(New York)—Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Vice President for University and Communal Life at Yeshiva University, spent close to three weeks visiting Australian Jewish community institutions in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, delivering inspirational talks and meeting with communal leaders to strengthen ties between Australia and YU, better understand the needs of Orthodox communities in Australia, and find new ways for community institutions to engage with younger generations.
The trip, from August 1-18, took Rabbi Brander to major community institutions, such as shuls, schools and rabbinical councils, to meet and establish a relationship with their leadership. Over the course of the visit, which was sponsored by the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Australia (COSA), he spoke with groups ranging from high school students to professionals and lay leaders on topics including, “Infusing Jewish Life with Greater Passion and Spirituality: The Challenge of Orthodoxy,” “Ethics in Philanthropy” and “The Role and Relevancy of the Modern State of Israel.” The highlights of the visit were the workshops conducted in Melbourne and Sydney, attended by stakeholders such as rabbis, presidents, board members and professionals.
Rabbi Brander also delivered Shabbat drashot [sermons] over the three Shabbatot he spent in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney respectively.
“Rabbi Brander has made an extremely positive impact on our communities, who will now proceed to establish a relationship with YU’s Center for the Jewish Future on an ongoing and long-term basis,” said Romy Leibler, president of COSA. “We see potential for YU to assist our communities in strategic planning, recruitment of rabbis and educators, programmers, training and counseling. In the same way that YU transformed the Australian communities with the introduction of the Counterpoint program in the 1970s, we are hopeful that Rabbi Brander’s visit will lead to a similar transformation in our communities in the coming years.”
By Matt Yaniv