President Harry Lubansky and the ceremonial team Julie Leder and Judy Landau had a packed house at today's ANZAC Commemoration service.
The service was held in the presence of:
Immediate Past President and Life Member Dr Judy Landau (and Mr Steve Tusak)
Past President and Life Member Mr Ben Hirsh (and Mrs Hanna Hirsh)
Life Member Mrs Ruby Grose
Life Member Mr Ian Mansfield (and Mrs Alona Mansfield)
Mr Tim Wilson MP, Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein
Mr David Southwick, MP State Member for Caulfield
Cr Mary Delahunty, Mayor City of Glen Eira
Cr Tony Athanasopoulos
Cr Jamie Hyams
Cr Joel Silver
Mr Simon Bloomer, President Carry On Victoria
Legatee Graeme Plumridge, President Melbourne Legacy
Mr Geoff Goldsmith, representing Caulfield RSL & also representing NZ RSL
Mr David Marlow, Executive Director JCCV
Ms Roni Fraid, Vice President JNF Victoria and National Board member JNF
Mrs Rysia Rozen OAM, President National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (and Mr Richard Rozen OAM)
Mrs Atida Lipshatz, representing Zionism Victoria
Guest of Honour was COL John Coulson OAM RFD ED Governor of the Shrine of Remembrance and Chairman of the Battle for Australia Foundation.
Memorial candles were lit and Psalm 23 was recited by member Mr Dennis Max. Many wreaths were placed before the Ode was recited by Mr Harry Lubansky. Last Post, minute's silence and Reveille* was sounded by a bugler from the Royal Australian Navy Band. * Note: RAN sounds Reveille and not Rouse.
Kel Maleh Rachamim was chanted by Chaplain CAPT Rabbi Dovid Gutnick, VAJEX Australia & ADF Chaplain. Kaddish was said by our welfare officer, Mr Efraim Finch.
The presentations of the Private Gregory Sher Memorial awards were given by Captain Joshua Fink who represented the Sher Family who were interstate. Students eligible for the award are not already taking a high leadership profile in the school, but contribute by doing service in the community or at their school, in an outstanding way. Private Gregory Sher had the lowest rank in the army, but he made a significant difference with his service and sacrifice.
BETH RIVKAH LADIES COLLEGE
Dobba Raskin and Aliza Werdiger
Cara Davies and Tania Szwarcberg
Benji Kalkopf and Aimee Raitman
MT SCOPUS MEMORIAL COLLEGE
Nathan Faiman and Gabriella Katz
Mikhayla Burstin and Milo Friedman
THE KING DAVID SCHOOL
Ellie Figdor and Aaron Segal
Zoitsa Diakoumis and Reuben Stein-Fooks
Ilan Janet and Efraim Raskin
President Mr Harry Lubansky with Immediate Past President Dr Judy Landau and Past President Mr Ben Hirsh.
The event was proudly supported by Glen Eira City Council.
Julie Leder represented VAJEX Australia at Hobart Synagogue on Sunday, 30th of October 2016.
The service honoured current and ex-service members of the Australian Defence Force.
In particular, for the Centenary of ANZAC, mention was made of the 16 members of the Tasmanian Jewish Community who served in World War 1, especially the three Tasmanian Jewish Soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice.
The highlight of the service was the dedication of a new Honour Roll Plaque, displaying the names of all the Tasmanian Jews who served in the Boer War, WW1 and WW2 and it was blessed by Rabbi Yochanan Gordon from Launceston Synagogue.
The event was attended by Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Chaplain Rabbi Yossi Friedman from RAAF Richmond, many relatives of those who served and many other distinguished guests.
Afterwards, Julie attended the Hobart Town Hall for a function to recognise the ANZAC Remembrance Service of the Tasmanian Jewish Community.
Immediate Past President and Life Member
At the party, Ben was surrounded by family and friends. Ben has made life-long friends far and wide from his many interests and it was special to have large numbers of these people in the same room at the same time.
Children and grandchildren made speeches that would warm the heart of any who heard, and the love and respect shown by all attending was a real tribute to a man who is a mensch.
From all of us here at VAJEX Australia, we wish you a very happy birthday and look forward to your many more healthy happy years.
Mr Felix and Mrs Yvonne Sher presented the awards inagurated by VAJEX Australia in memory of their son, Private Gregory Sher obm, at the VAJEX Australia 2016 ANZAC Commemoration service held on 1 May 2016 at the Glen Eira Town Hall Auditorium.
Greg was tragically killed in action in Afghanistan on 4 January 2009.
Megan’s involvement in all school activities has been a pleasure to see. She has been involved in Yad L’eEzra as a volunteer and has been very involved in our Tzedakah committee raising funds for various causes. She has been named as Health and Well-being Prefect for 2016. Her enthusiasm and good behaviour make her a worthy recipient for this award.
