2021 Australia Day Awards

January 25, 2021 by J-Wire Staff
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For the first time since the modern-day awards were inaugurated in 1975, a rabbi has received the nation’s highest award, the AC.  J-Wire extends congratulations to all members of the Jewish community who have been honoured by their country…including a brother and sister. This year, Victoria honourees are double their NSW counterparts. There is one honour each for WA and the NT.



Rabbi Dr John Simon LEVI AM, Malvern East VIC 3145

For eminent service to Judaism through seminal roles with religious, community and historical organisations, to the advancement of interfaith understanding, tolerance and collaboration, and to education.

Rabbi John Levi

Australia, New Zealand and Asia Region, Union for Progressive Judaism

  • Honorary Life Vice-President, 1996.
  • Regional Director, 1997-2004.

World Union for Progressive Judaism

  • Vice-President and Australian Representative, 1975-1995.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry

  • Deputy President, 2004-2007.
  • Honorary Life Member, 2008.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria

  • Appointed Proctor, Pontifical Institute, since 1990.
  • National Editorial Board, Australia/Israel Review, since 1985.
  • Executive Member, current.

Liberal Rabbinical Association of Australia and New Zealand

  • Chair, 1991-1993.
  • Founding Chair, 1977-1982.
  • Founder, Progressive Jewish Congregations, Wellington, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Adelaide.

Temple Beth Israel, Melbourne

  • Rabbi Emeritus, since 1997.
  • Senior Rabbi, 1974-1997.
  • Rabbi, 1960-1997.

Interfaith Dialogue

  • Patron, Australian Council of Christians and Jews, since 2005.
  • Co-Founder and Co-President, The Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria), 1985-1997.
  • Adjunct Professor, Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue, Australian Catholic University, 2008-2017.
  • Honorary International President, World Conference on Religion and Peace (now known as Religions for Peace), 2000-2006.
  • Australian President and former local Chairman, International World Conference on Religion and Peace, 1994.
  • Co-Founder, World Conference on Religion and Peace (Australia), an affiliate of the (International) World Conference on Religion and Peace, 2000.
  • Member, Joint Committee of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Uniting Church in Australia, since 1991.


  • Committee Member and Past President, Australian Jewish Historical Society (Victoria), 1962-2015.
  • Member, Panel of Eminent Persons, Royal Historical Society of Victoria Inc, since 1997.
  • Author and co-author of several books, including Australian Genesis: Jewish Convicts and Settlers, 1788-1850, 2002 and 2013, An Australian Haggadah, 2002, These are the Names: Jewish Lives in Australia 1788-1950, 2013, Rabbi Jacob Danglow, 1995, and My Dear Friends: The Life of Rabbi Dr Herman Sanger, 2009.
  • Co-editor, Machzor High Holyday Prayer Book, 2 Vols, World Union for Progressive Judaism, 2019 and The Musical Traditions of the Berlin Reform Congregation, (Museum of the Diaspora, 1998, Israel).


  • Co-Founder and School Council Member, The King David School, Melbourne, 1977-2018.
  • Member, Monash University Ethics Committee, current.
  • Teacher, Yarra Theological College, 1990-2000.
  • Academic Fellow, The Program of Jewish Culture and Society (formerly Centre for Jewish History and Culture), University of Melbourne, since 2007.
  • Lecturer in Biblical Hebrew, University of Melbourne, 1991-1996.
  • Lecturer, Australian Catholic University, circa 2008.
  • Former Jewish Representative, Tertiary Institutions Chaplaincy Commission.

The Arts

  • Commonwealth Assessor for Jewish Art and Artefacts, current.
  • Advisor on the Jewish religion and Australian Jewish history for exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, Museums Victoria and the Australian Museum in Sydney.
  • Advisor and assessor for the Jewish Museums in Melbourne and Sydney.

Civil Service

  • Chaplain and Officer, Reserve Citizen Military Forces of the Commonwealth, 1960-1995.

Awards and recognition include:

  • General Sir John Monash Award for Outstanding Service to the Jewish Community of Victoria, 2008.
  • Victorian Premier’s Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs, 2005.
  • Appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, 1981.
  • Paul Harris Fellow, Melbourne Rotary Club.
  • Recipient, Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Medal, 1977.
  • Recipient, Australian Centenary Medal, 2003.

As a historian, Rabbi John Levi is tuned to the significance of milestones in Australian Jewish history.

He comes from a family with a long history of serving the Victorian community. He is “pretty sure” he is the first Rabbi to be honoured with an AC.

He told J-Wire: “I am surprised to be so honoured”.

My great-grandfather, Nathaniel Levi, would have been proud of me.

He was a very staunch Jew and became the first Jewish member of the Victorian parliament in 1861. That happened just a few years after Great Britain allowed a Jew to enter Parliament.”

Discussing his experience of welcoming school children on interfaith excursions to his synagogue, Rabbi John Levi hoped that, while the children would not remember what was said, the long-term result might be making Jews less of a mystery.

He regards Australia with great love and remembers Melbourne, as being a more formal country in the past.

Rabbi Levi has an enduring fascination with early Australian Jewish history.

“Unlike other new settled countries like the United States and Canada, Jews were in Australia from the very beginning – on the First Fleet.

“I think that Jews really understand their history,” he said.

Lockdown during the pandemic means he is not able to spend time in Israel, a place dear to his heart.

“We just like being in Jerusalem: the sense of history and belonging. It is a fascinating place for someone who is consciously Jewish.

Jerusalem is the heartland,” he added.



Professor Alan CASS, Wanguri NT 0810

Alan Cass

For distinguished service to medical research, particularly to the prevention and management of chronic kidney disease, to improved Indigenous clinical care and health outcomes, and as a mentor.

Medical Health and Research

  • Director, Menzies School of Health Research, since 2012.
  • Director, Bridging the Gap Foundation, current.
  • Board Member, Top End Health and Hospital Services, 2015-2017.

Medical – other

  • President, Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN), 2014-2016.
  • Board Member, Australian Clinical Trials Alliance, 2012-2017.
  • Director, Renal and Metabolic Division, The George Institute for Global Health, 2003-2012.
  • Former Chair, Commonwealth MBS Renal Clinical Review Committee.
  • Former Board Member, Australian Spinal Cord Injury Network.
  • Deputy Chair, Northern Territory Clinical Senate, since 2018.

Australasian Kidney Trials Network

  • Chair, Advisory Board, since 2018.
  • Member, Advisory Board, since 2016.
  • Executive Member, 2012-2015.
  • Inaugural Chair, Scientific Committee, 2005-2012.

Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry

  • Chair, Advisory Committee, since 2019.
  • Member, Executive Committee, since 2019.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Kidney Health Australia Clinical Research Award, ANZSN, 2009 and 2017.
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, 2015.
  • T J Neale Award for Outstanding Contribution to Nephrological Science, ANZSN, 2013.


