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WA Maccabi says 'Kaya' and offers traditional Aboriginal welcome to their Interstate guests.

Posted: 27-Jan-2014 by Maccabi WA

The Jewish and Aboriginal cultures share many connections in their culture including a deep relationship to the land, the importance of family life and memories, and rich and vibrant traditions. It was fitting that Aboriginal entertainer and song writer Phil Walley-Stack was the key note speaker and entertainer to the 350 Jewish teenagers and VIP guests at the Opening Ceremony of the 32nd Maccabi Junior Sports Carnival held in Perth this week.

From the outset of the preparations for this interstate week long sporting and social event, Carnival Managers Karen and Howard Steinberg were steadfast that a special WA welcome  would be included as part of the Opening Ceremony. Karen Steinberg said; “The strong parallels with the Jewish and Aboriginal culture cannot be over looked and we wanted to traditionally welcome all our Interstate guests through Phil-Walley-Stack performing a ‘Welcome to Country’.  This tradition has been part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years when crossing into another group’s Country required a request and when that permission was granted the hosting group would offer the visitors safe passage.”

Phil begun his speech by acknowledging the traditional owners of our WA land, the Noongar people and  speaking to the kids in Noongar. He then entertained everyone with an interactive performance of his amazing didgeridoo skills leaving the entire crowd in raptures.  President of Maccabi WA Alan Shear said, “ Containing 350 excited teenagers about to embark on a weeklong sporting event is so mean feat, but Phil had everyone’s  total attention.”  After the ceremony Phil  said, “I would like to extend a big thank you to the Jewish community for inviting me to do a welcome and for acknowledging our Aboriginal people."

Just as Phil Walley-Stack is committed to sharing and promoting cultural understanding of his Aboriginal people, so too is the  Australian Jewish  Maccabi community, inviting all teenagers in Australia and New Zealand to be part of this week long 32nd Maccabi Junior Carnival in WA.

All photos courtesy of Julie Kerbel from JulieK photography




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