Anzac Day: NAJEX commemorates with annual ceremony

April 23, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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At last Sunday’s annual communal Anzac Day ceremony organized by NAJEX, its Patron, the Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley presented meritorious service awards to two young Jewish volunteers with Rural Fire Service NSW for their exemplary and dangerous work in fighting the bushfires that ravaged large parts of NSW in the summer of 2019/2020.

Rabbi Dr Dovid Slavin, NAJEX president, Roger Selby, Governor Margaret Beazley, David Katzen and Noel Kessel

Representatives from all the Jewish day-schools were present to lay memorial tributes as part of the wreath laying ceremony, with students from Kesser Torah College also reciting the Ode of Remembrance, acapella singers from Mount Sinai College and trumpeter, Adam Sher from Moriah College sounding the Last Post and Reveille.

The RFS volunteers former Masada College student, Noel Kessel and former Mount Sinai and Moriah College student David Katzen received their NAJEX awards froth the Governor.

Governor Margaaret Beazley also presented a NAJEX award to Rabbi Dovid Slavin on behalf of Our Big Kitchen, which had made a huge logistical contribution to the fire fighting operations through its counter-disaster function.

As part of its strategy of ensuring that both NAJEX and Anzac Day remain relevant, NAJEX presented these awards to demonstrate that the Anzac spirit of physical courage and selflessness is still very much alive in our community.

The ceremony was attended by Dr Geoff Lee MP, representing the NSW Premier, Ron Hoenig MP, representing NSW Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek MP, Julian Leeser MP and several Waverley and Woollahra councillors, together with about 170 other guests, including senior staff of OBK and the Deputy Commissioner of RFS.

The Occasional Address was delivered by Dr Marjorie O’Neill MP, Member for Coogee, who spoke eloquently about the tragic impact that the death of her great uncle at the Battle of Pozieres in 1916 had had on her and on her family. Her moving personal description was effectively the story of the unfillable void left in thousands of Australian families when one of their members was killed in the course of the wars in which Australia has been involved.

The ceremony also included special prayers in memory of His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, including one elegant prayer composed by Rabbi Benjamin Elton of The Great Synagogue.

In his short address describing the role that OBK had played during the bushfires and the huge numbers of volunteers who had participated in this, Rabbi Slavin also mentioned the large numbers of students who volunteer at OBK as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

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