Governor Visits the Great

November 16, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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The Governor of New South Wales, Professor Marie Bashir, joined the Great Synagogue’s Women’s Auxiliary in celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Governor Marie Bashir enjoys a chat with Nina Glasser pic: Henry Benjamin

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence guides Governor Bashir through the Great

Another special guest was 86-year-old Nina Glasser who served on the first Women’s Auxiliary when it was founded in 1941.

Synagogue president Michael Gold told J-Wire: “In actual fact, there has been a women’s presence in the Great since it was founded in 1878, but membership was restricted to wives of Board members and the Chief Minister. Bertha Porush, wife of the distinguished Rabbi Israel Porush, changed all of this in 1941 when she opened up the new auxiliary to all members.”

Governor Bashir told the guests at this morning’s function that when she came down to Sydney from the family home in Narrandera  for her education, she lived with grandmother and aunt in preference to boarding. She said: “I was embraced by the Jewish community at Sydney Girls’ High School and spent every weekend with my new friends in the Eastern Suburbs.” But this was to come to a stop when her aunt and grandmother fearing too much social activity would interfere with schooling told her she could not meet up with her new friends on the weekend. She said: “When I told my friends that I could not see them they asked me if my family was anti-Semitic. I had never heard this word before so I told them I would find out. My grandmother and were horrified at the question and told me as long as I had completed my homework by Friday night, I was allowed to meet with my new and Jewish friends.”

The Governor remarked on the contribution the Jewish community has made to Australia referring not to business activities but in the way they helped developed cultural activities in the country including the full gamut of the Arts.

She said her name “Bashir” meant “the messenger who brings good news”.

The current President of the Women’s Auxiliary, Marilyn Jackson, told J-Wire that this morning’s event had been one of the highlights of her time at the helm of the organisation. She will stand down in June next years after ten years as president.

The keynote speaker was NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff.

He spoke on racism and leadership, and how they intersect.



2 Responses to “Governor Visits the Great”
  1. Maxim Andres says:

    Wow, great article.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  2. Rita says:

    “…they asked me if my family was anti-Semitic. I have never heard this word before so I told them I would find out….

    Hehehe 😀 how cute! No wonder Governor Marie Bashir is popular, she just won me over also!

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