Melbourne's Orthodox rabbis are this week launching a range of programs in a bid to relate better to younger Jews and to become more professional.
On Thursday the Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) will unveil a number of projects at a gala reception in the presence of Victorian Government ministers, community dignitaries and young people.
Speaking in the lead-up to the event, RCV president Rabbi Yaakov Glasman said the rabbis are hoping to offer their expertise to the community in different ways.
“The RCV hopes to work in collaboration with other communal organisations and believes the Victorian rabbinate has a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer the Jewish, and indeed, wider community,” the North Eastern Jewish Centre rabbi said.
One way it hopes to do this is through the “Mashpia” or mentoring program, which will link rabbis with young Jews.
“The purpose of this initiative is to encourage young Jewish adults, particularly in their latter formative teenage years, to feel comfortable thinking and speaking about matters relating to spirituality and religion, which some may feel naturally inhibited to do because of societal norms and expectations,” he said.
Those older than school age will also be catered for, with Rabbi Glasman hinting at a program that will help young adults entering the workforce find a place in their busy lives for religion.
Some of the community’s most prominent businessmen are being engaged to assist.
The other area the RCV is pushing into is professional development. “We want to be professional, we don’t want rabbis to deal with crises en route,” the president said.
These initiatives are currently being sponsored by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, but Rabbi Glasman said the community will also be called upon to assist.
“We want communal donors to recognise that investing in the rabbinate is worthwhile.”