Alan Cass commented: “I feel humbled, I feel that it is wonderful to see that the important work I do and in departments, and that the focus of our work has been recognised. I trained as a kidney specialist. Training and research is very important to me, my family has always been interested in medicine and social justice. This is an absolute passion of mine, I am interested in researching health, and to gain understanding of all the underlying factors. I want to provide the best care to people requiring treatment. Our ability to bring skills, understanding and training to communities, has been so fulfilling to see how it has impacted them all. The need is profound, so we work to prevent, to treat, and to support the communities. Darwin and the Northern Territories is such a remarkable part of Australia, it makes for a vibrant and fascinating community in which to work. Working with communities and providing education is a vital part of what we do.”

Professor Susan Ruth DAVIS, Richmond VIC 3121

Susan Davis

For distinguished service to medicine, to women’s health as a clinical endocrinologist and researcher, and to medical education.

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University

  • Professor of Women’s Health/Endocrinologist, since 2004.
  • Program Director, Women’s Health Research Program, since 2005.
  • Head, Specialist Women’s Health Clinic, Alfred Hospital, since 2011.
  • Recipient, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009.

·       Executive Council Member, Monash University, 2006-2008.

International Menopause Society

  • President, since 2018.
  • Board Member, since 2011.
  • Henry Burger Prize, 2011.

Australasian Menopause Society

  • President, 2003-2005.
  • Recipient, AMS Award, 2009.

Other Medicine

  • Consultant Endocrinologist, Cabrini Health, since 2004.
  • Senior Principal Research Fellow, National Health and Medical Research Council, since 2018.

Jean Hailes Foundation (Jean Hailes for Women’s Health)

  • Director of Research, 1993-2004.
  • Co-Founder, 1992.


  • Editorial Board Member, Maturitas, European Menopause and Andropause Society, current.
  • Editorial Board Member, Climacteric, current.
  • Editorial Board Member, Menopause, current.
  • Editorial Board Member, Clinical Endocrinology, current.
  • Author, Our Health, Our Lives – what women should know, Allen and Unwin, 1997.
  • Author, The Healthy Woman – better health management and the menopause, Longman Cheshire, 1994.
  • Author/Co-Author, more than 240 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
  • Author/Co-Author, 100 review papers.
  • Author/Co-Author, 30 book chapters.

Endocrine Society (USA)

  • Member, Clinical Practice Guideline Panel, Management of the Menopause, 2014-2016.
  • Member, Clinical Practice Guideline Panel, Androgens in Women, 2012-2014.
  • Recipient, International Excellence in Endocrinology Laureate Award, 2015.

Other Professional Associations

  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, since 2016.

Awards and Recognition include:

  • Distinguished Service Award, International Menopause Society, 2020.

·       Endocrine Society of Australia Senior Plenary Award, 2019.

·       Nil Magnum Nisi Bonum inaugural Honour, St Catherine’s Girls’ School Melbourne, 2010.

  • Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct Research Prize, 2009.

Susan Davis told J-Wire: “This is an enormous honour. It is nice to have all your work and contributions over the years acknowledged, and to receive the acknowledgment. It is lovely. My main focus is on women’s health, both nationally and internationally. We focus on women’s health, education, and research, this has been a long and rewarding journey. It has been lovely working with and training people. I love what I do.”

Emeritus Professor Andrew MARKUS, VIC

For distinguished service to tertiary education, particularly to the study of Jewish civilisation, as a sociologist and demographer, and to multiculturalism.


Monash University

  • Appointed, Emeritus Professor, 2019.
  • Director, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, 2001-2006 and 2017-2019.
  • Pratt Foundation Research Professor of Jewish Civilisation, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, 2001-2019.
  • Co-Lead Researcher, Gen17 Australian Jewish Community Survey, 2017.
  • Lead Researcher, Gen08 Australian Jewish Community Survey, 2008.
  • Former Head, Department of Historical Studies.
  • Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, 1984-2000.

Scanlon Foundation

  • Principal Researcher, Mapping Social Cohesion Project, since 2007.

Temple Beth Israel

  • Member, Vision 2030 Committee, current.

Jewish Historical Society (Victoria)

  • Committee Member, current.
  • Member, long-term.

Committee and advisory roles

  • Contributor, National Forum on Racial Tolerance and Community Harmony, Australian Human Rights Commission, 2017.
  • Member, Reference Group, General Social Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014- 2015.
  • Witness, Senate Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism, Parliament of Australia, 2017.
  • Colloquium Member, Far-Right Narratives, Movement and Networks, Victoria University, 2017-2018.
  • Advisor, Victorian Multicultural Affairs.
  • Consultant/Advisor, Aboriginal Political Activity, National Museum of Victoria, 1996.
  • Consultant/Advisor, Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre.
  • Member, External Cultural Diversity Advisory Council, Commonwealth Bank Australia, since 2017.
  • Research Member, B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, 1990s.
  • Member, Community Advisory Council, SBS Australia, 2013-2016.
  • Contributor, Migration, Mobilities and Belonging Research Network, University of Western Australia.
  • Specialist Contributor, National Inquiry into Racist Violence, Human Rights and Equal Employment Commission, 1989-1990.

Research Institute on Social Cohesion, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria

  • Member, Expert Reference Group, 2015-2019.
  • Presenter, Research Showcase, 2017.


  • Author or co-author of 19 books and approximately 140 publications


  • Member, Editorial Boards including: Australian Historical Studies; Journal of Intercultural Studies; Australian Historical Association; Labour History; and Aboriginal History.


  • Member, Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
  • Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, since 2004.

Andrew Markus strongly believes his award is a recognition of the significance of universities and research conducted at Monash University.

“This recognises all the people who have contributed to the work of research,” he said.

Partly retired, he is still very much involved in research and says that surveys allow us to better understand how Australia has coped with the current pandemic crises.

He says it is significant that Holocaust and Genocide courses draw students from a wide cross-section of the community.





Associate Professor Gregory Julian GOODMAN, Toorak VIC 3142

Greg Goodman

For significant service to medicine, to skin and cancer research, and to education.

Skin Health Institute (formerly Skin and Cancer Foundation Australia)

  • Chief of Surgery, since 1994.
  • Former President.
  • Co-Founder, 1987.
  • Founder and Leader, Australasian Society of Cosmetic Dermatologists, since 2015.

Australasian College of Dermatologists

  • Chair, College Cosmetic Dermatology Subcommittee, 2008-2009.
  • Head, Hospital Committee, 1989-1993 and 1997-1999.
  • Member, Laser Subcommittee, 1989-1994 and 1999-2001.
  • Member, Surgical Committee, 1989-1993.
  • Member, Surgical Society, since 1989.
  • Member, Victorian Faculty Executive, 1987-1988.

