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Press Release – 3 August 2009

Peter Costello launches “Building a Nation” – Anthology of Australia-Israel stories

It was standing room only for the launch of the “Building a Nation” anthology – a collection of our community’s personal contributions to Israel on Sunday August 2nd at 11am, at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre. The book, published by Makor Library together with the Zionist Council of Victoria, was officially launched by the Hon Peter Costello, MP.

In his welcoming comments, ZCV President, Dr Danny Lamm, noted that from among all the initiatives and activities that the Zionist Council of Victoria and our organisations undertook to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary, this particular project will have lasting impact and will serve as a permanent, first hand historical record of our community’s many-faceted connection with Israel. “In asking 50 people in and of our community to write their own stories we collected a myriad of stories which brings our people together as one, in particular in support of Israel” he said.

Mr Costello’s deep and genuine friendship with the Jewish community and Israel shone through his address. He commented on the diverse range of experiences of the contributors to the anthology, remarking on their various origins and contributions to Israel, particularly mentioning the large numbers who have made aliya.

He also remarked on the importance of this project; “as the memory fades and dims, we need to tell the story over and over again… for future generations….The memory about the connection between modern Israel and modern Australia is something that has contributed so enormously to the relations between our nations.”

“Future generations will grow up being very proficient in facebook and twitter but they may have lost the stories of where they came from if you don’t know where you came from you’re not going to have a clear idea of where you’re going to and how you’re going to get there and what your culture is” he astutely noted.

Mr Costello’s wit and warmth delighted the audience, and he graciously presented each of the authors with a copy of the two volume set.

The Makor Jewish Community Library and the Zionist Council of Victoria have worked continuously on the project since it was first conceived to celebrate Israel’s milestone 60th anniversary of independence.

The 50 contributors worked with professional editors to bring their stories to fruition in the pages of the anthology. Editor, Julie Meadows, spoke of the personal journeys that each author makes in recording their history, and the often life changing effects that the process can bring.

Further events for “Building A Nation” will include featured readings at the Melbourne Writers Festival on August 30 and a launch in Israel on October 23.

For more information contact:
Ginette Searle – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544

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The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website www.zionismvictoria.org.au

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