Michal’s involvement in all school activities has been a pleasure to see. She has been involved in Yad L’Ezra as a volunteer and has been very involved in our Tzedakah committee raising funds for various causes including raising money to buy a motorbike for MDA in Israel. Her constant efforts and enthusiasm have been one of the main drivers behind this amazing initiative. She is a hardworking and determined young lady who has been made a Prefect for the Tzedakah committee in 2016. She is a worthy recipient of the Greg Sher award.
Elana exemplifies what it means to lead by example. She is a true leader. Elana consistently gives her time and energy to volunteer to make the school and the world a better place. Elana has mentored younger students as a youth leader and leads her peers as a school captain as she goes into her final year at school. Elana is a champion of the arts, Jewish culture and student engagement. Bialik College is a better place thanks to the efforts of Elana.
Zack embodies the spirit of leadership and mateship. He is consistently the first to volunteer his time and energy to better the school and the world around him. Zack has been a champion of student leadership and works tirelessly to improve students involvement and engagement with their culture and the world. He has mentored younger students as a youth leader and leads his peers as a senior school captain.
Always enthusiastic and energetic, Rochelle exudes vibrance, passion and dedication. Rochelle volunteers for a myriad of charities and fund raising activities. She regularly donates her time to helping co-ordinate year level projects and activities and is selfless in her devotion to our College. Rochelle is an exceptional friend, always generous, kind and reliable. She is an extremely hard worker and always strives to achieve outstanding results. I have no hesitation in recommending Rochelle for the Greg Sher Memorial Award - she is a true Eshet Chayil.
Ari is an exceptional young man, multi-talented, generous, kind and caring. He is an outstanding academic student, always striving to give his best to every subject area. Ari volunteers to help both the College and the wider community in a myriad of ways. The stalwart of our Yavneh Tech Crew, Ari was responsible for ensuring the audio-visual needs of our College assemblies, functions and activities ran to clockwork. Always reliable, responsible, enthusiastic and eager, Ari is every teacher and students' "dream child". A true mentch.
Zoe has shown exceptional leadership in her role as College Captain.
Alex has shown exceptional leadership in his role as College Captain.
It is a great pleasure for me to recommend Ellah for the Greg Sher award. Ellah is a dedicated, versatile and talented student who has contributed to the school and wider communities in a variety of ways, most notably through her enthusiastic participation in the Kinder Buddy Program and the Year 5 Fundraising Initiative which collected over $5000 for the Nepal Earthquake Relief. It is not adequate to say that she accepts responsibility readily. She seeks responsibility. Ellah’s motivation is not forced upon her, nor does she wear it like a badge. She is a kind, generous and sensitive student who consistently displays the Sholem Values of a Lifetime. Ellah has my respect and my highest recommendation.
Kalman has raised Tzedakah by signing up sponsors for a Walk-a-thon and Bike-a-thon that he participated in this year. Kalman actively looks for opportunities to help others in need. He is to be commended for his initiative and effort.
Jory has involved himself in many school and community activities. In consultation with others at school, we nominate Jory Braun for this year’s award.
Rebecca has involved herself in many school and community activities. In consultation with others at school, we nominate Rebecca Freedman for this year’s award.
The student has attended our after school centre in Caulfield for several years. While diligent in all areas of his work, the student displays a particular enthusiasm for Hebrew language, and has excelled in his studies this year. In addition, the student has demonstrated leadership qualities in his school setting, acting as a positive role model for other students and assisting with set up for the end of year concert. We are proud to nominate the student for this award.
Rebekah has been attending our after school centre in Bentleigh for three years. She displays ongoing curiosity in her learning, allied to diligence and persistence. Rebekah has used the geography skills and knowledge of Israel’s water solutions in her public school Humanities project, showing her proud Jewish identity in all areas of her life. We are proud to nominate Rebekah for this award.
Yaakov Dovid is involved in the following programs and volunteering opportunities:
1. He travels regularly to help outlying Jewish communities such as in Tasmania, for weekends.
2. He organises various different events within school.
3. He volunteers to visit non-affiliated Jews each Friday in order to connect them with their heritage.
4. He is always willing to raise a hand and help with anything that needs to be done during and after school hours.
Ari is involved in various volunteering programs and organises the following:
1. He heads a Gemach (Hebrew for charitable organisation) during school, which allows students to borrow money for lunch etc
2. He has started to volunteer for Friendship Circle – a group which helps families with children with special needs.
3. Ari has prepared and presented various videos and power point presentations for school-run assemblies and activities.
4. He is always the first to raise his hand and help staff and his peers as necessary.
BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE RECEPTION 15 November 2015
The Hon Ted Baillieu and Mrs Baillieu
Lady Cowen AM
MAJGEN Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM OBE KStJ, Patron in Chief
Mr Jack Smorgon AO, Patron
Mr Ben Hirsh, Immediate Past President and Life Member
Mrs Ruby Grose, Life Member
Mr Simon Bloomer, President Carry On (Victoria)
Mr John Poland, President & Mr Peter Holz, VP TPI Ex-servicemen & Women Vic
Mr Bob Larkin, President Caulfield RSL
Mr Gary March, Chair Friends Elwood RSL
MAJ Mike Wells
Mr David Marlow, Executive Director, JCCV
Ms Jennifer Huppert, President, JCCV
Mrs Rysia Rozen OAM, President National Council of Jewish Women Australia
Ms Brenda Segal, JNF
Mrs Margaret Pagone, The King David School
Bereaved Families of WWI and WWII
Bereaved Families from the last 12 months
Ladies and Gentlemen
During Remembrance week each year, we join together in solemn, silent reflection as we remember the tragedies of WWI and WWII with the untimate sacrifice made by those who served there, and in other armed conflicts which our Nation has been engaged. This morning, we have paused and remembered with grateful thanks, and determined that our fallen will never be forgotten.
This year we have honoured their memories in a way not seen in our community since 1947 when the historic WWII Memorial was unveiled at the Melbourne General Cemetery, and before that in 1924 when the original WWI Memorial was unveiled by Sir John Monash. Our very own Jeffrey Rosenfeld has today followed in the steps of Monash by unveiling the twin of the historic Memorial in Carlton, for our Community.
Please charge your glasses and be upstanding if you can. I propose a toast to our association formed in 1929, to all our current and past Patrons, Presidents and Office Bearers, members not well enough to be with us today and to those departed. To VAJEX Australia and absent friends.
New WWI & WWII Victorian Jewish Memorial Unveiled 15 November 2015
November 2011 was the last Remembrance Day Commemoration service held at the Melbourne General Cemetery at our Historic Memorial known as "The Obelisk." Our ageing veterans found it too far to travel.
After more than two years research by President Judy Landau, it was proven that 15 WWI names on the Historic Memorial were not Jewish or were not found as casualties. Therefore were not included on the new Memorial. Those on the Historic Memorial who, during the research period, were not found to have a connection with Victoria, were included on the new Memorial as there was a possibility that the connection was there but not found at the time. Twenty two newly discovered WWI names were added.
It was proven that one WWII name on the Historic Memorial was not Jewish. Therefore was not included on the new Memorial. Those on the Historic Memorial who, during the research period, were not found to have a connection with Victoria, were included on the new Memorial as there was a possibility that the connection was there but not found at the time. Sixteen newly discovered WWII names were added.
OFFICIAL WELCOME BY DR JUDY LANDAU, President VAJEX Australia
Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
This service is different from any that my generation has seen before. I won’t be acknowledging our honoured guests by name as would normally be done, because today’s event is to honour the names of the fallen Victorian-connected Jewish heros of WWI and WWII.
The acknowledgements that need mentioning right now are of the generous major sponsors who enabled this magnificent Memorial to be constructed.
THE PRATT FOUNDATION
ANZAC CENTENARY LOCAL GRANTS PROGRAM FROM MELBOURNE PORTS ELECTORATE
MARC BESEN AC & EVA BESEN AO
I offer to the sponsors, the grateful thanks of the community which includes the bereaved families of our fallen, whose names are etched onto the Monument.
Thank you to the CoPP and Heritage Victoria for offering the site for the Memorial and thanks to Advanced Stone for the fabulous job you have done in making and erecting the Monument.
Looking around, I see the faces of some family members of the men behind the names on the memorial. There is a son representing his father from Sydney whose brother was a WWII casualty; a son whose father is buried in New Guinea; a nephew whose uncle is buried in New Guinea; great nieces and nephews whose fallen are buried in far away places such as Gallipoli and France; we have two first cousins twice removed here, of an unrecovered war casualty on the verge of being identified, having been KIA at Fromelles and buried in a mass grave; 3rd St Kilda scouts are present to honour the memories of their ten former scouts who didn’t come home. Wesley College staff are here with a wreath containing many names from both World Wars and Melbourne Law School representatives have come to honour one of their fallen graduates.
These are but a few bereaved families and groups demonstrating that this Memorial is a vital link for many, and relevant to us even though it is so long ago when those memorialised were tragically killed. It also paints a picture of the devastation and grief that our small community suffered and still suffers and struggles, with the losses.
Unlike today, the bodies of our dead from both World Wars were not repatriated back home, so for the vast majority, there are no graves in Melbourne to visit for remembrance and mourning. Until now, all these families had was the historic Memorial at the Melbourne General Cemetery (which from my in depth research, uncovered that it was missing many names). Now this twin Memorial is updated and very much closer to where we live, and is a place where families and friends of our fallen can come to honour the memories of our own who did not come home.
The men behind the names. We will remember you!
Lest We Forget
As Vice President and Ceremonial Manager of VAJEX Australia, Julie Leder is a highly respected and well-liked board member. She is recognised and admired by the wider Jewish and Military Communities as well as other ex-service organisations with whom we have close ties. She is a great ambassador with a sunny smile.
She is a valued assistant to the President and Julie cheerfully rolls her sleeves up to do many behind the scenes tasks.
When she takes the microphone as MC for our commemorative services, we all know that the event will be handled with sensitivity and warmth. Participants are welcomed to the microphone with Julie encouragingly standing by. Each segment flows seamlessly to the next with Julie’s capable guidance.
Julie’s happy disposition is contagious and we look forward to many more years of Julie volunteering with VAJEX Australia.
"At the Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda, the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove, were guests of the Director and CEO, Ms Rebecca Forgasz, President, Barry Fradkin OAM and President VAJEX Australia, Dr Judy Landau, viewed the ‘True Jews and Patriots: Australian Jews and World War One exhibition."
The above statement appears on the Governor-General's website:
Judy Landau writes:
I had a chance to explain about my research for the new WWI & WWII Memorial and how DNA was sent only last week to hopefully identify one of our youngest casualties who was killed in action at the tender age of 16. It is thought that his remains have been found in a mass grave at Fromelles and his second cousin, who is a new VAJEX Australia member, supplied the DNA.
The WW1 names for the new Memorial are printed on one of the walls of the exhibition and after hearing the story of the young soldier, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret'd) took a pebble and placed it in memory of him. It was a very special moment. Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove placed a pebble in memory of one of the newly discovered soldiers. This is a memory I will always treasure.
As they were about to leave, Sir Peter asked if there were any Jewish nurses amongst the Australian nurses who went over to the battlefields. What a pity he didn't have time to hear my reply because there were five Jewish nurses with a Victorian connection who served in World War One. Some time ago I made a DVD on this topic with a pamphlet to accompany it and with Julie Leder, gave a talk to a women's group about women in the Armed Forces.
Photo: Peter Haskin
Due to his outstanding service, at this year's luncheon we paid homage to Ben Hirsh. Our 1st Vice President, Immediate Past President and Life Member tendered his intention to retire from the committee taking effect from the close of the Luncheon. With decades of service to VAJEX Australia, Ben gave his all and more, at times burning himself out and going beyond his limits for the sake of VAJEX. To say “thank you” is completely inadequate but there are not enough words to tell Ben of the esteem and respect he has earned from myself, VAJEX and the wider community. It was Ben who began the process of bringing VAJEX out of what he termed the “horse and cart era”. It was a brave step to take when some of the members were against embracing the new ways. At our last committee meeting, I tabled a vote of thanks to Ben for his devotion and dedication, the like of which is rarely seen.
Ben already had all the awards that VAJEX had to offer, so I had to create another one just for him. It is called the VAJEX Meritorious Award. The definition being: deserving reward & praise for a life time of meritorious service & conduct; exemplary & deserving; having worth of merit & value; being honourable & admirable; virtuous & commendable; a worthy fellow.
In Ben's response he said, "Thank you, Judy, for this beautiful award. When the returned Diggers of WWI formed the Jewish Returned Soldiers’ Circle in 1929 and were later joined by returning members of the armed forces who served in World War II, this Association peaked in membership. Sadly, with the passage of time, our ranks have been reduced; but we still meet to honour the fallen and those who pass away. After 85 years we are still here. I am confident that we will continue in this way for many years to come. It was a great privilege for me to do whatever I could during those 24 years. Thank you for this award, I feel very humbled.
We all wish Ben a well earned rest.
as these contact details will always be directed to a VAJEX representative.
VAJEX Australia was well represented at the Glen Eira Volunteer Awards for 2015.
Leading off with 20 years service was our Immediate Past President and Life Member Ben Hirsh.
For recognition of 10 years service was Ian Mansfield and Judy Landau.
Julie Leder was awarded for 500 hours of continuous service.
Five minutes ago, our Patron-in-Chief MAJGEN Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM OBE KStJ was awarded the prestigious ANZAC of the Year Award by MAJ GEN David McLaughlin AO Ret'd, State President of the RSL.
From the RSL Website:
In its desire to honour those who serve in peace as well as perpetuating the memory and gallantry of those who served in war, the Returned & Services League of Australia has established a series of National Honours - the ANZAC Awards.
The ANZAC Awards are, the ANZAC Peace Prize, only one of which is awarded to an Australian individual or group for outstanding efforts in promoting international understanding and peace, and the ANZAC of the Year Awards, seven of which may be awarded each year to Australian individuals or groups for service to the community in a positive, compassionate and selfless manner.
Photo courtesy Julie Leder