Commemorative panels at Sydney University

June 18, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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A series of panels to be hung in the University of Sydney’s Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies in honour of its major benefactors has been inaugurated  by Her Excellency Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW.

Professor Suzanne Rutland presents Governor Dame Marie Bashir with a bouquet

Professor Suzanne Rutland presents Governor Dame Marie Bashir with a bouquet

A number of programs in the Department owe their existence to two major benefactor couples: the late Felicia ad Stefan Einhorn and the late Anne and Henry Roth. Both couples are Holocaust survivors who rebuilt their lives at the Edge of the Diaspora. Until now, there was no tangible acknowledgement of their generosity to the university. To fill this gap, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences decided to support the mounting panels, which will pay tribute to their life stories, as well as outlining the history of the department, including the contributions of the late Professor Emeritus Alan Crown. The panels have now been hung in the corridor of the department, in the Mungo MacCallum Building on the main campus of the University of Sydney.

The function was held at the Nicholson Museum, in the old Quadrangle at the university. The evening was chaired by Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and the University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, introduced Professor Bashir, who launched the panels, speaking warmly about the university, the Jewish experience and the two couples being honoured. Professor Suzanne Rutland, OAM, thanking the Governor for her agreeing to undertake the launch and for her meaningful words. She stressed:


“I have been very privileged to be given the opportunity to build the department on the wonderful foundations that the late Professor Emeritus Alan Crown established in the many years that he was Head of Department. Both my parents were born in Poland, and while they were fortunate enough to come to these lucky shores in January 1939, many of my family were not. All my four grandparents were murdered by Hitler. However, not only were 90% of Polish Jews murdered, most in the brief period from mid-1941 to April 1943, but also those rich centres of Jewish scholarship – of both the Yeshiva world, and the secular world – were also entirely wiped out: a culture that had flourished for centuries disappeared overnight. This is what has motivated me in working to build our Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the edge of the Diaspora, as a new centre of Jewish learning and scholarship, arising from the midst of the ashes of the Holocaust.”

Over one hundred guests attended the function, which really demonstrated the high regard in which the department is held in the university community and the importance that the university management attributes to the scholarship, which the department generates and the importance of maintaining the Hebrew language – both Biblical and Modern – and Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture.


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