The Queen’s Birthday Awards – The 2017 Jewish honourees

June 12, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article

Philanthropy, Australia-Israel relations, medicine, pharmacy, science and law are some of the fields in which twenty-four members of the Australian Jewish community  have been honoured in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday awards. Add in the arts and two rabbis….but only four women have been honoured.


Aaron Jonna GANDEL AO, Toorak Vic 3142

John Gandel

For eminent service to the community as a benefactor and supporter of a range of visual arts and cultural institutions, to youth education, medical and biotechnology innovation programs, to business and to the advancement of philanthropic giving.

Service includes:


Chairman, Gandel Philanthropy, current.

Major Donor, National Gallery of Australia, 2010.

Chairman, Board of Governors, Jewish Museum of Australia – Gandel Centre of Judaica, since 1983; Patron and Benefactor, since 1982.

Life Governor, Alfred Health, since 2002; Member, Appeal Committee, Burns Unit, 1992; Chair, Alfred Hospital Cancer Centre; Benefactor, current.

Foundation Member, Patrons of the Victorian Arts Centre, since 1991; Life Member, 2008.

Member, Advance Council, The Global Foundation,

Life Governor, Vision Australia Foundation, 2002.

Life Governor, Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, 1999.


Chairman, Gandel Group of Companies, since 1984.

Founding Chairman, CFS Gandel Retail Trust, 1994-2006.

Board Member, CSIRO, 1999-2002.

Director, Priceline, 1982-1998.

Member, World Business Council; World Presidents Organisation, and Chief Executives Organisation, since 1985.

Awards and recognition includes:

Co-Recipient, Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony, 2016.

Co-Recipient, Research Australia’s Great Australian Philanthropy Award, 2015.

Honorary Degree, Monash University, 2013.

Hall of Fame Inductee, Property Council of Australia, 2013.

Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University, 2006.

Recipient, Centenary Medal, 2003.

John Gandel said: “I want to express my sincere appreciation for the recognition in the Australia Day Honours with the highest accolade. I am truly honoured to receive the Companion of the Order of Australia award. It was indeed a surprise but I am at the same time incredibly grateful for this honour.

My family is everything to me, and I am indebted in particular to my wife for always being there for me. I dedicate this award to my children and my grandchildren.

Australia has been a true haven for many and diverse migrant people from all over the world, and we thrived in this country, our new home. My parents came from humble beginnings, but they were given a chance at a better life here in Australia and they embraced it. All of my family is grateful for all that this country has given us, and we are committed to giving back.

Over the years, my company and businesses have contributed significantly to the economic development of this country and I am very proud of our track record in generating employment and developing, shaping and fundamentally transforming the retail real estate sector in Australia. At the same time, I have always been very keenly involved in the community and helping advance various causes and addressing difficult social issues.

I have been very fortunate in my life, and I strongly believe that, if one is successful, they have an obligation to give back and do what they can to improve our society. My family have grown up being taught the importance of being involved in the community, and of giving and philanthropy. I know that they will follow the example that my wife Pauline and I have set when it comes to strengthening our society.”

John Gandel has always been seen as the driving force behind one of the most successful retail property stories in Australia, the development of the Chadstone Shopping Centre, the largest one in the southern hemisphere.

In the community, he has had a decades-long involvement with, and support for, the arts sector in Australia, as well as medical research and innovation and education in particular.

His other strong interests have been in supporting the Indigenous communities and his work on fostering an inclusive and welcoming society.

This award sits alongside John’s previous community awards such as the Centenary Medal and AO, as well as the Premier’s Award for Community Harmony (2016) and Research Australia’s Great Philanthropy Award (2015).




Peter Butler

Peter Mark BUTLER OAM RFD, Kangaroo Valley NSW 2577

For significant service to the community through a range of charitable organisations, and to the provision and promotion of pro bono legal services.

Service includes:

National Chair, Starlight Children’s Foundation, 2008-2016 and Director since 2016.

Director, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, since 2010.

Chair, Freehills Foundation, 2008-2014.

Chair, Global Pro Bono and Citizenship Council, Herbert Smith Freehills, since 2014. (The Foundation and the Council focus on the provision of pro bono work).

Director, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, since 2010.

Director, Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation, 2008-2015 and Advisory Council Chair since 2015.

Member, NSW University Advisory Council, Faculty of Law, 2010-2016.

Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills, since 1983 and Managing Partner, 2005-2010.

Peter Butler told J-Wire that it was incredibly humbling to be the recipient of such an honour.

“I am grateful for it.  You have to put something back. People say they don’t have the time to volunteer but I have found that you get so much more back than you put in” he said.

Twenty years ago he was very involved in a children’s charity in Melbourne. Moving to Sydney he was asked to work with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, something he finds very worthwhile.

