to bring an end to the destructive consequences of slavery!

In the Ethics of our Fathers (Pirkei Avot 1:14) we read of Hillel, the great Mishnaic Sage where he said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?"

We have to make sure we look after ourselves and our people, but if we are only for ourselves what is the point of being here. If we do not act, we are part of the problem, and we are giving up parts of our very humanity. If we don’t act now, then we will never act.

 

Australian Federal Parliament Channukah Event

02/12/15 19:11:28

Dec2

The Jewish community of Canberra, joined MPs and Senators from around the country, along with religious and lay leaders from the Jewish Community in the Federal Parliament for the first Channukah Menorah Lighting in over 25 years. We thank Michael Danby MP,  Joshua Frydenberg MP, and Mark Dreyfus MP for hosting. Below is Rabbi Meltzer's Invocation. For more information see http://www.jwire.com.au/58411-2/

 

 

Invocation by Rabbi Alon Meltzer

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah

We join together today to celebrate the festive season of Channukah, the Jewish celebration of light. We stand in a time where many in the world are experiencing darkness; where many are suffering from brutality and hatred; where many are crying out for support.

Two thousand two hundred years ago, the Jewish people were in the midst of crisis. A foreign enemy was on our doorstep, threatening to engulf the entire Jewish people – forcing us to exchange our values, our traditions, our faith, for immorality, for hatred, for vanity. Yet faith persevered, Mattitiyahu and his sons, rose up against the Hellenistic power, and the darkness transformed into light. The small were victorious against the many, the weak were able to overcome the strong, and the innocent were able to defeat the guilty.

The Jewish people were able to rededicate their home, they were able to re-establish their traditions, they were able to renew and reignite their faith. Unity swept over the nation, allowing for a stronger and more dedicated nation.

As we stand here today, from the comforts of a great democracy, one, which allows our people the ability to live a life of liberty, as we stand in the very corridors of power, let us not forget those who are experience suffering, pain and darkness.

We entreat you, on this festival of light, to bring light to the shadows, to ensure that those who cannot freely walk on this earth, who cannot feel the glow of freedom, who are unable to enjoy the world which you created in liberty, are able to walk without the weight of shackles, are able to laugh and sing songs of joy, are able to dispel fear.

We give thanks to the Australian Commonwealth Government for the ability to live a life where we are at peace with our neighbours, where we can walk the streets of this great land without looking over our shoulders, and where we can stand side by side with all citizens of this country, despite our difference and because of our similarities.

As we bring light into this world, through the eight days of Channukah, symbolising the miracle of oil which was supposed to last for but one night, yet stretched across all eight, we hope and pray that the light will continue beyond the festival.

As Dr Martin Luther King Jr stated, Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

May this be the beginning of world where light and love, light and harmony, light and tolerance reign supreme.

Let us say Amen

 

 

Sat, 21 October 2017 1 Cheshvan 5778