Interfaith and Intercultural
Ester Steingiesser and Dr Anita Shroot
About the Portfolio
The interfaith and intercultural portfolio is concerned with interacting with women from other faith groups and cultural groups throughout Australia. NCJWA has a strong history of involvement in this area and we are always looking to further strengthen our links with women from a wide variety of cultural and faith backgrounds. We have conducted a national Living in Harmony project in all sections which connected us to many other women's groups around the country.
NCJWA conducts interfaith functions and celebrations of Jewish festivals across Australia, to give other women and men an understanding of where we are coming from. Through the Australian Women's Coalition we invite women from other organisations to our trans-cultural media and writing discussion groups where different cultures and faiths are investigated through a text. NCJWA has organised 3 Jewish Catholic dinners together with the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, with Jews and Catholics sitting together and sharing a meal, providing yet another opportunity to come to know each other better.
We also work in a mentoring capacity and running leadership programs with other women's groups, such as the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition and women from the Islamic Council of Victoria.
In February 2007 National Vice-President Di Hirsh convened the inaugural JCMA (Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia) Women's Conference. This was a 3-day live-in conference for 45 women from the 3 Abrahamic faiths where women ate, sang, danced and lived together.
They came to understand each other in a very friendly, warm atmosphere, breaking down stereotypes and forming strong bonds of friendship that have continued in regular discussion meetings throughout the year. The outstanding success of this event has been highlighted on the ABC Encounter program with Margaret Coffey, who was at the conference, and on the Channel 31 Visions program.
The Parliament of the World's Religions, held in Melbourne 2009, was a huge interfaith event, bringing thousands of people to Melbourne for interfaith activities from around the world. NCJWA played a significant part in this very exciting gathering.
NCJWA NSW Transcultural Library enables all NCJWA members to study books and DVDs for discussion: Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, Katherine Hamlin’s Hospital by the River, Camilla Gibbs’ Sweetness in the Belly, William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives and Rodger Kamenetz’s The Jew in the Lotus’
Click here to read the October 2015 report.