Our First National Conference


'A Sense of Togetherness'

'We?ve put some flesh on the bones!? That was chairman Michael Cohen?s summing up of the first National Conference of Councils of Christians and Jews, hosted by the Melbourne branch over the Queen?s Birthday weekend in June.

Up till then, the ?Australian? Council has simply been a conduit to link with the International Council of Christians and Jews. Now, with delegates from three States and the ACT coming together at Temple Beth Israel, the sense of ?togetherness? was confirmed and future priorities discussed. Before any flesh was put on bones, however, the sonorous sounds of the Victoria Chorale under the baton of Val Pyers provided a cultural banquet at the opening concert ACCJ chairman Henry Mendelson summed up the conference with the view that ?education is the key to the future of CCJs?. Here is his postconference message:

The Australian Council?s first National Conference was a triumph in itself, not merely that it happened in the first place but that it foreshadowed new directions, new forms of communication and a new emphasis on education.

Directions for future priorities by the Australian Council and more importantly — by the International Council — were the subject of vigorous and positive outcome discussions.

A more aggressive approach to communication as a means to showcase the work of the Council throughout Australia was unveiled. A great deal of effort will need to be applied in directions which will see more direct initiatives between the Australian Council and State bodies.

No comment on the conference would be complete without reference to the enthusiastically received Victoria Chorale concert on the opening night. It set the tone of warm friendship and positive dialogue throughout the weekend. Most importantly this has encouraged the Council to set its sights on next year?s conference in Sydney, for October 2005.