As a lawyer he feels strongly about his involvement with the Global Pro Bono and Citizenship Council which provides thousands of hours of free legal work.

“The lawyers who get involved love it as it is important to give a bit back” he said.


Michael Henry COPPEL, Toorak Vic 3142

Michael Coppel

For significant service to the entertainment industry as a producer and promoter of theatre, festivals and national concert tours.

Service includes:

Concert promoter and producer of national tours and festivals featuring Australian and international artists including:

Pink, Adele, U2, Beyonc, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Taylor Swift, Roger Waters, Katy Perry and music festivals Narara 83 and 84, Apollo ’97, Livid, V Festival and Auckland City Limits.

Producer of various theatre productions, including: ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Billy Elliot’, ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘Mama Mia’, ‘Spamalot’ , ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘The Country Girl’ (Broadway), ‘The Mousetrap’, ‘A Murder is Announced’, Fawlty Towers’, and the current production of ‘Matilda’.

Live Nation Australasia (LNA):

Chairman, since 2017.

President and Chief Executive Officer, 2012-2016.

Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Coppel Presents, 1984-2012 and Michael Coppel Theatrical Productions, since 2002.

Executive Council Member, Live Performance Australia, since 1992.

Major Benefactor, Coppel and Piekarski Family Disability Respite Centre, Jewish Care Victoria, opened March, 2016.

“Recognition of this kind is always a surprise, though certainly a happy one” Michael Coppel told J-Wire.

I’ve never considered the possibility of receiving this type of award as a goal or even a possibility, but it is really gratifying to be recognised in this way for my career in entertainment.

When I attended an award ceremony earlier this year for a very close friend who, unfortunately, was awarded his AO posthumously, I was struck by how there are real heroes who are being awarded these honours, having risked their lives selflessly to save others, which puts a career award into perspective” he said.


Ronald Samuel FINKEL, Caulfield Vic 3162

Ron Finkel

For significant service to Australia-Israel relations, to the Jewish community, and to business and commerce.

Service includes:

Hadassah International (to support Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel):

Board Member, 2008-2011.

Founding President, Hadassah Australia, since 2003.

Deputy Chairman, Australia-Israel Medical Research Foundation – AUSiMED, 2012-2016.

Established, Project Rozana, since 2013.

Sponsor, Jerusalem Crisis Intervention Center, (providing psychological support for children).

Initiated the Goshen Project, (a paediatric community health program).

Board Member, Zionist Council of Victoria, circa 1994-2014; Vice-President, 2006-2007; Director, Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre, 2006-2011.

Co-Chair, Australia Arava Partnership, Partnership2Gether, Jewish Agency for Israel, United Israel Appeal and Zionist Federation of Australia, circa 2007-2017; Observer, current.

Victorian Councillor, Executive Council of Australian Jewry, circa 2008-2011.

President, Hillel Foundation, (Victoria), 1991-1996.

President, Ameinu Australia (formerly Australian Labor Zionist Movement), 2000-2016.

Co-Founding Principal and Executive Director, Momentum Investment Group, since 1997; Managing Director, Momentum Ventures Ltd, since 1998; Chairman, Panviva Pty Ltd., current.

Director of Investments, Advent Management Group, 1988-1996; Investment Manager, Pratt Venture Management (acquired by Advent), 1986-1988.

Past Director, Bluechiip Limited, 2012-2014.

Director and Secretary, Cerette PtyLtd, 1998-2013.

Director, Komark Pacific Pty Ltd, 1990-2010.

Director, Benthic Geotech Pty Ltd, 2001-2004.

Director and Secretary, Metalaser Technologies, 1988-1995.

Chairman, Petrecycle Limited and AlphaPet Limited.

Awards and recognition include:

Recipient, Community Volunteer Award, Jewish Community Council of Victoria, 2007.

Ron Finkel told J-Wire: “I feel so honoured and I don’t say this lightly. I was involved with AUJS in 1971 and 1972 fighting the new Left…and I have been contributing to communal causes for five decades apart from my work with Hadassah.

Yes, I have given a lot to causes but the satisfaction I’ve experienced in the work has given a lot back to me. I believe I’ve had  the better deal.”


Dr Harry Barnett FRYDENBERG, Richmond Vic 3121

Dr Harry Frydenberg

For significant service to medicine in the field of bariatric surgery as a clinician, author and mentor, and to professional organisations.

Service includes:

Bariatric (Obesity) Surgery Specialist, Epworth Centre for Bariatric Surgery (private practice), ongoing.

Visiting Medical Officer, Specialist Surgeon, Box Hill Hospital, Victoria, ongoing.

Chairman, Division of Surgery, St George’s Hospital, 1996-1998; Visiting Surgeon, 1980-1998.

Professional Associations:

International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders:

President, 2009.

