Labor candidate says Здравствуйте! to the Russian community

August 21, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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State Labor candidate for Heffron, Mr Ron Hoenig today addressed a gathering of Russian Jewish people about his background and how his late-parents re-built their lives in Australia after the Holocaust.

As part of his effort to strengthen links with the Russian Jewish community, Mr Hoenig met with about 50 members of the FREE (Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe) at their weekly gathering.

Rabbi Yoram Ulman, Ron Hoenig and Walt Secord

Mr Hoenig was accompanied by NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel Deputy chair and Upper House MP, Mr Walt Secord.

FREE’s spiritual leader Rabbi Yoram Ulman hosted the meeting and served as translator.

(There is a significant Russian community in the Heffron electorate with 1209 people identifying as of Russian ancestry.)

Earlier this month, Mr Hoenig and Mr Secord met with The Jewish House executive director Rabbi Mendel Kastel.

FREE is based in Bondi and has a centre catering primarily to the Russian-speaking Jewish community, including a synagogue, educational, cultural and welfare programs.

Mr Hoenig is the ALP candidate in the forthcoming by-election in the State seat of Heffron vacated by former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.  The by-election is this weekend. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has announced that the Liberals will not be fielding a candidate.

Ron Hoenig, Walt Secord and Rabbi Yoram Ulman with members of FREE

A  public defender for the State of NSW, Mr Hoenig was one of Australia’s longest serving local mayors. He has been Mayor of Botany Bay since 1981.

He is also a member of the Maroubra Synagogue and is the oldest child of the late Ernest and the late Edith Hoenig – who both migrated to Australia after World War II.  His mother, a Holocaust survivor was born in the former Czechoslovakia and his father was born in Austria.  Hoenig’s two sons attended Mount Sinai College (Primary) and Moriah College. He visited Israel last year with his wife.

If elected, Mr Hoenig will be the second Jewish member of the NSW Parliament. Mr Hoenig visited Israel a year ago and a few months ago. He also has pledged to join the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel organisation at State Parliament.

Mr Hoenig said he was delighted to see the valuable first hand of FREE and Rabbi Ulman. “It was exciting to see them and I hope to have a long association with the Russian Jewish community.”

Mr Secord said: “Mr Hoenig has a proven track record of delivering services – especially for older Australians. He is also a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish community.”

“He will be a great representative for Heffron and will put their concerns and needs to the State Government,” Mr Secord added.

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