Serving the Jewish Community




28 July 1995


( This appears to be the first report by the President to the Association, I found it in the archives - Ari)



A Steering Committee for the Queensland Jewish Community Service was formed following a public forum organised by the Queensland Board of Jewish Deputies in 1992 on assessing the needs within the Jewish Communities. This forum identified 3 major areas of need - the aged, youth and migrants.
The committee and other co-opted members firstly attended to setting up an infra-structure for the organisation and addressed requirements such as defining a mission statement and a code of ethics, as well as clarifying the goals and strategies of the Service. (Attached herewith) The service became incorporated following a General Meeting of the Service on 22 November 1994. The current Committee comprises a small number of volunteer workers incorporating expertise in the Welfare, Business, Education and Medical fields.
A philosophy of the committee has always been to involve the communities as much as possible in the process of establishing the service and in reaching its goals. To this end a number of meetings were held with other groups and community members both to encourage their participation and to ensure that the identification of needs came from the community and were not imposed on the community by this or any other committee. To broaden our consultations, a second forum was held on 24 October 1993 to provide an open review of the activities and achievements of the Committee to that date. That forum also provided an opportunity for the participants to consider in small working groups some crucial issues for the community especially for the elderly population. The needs identified were varied, including not only the employment of a Community Worker but also the need for a “drop-in” place and cultural activities, support groups for widowers and isolated people, transport to community functions, Kosher meals on wheels and a community organised phone service
Following the forum of 1992, a committee was formed to consider the needs of Jewish Youth. The Jewish Community Service Steering Committee participated in another forum organised specifically for representatives from all major organisations with agendas for Youth. Subsequent meetings and workshops were facilitated by members a the Jewish Community Services resulting in a Report being presented to the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies identifying major issues for Youth and basic recommendations. Members of the Committee also participated in discussions looking at a process to secure a Youth Shaliach from Israel.
From the time of the Formation of the Steering Committee, the Committee has actively sought out consultation and liaison with other welfare organisations and services including interstate Jewish welfare organisations. Members of the Committee and other volunteers have represented the Service at a number of mainstream seminars and workshops on relevant welfare issues.


The Committee has responded to several requests for assistance to individuals and families through short term counseling, provision of information, arranging financial assistance, referral to appropriate mainstream services and general support.
Survey on the “Elderly”:
During November 1994, funding of $1500 was received from the Bureau of Ethnic Affairs (a division of the State Department of Family Services, Aboriginal and Islander Affairs) enabling the Service to employ a Social Worker to conduct a survey exploring the everyday life experiences or elderly members of the Brisbane and Gold Coast Jewish Communities. The aim of the small survey was to identify the needs and problems or the target group and to provide recommendations for possible action to address some of the issues raised. A full report of the survey and the recommendations is attached. In summary it can be said that the not only did the findings of the survey support many of the views already held in the community but also highlighted significant other factors not previously considered. The recommendations addressed issues of dissemination of relevant information for the elderly cultural and religious needs of Jewish residents in nursing homes, support for Holocaust survivors and social isolation and confirmed the need for the employment of a Community Worker.


Volunteer Training Course:

A most successful Volunteer Training Course was conducted by members of the Committee with funding of $4000 from the Brisbane City Council. The Course prepared Volunteers for later work with the “elderly” and migrants. 15 women from Brisbane and the Gold Coast participated in the course which covered a number of diverse subjects- Each session was presented by professionals with expertise in the specific areas from the Jewish and general community. The volunteers continue to meet on a regular basis under the co-ordination of a Committee member to address new issues and for mutual support. A full report is attached.



With the establishment of a Volunteer network, it will be possible to begin to address in earnest some of the many needs identified by the community and in the survey on the “elderly” However the lack of financial and man-power resources prove to be a major handicap for the committee limiting the activities that can be undertaken. The severity of the lack of finance available to the Service must be addressed. To date all major projects undertaken have been possible only because of Government grants. Although the need for a Community Worker has been clearly identified from a number of sources, the likelihood of this occurring in the near future is slim. Further more, because of the nature of our mandate and the fact that we may be dealing with vulnerable people, the committee believes strongly that the delivery of its services can only occur when a committed follow-through approach is assured.
In its delivery of planned services, consideration will necessarily be given by the Committee to the geographical spread of the Jewish Community in South East Queensland, to the fact that the Community Centre lies in an outer suburb of Brisbane, to the different sections that comprise the small community and to the resulting isolation of individual families.
The next few months will he a challenging time for the Committee. There must be a continued development of responses to the already identified needs of the community and encouragement of continued involvement of a broad range of community members in the Services’ activities and research. However at the same time the Committee must do so at a pace that ensures the integrity and professionalism of its work. In a small community such as Brisbane and the Gold Coast where there is no alternative true holistic welfare service, the pressures to “move fast” will be great.
In order to broaden its outreach and effectiveness, the service will seek to increase its membership while continuing to foster positive working relationships with other organisations both within the Jewish and general Communities in Queensland and interstate.
28 July 1995

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