New president for NSWJBD

August 22, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Lesli Berger has taken over the reins at the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies following the completion of Jeremy Spinak’s term.

Lesli Berger, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Jeremy Spinak    Photo: Giselle Haber

At the AGM this week attended by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Berger told deputies the Board had  persuaded the NSW Government to introduce effective criminal racial vilification laws, a law our community has wanted to reform for over 15 years.

Lesli Berger stated that the Board had significantly improved its position with the NSW Labor party saying “it is no longer the case that Bob Carr and Shaoquett Moselmanne can simply have their way with the NSW Labor conference and push their anti-Israel motions”.

I have strong political, media and business experience. I promise you to be a strong but fair President.

He said: “My passion for the Jewish Community and my love for the State of Israel came about as a direct result of my family and in particular my late grandfather Michael Berger who was a Holocaust survivor and an ardent Zionist. He loved Israel despite its flaws as every good democracy is flawed and I share that passion as I know you do.

One of the lessons I learned from Michael is that forgiveness is critical. He never hated the Germans for what they did to him and his family, a life lesson I have learned because I choose not to hate anyone, even when I have felt wronged.”

He said that rising antisemitism worldwide is a pressing issue stating “our purpose is to stop Anti-Semitism, strengthen our security and strengthen our ties with Israel

Deputies heard of the measures taken to strengthen the community.

He said: “All of this work has begun under the capable leadership of Jeremy Spinak and Deputies, with your help, I promise to continue Jeremy’s extraordinary legacy and I am honoured and privileged to serve our community to the best of my ability.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian warmed addressed the plenum as a keynote speaker. She acknowledged the advocacy of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and commanded our community on its outstanding leadership. Berejiklian stressed that her government is hearing the Jewish community loudly and clearly on issues important to the Jewish Community. She said: “my, and the government’s door, is always open to be responsive to the needs of your community’.

Jeremy Spinak emphasised on the key achievements of the Board during his presidency, which includes getting SMH editors to take a course on antisemitism, the Uniting Church dialogue and growing closer with their community, Hafia Day, engaging with key ethnic and religious groups and expanding the Jewish Board of Deputies’ breach. Spinak acknowledged that the best part about his role is the lifelong and invaluable friendships he had formed. Spinak provided an update on his health, stating that he has had three rounds of chemo and is doing well and how much he has appreciated the support from the community.
Jeremy Spinak said: “Many of you have asked what you can do for me… And just hearing that question makes a real difference. But if you really want to know, and an answer… At all times, no matter what happens, I would want when you bump into my children in the future, [to] bore them with recollections of me and of stories … Tell them your memories and give them a sense of what it was like working with dad, no matter what happens”, his words and speech touching the heart of every member of the AGM.
Hila Tsor contributed to this report.

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