Josie Lacey receives the inaugural President’s Award

November 20, 2019 by Henry Benjamin
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The inaugural The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies President’s Award has been awarded to community stalwart Josie Lacey.

Lesli Berger and Josie Lacey

The ceremony coincided with the first anniversary of the death of former NSWJBD president Jeremy Spinak and it was presented to Josie Lacey by current president Lesli Berger in Jeremy’s name.

Keynote speaker Professor Chris Goodnow spoke of the joint program between the Garvin Institute and Israel Weizmann Institute. He spoke of the advancements in immunology and the involvement of DNA. He mentioned the research in Krone’s Disease from which Jeremy Spinak had suffered.

Jeremy Spinak Young Leaders Program graduates Lara Czysnok and Michaela Levine also addressed the plenum.

President Lesli Berger said that Josie Lacey has been a leader and visionary in interfaith relations and anti-racism work in Australia. He numbered her work in The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, WIZO, The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, The Ethnic Council of NSW, the Partnership of ethnic and Religious Organisations, The World Conference of Religions for Peace. He said: “One of the major I can mention is her work and her husband’s work in persuading the NSW Government to create the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act.”

Josie told the plenum that during her work in interfaith and antisemitism she had been thrown out by members of the racist group League of the Rights saying “it took a lot of courage to do our work in country towns when fighting the evils of the extreme right”.

Jason Spinak

She publicly thanked the current Shadow Treasurer in the NSW  Parliament Walt Secord. She recalled the time when he was a journalist in the Australian Jewish News. She met him at theEthnic Communities Council. She said: “I was the Chair of the Anti-Racist sub-committee. He said I reminded him if his mother. So I invited to our home for Shabbat dinner. He has been coming now for 30 years.”

She said that they formed a bond which is still current and Walt Secord is a frequent visitor to her Shabbat table and a guest at the major Jewish festivals.

The ethnic group she formed embraces nine different religions and meets every month at Parliament House. “All that help cames from Walt.”

earlier. Jeremy Spinak’s brother Jason said: “A year has passed since Jeremy’s death. Not more than a few hours go by every day without I,  Rhiannon, my mother, my father and my sister do miss him and mourn him.  I feel like I had coffee with him this morning.”

He added: “Just over a year ago, Jeremy stood here and asked that you not forget him….and you have not.”

Professor Chris Goodnow, Rhiannon Spinak, Lesli Berger, Jill Segal and Vic Alhadeff


Rhiannon, Jeremy hold their twins Grace and Michael

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