ANZACS, MHC and Country Victoria by Margot Sims

May 15, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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An audience of over 400 attended an Anzac commemorative service with a difference at the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation.

MHC Anzac centenary

MHC Anzac centenary

MHC honoured the men and women who paid the ultimate price for country during World War I by organising an evening that viewed them from variety of perspectives.

Students from country communities had participated in an essay contest.  The Judging Panel — comprised of Linda Fisher (Education Liaison), Helen Morris and Dr Marlene Ryzman — read many essays and selected five students .

Chaperoned by  their parents, Rohan Gerrard from Beaufort, Olivia Jorgensen from Dimboola, Holly McKenzie from Lakes Entrance, Britney Scrivens from Mooroopna and Scott Smith (Swan Hill College) attended.

Most had limited experience of Melbourne and no previous contact with the Jewish community.

The Country Women’s Association contributed accommodation enabling the winners to visit The Shrine of Remembrance, Jewish Museum of Australia, and attend a public speaking workshop.  They would go on to participate in a Friday night Sabbath service and dinner, visit Government House and attend the Dawn Service on Anzac Day.

Yvonne and Felix Sher, parents of Private Greg Sher, killed in action in Afghanistan, lit two yahrzeit candles to remember the souls of the departed.

Dr Victor Wayne, MHC Board greeted the audience.  Music that had given World War I military personnel a lift was sung by Ben Cohen, accompanied by the synagogue choir.

The country students delivered greetings from their communities and Britney Scrivens (Mooroopna Secondary College) read her essay about Private Robert Alexander Mitchell of the 6th Australian Infantry Battalion.

Keynote speaker , Major General Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM OBE KStJ, remarked that Australia was fortunate to have such young people to look after its future.  He talked about Sir John Monash’s critical role in WWI.

Lights were dimmed for the Name Proclamations as family and friends stated their relationship, the soldier’s rank and name, battalion, date of death, age and where they were buried.

Dr Judy Landau, President of the Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia, recited The Ode.  Jarred Steinberg sounded Last Post, there was the minute’s silence and the 28th Glen Eira Venturer Scouts lowered and raised the flags.

Rabbi Dovid Rubinfeld and the MHC Choir sang the memorial prayer Kaddish in Hebrew and Chaplain Captain Rabbi Dovid Gutnick provided the English translation.

The national anthems of New Zealand and Australia completed the evening.

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