Dermatology Institute of Victoria

  • President, since 2013.

·       Board Member, current.

International Society of Cosmetic Laser Surgeons

  • Member, 1992-2005.
  • President, Australian Division, 1995-1998.
  • Founding Treasurer, 1991-1998.

Department of General Practice, Monash University

  • Adjunct Associate Professor, since 2009.
  • Honorary Senior Lecturer, 1990s-2009.
  • Founder, 12-week Dermatology Course, 1994.


  • Associate Editor, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, since 2005.
  • Editor, The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, since 1996.
  • Author/Co-Author, more than 90 publications in journals, books and papers.


  • Chief Executive Officer, Script Skin Care, since 2008.
  • Member, Consensus Board, Australian Skin Care, 2010.
  • Developer, The Home of Younger Skin (HOYS), 2004-2013.

Awards and recognition includes:

  • President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution in Teaching and Research, American Society for Dermatological Surgery, 2012.

Greg Goodman told J-Wire:  “It is nice to be acknowledged, particularly by your peers. I am not motivated by recognition particularly. But it does acknowledge my life’s work, especially what I have done outside of my day to day job. So many put in extra hours over and above their normal duties. Australian society would not be structured as well as it is if it was not for the extra activities done by so many people.”.


Rabbi Mordechai GUTNICK, St Kilda East VIC 3183

Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick

For significant service to the Jewish community through a range of roles.

Rabbinical Council of Victoria

  • Patron, since 2012.
  • Honorary Member of the Executive, current.
  • Immediate Past President, 2016-2018.
  • President, 2014-2016.
  • Former Vice-President and Former Secretary.

Melbourne Beth Din

  • Senior Dayan, since 2004.
  • Religious Judge, 2002-2004.

Kosher Food Certification

  • Rabbinic Administrator, Kosher Australia (formerly Halachic Authority), since 1996.
  • Administrator, Kosher Food Certification, Sydney Beth Din, 1980s.
  • Former Rabbinic Administrator, NSW Kashrut Commission.
  • Founder and Director, Kashrut Information Bureau (now known as the Kashrut Authority).

Jewish organisations

  • President, Organisations of Rabbis of Australasia, 2003-2008.
  • Member of the Executive, Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies.
  • Established, Doncaster Jewish Day School, 1980s.
  • Former Principal, Doncaster Branch, United Jewish Education Board.

Elwood Talmud Torah Congregation, Melbourne (Elwood Shule)

  • Emeritus Rabbi, since 2017.
  • Senior Rabbi, 2002-2015 (retired).
  • Former Co-Rabbi.

Jewish Congregations – Other

  • Rabbi, Elsternwick Synagogue, Melbourne, 1996-2002.
  • Jewish Chaplain (rank of Captain), Southern Command, Australian Defence Force, 1984-2003.
  • Senior Rabbi, North Eastern Jewish War Memorial Centre and Synagogue, Doncaster, Victoria, 1982-1996.
  • Former Rabbi, Strathfield Hebrew Congregation, Sydney, 1975-1982.


  • Spiritual Mentor, Doncaster Scouts, Scouts Victoria.

Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick told J-Wire: “I feel really humbled by this honour. We try to do our best. My family has always been totally community orientated. I am a member of Chabad, so we are always helping with outreach and with our fellow human beings. As a teenager, I was always very involved with the community, with many programs, and helped with the overflow services. I have always been involved with community endeavours. I have been very grateful to have been able to not only helped people but also to have been involved with so many things. My major goal has always been to help, this is my path. I have loved reaching out, helping others, and influencing people to good. I received all of this from my father, he was a caring person, and I hope that I have been able to emulate him. My kids are following in our footsteps. I have been involved with non-Jewish communities as well, and it has been an honour and a privilege to do so. I am a very proud Australian. I am very proud to receive this recognition of our services and am glad that the Jewish community is represented in these awards. Australia has been very good to us, my parents came both before and after the war, and Australia has welcomed us with open arms.”

He added: “My wife Sara should have shared in my award. She has always been a source of strength and inspiration in all my work.”

Professor Daniel Ian LUBMAN, VIC

Dan Lubman

For significant service to medical education, research, treatment and policy in the field of addiction.

Medical Education – Monash University and Turning Point

  • Professor of Addiction Studies and Services, Eastern Health Clinical School, since 2010.
  • Executive Clinical Director, Turning Point, Eastern Health, since 2010.
  • Director, Monash Addiction Research Centre, since 2018.
  • Published over 500 major reports, peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters.

Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne

  • Associate Professor, Centre for Youth Mental Health, 2008-2010.
  • Head, Substance Use Research and Recovery Focused (SURRF) Program, 2003-2010.
  • Consultant Psychiatrist, 2003-2010.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

  • Chair, Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry, 2006-2017, and Committee Member, 2003-2006.
  • Convenor of the International Medicine of Addiction Conference, 2011 and 2017.
  • Examiner, since 2006.
  • Fellow, since 2001.
  • Member, since 2001.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians

  • Fellow, Faculty of Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, 2003.

Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

  • Member, Mental Health Ministerial Advisory Committee, since 2019.
  • Member, Victorian Complex Needs Advisory Group, since 2019.
  • Member, Victorian Mental Health Expert Taskforce, 2015-2019.
  • Member, Victorian Ice Taskforce, since 2014.
  • Chair, Victorian Change Agent Network Board, since 2013.
  • National Representative Board Member, National Drug Research Institute, 2008-2012.
  • Member, Treatment Reference Group, National Amphetamine-Type Stimulants Strategy, 2007-2008.
  • Member, Expert Reference Group, National Psychostimulants Initiative, 2006-2008.

Committee and Advisory Board service

  • Member, International Editorial Advisory Board, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, since 2007.
  • Member, International Editorial Advisory Board, Current Drug Abuse Reviews, since 2007.
  • Member, North Western Mental Health Research and Ethics Committee, 2004-2009.
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Addiction Neuroscience Network Australia, 2004-2009.
  • Member, Advisory Board, Centre of Health Risk Behaviours and Mental Well Being, Deakin University, 2004-2006.
  • Member of NHMRC Alcohol Working Committee on Australian Guidelines, since 2016.
  • Member, ISAM Education and Training Committee, since 2016.

UK Medical Research Council

  • Reviewer, since 2007.


  • Psychiatrist, since 1994.

Awards and recognition includes:

  • Outstanding Achievement Award, International Society of Addiction Medicine, 2018.
  • Senior Scientist Award, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs, 2017.
  • Excellence in Prevention and Education, National Alcohol and Drug Awards, 2017.
  • Senior Researcher Award, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 2016.
  • Organon Junior Research Award, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, 2006.

