JCMA Board Members 2022-23
Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann – President
Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann leads the Ark Centre an Orthodox Community Centre with a synagogue in the middle. Through his openness and inclusive approach to Judaism, Rabbi Gabi has redefined the 21st Century synagogue within the context of Modern Orthodoxy with a greater focus on song and spirituality.
Rabbi Gabi holds a Masters of Social Work and is Chairman of Melbourne Fight Back Against Parkinson’s Inc, a not for profit charity that assists people with Parkinson’s disease. He is an AFL multicultural community ambassador and a member of the Parkville College Elders Advisory Council.
Mohamed Mohideen – Vice President
Mohamed Mohideen is a microbiologist by profession with over 30 years’ experience in the field. He is currently the Senior Multifaith/Multicultural Advisor to the Coroners Court and also Co-Chair of the Coroners Court of Victoria Multifaith Advisory Committee.
Mohamed is interested in interfaith and working with multicultural communities to address mental health, refugee rights and engagement with Indigenous communities. As a strong advocate against family violence he was appointed a White Ribbon Ambassador in 2016.
Mohamed is the Deputy Chair of the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, former Chairperson of the Monash Interfaith Gathering and is on Monash City Council’s Multicultural Advisory Committee. He is Vice President of the Islamic Council of Victoria and its immediate Past President. He is also the former President of the United Sri Lankan Muslim Association of Australia.
Monash City Council awarded Mohamed the 2015 Sir John Monash Multicultural Champion and the 2018 Sir John Monash Volunteer of the Year. He received the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Champion Award for Leadership, and in 2013 was awarded an Order of Australia Medal.
Lorraine Lipson – Secretary
Lorraine Lipson has a professional background in social work, librarianship and information management (BA; BSW; Dip. Librarianship and Information Management – University of Melbourne) and is semi-retired. In 2015 she gained a Grad Certificate in Theology, YTU University of Divinity. She brings extensive work experience in case management, coordination of education, library and information services.
Currently she is working part-time for the Office of the Public Advocate providing advice to a diverse range of professionals and members of the community in the health, aged care, mental health and disability sectors. In recent years she has volunteered as an English tutor with the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Program. As a long standing member of the international Focolare Movement, Lorraine has been actively involved in the interfaith field in Melbourne over many years, having previously worked as a volunteer for JCMA, as a member of the Executive Committee of Religions for Peace and the Catholic Interfaith Committee, Melbourne.
Rev Sandy Boyce – VCC Liaison Officer
Rev Sandy Boyce is an ordained Minister in the Uniting Church. She has worked in a city congregation in Adelaide for the last 12 years, and has been a member of many national and state Committees and working groups in the church and community, including the Standing Committee of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church.
She has served as Chair of a number of church and community committees. She is President of the DIAKONIA World Federation for diaconal ministries. For several years, Sandy hosted regular interfaith dinners for international tertiary students. She gives priority to building intentional relationships with interfaith communities, groups and individuals and has collaborated on various ecumenical and interfaith gatherings including services of lament.
Sandy attended an interfaith conference at Trinity College in New York hosted by the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life (ARIL), a global network of people from various religious traditions.
In April 2022, Sandy commenced as the Executive Officer for the Victorian Council of Churches.
Natalie Gunn, JCCV Liaison Officer
Natalie Gunn is an active and engaged young adult leader of the Australian Jewish Community. She is currently studying a double degree in a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Global Studies. She has been involved inthe multicultural and interfaith space for multiple years both at school being part of Building Bridges and at university involved in facilitating events and other activities on campus.
Natalie has engaged in a vast range of organisations in the Jewish community. Most notably, she has been actively involved in the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) for over four years, starting up an AUJS society at the Australian Catholic University and as the Jewish Engagement Officer in Victoria. She was subsequently elected to the position of National Vice President in 2021 and was the National President of AUJS in 2022. She has also served on the AUJS Board for the past two years.
