NSW Jewish Board of Deputies raises $71,000 (NZ)
When news of the terrorist attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch broke on March 15, it left New Zealand reeling. But the impact resonated throughout the Jewish world and as a result over $1 million will be handed over from the Jewish communities of Pittsburgh, Sydney and New Zealand to the Muslim community of Christchurch. (The Pittsburgh Jewish community suffered a terrorist attack last October, with 11 people killed.)
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff will present a cheque of $71,000 – raised from the Sydney Jewish community via a crowdfunding campaign – at a function to be hosted by the Mayor of Christchurch. He will visit the mosques where the attacks took place prior to the cheque ceremony and will be accompanied by New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman.
The funds have been raised for the families of the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack for counselling and support services, medical treatment, financial planning, education and vocational training, and will be managed by the Christchurch Foundation. The funds will also be used to advance interfaith activities to foster greater connection between to the Jewish and Muslim communities of New Zealand.
“The massacre occurred at a time when people were at their most vulnerable – at prayer in a house of worship,” Alhadeff said. “An attack on one faith is an attack on us all, and we extend our hand in friendship in calling for an end to racism, an end to antisemitism, an end to Islamophobia, an end to bigotry in all its forms.”
“Our faiths share the Abrahamic tradition, and Jews and Muslims have both suffered racism historically and today,” said Goodman. “The Jewish community, both in New Zealand and overseas, wanted the victims of the mosque attacks to know that we see them, we empathise with them, we support them. One of the first communities to get in touch was the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh in America; within hours of the attack on their synagogue last October, the Muslim community of Pittsburgh started a fundraising campaign to support Jewish victims and the Pittsburgh Jewish community wanted to repay that kindness.”
The Christchurch Foundation is happy to administrate this generous gift,” said Christchurch Foundation deputy chair Paul Deavoll. “We are grateful to all the communities that have donated and are looking forward to overseeing a fund that will contribute to further collaboration and understanding between these faiths.”
Sheikh Ibrar Sheikh of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand said the “support from the global Jewish community is very gratefully received. To know that our Jewish brothers and sisters understand what we have gone through, and are still going through, and are there to help us in our recovery is very important to us.”
Note to editors:
· Media are invited to the mayoral ceremony in Christchurch on Wednesday July 17 where the $1 million will be handed over. Kindly contact me for details. And Vic Alhadeff is available for interviews.