Dan Lubman would like to change the public’s perception of addiction and to see it as a medical condition.

“Addiction is a health disorder, a stigmatised condition and something people are ashamed to seek help for and no community is immune from it” he told J-Wire.

It can take up to 20 years for someone to admit they have an addiction before seeking help.

“In the past, having cancer was not something that was talked about. Hearing stories of recovery has helped changed community attitudes. The same could be said of depression and how it was viewed in the past.

“My hope is that in time, community attitudes to addiction will also change.

“We are trying to change community perception of addiction and give it the same standard of care as other health issues,” he said.

“I am humbled and thrilled to be award this honour” he said.

Dan Lubman recently appeared in a 4-part documentary on addiction –  Addicted Australia – which showcased 10 people battling to covering their addiction.  It can be viewed on SBS On Demand.


For more information go to: https://www.rethinkaddiction.org.au/

Philip David MAYERS, Toorak VIC 3142

Philip Mayers

For significant service to the community through a range of organisations.


  • Chairman, Freemasons Foundation Victoria Limited, since June 2020 and Deputy Chairman, 2019.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Link Health, 2016 – 2018.
  • Member, Board of Directors, South Port Uniting Care, 2014 – 2017.
  • Office bearer, Rotary Club Melbourne 2007-2008.

Make-A-Wish International

  • Member, Board of Directors, 2011-2014.
  • Deputy Chairman, 2013 and 2014.
  • Chairman Governance Committee, 2013 and 2014.
  • Member, Inaugural International Governance Committee, 2009.
  • Member, CEO Search Committee, 2007.
  • Chairman, Nominations Committee, 2003-2005.

Make-A-Wish Australia

  • Member, Board of Directors, 2000-2012.
  • Chairman, 2005-2009.

Temple Beth Israel

  • Board Member, 1990 – 1997.
  • President, 1994 – 1996.

Victorian Union for Progressive Judaism

  • Chairman, Mishkan T’filah Project, 2008-2010.
  • President, 2000-2003.
  • Committee Member, 1994-1996.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry

  • Council Member, 1994-1996.

Jewish Community Council Of Victoria

  • Executive Committee Member, 1990-1996.

Royal District Nursing Service

·       Member, Board of Directors, 1995-2009.

·       Deputy Chairman, 2005-2008.

·       Life Member, 2010.

Jewish Care (Victoria)

  • Member, Jewish Values (Ethics) Committee, 2001-2010.
  • Appointed an Honorary Life Governor, 2007.


  • Director and Head of Not-for-profit Practice, Mayers Recruitment Pty Ltd., since 2018.
  • Associate Director, Silverman Dakin / Director, Dakin Mayers, 1996-2018.
  • Director and Senior Consultant, Waitesearch International / Sacs Elite Consulting Group, 1990-1996.
  • Executive Director, Montefiore Homes for the Aged, Melbourne, 1987-1990.

“I am proud to be Australian and this Award makes me feel even more Australian. I am very excited about it,” Philip Mayers told J-Wire.
Along with his wife and two sons, he came from South Africa to Melbourne 33 years ago.
“Melbourne was very welcoming to us and we were accepted,” he said.
He relishes the close personal relationships he has made across the community and said that programs offered by organisations such as Royal District Nursing Service can make a big difference to people’s lives.
“The causes I have been involved with have all enriched my life,” he said.

Peter Harry WISE, Rose Bay NSW 2029

Peter Wise                  Photo: Giselle Haber

For significant service to the Jewish community through a range of roles.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)

  • Treasurer, 2007-2010, 2013-2016, and since 2019.
  • Director, Harm Prevention Fund, since 2010.
  • Councillor, since 2007.

Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA)

  • Trustee, current.
  • President, 1997-2005.
  • Board Governor, 1991-2003.
  • Appeal Chairman, 1993-1997.
  • Honorary Life Governor, since 2003.

Council for Jewish Community Security (NSW) (CJCS)

  • Founding Chair, 2008.
  • Former Advisory Board Member.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies

  • Elected Deputy, current.

New Zealand Jewish Organisations

  • Former Chair, New Zealand Jewish Council, four years.
  • Former Treasurer, New Zealand Zionist Federation.

Peter Wise commented: “Honours and awards have never featured on my bucket list of aspirations, so this recognition is at the same time both flattering and humbling. I was born in post-war Europe into a traumatised, but vibrant, Holocaust survivor family. As refugees in New Zealand, they imbued my DNA with an appreciation of why the wellbeing, resilience and vitality of Jewish communities and Israel is central to our being.

Across a range of communal roles, my mantra has been that unity in our collective Jewish endeavour is paramount and I believe it is my obligation to do whatever I can to improve and strengthen Jewish life, and the Jewish way of life. It has been very rewarding to be involved in pivotal organisations which have the capacity to make a difference – particularly the JCA, ECAJ and CSG. We should be grateful to earlier generations of leaders who gave us solid organisational foundations on which to build.

I see this Australia Day honour as also recognising the vision and ability of the various collegial teams I have worked with over the years. In more recent times I have been privileged to work 24/7 with members of our community who are many decades younger than me. They have passion, grit and commitment; they are an inspiration, and they are our beacon for the future.”



Geoff Basser

Geoffrey Lewis BASSER, Salamander Bay NSW 2317

For service to the community of the Port Stephens region.


Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth (COPSY)

  • Vice-President, current.
  • Head, Fundraising Team, ‘Jupiter – A Space to Talk’ (free mental health counselling service), current.
  • Founding Member, 2013.

Rotary Club of Salamander Bay, Rotary International

  • Member, since early 2010s.

Rotary Club of Nelson Bay, Rotary International

  • Member, 2000s.

Lindfield Rotary Club, Rotary International

  • President, 1983-1984.
  • Member, 1970s-1990s.

Apex Australia

  • Former District Governor, Central West and Blue Mountains.
  • Former District Governor, Sydney and Inner Suburbs.
  • Former President, Sydney City.
  • Former President, Lithgow.
  • Member, 1947-1969.

Community – Other

  • Committee Member, Salamander Bay, Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association (TRRA), current.
  • Member, Nelson Bay NOW, current.
  • Committee Member and Founding Member, Kur-ring-gai Youth Mental Wellbeing and Development Service (KYDS), 2000s.
  • Member, Board of Management, Montefiore Aged Care, Sydney, circa 1998-2003.
  • Vice-President, Lindfield Rugby Club circa 1971-1973.


  • Supporter and Fundraiser, East Timor Project, Friends of Oecusse TL, early 2000s.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Port Stephens Medal, for community service, Port Stephens Council, 2018.
  • Paul Harris Fellowship, Lindfield Rotary Club, Rotary International.