Sithy Marikar – ICV Liaison Officer
Sithy Marikar arrived with her late husband and two daughters to Australia in August 1988, from Sri Lanka. To help members of the Sri Lankan community integrate and also understand Australian politics and the Australian way of life, Sithy together with a few others formed an association, Sri Lankan in Australian Affairs for which she was the inaugural Vice President. She later became an inaugural committee member of USMAA, United Sri Lankan Muslim Association of Australia.
Employed by Australia Post in 1989 as a Postal Services Officer Sithy, became an active union member and in July 2003 was elected as a union organiser for the Communication Workers Union – Victorian branch. Sithy was the first Muslim female to be elected as a union organiser in July 2007 I was elected as Vice President (Affirmative Action) of the Communications Workers Union of Australia.
Currently Sithy works as an Electoral Office (p/t) for Federal Member for Bruce and as a volunteer for the South East Community Links and is serving in a number of executive positions; Committee member of the Monash Council Interfaith Gathering & Monash Multicultural Advisory Committee, Committee member of the ICV Interfaith Group, Trustee – United Sri Lankan Association of Australia (USMAA), Vice President – Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka (AAGSL).
Ayesha Buxis a fifth generation Australian of Pakistani heritage. She gained a valuable insight into the traditions and practices of the Abrahamic faiths during her Catholic schooling. This inspired ongoing support of interfaith initiatives. She has a Masters in Computer Science from RMIT University and has taught at various universities.
Ayesha was on the board of SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council and is currently the Honorary Investment Consul for Pakistan in Melbourne. She has presented globally at various conferences and events including CHOGM Perth, WexNet and Education without Borders. She is an avid supporter and volunteer for various causes including women empowerment, inter-faith harmony and linkages, empowerment of the high needs or marginalised groups of the community.
Rev Dr Julie Hall
Rev Dr Julie Hall is Minister at Bentleigh Uniting Church. She has an extensive social work background with experience working with women, children and families in counselling, health, parenting education and welfare settings. Julie’s PhD thesis concerned families’ experiences in accessing health care for their children. She also holds a Master of Social Work, specialising in infant and parent mental health, a Post Graduate Diploma in Family Therapy and a certificate in Parent Education Leadership Training.
Julie was the inaugural recipient of the Madeline Crump Award presented by the AASW for outstanding fieldwork teaching in social work. Julie holds a Master of Divinity, trained in interfaith ministry, is an advisor to the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne, chairs the Uniting Church VicTas Synod Working Group on Christian-Jewish Relations and is a committee member of the Progressive Christian Network of Victoria.
Jenny Better was born in the UK and emigrated to Australia in the 1960s when she was a child. Her adult work life has been dedicated to teaching; in the classroom at Our Lady of Mercy College and more recently as the Senior education Coordinator at the Jewish Museum of Australia where she manages the Schools education program including the educational method and content and the large team of volunteers that deliver the programs to students of all different faith backgrounds.
It is in this role that she has organised and coordinated many harmony days programs and it was because of this work in 2009 that she was awarded a Victorian Multicultural Award for educational excellence. More recently she has managed a program called Museums Together where the Islamic Museum of Australia and the Jewish Museum of Australia collaborated to upskill the year 6 students from an Islamic school and a Jewish School enabling the students to take their cohort from a different faith group around their Museums. Jenny is married to Nathan Better and they are the proud parents of 4 adult children.
Nasir Butrous is a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church and a native of the city of Mosul (Biblical Nineveh) in Iraq.
Nasir was previously a member of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in both Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane and Melbourne with a special interest in Interfaith Dialogue.
Alex Kats has been involved in the Jewish community for many years, and is passionate about bringing people together and volunteering for the community. He is currently Chair of the Council of Christians and Jews (Vic), a volunteer with Jewish Care and a board member of March of the Living Australia. He is also a member of the Regional Advisory Council of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, and a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee of the City of Port Phillip.
Alex has a degree in business and history, and has completed numerous education and leadership programs. Professionally he is a writer for a public sector consultancy, and also regular contributes articles for various Jewish publications.