A tribute to Danny Lamm

November 18, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Dr Ron Weiser has paid tribute to fellow dentist Dr Danny Lamm who recently retired from the presidency of the Zionist Federation of Australia saying Danny will continue to be such an integral part of Jewish life both here in Australia and overseas.

Dr Danny Lamm

At a cocktail to mark Danny Lamm’s retirement after four years leading the ZFA, Ron Weiser said: “It means that his passion, dedication to cause and energy has meant that he is everywhere and anywhere and so we do not really know what his absence means.

There are a number of unique aspects of Danny’s character.

He has a strange and very rare combination of brashness, forthrightness.

And an argumentative nature on the one hand – but then with large degrees of charm thrown over the lot – and a winning smile.

Counterintuitively – or perhaps not – he has a special talent to be able to speak with all sorts of people at all levels and in all spheres.

Danny is an artful politician but in the best meaning of that word.

You always know where you stand with him.

And more importantly, speaking personally, I believe his greatest attribute is that he is not merely a talker – but a real doer.

Many people occupy different communal positions – and I have been around in communal life myself for nearly 50 years – but very very few people I have seen, actually do things. Most people keep the seat warm – but really, only a few, get things done.

In a communal life so rich in service and achievements, I would like only to touch on just some areas – and yes – this will mean many omissions.

It is important for the community to have leaders and opinion makers who work both inside and outside of the community.

Danny is equally at ease whether davening in shul or walking the corridors of both State and Federal parliaments.

Or even holding a politician to his word, whilst in his dental chair…..

Not only is this helpful in terms of politics and policy, but also as you can see with Bet Weizman for example, it also pays off in terms of millions of dollars for the community.

As a fundraiser – Danny is effective precisely because people know their money will be used for good purpose and with maximum effect.

Danny – and in fact the whole Lamm family – have been instrumental in making the Mizrachi Synagogue and Centre here in Melbourne – one of the most remarkable in the Jewish world.

Again, we take things for granted because we simply do not see what is going on elsewhere in the world.

These things cannot happen without leadership and vision – two traits that Danny demonstrates in spades.

The Zionist Federation was formed in 1927 by Sir John Monash and Rabbi Israel Brody – perhaps it has occurred in the past, but if so I am unaware of it – but before becoming the President of the ZFA – Danny was the President of the ECAJ – the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

To successively hold the leadership position of each of the 2 roof bodies of Australian Jewry – is the living proof of the qualities I have outlined so far.

To lead both the ZFA and the ECAJ – one a movement and one an organisation – with very different roles and requiring very different skill sets – speaks volumes about Danny’s abilities.

Danny sits on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency – the Sochnut – only one of four people from Australia to do so.

The Sochnut is in some ways far removed from the consciousness of Australian Jewry – yes everyone knows it’s there – but no-one here really knows what it is.

Well, it was the forerunner of the State of Israel.

And today is the second largest Jewish body in the world – after the State of Israel herself.

The Sochnut in its contemporary form is the nerve centre of the connection between Israel and the Jewish world and it is the vehicle by which most, if not all of the activities that we are so familiar with – take place.

Israel experiences, youth movements, education, shlichim etc etc.

The Sochnut operates via just a handful of committees – 4 or 5 key ones.

Think about this – with somewhere north of 150 members of the Board of Governors of the Sochnut – and with the relative size of Australian Jewry being small of course – never the less Danny has risen to head one of the most important of these few committees – and not just any one – but aliyah – the core mission of the Jewish Agency and the State of Israel – the ideal of kibbutz galuyot.

What heading such a committee for world Jewry says about Danny’s skills – and what prestige it reflects on the world scene for our own community – is something that is perhaps not fully understood here in Australia.

We are here to pay tribute and say thank you for a magnificent four years just concluded – both for the ZFA and Australian Jewry – by Danny as President of the Zionist Federation of Australia.

The presidency of this organisation is a tough job. It requires a daily hands-on approach and crosses over so much territory that I do not think people can really appreciate – unless one is at the ZFA’s nerve centre.

Now, of course, the ZFA requires – and has – a tremendous professional team – but the driving force in the organisation is the President – and from here – in the main – comes the leadership and the vision –two traits I have already associated with Danny earlier on.

These aspects of his character that Danny brings to his many areas of involvement were dully recognised when he received his AM from the Australian government.

Danny has indeed been an activist President of the ZFA in all areas and he is like the Eveready bunny – travelling all over Australia – to Perth, Brisbane – and yes, even Sydney – and as well of course, to Israel – wherever he was needed, ensuring that wherever the ZFA had activities, he was there.

None of this would have been possible had he not had a very supportive family behind him.

I have seen many leaders of our community for whom their position has been the sole fulfilment of the Jewish aspects of their lives.

But for Danny, his drive has arisen from his family life and values.

He is a part of a strong and accomplished and close family – who live and breathe Judaism and Zionism.

Without the love and encouragement of Rolene – who by the way is the only person I know who can reign Danny in when the occasion demands – and the same support he receives from the rest of his family – the last 4 years would have been impossible.

So as we thank Danny – we in turn also give our thanks to his family.

This is not retirement for Danny, merely the end of another chapter in the life of an outstanding Australian Jewish leader.

Our community is indeed privileged to have you – and tonight – in particular, we thank you for the remarkable role you have played as President of the Zionist Federation.”

Jeremy Leibler has succeeded Dr Danny Lamm as president of the ZFA.

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