Lesli Berger pays tribute to Jeremy Spinak

November 20, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Only a few months ago, Lesli Berger succeded the presidency of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies from Jeremy Spinak. Last night he delivered a eulogy at a memorial service for Jeremy who passed away last week at the age of 36.

Lesli Berger, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Jeremy Spinak

The premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian attended the service at the Emanuel Synagogue.

Lesli Berger said: “The Jewish community is heartbroken. I am heartbroken.

We have lost a great man and a great leader. For such a young man, Jeremy’s life was a life of dedication, achievement and purpose.

Jeremy served as President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies from 2014 until August of this year.
He restructured the Board of Deputies and recalibrated our approach to working with other communities. He helped make the community safer and helped spearhead the Keep NSW Safe coalition which led to new and effective laws that criminalised incitement to violence on the basis of race, religion and sexual orientation. He led our community’s support for marriage equality and ensured our community responded appropriately to child protection.
It is a testament to his life and the number of people he connected with and the extraordinary number of family, friends, communal leaders and politicians of all political persuasions who attended yesterday and this evening. He was a great unifier.
At the Jewish Board of Deputies AGM in August of this year, Jeremy bravely confronted his illness head-on and said ‘Many of you have asked what can you do for me?’ and in his typical relaxed, cheeky and humorous style said ‘If you really want to know, at all times, no matter what happens, when you bump into my children, Grace and Michael, in future bore them with your recollections of me and bore them with stories of just how fantastic I was.’Let me start that conversation.
Michael and Grace, we will tell you that your father was a great man, a great leader and a wonderful human being.
We will tell you how funny he was and how he had this amazing ability to make everyone feel comfortable and we will tell you about his cheeky grin.
We will tell you that he had a razor-sharp intellect and he had this amazing ability to just blink at a problem and know the right answer.
We will tell you he was a great judge of character and was brilliant at sizing people up (and boy did he have my measure!)
We will tell you He was a brilliant negotiator, coalition builder and strategic thinker. We will tell you he was a mensch.
We will do our best not to cry when we tell you how much he was respected and loved by the Jewish community and how we miss him.
Michael and Grace, I will tell you about two lessons he imparted to me that are relevant to us all:
Firstly, no matter what, put your family first and despite his impossible schedule, Jeremy did just that.
Secondly, it is incumbent on everyone to ask themselves “What more can you do for your community?” Despite being a devoted husband, parent and family member, your father dedicated countless hours to help his community and we should all be inspired to follow his example.
I have only one regret; I never had a chance to tell Jeremy that I loved him. I miss his friendship and counsel already.
To Rhiannon, Michael, Grace, Margaret, Richard and the entire Spinak and West families on behalf of the NSW Jewish community I wish you all a long life.”

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