Geoff Basser told J-Wire: “I feel humbled. I am involved with community service because I feel that I am civic-minded and socially responsible. None of this would have happened, my work with Rotary, and prior to that with Apex Australia, without the people working with me. I could never have done all the work we have done over the years, without the people I work with and respect greatly. Giving back to society means that we all work together, men and women. We are all like-minded and feel socially responsible.”

Dr Peter James DAVIS, Caulfield South VIC 3162

Peter Davis

For service to the Jewish community of Melbourne.


Theodor Herzl Social Club (affiliated club of the Victorian Bridge Association)

  • President, 2004-2007, and 2011-2015.
  • Vice President, 1985-2004, 2007-2011, and since 2015.
  • Treasurer since 2005.
  • Membership Manager, since 1990.
  • Bridge Director and Tournament Organiser, 1985-2002.
  • Committee Member, since 1983.
  • Life Member, since 2008.

The Australian Pregnancy Register for Women on Antiepileptic Medication

  • Treasurer, since 2008.

Professional career

  • Executive Officer, Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience Foundation, since 2006.
  • Divisional Finance Manager of Cardiac Services and Neurology, Melbourne Health, 2001-2006.
  • Divisional Finance Manager Rehabilitation and Allied Health, Western Health Care Network, 1998-2001.
  • Business Manager of Cardiac Services, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 1994-1997.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Certificate of Appreciation, City of Glen Eira, ‘In recognition of 30 years of voluntary service to the community’, 2018, Certificate of Appreciation, ‘for many hours of voluntary service’, 1997.

Peter Davis told J-Wire he was a young man when he joined the Theodor Herzl Social Club in the early 1980s.

He said that the Club has contributed to many Jewish causes including the Maccabi Access Program. This allows children and young adults with special needs to participate in sports they would not otherwise be able to access.

“The Club is a resource for many Jewish community organisations, not just Bridge.

“When I have seen something that needs to be done, I do it and I suppose the Award is the ultimate recognition of that.

“I look forward to doing more in the future” he said.


Mark GINSBURG, Lindfield NSW 2070

Mark Ginsburg     Adrian Cook Photography.

For service to the Jewish community, and to music.


North Shore Temple Emanuel (NSTE)

  • Immediate Past President, 2018.
  • President, 2015-2018.
  • Acting General Manager, 2011-2014.
  • Board Member, 2010-2018.


  • Saxophonist.
  • Member, The Mark Ginsburg Band, since 2008.


Mark Ginsburg said: “I am a bit overwhelmed. I would have never dreamed that I would be nominated for such an award. I have put a lot of time and effort into m community and I have done so without any expectations and I think there are so many others who do wonderful things. Music is embedded in my life. Much of what I do within my community has musical aspects. I sing in the choir and give our rabbi guitar lessons. My wife is president of Jewish Arts and I work with her on her projects.”


Ellen Greenfield

For service to the fashion and textiles industries, and to the community.


  • Founder and Managing Director, E & M Greenfield, since 1952.


  • Supporter, Girls Town Jerusalem, 1971-1996.
  • Supporter, Jewish Communal Appeal, since 1967.
  • Supporter, Moriah College, since 1950s.

Ellen Greenfield told J-Wire: “I was so surprised to receive this acknowledgment. I didn’t expect anything like this. All my life I worked, but that has been my pleasure. I have sold buttons since I was 12. That is how I met my husband and we started a fashion wholesale business in Budapest after the war. We began again in Australia in 1952.

From 1970 I travelled twice a year to America, Paris, Italy and Germany to see the fashion. When I came back I invited designers to come and see new ideas. You work so you can give to your family and whoever else that needs. I feel very lucky to be in Australia.”



Irma Hanner

For service to the community, particularly through the Jewish Holocaust Centre.

Jewish Holocaust Centre

  • Volunteer Museum Guide, since 1995.
  • Speaker, The Holocaust: Survivors and Witnesses exhibition, Australian War Memorial, 2016.

Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library

  • Volunteer.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Community Recognition Award, Jewish Community Council of Victoria, 2013.
  • Volunteer Recognition Award, Jewish Holocaust Centre, category – 20 years special service, 2019.
  • Volunteer Award, Glen Eira City Council, 2006.

Irma Hanner commented: “It is unbelievable, I can’t believe it. I have been a museum guide, and have worked at the Jewish Holocaust Museum for over 25 years. I have taught children and schools about the Holocaust for years. I was invited to speak at the War Memorial in Canberra, I was the only speaker and it was one of my highlights. To speak about the Holocaust, has become my most important task. It has to be taught by people, and in schools everywhere.”

Of the 250 children from her Jewish school in Dresden, Irma was one of just six who survived the Holocaust.

She was nine when the Gestapo took her mother to Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp. And as Germany’s persecution of its Jewish citizens escalated, 12-year-old Irma was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp.

David HELFGOTT, Gleniffer NSW 2454

David Helfgott

For service to the performing arts as a concert pianist.



  • Concert Pianist.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Australian Walk of Fame, 2006.
  • Honorary Doctorate of Music, Edith Cowan University, 2004.

His wife Gillian wants to surprise him with the news, as he is “without doubt the friendliest person you will ever meet. As everyone is aware, David has been through many challenges and he has fought them and come through them one after the other. Music has been his soulmate, his passion, and this award will be wonderful news for him. Music has filled his whole being. He feels so blessed that music has always been his passion, and his life’s journey has been being able to pursue it and enjoy it so much. We have had an incredible life together, he has played in 34 different countries, and the world has just opened up to us. We have had a very fulfilling, challenging, and happy life. We live in a valley with a beautiful garden and we are extremely content. He brings so much joy to people with his music. His music and is nature is very heart-warming and he is so friendly and loves to talk to everyone he meets.”

Elizabeth JAMES, Armadale VIC 3143

Liz James

For service to the Jewish community of Victoria.

Australian Jewish Historical Society (Victoria)

  • Committee Member and Research Officer, current.
  • Honorary Secretary, 2006-2017.
  • Involved with the creation of a joint website for the NSW Branch, 2017-2018.

Australian Jewish Genealogy Society (Victoria)

  • Committee Member, current.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria

  • Involved with the ‘One Voice’ annual Festival in Melbourne.
  • Assisted students with ‘Roots Projects’.
  • Accredited Volunteer, JewishGen (international digital resource for Jewish genealogy), current.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Honorary Life Member, Australian Jewish Genealogical Society, 2017.
  • Award for Community Leadership, Jewish Community Council of Victoria, 2006.

Genealogy and family history are something Elizabeth James is passionate about.

Assisting members of the Jewish community to discover the history of their forebears is a way of ensuring that “we don’t forget”.

“The biggest mitzvah I can do is to help people find their ancestors or even the original version of their family name. Reconnecting family members around the world is another way of helping someone find their past” she told J-Wire.

