B’nai Brith and JNF Youth and Young Adult Jewish Changemaker Award

August 4, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The annual  B’nai Brith and JNF Youth and Young Adult Jewish Changemaker Award  at Sydney’s Emanuel School.


Over 200 people attended the yearly event that acknowledges the outstanding youth and young adults we have in our community for their selfless contribution to Australian Society, the Jewish Community and the State of Israel.

B’nai Brith & JNF are delighted to announce this year’s winners. In the youth section, Jacob Riesel (NSW) was the recipient for Contribution to Australian Society; Eli Grauman (NSW) the recipient of the JNF Award for Contribution to the Jewish Community and Ezra Joel (VIC) won the award for Contribution to the State of Israel.

The judges

Some of the judges: Ernie Friedlander, David Knoll, Orna Triguboff, Etty Ayalon and Anna Marks

In the young adult section, Nicole Meckler (NSW) won the award for Contribution to Australian Society, Sharon Melecki (VIC) won the JNF Award for Contribution to the Jewish Community and there were two joint award winners, Jessica Newman (NSW) and Michael Fisher (VIC) were joint recipients of the JNF Award for their contribution to the Jewish Community and Nathan Holloway (NSW) and Sophie Levy (NSW) were joint recipients of the B’nai Brith Award for Leadership.

The awards were presented by Ernie Friedlander, Vice President of the B’nai Brith Alfred Dreyfus Unit, Peter Smaller, National President of JNF Australia and Dan Springer, CEO of JNF Australia.

Ernie Friedland with

Ernie Friedland with prizewinners Sophie Levy and Nathan Holloway

Alex Ryvchin, ECAJ Director of Public Affairs MC’d the ceremony, with opening addresses by Ernie Friedlander and Dan Springer. Alex acknowledged the importance of longstanding organisations like the Bnai Brith and JNF, which serve as “pillars within our community”.

Dan commented how special it was to meet with so many talented and committed individuals who are beginning their leadership journey. In his address, he cited the example of Moses, who was able to lead his people and change the world because of his extreme humility, never allowing ego to cloud his vision.

Dan expressed to all the nominees the hope that “you  maintain your passion, stay grounded like Moshe, remain connected with those walk alongside you and follow you, never forget why you got involved in the first place and continue to achieve positive change – that is tikkun olam – for our community, for Israel and the wider society.”

Ernie added that “it was a wonderful and uplifting experience to meet the nominees.  Reading their contribution was terrific, but getting to know them personally was just special. They were modest about their deeds, keen to continue and found a lot of joy in speaking to the other nominees. We are truly fortunate to have such dedicated young people in our midst. It was also a pleasure to work again with the JNF team.” Ernie also wanted to acknowledge CSG and gave thanks to Jerome Abraham who headed the team from the Communal Security Group saying that they were most helpful.

This year’s judges were Lynda Ben Menashe, Rabbi Mendel Kastel, David Knoll, Orna Triguboff and Peter Wertheim.

Additional guest speakers were Melanie Shwartz, Chair of Stand Up, Joshua Koonin and Steven Ligoff.

This year all nominees went into a draw to win a ticket to Israel sponsored by JNF Australia. The prize was won by Rabbi Mordi Slavin from Our Big Kitchen.  The event itself was kindly sponsored by Meriton.

The ceremony was held at the Millie Phillips Theatre.

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