An award for George

April 10, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Association of Jewish Service & Ex-Service Men & Women (NAJEX) has conferred Honorary Membership on Sydney’s Masada College Senior History teacher George Charlton in recognition of his outstanding initiatives in educating students at Masada College about Australia’s military history and the sacrifices made by its soldiers.

Senior History Teacher, George Charlton, Chaplain Rabbi Yossi Friedman and School Principal, Wendy Barel

George Charlton is also the coordinator of the Masada College Centenary of Anzac Program. He said: “When I arrived at Masada College 2007 the commemoration of Australia’s principal days, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, had drifted into the background of college life.

As an ex-serviceman and with the full support of the College Principal, Mrs Wendy Barel, I set out to correct this. Full Anzac Day Commemorative Services were begun with invited guests and wreath laying ceremonies, and a briefer, Remembrance Day observance.”

Since then Masada students have been addressed by a variety of very distinguished guests, including Squadron Leader Deane Giles, RAN Commander Ashley Shanks, and RAAF Chaplain Rabbi Yossi Friedman.

For its Anzac Day commemoration this year, Mr Charlton has invited WO1 Thomas Law (late SAS Regimental Signals and 7 Signals Regiment) to deliver the Occasional Address.

Lt Col McGann and Federal MP, Mr Paul Fletcher, unveil the Masada College Anzac Memorial

In 2015, the year of the Centenary of Anzac, College Principal, Wendy Barel and George Charlton created an Anzac Memorial for the College and as part of this, a ‘Lone Pine’ was planted. It was a biological “descendant” of the actual Lone Pine at Gallipoli. Guest of Honour for the opening in August that year was Lt Col McGann, Commanding Officer of 2-17 Battalion, Royal NSW Regiment. His legacy battalion had led the charge at Lone Pine and the dedication date was set to honour this battalion’s fine efforts at Lone Pine. The memorial now forms the centrepiece of Masada College’s Remembrance Day ceremony and the ‘Lone Pine’ continues to grow.

In addition to the formal ceremonies, a regular column has appeared in the College Newsletter, the Shofar, highlighting events of the three wars that are being commemorated during the Centenary of Anzac, the First and Second World Wars and the Vietnam War.

A College First World War artefact collection has also been established and is now on display in the College Library. Amongst its many items are two menorahs made by soldiers of the First World War; a 1914 German menorah constructed of shell fragments and a 1917 British menorah made out of a spare tin. A recent addition is a World War 2 Jewish Prayer book belonging to the father of a College ‘family’. Mr Charlton hopes that others will contribute to the collection.

This month Mr Charlton will attend the 2018 Anzac Day Service at Villers-Bretonneux and will lay a wreath there on behalf of both NAJEX and Masada College.

Back home the Sydney Jewish community will commemorate Anzac Day at 9.30 am on Sunday 29th April at the Sydney Jewish Museum, with NAJEX Patron, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of New South Wales, giving the Occasional Address. There will also be a special tribute to Alexander Weingott and Samuel Weingott, two Jewish brothers from Annandale who both fell at Gallipoli.

NAJEX is proud of its continuing role of representing Jewish ex-servicemen and women, commemorating their memory and educating both Jews and non-Jews about their service and role in history. NAJEX membership is growing again due to the interest of family members, former National Servicemen and others and we welcome anyone interested in joining our ranks, especially Jews currently serving in the ADF.

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