She looks forward to the time Melbourne’s hugely popular annual One Voice Festival can be held again, an opportunity for members of the Jewish community to gather together

Ellis JANKS, Coogee NSW 2034

Ellis Janks

For service to people with a disability through exercise.


Achilles Running Club Sydney   www.achillesaustralia.org.au

  • Co-founder and President, since the late 1990s.

Ellis Janks said: “I am part of an organisation and feel that the focus should be on behalf of our Achilles team. I don’t work alone, so I would like to accept the award on behalf of all of us. I have seen people’s lives change dramatically, both the volunteers and people with disabilities who participate. It is wonderful to see how everyone benefits, forming friendships, doing something worthwhile and getting exercise. I have benefitted as much as anyone else has benefitted. Volunteering has been very satisfying for me.

I have watched people form friendships and watched how they have grown extraordinarily by taking part in all of this. For people with disabilities who often face barriers, or are sometimes isolated, we have been able to break down barriers and enable anyone to enjoy exercising. We have built a community of friendships, support, and exercise. It is a very worth-while organisation.”

Geoffrey Jochelson

Geoffrey JOCHELSON, Kensington NSW 2033

For service to the building and construction industry, particularly security of payment.


Building and Construction Industry

  • Advocate for Subcontractor Rights.
  • Instigator of Security of Payment Laws in New South Wales.
  • Consultant Stakeholder, Australian Government Review of Security of Payment Laws.
  • Consultant / Past President, Adjudicators Forum.

National Electrical And Communications Association (NSW)

  • Business and Commercial Manager, 1990-2007.


  • Owner, Selective Metalizing Pty Ltd, 1984-1990.
  • Owner, Penman & Jochelson Pty Ltd, Electrical Contractors, 1952-1978.

Electrical Contractors Association (South Africa)

  • National President, 1968-1970.

Awards and recognition includes:

  • Excellence Award, ‘For outstanding service to NECA and commitment to the advancement of legislation relating to Security of Payment Laws’, National Electrical and Communications Association, 2018.
  • Life Member, Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa, 1975.

Geoffrey Jochelson’s future in the construction industry was mapped out for him when he was nine years old in South Africa.  He was there when a builder underpaid his father who immediately get an overdraft to pay his subcontractors.

The effect that had on his parent’s business eventually led to Geoffrey becoming an advocate for subcontractors.

He has worked with government departments and building industry associations for decades in his efforts to help to have deemed trusts set up to protect subcontractors’ rights.

“I would like to see all state governments pass legislation to set up deemed trusts as a guarantee that subcontractors get paid by builders.

“It has been my life’s work.

“It has been important for me to give back to Australia and I am very honoured and excited to be recognised” he said.




Larry Kornhauser

For service to eye health research, and to people with keratoconus.

Keratoconus Australia Inc

  • President, since 2000.
  • Founding Member, since 1999.

Save Sight Institute, The University of Sydney

  • Member, Stakeholder Committee, Keratoconus Registry, since 2014.
  • Benefactor.


  • Guest Lecturer, Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, 2004-2010.
  • Benefactor and supporter of a range of organisations, including Vision2020 Australia, and the Centre for Eye Research Australia.

Larry Kornhauser believes strongly in the important work of Keratoconus Australia.
He became its president 20 years ago and wants to raise awareness of an eye disease that affects mainly young people.

“I got the disease at 12 and had a corneal implant at 18. It is a difficult disease and affects children and their families very deeply. With the use of hard contact lenses, vision can mostly be restored.
Australia is a world leader in the field and researchers are doing great work. The joy of working to help other people with the disease is why I got involved” he said.



Dr Henry Ronald LEW, Caulfield North VIC 3161

Harry Lew

For service to ophthalmology, and to the Jewish community.



  • Visiting Senior Surgeon, Repatriation General Hospital, Austin Health, 1979-2007.
  • Visiting Surgeon, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 1980-1984.
  • Senior Registrar in Ophthalmology, Leeds General Infirmary, United Kingdom, 1978-1979.

Professional Associations

  • Fellow, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.
  • Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.


  • Volunteer Guide, Melbourne Holocaust Museum, Jewish Holocaust Centre, current.


  • Patterson of Israel, Hybrid Publishers, 2020.
  • Imaging the World, Hybrid Publishers, 2018.
  • Smitten by Catherine, Hybrid Publishers, 2016.
  • Lion Hearts: A Family Saga of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Hybrid Publishers, 2012.
  • The Five Walking Sticks; the story of Maurice Brodzky investigative journalist extraordinaire, AMCL Publications, 2000.
  • In Search of Derwent Lees, self-published, 1996.
  • Horace Brodzky, self-published, 1987.


  • The Stories Our Parents Found Too Painful to Tell, with Refa’el Rayzner, AMCL Publications, 2008.

Harry Lew said: “I think this is amazing, I feel humbled. I feel as I have just won this award for being myself. When I returned from England in the 70s, I received patients from Montefiore homes and suggested that they form an eye clinic. I worked there once a month for over 16 years, and it was very rewarding. I always wanted to learn about and do everything. I enjoyed my work with patients in repatriation. By working in repat I had the opportunity to do everything. I have had a very interesting career, I came to learn that they all have PTSD. They turned out to be the gentlest, kindest patients I have had in my life. Their stories reminded me of my parents and their Holocaust experiences. I found out that the patients did not speak about what happened to them during the war. For over 27 years I worked with amazing people with amazing correlations.

As a child born soon after the Holocaust, my parents, and all their friends were or knew of survivors. So I became a volunteer guide for the Melbourne Holocaust Museum, I went there on Sundays, to speak to adults about the Holocaust. I feel very humbled and grateful for this award.”


Max Machlin

For service to the community of Perth through a range of roles.


The Royal Perth Hospital

  • Transport Driver, Voluntary Transport Association, since 1988.

Jewishcare WA

  • Treasurer, current. Board Member, since 2009.
  • Chair, Rae Lenny Shalom House Sub-committee, current.
  • Instrumental in the establishment of a Men’s Shed, 2017.

Perth Hebrew Congregation

  • Board Member, 1982-1993.
  • Grounds Manager, 11 years.
  • Secretary, 1992, 1990 and 1983-1986.

Awards and recognition includes:

  • Long Service Award, Royal Perth Hospital, 2019, 2009 and 1999.

For Max Machlin there is great satisfaction in helping others.

“If there was a need, I was happy to do it” he said. Receiving notice of his nomination was unexpected.

“I thought it was a hoax at first. I am really flattered. It is an honour to receive it” he said.

He has been volunteering for so long he remembers when the cars he drove to transport people to hospital and doctor’s appointments had bucket seats in the front.

“We could fit 5 passengers on one trip back then. Now, with Covid-19, we can only take one person at a time.”from


Amanda MANDIE, Toorak VIC 3142

Mandy Mandie

For service to the community through charitable organisations.


