From the ASPJ President

Dear Members and Friends,

Thankfully it appears that, after what seemed a long, dark continuous COVID-impacted 2020, we are now on our way to returning to a more normal, albeit Covidsafe existence. As mentioned before, COVID significantly impacted the Australian Society of Polish Jews and Their Descendants (ASPJ) with our original suite of planned 2020 events and functions almost entirely postponed or cancelled.

Facing that challenge, the ASPJ has proved itself to be an agile organisation and pivoted towards hosting online webinars. These webinars, featuring Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Michael Rubenfeld, Director of FestivALT and Dariusz Popiela, a current Polish Olympian and founder of “People, Not Numbers”, have proved very successful and which drew significant viewer numbers both locally and internationally.

Additionally our partnership, entered into in 2020 with FestivALT – an independent arts collective that produces acclaimed Jewish art and activism, based in
Kraków, Poland – has satisfyingly produced a number of successfully collaborated online events and tours specifically curated for an Australian audience. Another highlight for the ASPJ was my interview with Jonathon Ornstein of JCC Krakow, in December 2020, as part of his online interview series. This interview was watched by over 1,000 people. These ASPJ webinars and interviews are able to be viewed via our Facebook page and website and I encourage those who may have missed them to do so.

Given the success of our ASPJ webinars and our online partnership with FestivALT, we will continue to host these in 2021 and beyond. The changed environment we live in, as well as the increased accessibility of both local and international guests and viewers, are compelling reasons to continue to do so. We have an outstanding line-up of guests, who have accepted invitations, and we are excited by the opportunities ahead of us.

The ASPJ also excitedly looks forward to resuming our in-person attended public functions, especially our ASPJ Henryk Slawik Award in late 2021, as well as resuming our ASPJ Oration in early 2022.

We also are now planning the launch of our NSW chapter of the ASPJ around October 2021.

One constant for us has been the publication of “Haynt”, which remains a richly interesting and educational magazine. Many thanks to all our contributors and especially to Izi Marmur for his exceptional production efforts. They are much appreciated.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at both our upcoming online and especially in-person functions in 2021.

Wishing everyone a safe & happy Passover.

Ezra May,
President, ASPJ