JEMP was founded in April 2001 in direct response to a number of emergencies in the 1990s but, in particular, in response to two tragedies which significantly affected the Victorian Jewish community.
The first of these events was the death for four, and injury of 60, Australian Jewish athletes and officials at the 1997 Maccabiah Games in Israel. The second was the fatal accident outside of Bialik College in 1998 in which many students witnessed a 17 year old student killed by a car.
These tragedies highlighted a need for the Jewish community to improve the flow of information during emergencies and to improve access to the Jewish community for Emergency Service Organisations (ESOs).
David Michelson, Danny Elbaum and Rabbi Ronnie Figdor – each respected members of the Jewish community with extensive emergency experience – took the initiative to bring together existing Jewish organisations including Chevrah Hatzolah, the Community Security Group (CSG) and Jewish Care to talk about working together in emergencies. As a result, JEMP was established.
JEMP’s approach to building the Jewish community’s resilience to disasters by promoting self-reliance and mutual support, and maximising the benefits coming from a community which actively looks after its members.
The success of JEMP’s model is demonstrated by the fact that it has been adopted in other Australian and international jurisdictions including NSW, the UK and in South Africa. In addition, the Islamic Council of Victoria has modelled its Muslim Emergency Management Plan on JEMP’s example.
On 02 April 2013, the Department of Premier and Cabinet used JEMP as a case study about Building Community Resilience to Disasters which may be downloaded here.