The Snowdome Foundation

  • Committee Member, Great Shake Up, since 2009.
  • Committee Member, Communications, since 2009.

Koala Kids Foundation

  • Program Director and Founder, 2005.

Community Other

  • Committee Member, Dance Attack on Breast Cancer, since 2012.
  • Founding Member, Ross Dennerstein Foundation, since 2016.

Despite the difficulties of lockdown during 2020, Mandy Mandie enlisted the help of her husband and two children to send out 2,500 consignments of ‘happy boxes’ from her garage for the Koala Kids Foundation.  The boxes were full of toys and games.

Becoming a WIZO Queen in her teens, got her involved in philanthropy and she has not stopped since.

She continues to use her extensive experience in the philanthropic sector along with journalism and marketing skills. In addition to founding and operating Koala Kids Foundation, she was also involved in the early years of Snowdome and Ross Dennerstein Foundations.

She commented: “Being given this award is a recognition of work done by me and a lot of other people.

I have been blessed but there are a lot of people in the community who have lost children to cancer. It is a joy to see what we have achieved.

Our purpose at Koala Kids is to provide some happy memories for children undergoing cancer treatment and their families.”

Steven Allen OSTROW, Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011

Steve Ostrow

For service to the LGBTIQ community, and to the performing arts.


ACON (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW)

  • Education Officer, 18 years.

Mature Age Gays (a program of ACON , originally a pilot project of Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations)

  • Patron, since 1998.
  • Founder and President, 1991-1997.
  • Past Project Officer and ACON Liaison Officer.

The Albion Centre, NSW Health South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

  • Group Leader, Ankali Project, 1987-1990.


  • Director, and Vocal coach, Sydney Academy of Vocal Arts, prior to c2002.
  • Opera singer for various companies, Including the New York City Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Stuttgart Opera, the Lyric Opera of Queensland and the Australian Opera.
  • Former entrepreneur, and entertainment venue consultant.

The Continental Baths – New York, USA

  • Owner and Director, 1968-1976.
  • Influential in having homosexuality being declared legal in New York City.


  • Self/subject, Continental (Documentary), 2013.
  • Actor – Baron Chifley, Death in the Garden (Short), 2009.
  • Actor – Vanderworth Relative (as Stephen Ostrow), Superman Returns, 2006.
  • Actor – Neighbour, Murder Call (TV Series), 2000.
  • Actor – Gun Man, Book of Dreams: ‘Welcome to Crateland’ (Short), 1994.
  • Voice on Radio (as Stephen Ostrow), A Country Practice (TV Series), Voice on Radio – Where the Wild Things Are: Part 2, and Where the Wild Things Are: Part 1, 1992.
  • Producer, Saturday Night at the Baths, 1975.

Author of eleven of books, including:

  • Musings On A Life: Mine,1999, Saturday Night at the Baths, Books 1 and 2,2007, On Becoming A Singer – A Guide To How,2010, The Ring,2009, The Other Side of 50,2009, The God Clinic, How to lose weight, get rich and feel good, all in one easy visit,2010, Live at the Continental: The Inside Story of the World-Famous Continental Baths, 2007, Live at the Continental: Book One: Bette, Buns and Balls, 2000.

“I am 90years old and getting the Award feels good right now,” said Steve Ostrow.

His involvement with ACON (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW) and setting up MAG (Mature Age Gays) is something of which he is proud.

Steve describes MAG as “a peer support, social and educational group targeting mature age men forty and up who have sex with men, regardless of how they choose to identify themselves.”

“When people ask me about myself,  I say that I am not gay, I am not straight, I am not bi.

I am sexual” he told J-Wire.

Lea PORTRATE, Edgecliff NSW 2027

Lea Portrate

For service to the Jewish community of Sydney.

Jewish Community

  • Foundation Life Governor and Volunteer, Montefiore Homes (Hunters Hill and Randwick), since 1983.
  • Volunteer, Burger Centre (wellbeing day centre for senior citizens), 30 years.
  • Volunteer and Donor, JewishCare NSW, current.
  • Volunteer, The Great Synagogue Sydney, 20 years.
  • Former Fundraiser, WIZO.

Lea Portrate said she was offered a “gong” several ago but refused.

However, she decided to accept this time around.

“I love doing what I do in the volunteering world. I am embarrassed as I am a very private person” she told J-Wire.

She says she has enjoyed every moment of all the things she has done. “It is rewarding,” she said.

Dr Hilary Louise RUBINSTEIN, Glen Huntly VIC 3163

Dr Hilary Rubinstein

For service to community history through a range of roles.

Australian Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) Victoria Inc

  • Co-Editor, AJHS Journal (Victoria edition), since 2003.
  • Committee Member, 1981-1995.
  • Honorary Life Member, since circa 2000.
  • Member, since 1981.

Australian Association for Jewish Studies

  • Past Member, Editorial Board and Organising Committees.
  • Inaugural Newsletter Editor, for 2 years.
  • Founding Member, since 1987.

Navy Records Society (UK)

  • Councillor, 2007-2010.
  • Former Newsletter Editor.
  • Author, ‘The Papers of Admiral Sir Philip Durham (1763-1845)’, 2019.

Publications include:

  • Author, ‘Catastrophe at Spithead’, Seaforth Publishing, 2020.
  • Author, ‘Nelson’s Band of Brothers: Their Lives and Memorials’, Seaforth Publishing, 2015.
  • Author, ‘Trafalgar Captain: Durham of the Defiance’, Tempus Publishing, 2005.
  • Co-Author, ‘The Jews in the Modern World’, Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Co-Author, ‘The Jews in Australia: A Thematic History’, two volumes, William Heinemann Publishing, 1991.
  • Author, ‘Chosen: The Jews in Australia’, Allen and Unwin, 1987.
  • Author, ‘The Jews in Victoria, 1835-1985’, Unwin Hyman, 1986.


  • Adjunct Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, since 2013.
  • Fellow, Royal Historical Society (UK), since 1990.

Hilary Rubinstein told J-Wire: “I am happy to have received this award. I and we have been doing this a long time, and it is fantastic to have recognition for our historical society and for the work that we do. I have always been interested in history, my father gave me a history book to read when I was a child, and I have been hooked ever since. I worked as a librarian in England, moved to Australia in my 30s, and have studied, written about, and researched history for many years.”

Megan Ruth RYNDERMAN, Toorak VIC 3142

Meg Rynderman

For service to people living with cancer, and to the community.

Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

  • Member, Cancer Survivorship Advisory Committee, current.
  • Member, Careplan Project Steering Committee, current.
  • Lead, Survivors Stories Project, ongoing.
  • Inaugural Coordinator, Wellbeing Centre, 2016-2017.
  • Consumer Advocate/Representative, since 2009.

Cancer Council Victoria

  • Member, Cancer Connect Peer Support Program, since 2007.
  • Former Member, Optimal Care Pathways Project, Governance Committee.

Committee and advisory roles

  • Member, Survivorship Conference Steering Committee, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, current.
  • Member, Judging Panel, Minister for Health Volunteer Awards, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, current.
  • Involved in the development of the ‘WeCan’ cancer supportive care resource website, Cancer Nursing Research Group, University of Melbourne.

Bialik College, Melbourne

  • Honorary Governor, School Council, 2011-2015.
  • Senior Council Member, 1989-2010.
  • Council Member and Volunteer, 1985-1989.
  • Honorary Secretary, 1996-2010.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Community Contribution Award, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 2014.
  • Minister for Health Volunteer Award, Outstanding Individual Achievement, Victorian Department of Health, 2014.

Megan Rynderman feels privileged that, as a fifth-generation Australian woman, she grew up in a family where helping others by volunteering was just something that was done.

“My parents were good role models in making a long-term commitment to volunteering to help others,” she said.

As a cancer survivor for many years, her involvement with Cancer Council Victoria and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre grew out of a desire to improve systems for helping cancer patients cope with surviving.

From giving a single speech to becoming a consumer advocate addressing conferences and seminars, she now interviews other cancer survivors about their experiences. Some of these interviews will be included in a medical journal as part of a larger survey.

“I took up volunteering out of an internal sense of duty and a desire to make a change.

“If I can make a difference, then I am doing what I set out to do,” she said.

Neil Howard SAMUEL, Malvern VIC 3144

Neil Samuel

For service to people living with dementia, and to the community.

Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer’s Australia)

  • Board Member, 2007-2019.
  • Vice President, 2007-2013.
  • Committee Member, Finance Audit and Risk Management, since 2014.
  • Chair, Information Communication and Technology Committee, 2014-2018.
  • Chair, Dementia Australia Victorian Advisory Council 2017-2019.

Dementia Australia Research Foundation(formerly Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation)

  • Board Member, since 2014.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic.

  • Chair, 2014-2017.
  • Board Member, 2003-2017.
  • Vice President, 2012 – 2014.
  • Honorary Secretary, 2004 – 2012.

Dementia Australia Research Foundation (Victoria)

  • Board Member, since 2012.

Deakin University

  • Guest Lecturer, 2004-2016.

Temple Beth Israel Progressive Jewish Congregation

  • Board Member, 1976-1996.
  • Honorary Secretary, 1982-1986.
  • Honorary Treasurer, 1986-1994.
  • Chair Rabbinic Search Committee, 1996 – 1997.

Victorian Union for Progressive Judaism

  • Board Member, 1984 -1994.
  • Honorary Treasurer, 1986 – 1994.
  • Chair Youth Council, 1974 – 1978.

Union for Progressive Judaism

  • Board Member, 2004 – 2012.
  • Vice President, 2008 – 2012.
  • Honorary Treasurer, 2004-2008.

“It has been an absolute delight to work with the people at Dementia Australia,” said Neil Samuel.

“I spare a thought each day for the estimated half a million Australians currently living with dementia and almost 1.6 million people involved in their care.

“Having been given the opportunity to work with fellow volunteer Board members, National CEO Maree McCabe and her staff of diligent and dedicated individuals is very fulfilling.

“I admire the thousands of volunteers who so generously provide their time and expertise to those living with dementia and applaud the researchers who are working conscientiously to discover the cure.

“I am very proud of my three older brothers, who have all been acknowledged by the Governor General for their significant voluntary contribution to the community. We have all followed the example set by our late parents – Ralph, awarded an MBE in 1980, and Shirley Samuel, who died from dementia.

“I am extremely grateful to my wife, Marion, our children Michelle and David for their unwavering support and encouragement and relatives and so many dear friends, many who have been acknowledged for their voluntary work in the community” he said.

The National Dementia Helpline can be contacted on 1800 100 500 from Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm (excluding public holidays). This is a free service to support and provide information to people impacted by dementia. www.dementia.org.au

Renata SINGER, St Kilda VIC 3182

Renata Singer

For service to the community through cultural, Jewish and women’s organisations.

Jewish Community

  • President, Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library, since 2015.
  • Founding Committee Member, Yiddish Australia, and Member until 2020.
  • Co-Chair, In One Voice Festival, 2015-2018.
  • Committee Member, Melbourne Jewish Book Week, current.

The Women’s Alliance (US)

  • Secretary, 2010-2015.

The Women’s Alliance (Australia)

  • Co-Founder, Fitted for Work, Melbourne 2005. Board Member 2005 – 2013


  • Chair, Oxfam New York (2000 – 2010).
  • Leadership Council Member, Oxfam America.
  • Former Publications Manager, Community Aid Abroad (now Oxfam Australia).


  • Former Equal Opportunity Officer, Monash University.
  • Former Senior Member, Workcare Appeals Board.
  • Former Program Committee Member, Melbourne Writers’ Festival.


  • Older and Bolder (a guide to living for women after 60), Melbourne University Press, 2015.
  • The Front of the Family, a Tale of Two Sisters, 2001.
  • The Moral of the Story: Ethics Through Literature, 2001.
  • True Stories from the Land of Divorce, 1995.

·       Goodbye and Hello, 1985.

According to Renata Singer, one good thing to have come out of COVID-19 is the upsurge of interest in Yiddish.

“Online Yiddish classes through Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre have boomed in the past year. A wave of young people has taken up the language,” she told J-Wire.

She feels she was given her honour for things she likes doing.

“It has been fantastic fun and I am touched that people thought I was worthy,” she said.

Fitted for Work, a not-for-profit initiative she co-founded with Marion Webster, is something of which she is particularly proud. Seeing that idea bloom and spread around Australia gives her much satisfaction.
“Giving confidence, clothing and life skills to women is a great thing,” she said

Avi SUSSKIND, Caulfield North VIC 3161

Avi Susskind

For service to the Jewish community of Melbourne.


  • Volunteer Paramedic, Chevra Hatzolah Melbourne (Jewish Ambulance Service), since 1998.
  • Volunteer, Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society).
  • Volunteer First Aid Officer, Chadbad Youth Camps.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Caulfield Volunteer Award, 2019.
  • Ross and Esther Esterman Award for services to Hatzolah, 2014.

Avi Susskind stated: “I feel very excited about receiving this award. I go wherever I feel that I can help, and wherever people can accept my help. I have done this all because of my father, who was a Holocaust survivor. From a young age he instilled in me to be involved with the community, and encouraged giving and helping other people.”



If we have made omissions, please email us the details at awards@jwire.com.au

Report prepared by Roz Tarszisz, Elana Bowman and Henry Benjamin


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