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As we surge forward at Stand Up we honour our past and our litany of incredible partnerships, achievements and milestones - all possible because of the generosity of our various partners, volunteers and supporters. We don't have enough room to talk about everything we've done, but here are some key moments from the past three decades.

1994 Founded Newspaper


Originally named Keshet, Stand Up was established in 1994 in response to launch an appeal to support the refugees from the tragic Rwandan genocide.

When establishing Stand Up, our aim was to create within the Australian Jewish community a recognisable organisation that could provide a collective response to important humanitarian issues in the non-Jewish world.
(Dr. Arnold Shmerling, Co-Founder of Stand Up)

2000 Fareshare


Keshet founders established Melbourne City Harvest (volunteers collecting unserved food and delivering the food to Melbourne’s hungry and homeless).

Unknown to Keshet, at the same time there was another food rescue movement called One Umbrella (however their method of distribution was to use the surplus food accumulated over the week to cook savoury pastries and distribute them as ready-to-eat meals).

This presented an opportunity to merge the two complementary programs into an organisation called FareShare that today is on a mission to prepare and deliver meals and improve the lives of Australians living in hardship.

2004 Jewish Aid


To make our mission more easily understood in 2002 we changed our name from Keshet to ‘Jewish Aid Australia’.

Jewish Aid Australia (JAA), Stand Up’s precursor, shifted focus towards investment in long-term partnerships. Strong ties were forged with the Sudanese refugee communities and several Indigenous communities through our Indigenous Partnerships Programs. JAA also built a vibrant social justice education department that delivers innovative programs for youth and young adults on a range of contemporary global issues.

2004 Jewish Aid


Relationship built with a First Nations community and the Jewish community to provide a cultural immersion and volunteering experience for Jewish students in the predominantly-Aboriginal communities of Toomelah and Boggabilla, NSW.

The program is designed to simultaneously build relationships between our two communities and enable Jewish students to cultivate their leadership skills whilst learning about First Nations Australia.

2009 Image


• Received a Victorian Multicultural Commission Award for Excellence for our Refugee Support Programs

• Women's Group: Weekly catch-ups for Sudanese and Jewish women running workshops in effective communication, current affairs and vocational skills.

• First Volunteer Nepal program run in partnership with AUJS and Tevel B’tsedek

2009 First CEO


Gary Samowitz was appointed as Stand Up's first CEO. Gary played a key role in overseeing the explosive growth of its programs and volunteer community and went on to serve as CEO for more than ten years.

2011 Step Up Image


Step Up (2011- Present) is an 8 week or holiday intensive program created in response to engaging Bnei mitzvah aged kids in making their year more than just about the simcha and celebrations but how to make a difference in the world, what does it mean to be a Jewish adult and inspiring them to engage with, pursue and achieve social justice.

2012 Sydney Office


In 2012 we extended Stand Up’s footprint in the Sydney community so that more Sydney-siders have the opportunity to actively pursue social justice under the Stand Up banner.

Yorta Yorta

A 4-5 day school holiday program in Cummeragunja where Jewish volunteers work alongside and learn from community Elders.

2014 Community Engagement


Nuba Now Campaign

Engaging Thousands of Jewish community members about Omar Al Bashir`s war crimes

Yorta Yorta Beyachad

Educational workshops and 4-day seminar for year 9 Jewish school students in Cummeragunja allowing them to immerse themselves in First Nations Culture and learn directly from Elders in the community

What Would You Do? Campaign

Large scale media and marketing campaign to inject humanity and compassion back into Australia's asylum seeker conversation

2014 Fellowship Program


A year-long program that inspires and trains the best social impact leaders within the Jewish community

It's like a masters in social entrepreneurship through a Jewish lens

(Gary Samowitz, former CEO of Stand Up)

2014 Stand Up


Jewish Aid Australia rebranded itself and officially launched its new name, ‘Stand Up: Jewish Commitment to a Better World.’

The name ‘Stand Up’ is inspired by our values about leadership and William Cooper standing up for the Jewish people. It's not always comfortable being a leader, but if we want a better world we do need to stand up. It's a call to action, it's motivating, it's inspiring and proudly inspired by Jewish values.

(Gary Samowitz, former CEO of Stand Up)

2015 Haggadah


The team at Stand Up translated a 1500 year old Jewish text into an inspiring guide for repairing the world. Selling over 5,000 copies, the new Australian Haggadah highlights fundamental social justice themes of slavery, poverty, freedom and redemption. It frames them in a language for modern Australia and a contemporary world. With thought-provoking commentaries by a diverse spectrum of Jewish Australians.

It's what Passover is all about, which is talking about freedom and justice, and these issues are still pertinent today and as a community we really need to stand up and make some noise about injustice wherever we see it.

(Lillian Kline, former Stand Up Development Director)

2018 iCan Expo

iCan Career Expo

A powerful and inspiring careers expo for Stand Up’s iCan program. 35 students learning more about 12 different professions. Thanks to all the volunteers for sharing insights into their careers. iCan careers expo was all about hearing from 14 different industry professionals. An exploration of what their days look like, what are the challenges, and what they needed to study to get to where they are. The 35 Sudanese youth walked away feeling clearer about what they might want to do after school.

2019 iCan


iCan is a weekly tutoring program designed to empower Sudanese secondary students to fulfil their potential and reach their goals.

Everytime I go to iCan I know that I will get help with my studies and feel relieved about my workload for school.

(Randa, Year 12 student - iCan Sudanese Youth Program).

Standing Down From Stand Up

After almost 10 years at the helm, Stand Up CEO Gary Samowitz announced he was stepping down from the position. Gary played a key role in spearheading the explosive growth of Stand Up`s programs and volunteer community.

2020 Bushfire Appeal


Raised almost $1 million for bushfire relief on behalf of the Jewish Community.

2022 New CEO


In early 2022 Courtney Winter-Peters stepped into the role of CEO. Courtney is a formidable, dynamic leader and is passionate about social justice and empowering young Jewish people to use their skills to effect change.

2022 Come Together


Launched ‘Come Together’ our truth telling conversations program where we aim to share the voices, cultures and histories of First Nations people with the Jewish community.

We have a shared story of trauma and survival, and I felt like I was among people who, on a deeper level, understood me…When we can all deeply listen to understand the perspectives of First Nations people of this land, we can create a greater understanding of truth.

(Gaimaragal Group’s founding director Susan Moylan-Coombs)

2023 Kol Halev


In partnership with JCCV (Jewish Community Council of Victoria) hosted Kol Halev events (a Jewish voice for the YES campaign) to educate the community about the 2023 referendum. The event was designed for the community to engage in dialogues with open hearts and open minds to learn all about The Voice and why voting Yes was so important.

2024 30 Years


In the last three decades Stand Up has enabled Jewish Australians to respond to humanitarian disasters, provide food security to the hungry, engage with First Nations communities, assist refugees to integrate into Australian society and educate the next generation of our Jewish community to understand the social justice landscape and the wider community around them.

I see Stand Up as a transformative organisation. I believe we break down community stereotypes by bringing people from diverse backgrounds together as individuals to connect and share a moment. This aspect of ‘connecting societies’ is the core of what Stand Up represents.

(Ric Benjamin, former Stand Up President)