Canberra Jewish School
Thank you, Madam Speaker. On many occasions, I have spoken about the importance of maintaining and preserving culture. Research on this point is very clear: people who have a strong sense of identity and a connection with their heritage tend to be more resilient. I have also spoken on many occasions about the importance of strong community networks. Belonging to a vibrant, supportive community provides both children and adults with security, stability and an important sense of belonging and purpose.
It is in this context that I rise today to publicly congratulate Chabad ACT on the opening this week of Canberra’s very first Jewish primary school. I know that this is the fulfilment of a dream long held by Rabbi Shmueli and Rebbetzin Chasia Feldman. The Feldmans and Canberra’s entire Chabad community have done far more than just dream, however. And now the tangible outcome of their hard work, passion and prayer is ready to begin instructing its first students.
Chabad ACT already operates a well-regarded preschool and childcare centre, Gan Yisroel, and the Canberra Jewish School is a natural extension of the community’s desire to provide quality educational opportunities for followers of the Jewish faith here in Canberra. Instruction in the school will focus not just on academic skills but also on values that will help children make better choices throughout their lives. These include resilience, confidence, honesty, love, kindness, good social skills, self-discipline, and a love of learning and inner joy.
This will all be accomplished within what the Canberra Jewish School refers to as a ‘Torah environment’. The inclusion of Jewish teachings, celebrations and practices, along with instruction in the Hebrew language, will do much to maintain and preserve Jewish culture here in the nation’s wonderfully diverse capital. As students come to better understand their unique cultural and religious heritage, they will develop the kinds of rich identities that we know help to protect and fortify children and young people. This is a tremendous gift to this young generation of Jewish Australians.
I warmly welcome the Canberra Jewish School to the ACT’s educational landscape. It takes its place alongside an array of other schools that embed the teaching of the Australian national curriculum within frameworks of culture, faith, language, and tradition, serving the needs of diverse communities.
I express my very best wishes to Rebbetzin Feldman, who will serve as the first principal of the Canberra Jewish School. The opening of the facility has required tremendous labour, and no doubt the development and progress of the school will require the same. I likewise express my best wishes to the students who have started or will start this year, their families, and all school staff. I congratulate the entire community on this significant development. Thank you.