It cost the Papuan community approximately AU$5000 (US$3700) to fly us in for the week. Because nearly everyone who flies to Papua does so as part of the mining industry, fares are exorbitant. It took them more than two years to save the money, and now they are preparing to save up for our next visit. I calculate that if everyone who reads this blog makes a donation of between $10 and $20, that will make a substantial dent in raising the money needed for us to return. We can cut the time needed for them to save the money in half. If you can help, please send a paypal donation to firstname.lastname@example.org and email to let me know who you are. If you are in Australia, you can also give me cash. Terima kasih banyak--many thanks!
And now for some photos. It's been a heck of a job paring down the dozens of photos taken by me and others.
Photos for the Blog Entry Javanese Pride
A photo from the Borobudur Buddhist Temple in Magelang. A large group of Muslim school students were visiting on a school trip, and these girls asked to interview me for a school project. I was so amazed to see devout Muslims visiting a decidedly pagan site.
Definitely one of my favourite photos from the trip. I seriously doubt these young women know the meaning of the name of the business where they work! When I asked if I could take their photo, they positively jumped at the opportunity!
Benny's uncle with his granddaughter. His uncle has been a Hindu his entire life, but married Benny's Muslim aunt and was content to see his children raised as Muslims.
Photos for the Blog Entry 18 Hours and 6 New Jews
In Magelang near the end of a very long day, but we're still smiling!
There is one Torah scroll owned by the United Indonesian Jewish Communities, and it travels across the country where needed. It is a Sephardic scroll, meaning that it is permanently housed in its casing.
I love this magical image from the havdalah service that brought Shabbat to a close.
Post-havdalah photo extravaganza! The Indonesians absolutely adore taking photos, and I've never been photographed so much in my life.
Post-mikveh and post downpour! Wet but happy.
Photos for the Blog Entry "Not Yet"
Indonesia's Torah scroll wrapped up tight and ready for its flight to Timika. I was sure the customer service agents wouldn't allow a photograph because of "security," but they were thrilled to be a part of it.
Beautiful faces greeted us after our long, LONG journey.
Benny explains the traditional Papuan welcome ceremony to Rabbi David and Shelley
I was asked to place my feet one at a time in the bowl, and the two women anchored my feet on Papuan land.
The bowl was then presented to me as a gift to tie me to Papua and its people. By the time we departed six days later, the bowl had been wrapped in layer after layer of cardboard to keep it safe for the journey.
Photos for Blog Entry "Too Many Tears"
Rabbi David leads conversion students in a Declaration of Faith prior to immersion in the mikvah. The ceremony took place in the synagogue that has been built brick-by-brick by the community.
Batik rabbis ready for Shabbat! Many Jews across Indonesia have learned how to dress for Shabbat by looking at Chabad websites, where men always wear white shirts and dark pants. We wanted to model to them that you can proudly wear regional dress on Shabbat. We also spoke extensively about the idea of using batik fabric and imported fringes to make prayer shawls as a low-cost alternative to buying tallitot from overseas.
Post-Shabbat presentations. Two men from Jayapura who come from the Sentani tribe presented us with hand-made symbols of power and cultural connection. Very precious!
Here we are in our Papuan regalia. The bags are hand-woven and strung with jadeite beads. Different coloured stones have different symbolic meanings among the Sentani people. Sadly, I haven't yet seen a really good photo of the whole Papuan community together. This is a fairly good representation.
Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky
I've been the rabbi of Beit Shalom Progressive Synagogue in Adelaide since 2006. As part of the Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand and Asia, I'm preparing for my second trip to Indonesia to meet with Jewish communities there.