Abraham our Father - the figure of Abraham in Jewish Tradition

When: 3 Sessions: Sundays 8, 22 February, 15 March 2015. 7.30-9.15pm.

Where: St Kilda-Elsternwick Baptist Church, 9 Pakington Street St Kilda

Abraham has a special status in all three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism he is known as the first of the three Patriarchs and the first person in human history to recognise the unity of God. What does Jewish tradition mean when it calls Abraham 'our Father'? What sort of person is portrayed by the stories of Abraham in the Bible? And what role does the figure of Abraham play in the lives of Jews today?

In this three-session course we'll be drawing on Jewish tradition to guide our reading of specific stories in the Abraham cycle:
Abraham's call, the annunciation and birth of Isaac, and the sacrifice of Isaac.

By the end we hope to bring new understandings to Abraham, Jewish tradition and ways that we can read the Bible.

Rabbi Fred Morgan

Rabbi Morgan is Emeritus Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel, St Kilda, where he served as Senior Rabbi for 16 years. He trained to be a rabbi in London and prior to coming to Australia he served a synagogue in the UK for 13 years.

He is currently Professorial Fellow in Theology and Interfaith Relations at Australian Catholic University, and he also coordinates the "Grass Roots Dialogue Project" for the Victorian Council of Christians and Jews. This is an innovative program designed to introduce principles of interfaith dialogue to Jews and Christians at a grass roots level.

He is married to Sue and they have three children and one grandchild.

Auspiced by the City of Port Phillip Mulitifath Network

Cost: Gold coin donation to the work of the network

Further Information: Alan Marr 0407 095 695

Equality for Women is Progress for all

2015 International Women’s Day Event

[Edited extract of public address]

-- Merissa Mathew founder of the Butterfly Foundation

Where: Sandrigham Yacht club, Jetty Road, Sandringham VIC 3191 

Bookings/More Information:
The Rotary Club of Bentleigh Moorabbin Central Inc.
John Lehner, Membership Committee 
Tel: 9579 3048

GEIFN Gathers

Glen Eira Interfaith Network has monthly  breakfasts as part of its aspiration to foster understanding and build trust that uniting  together regularly can bring. No bookings required, just turn up 1st Wednesday of month at venue and look for a familiar face. Bring your own (self, spouse, partner, children, pet) or advise attendance so a GEIFN Gatherer can welcome you. Date and venue for next Gather below.

Breakfast: 7.30*-8.00am
Coffee/Tea: 8-8.30am
Come for a part or stay for both. Participants pay own costs.

*January later start due to venue's holiday opening time

Spot Cafe

In keeping with the "flash-gather" idea, venue does not know we are coming and may be subject to change due to changing nature of things. 

Contact GEIFN Gathers coordinator Carey 0438 371 488 with questions, advise attendance, leave a mobile number for an SMS reminder on day or to be advised of changed plans.

Wikimedia Foundation 2014 Report

[Edited extract of donor address]

Thank you for your invaluable gift of bringing knowledge to every human around the world.

My name is Lila Tretikov, and I’m the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Over the past year, gifts like yours powered our efforts to expand the encyclopedia in 287 languages and to make it more accessible all over the world. We strive most to impact those who would not have access to education otherwise. We bring knowledge to people like Akshaya Iyengar from Solapur, India. Growing up in this small textile manufacturing town, she used Wikipedia as her primary learning source. For students in these areas, where books are scarce but mobile Internet access exists, Wikipedia is instrumental. Akshaya went on to graduate from college in India and now works as a software engineer in the United States. She credits Wikipedia with powering half of her knowledge.

This story is not unique. Our mission is lofty and presents great challenges. Most people who use Wikipedia are surprised to hear it is run by a non-profit organization and funded by your donations. Each year, just enough people donate to keep the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Thank you for making this mission possible.

On behalf of nearly half a billion people who read Wikipedia, thousands of volunteer editors, and staff at the Foundation, I thank you for keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free this year.

Thank you,

Lila Tretikov
Executive Director,
Wikimedia Foundation

Many employers will match employee contributions: please check with your company to see if they have a corporate matching gift program.

More Information:
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 
U.S. tax-exempt number: 20-0049703

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre 2014 Report

[Edited extract of public address]

Thank you for all of your efforts in 2014, we could not have achieved what we have without you. We want to thank everyone who donated to our Christmas Appeal. 

If you haven't already, please consider donating and join us in standing up for asylum seekers.

We couldn't possibly list all of our achievements from 2014, but here are some of them:
-- Building and moving into our amazing new Footscray home, with 680 volunteers helping over 39 working bees to turn the shell of an old office building into a vibrant, welcoming Centre.
-- Providing English classes and employment services to more than 740 members through our new Dandenong Centre.
-- Delivering over 2300 legal appointments, 3200 health appointments, 4000 hours of English classes and 1500 counselling appointments.
-- Serving 40,000 community meals throughout the year and providing groceries to over 200 families each week.
-- Through our social enterprises, catering more than 760 events and providing over 6000 hours of cleaning services.
-- Engaging and educating 21,500 people through our Schools and Speakers Programs.Brokering 110 sustainable jobs for asylum seekers.
-- Providing almost 200,000 hours of public transport, distributing almost 40,000 nappies and providing 1400 asylum seekers with winter coats and blankets through our material aid program.
-- Partnering with Get-Up to arrange a Light the Dark vigil for Reza Berati after he was murdered in detention on Manus Island.

Inquiries/More Information:
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Melbourne, VIC 3011Australia

New Year's Hopes and Resolutions

Dr. Mary Nelson

Executive Director

In Ramah, a voice is heard, crying and weeping loudly.
Rachel mourns for her children, and refuses to be comforted, because they are no more.
But I, the Lord, say to dry your tears.
Someday your children will come home from the enemy’s land.
Then all you had done for them will be greatly rewarded.
So don’t lose hope. 

- Jeremiah 31: 14-17
There have been a lot of tears in these last months—school girls stolen and missing in Nigeria, young men abducted and killed in Mexico, youth leaving their homes and joining ISIS, young men killed on the streets, and the mass murder of students in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Too easily some of us succumb to despair and hopelessness. Others of us are not involved, don’t feel the pain. It seems distant to us. But on the streets in my Chicago community, it is not distant. The violence is here and now. The killings happen. Young lives snuffed out. There are a lot of tears.
So what do we do? Wring our hands and give up? Try and ignore the violence?
We will be facing this issue at the upcoming 2015 Parliament in Salt Lake City, October 15-19th, and looking for people to identify what can and is being done, and to make our personal commitments to take positive action.
In the meantime, it would be a good resolution for 2015 for each of us to commit to do something with and for young people—providing alternatives to violence, showing there is another way, joining others to open up doors of opportunity for better education, ensuring that each child has possibilities for a future with hope.
Jim Wallis often says, “Hope is believing in spite of the evidence, and then watching the evidence change.”
So I, like the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, will not lose hope for 2015.
More Information:
Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
Telephone: 312-629-2990

Online Registration: