Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Incorporated

Founding Member General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD

VAJEX Australia Blog

  • It's a Boy - Harvey Flynn

    boy 02Dora (Klein-Gelbak) and
    David Beaconsfield

    together with big brother

    welcome with love

    Harvey Flynn
    הלל אריה

    Born 2nd August 2021

    beaconsfield howardDelighted grandparents
    Lara Gelbak
    Sharon & Peter Beaconsfield

    Dora ע"ה Ephraim ע"ה Gelbak
    Norma & Howard ע"ה Beaconsfield
    Carol Hammerman ע"ה & David Lapidos ע"ה

    Named in memory of Howard who served in the Australian Army WWII in Port Moresby, New Guinea

    Mazal tov to our member Norma Beaconsfield
    Two great-grandchildren born on the same day!

    Source: AJN

    Written on Thursday, 12 August 2021 18:32 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 594 times
  • It's A Boy - Noah Avraham

    boy 01PROKUPETS (Schmidt)
    David & Mandy

    are thrilled to announce the birth
    of their beautiful son

    Noah Avraham
    נח אברהם

    Born 2 August 2021

    Named in loving memory of
    Alfred ע"ה Schmidt and
    Abraham ע"ה Shtalman

    Grandson of
    Michael & Maria Prokupets,
    Lynne & David ע"ה Schmidt

    Great-grandson of
    Sura ע"ה & Abraham ע"ה Shtalman
    Lev ע"ה & Channa ע"ה Prokupets
    Norma & Howard ע"ה Beaconsfield
    Steffi ע"ה & Alfred ע"ה Schmidt

    Mazal tov to our member Norma Beaconsfield
    Two great-grandchildren born on the same day!

    Source: AJN

    Written on Thursday, 12 August 2021 18:21 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 549 times
  • Germany Honours Garry Fabian

    garry fabian VAJEX AustraliaVAJEX Australia Board member, Garry Fabian, has been honoured by the German Government with the prestigious Verdienstorden (Order of Merit) of the German Republic, recognising his service to the citizens of Baden-Wurtenberg over many years.

    Baden-Wurtenberg's Secretary of State, Winifred Kretchmann, nominated Garry for "sharing his experiences and personal story and building bridges of understanding." Garry has visited Germany many times over the last 30 years, often speaking to schools, educators and community groups about his war experiences, particularly during his family's time in Theresienstadt Ghetto. Garry's memoir, A Look Back Over My Shoulder, was reprinted in 2014, the same year he received the Gold Staufer Medal for his educational services to the state.

    The German Embassy in Canberra will facilitate the award presentation.

    Source: St Kilda Hebrew Congregation's newsletter

    Click link below to view the Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein:
    Speech in Parliament by Tim Wilson MP

    Written on Thursday, 12 August 2021 17:51 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 704 times
  • It's a Girl - Sage Lilo

    Mazal tov on the birth of a daughterAimee and Ricky

    are thrilled to annouce the
    birth of their gorgeous baby girl

    Sage Lilo

    on the 20th of July, 2021

    Granddaughter of
    Sara ז"ל and Chaim ז"ל Chrapot
    Muriel ז"ל and Gunner Lewis
    Tessa and Jack ז"ל Sharp
    Lilo ז"ל and Herbert ז"ל Cahn

    Mazal tov to our member Gunner Lewis

    Source: AJN

    Written on Monday, 09 August 2021 10:26 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 760 times
  • Bar Mitzvah - Toby Asha Gelbart

    Bar Mitzvah mazal tov to Toby Asha GelbartMazal tov to

    Toby Asha Gelbart

    on his bar mitzvah
    7 August 2021

    Belinda, Dave,
    Aiden, Joel & Jade

    are so proud and excited.

    As are Toby's loving grandparents
    Ian & Rita Gelbart | Mike and Eve Brown.

    Mazal tov to our member Mike Brown.

    Source: AJN

    Written on Monday, 09 August 2021 10:02 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 619 times
  • It's A Girl - Maddison

    mazal tov girlJamie Hymams (née First) and Jason Hymans

    are delighted to announce the arrival of their daughter

    Maddison עליזה

    on 22nd June, 2021
    Maddie's grandparents, Nadine and Alex First, and Karen and Ian Hymans,
    together with her great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
    share the happiness and excitement of the occasion.

    Mazal tov to our members Jason Hymans, Karen and Ian Hymans

    Source: AJN

    Written on Thursday, 22 July 2021 15:25 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 584 times
  • Leon Bloom RAAF WWII

    VAJEX Australia member Leon Bloom with his wife Marjorie and daughter Judith.Taking tea with Leon Bloom, his wife of 72 years Margorie (née Loebascher) and daughter Judith at their lovely family home they built together as a young couple, was a warm family experience. The sideboard behind Leon is covered in framed family photos, and facing him at the other end of their sunny dining room table is the large TV for family Zoom meetings.

    As Leon had recently been interviewed on Zoom by his London grandchildren about his past, the answers to our questions were ready and fast.

    Leon, who was born in Footscray, was studying Engineering when he decided to enlist. He wanted to enlist because he considered Australia was doing badly in the war and he wanted to help. It was 1942 and his employer rejected his application. Determined to help Australia’s war effort, Leon also met fierce opposition from his mother. She was British and had been through a war already in the UK, so she wasn’t happy about Leon’s enlistment. She knew that once he flew out, she would not know where he was or what he was doing. Leon was living at home with his mother at the time of his enlistment; his father had passed a few months before.

    Leon finally attested in 1943, joining the RAAF - 1 Airfield Construction Squadron (ACS). This Squadron was deployed to build new airports and prepare airstrips as the Army left, so the RAAF could land. Training had been very quick and he picked the RAAF as he believed there were more opportunities to progress through the ranks. They had to ‘clean up’ as the Japanese had been bombing Darwin. Later, more airports had to be built on Morotai Island, Indonesia and Borneo.

    VAJEX Australia member Leon Bloom in RAAF uniformCorrespondence was censored as their manoeuvres were confidential. Leon received a letter from home approximately once per month and would write back - again all mail was censored and much of the letter he wrote was blacked out by the Censor. He missed his family and friends.

    Concerned that his mother should know he was in Borneo, he devised a code. He had an Aunty Minnie whose partner had such fuzzy hair that he was teased as ‘the wild man of Borneo’. His grandma received Leon’s letter asking after Aunty Minnie’s partner. And so they knew.

    In Borneo their commander was a rather inexperienced SGT Burke. They could easily influence him, so he and a friend could take ‘unofficial leave’ to see the town, but they were caught by the Second in Command. Lasting friends were made when in the RAAF. Serving alongside Leon was the Tasmanian Government Surveyor. All deployments were the same, after the infantry cleared an area from the Japanese, they would go in and construct airstrips to allow fighter and bomber aircraft to land.

    Leon’s time in the RAAF made him more disciplined and organised to allow him to progress better in civilian life. He learned that he could cope with all of the day to day issues of life. One of his greatest wishes is peace and a good life for all. It was difficult to live away from his family and to exist and fight day by day, not
    knowing if this will be the last day of his life.

    Leon was awarded:
    1. 1939-1945 Star
    2. Pacific Star
    3. Defence Medal
    4. War Medal
    5. Australia Service Medal 1939 - 1945
    6. Australia Service Medal SW Pacific 1945 - 1976

    Discharged at the end of the war, Leon returned with enough engineering experience to become an engineer at Port Melbourne City Council and he continued studying at Swinburne’s night school. It took him a couple of years to settle down again.

    Attending a singles function at Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, in Toorak, he met his future wife. Margorie’s father, David, was an engineer and so took Leon into his business. The couple has since been active members at Temple Beth Israel.

    Written on Sunday, 11 July 2021 09:54 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 742 times
  • New Victorian Jewish Memorial

    Judy Landau with New Victorian Jewish WW1 and WW2 MemorialAn announcement was made in the weeks leading up to the Centenary of ANZAC by Judy Landau, President of VAJEX Australia that a new Victorian Jewish WWI & WWII Memorial after the style of the historic memorial located at the Melbourne General Cemetery would be constructed locally. After an extensive two year process, Judy single-handedly sought letters of support, raised the funds, and obtained approval from the City of Port Phillip.

    The original Victorian Jewish Memorial built in 1924 by the Chevra Kadisha contained the names of 79 WWI & 56 WWII servicemen who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Judy researched all the names for the new memorial and was shocked to find 18 WWI names and four WWII names were either:
    • not Jewish
    • had no known connection with Victoria
    • didn’t exist; no casualty found

    Additional names found during the research were added to the new memorial. 

    The Memorial was unveiled within a week of the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht and within days of the 97th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice of WWI. The unveiling and consecration was held on Sunday 15 November 2015 at 11am.


    The Pratt Foundation
    Department of Veterans’ Affairs through Melbourne Ports
    Eva Besen AO & Marc Besen AC

    The Gandel Group funded much of the World War II research. The project would have been significantly delayed without their generosity.

    Thank you to all our donors!

    Written on Thursday, 10 June 2021 15:45 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 604 times
  • Helen and Ian Tuszynski welcome another granddaughter
    Helen and Ian Tuszynski welcome another granddaughter

    We were delighted to read in the AJN of the birth of Georgia Pia Tuszynski on 29 April 2021.

    Another grand child for Helen and Ian Tuszynski.

    Ian has been a member since 2002 and served in the Australian Army, Monash University Regiment.

    We wish all the family Mazal tov and may she be healthy and happy, bringing Nachas and joy into your lives.

    Written on Tuesday, 08 June 2021 19:27 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 584 times
  • 2021 David Brykman elected President of Mizrachi
    2021 David Brykman elected President of Mizrachi

    Mazal tov to our cantor, David Brykman,

    on being elected as Mizrachi's new President.

    David has been a member and has participated in our services since 2015 and is very popular. He will be taking part in our 2021 Remembrance Service so please come along and support us and hear his fabulous voice! 

    For details of the 2021 Remembrance Service: 

    Written on Tuesday, 08 June 2021 19:07 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 637 times
  • 2017 Anzac Commemoration

    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.

    Winners were:
    Dobba Raskin and Aliza Werdiger

    Cara Davies and Tania Szwarcberg

    Benji Kalkopf and Aimee Raitman

    Nathan Faiman and Gabriella Katz

    Mikhayla Burstin and Milo Friedman

    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.

    Written on Sunday, 30 April 2017 19:51 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 3097 times
  • ANZAC Centenary Remembrance Service in Hobart

    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.

    Written on Monday, 31 October 2016 15:49 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 2104 times
  • Ben Hirsh's special birthday

    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. 

    Written on Monday, 19 September 2016 16:14 in VAJEX Australia Category
    Tags: Ben Hirsh
    Read 1881 times
  • 2015 Private Greg Sher Memorial Awards

    Greg Sher Awards 2015 - winners - VAJEX AustraliaMr 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.





    The Individual Winners

    Beth Rivkah Ladies College - Megan Gorley

    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.

    Greg Sher Award winner - Megan Gorley

    Beth Rivkah Ladies College - Michal Goldberger

    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.

    Bialik College - Elana Forbes

    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.

    Bialik College - Zack Stein

    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.

    Leibler Yavneh - Rochelle Wittenberg

    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.

    Leibler Yavneh - Ari Goldberg

    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.

    Mt Scopus Memorial College - Zoe Finger

    Zoe has shown exceptional leadership in her role as College Captain.

    Mt Scopus Memorial College - Alex Miller

    Alex has shown exceptional leadership in his role as College Captain.

    Sholem Aleichem College - Ellah Yaary

    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.

    Sholem Aleichem College - Kalman Sharp

    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.

    The King David School - Jory Braun

    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.

    The King David School - Rebecca Freedman

    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.

    UJEB - Name Withheld

    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.

    UJEB - Rebekah Kirkwood

    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.

    Yeshivah College - Yaakov Dovid Gordon

    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.

    Yeshivah College - Ari Kornhauser

    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.

    Written on Sunday, 22 May 2016 14:13 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 4407 times
  • Glen Eira ANZAC Service
    Glen Eira ANZAC Service

    Vice President Julie Leder attended the City of Glen Eira ANZAC Commemorative Service today with the wreath on behalf of VAJEX Australia.

    Written on Sunday, 17 April 2016 19:19 in VAJEX Australia Category Read 2242 times
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