While antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism appear to be on the rise there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. In this case it is a Greens light.

On Tuesday 12 April, there were two important visitors at the Sydney Jewish Museum. At the invitation of Philip Feinstein, CEO of Jews for Refugees, senior Greens Senate Candidate David Shoebridge and Kym Chapple, Deputy Mayor of Randwick Council and local Greens member, visited the leading Jewish historical memorial.

Greeting them at the entrance was Kevin Sumption, CEO of the museum. “We are delighted to welcome you to the museum” he said.

The Jewish Museum has many visitors every year including 30,000 children from various backgrounds and people from many different religions.

The museum documents the Holocaust, the history of the Jewish people in Australia, and explores human rights issues in Australia. Mr Sumption and a senior guide led the visitors through various exhibitions.

“Having launched a new digital stories platform, visitors can browse curated stories and images from our collection and Holocaust survivors can share their personal stories” the guide explained to these special guests.

The tour wound it’s way to the Sanctum of Remembrance, a memorial to the departed.

Shoebridge commented on his knowledge of Aboriginal leader William Cooper who in 1938 led a delegation of the Aboriginal League to the steps of the German Consulate in Melbourne to protest against Kristallnacht in Germany and Austria and the oppressive treatment of the Jews following.

Kevin Sumption then explained to the visitors how Cooper’s family has since been honoured in Yad Vashem in Israel.

Coming into the black marble forecourt, it was explained how the NSW Jewish War Memorial walls are inscribed with the names of nearly 3,000 Jewish service people, including 177 who gave their lives in the service of Australia in the two world wars.

The Jewish Museum is not just about history, it offers visitors the opportunity to pay their respects in a dignified and solemn environment. And looking to the future, it is involved in noble actions such as being a promoter of peace, unity, love and harmony; helping those in need; treating people equally without discrimination; giving something back to society; leading by example; having a caring heart; and putting oneself in someone else’s shoes.

This section is called ‘Be a Mensch’. Now, more than ever, our societies need more individuals practising small acts of kindness on an everyday basis, working towards making the world a more accepting and welcoming place. In other words, we need more Mensches.

As the tour came to an end, David Shoebridge said, “I am thankful for the opportunity to visit and take a small part in the collective retelling of the Holocaust and the evil behind it.” He also expressed the desire for more unity and dialogue between the Greens and the Jewish community. Kevin Sumption voiced his approval and so a meaningful gathering ended on a very positive note.

Once outside the museum an appropriate photograph was taken at which point Feinstein, Shoebridge and Chapple headed for a coffee at a local restaurant. They were joined by Alex Ryvchin, Co-CEO of Executive Council of Australian Jewry. In commenting on the tour of the museum, Ryvchin said: “No visitor comes away unmoved or unchallenged and I hope Mr Shoebridge’s experience fosters a greater understanding of the Jewish people.”

David Shoebridge lauded, “The museum has the power of remembrance, the power of truth and the power to change minds” and then echoed his earlier comment of needing more unity and dialogue between the Greens and the Jewish people.

At this point the sun came out and everyone parted with smiles on their faces.