On the 2nd of September 2021 the Jewish Arts Quarter (JAQ) in Elsternwick, received a welcome call from The Hon. Ros Spence MP, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, who informed the organisation that the Priority Projects Standing Advisory Committee (Ministerial Panel) had upheld the decision of the Glen Eira Council and JAQ had now been officially granted a planning permit by the Victorian Government, for the creation of a new home for Jewish life, culture and arts in Melbourne.

“It was a great call to receive and the Minister with her kind words has lifted all our spirits” said Ben Mand, JAQ Director and President of Sholem Aleichem College.

The news was also warmly welcomed across the leadership of the Jewish Arts Quarter and the various organisations it represents. Joe Tigel, JAQ Director and President of the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library commented: “We are kvelling! – beaming with pride and joy in realising our vision for the Jewish Arts Quarter, allowing us to move from imagination to the belief that a vibrant and dynamic new cultural destination will soon become a reality”.

Ben Mand added: “Having reached this achievement, we can continue our positive discussions with the State and Federal Government in relation to funding commitments, enabling the project to commence”.

JAQ was identified as a Priority Project of State significance by the Victorian Government, and it is now full steam ahead on progressing the project as part of the broader Covid-19 recovery program with its positive economic and employment impacts.

The project is regarded by Federal and State parliamentary representations as being of National bipartisan significance with multicultural value to represent our diverse Australian community and in particular, to celebrate Jewish culture and arts in Melbourne located in the heart of Elsternwick.

While the journey to a planning permit has taken some time, all those involved are thankful to the Priority Projects Standing Advisory Committee – established by Planning Minister the Hon Richard Wynne – for their professional and open process in making their determination.  Ben Mand commented: “We applaud all those involved in this decision and in particular the Andrews’ State Government and the Councillors and Planners at the Glen Eira City Council”.  

Barry Fradkin OAM, JAQ Director added: “In our view, the ability and opportunity for the local community to raise their issues and have them heard by a committee of experts was critical.  We are pleased the Committee has upheld the Glen Eira City Council’s decision to award a planning permit for the redevelopment of 7 Selwyn Street”. 

Kylie Appel, JAQ Engagement Manager said: “We believe in the significance of this multi-generational project and its potential to build upon the State Government’s values of supporting multiculturalism and diversity.  The Jewish Arts Quarter will encourage and foster social cohesion, mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and a greater multi-faith engagement across our entire community”.

The transformation that will happen at 7 Selwyn Street Elsternwick, adjacent to the Jewish Holocaust Centre, will become the heartbeat of the Jewish community and the revitalised new home for the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica and Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre & National Library – supporting their missions to illuminate Jewish Life and provide education, performance and social programs for the entire community.

Gideon Kline, JAQ Director and President of the Jewish Museum of Australia commented: “The Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica, and our friends at both Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library and Sholem Aleichem College are working collectively towards creating something unique and special, a hub for learning and immersion in Jewish arts, culture and history, in a way that is quintessentially Australian”.

Located near Elsternwick Station and Glen Huntly Road, JAQ is a major contributor to the Glen Eira City Council’s exciting new Elsternwick Cultural Precinct.  It will form a key part of the area’s dynamic revitalisation strategy designed to offer engaging and evocative experiences – contributing something remarkable to both the arts landscape and the broader Victorian economy.

Mr John Gandel AC, Chairman of Gandel Philanthropy, which is one of the early supporters of JAQ said: ““I am incredibly proud to be able to get behind this once in a lifetime opportunity. The positive impact the Jewish Arts Quarter will have on culture, the local economy, tourism and employment in the city of Melbourne, the state of Victoria and the entire Australian community is exemplary and will benefit all for decades to come”.

Over the coming months, the Jewish Arts Quarter will continue to engage and enlist the support of its stakeholders across all levels of Government and the local community.  “We have been, and will continue, to take a collaborative, consultative and bipartisan approach to deliver the best possible outcome and project for the community” added Ben Mand.   

Ben Mand paid another special mention to The Hon. Ros Spence MP, Minister for Multicultural Affairs who committed to a funding boost part of the 2020/21 State budget – helping to deliver an important investment in Victoria’s diversity and long-term stimulus to the Victorian community.

The Jewish Arts Quarter aims to attract a wide range of community organisations to deliver cultural programs through exhibitions, education, events, co-working and communal collaboration opportunities.  It is intended to be a valuable addition to the renowned arts and culture landscape in Melbourne that will allow everyone to be enriched by sharing a slice of Jewish life.

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Media contact:

Kylie Appel | JAQ Engagement Manager | 0414559946 | kylie@jaq.melbourne ________________________________________________________________________________

More information: The Jewish Arts Quarter is a new, inclusive destination that celebrates Jewish arts and culture with great museum experiences, art, theatre, education, learning, music, food, shopping and public spaces for everyone – providing a catalyst for arts, culture and business for our suburb, city and state.