Secretary/Treasurer, 2003-2009.

Founding President, Asia Pacific Chapter, 2008-2009.

Associate Editor, ‘Obesity Surgery‘, current.

Obesity Surgery Society of Australia and New Zealand:

President, 2005-2006.

Secretary, 1996-2004.

Treasurer, 1990s-2010.

Executive Member, since 1984.

Life Member, 2010.

Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons; Member, Victorian State Committee, 1984-1986.

Member, The Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society.

Harry Frydenberg told J-Wire: “It has been very satisfying to watching the growth in metabolic health. We started in 1974 and it took a long time to change from being a specialised field to the mainstream field it is today. I am still operating and this award served to recognise the world in this field”


George Gross

George GROSS, Henley Beach SA 5022

For significant service to the Australian fashion industry as a designer, and to the community through support for a range of charities.

Service includes:

Director, George Gross and Harry Who Fashion Design, 1973-2014; Co-designer, QANTAS Uniforms, 1992-1999; Co-founder, 1973.

Twice a year launched two collections of exclusive designs via fashion parades with the Advertiser Sunday Mail Foundation, Adelaide, ‘for 20 years’.

Donated clothing to The Gut Foundation for auction, ‘for 5 years’.

Donated a percentage of the company’s factory sales in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to MS Research Australia and Junior Diabetes Research Foundation.

George Gross is now retired and enjoying a quiet life in South Australia.

“It’s a great accolade, very surprising and humbling”: George Gross said.

When he and partner Harry Watt visit Sydney later this year, they will celebrate with his sister Kathy Gross as they all appear in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours list.


Katalin (Kathy) GROSS, Potts Point NSW 2011

Kathy Gross

For significant service to the Australian fashion industry, and to the community through support for a range of charitable organisations.

Service includes:

Director, George Gross and Harry Who Design Company, 1973-2014 and Co-founder, 1973.

Has personally and financially supported the following organisations:

Ted Noffs Foundation.

Gut Foundation of Australia.

Engeneics Medical Research Foundation.

Sailors with Disabilities.

The Salvation Army.

The Myeloma Foundation.

MS Research Australia.

Junior Diabetes Research Foundation.

Advertiser Sunday Mail Foundation Inc.

“It is an unexpected honour to receive the award” said Kathy Gross.

Although enjoying retirement and her five grandchildren, she is still involved with charities like the Gut Foundation of Australia.

When asked if she had managed to keep the news secret from friends and family she said: “I certainly have. I have been very careful not to tell anyone.”


Professor Stephen David JOSEPH, Sydney NSW 2052

For significant service to science through research and developments in biochar engineering and renewable energy, and to the community.

Stephen Joseph

Service includes:

Founding Vice-Chairman, International Biochar Initiative, 2007-2012; Advisory Committee Member, current.

Committee Member, Australian and New Zealand Biochar Researchers Network, current.

Visiting Professor, School of Material Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales, since 2007.

Visiting Professor, Nanjing Agricultural University, current.

Visiting Professor, University of New England, current.

Visiting Associate Professor, University of Wollongong, current.

Founding Director, Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination, (Holland and Kenya), 1980s.

Former Senior Manager, Practical Action, (a United Kingdom based charitable organisation).

Member, Central Coast Shalom Progressive Jewish Congregation, since 1983.

Supporter, Community Aid Abroad, since 1970s.

Technical Panel Member, Save the Children, 2000-2006.

Professor Stephen Joseph is passionate about engineering and finding ways to implement sustainable and renewable energy and will not be in Australia to celebrate his award.  He will be on a farm in Norway, as a volunteer, studying the innovative steps the Norwegian government is taking in his field.

“It’s a great honour to be awarded such an honour, and not something I was expecting” Stephen Joseph told J-Wire.

“I was brought up to believe that if you have a talent you should use it for the benefit of society and this ethos became part of my psyche.   I have a wonderful career as an engineer, pursuing my work with renewable energy.

“There is so much talk against sustainable and renewable energy that I am driven to try and have an impact on (our own) government policies.  As a scientist I fear Australia is doing so little about this” he said.

He cited Norway and China as two countries trying to address the issues and hoped that Australia will adopt policies to embrace future change.


Joe Kay

Joseph Victor KAY, North Caulfield Vic 3161

For significant service to the judiciary through reforms to child protection policy and family law and practice, and to the legal profession.

Service includes:

Judge, Appeal Division, Family Court of Australia, 1993-2008; Judge, 1986-2008.

Australian Judicial Representative, The Hague Abduction Convention Commission, 2000-2008; Network Judge, International Hague Network of Judges, 2000-2008.

Co-Director of Studies, Sydney, World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights, 2013; Halifax, Canada, 2009.

Executive Member, Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia, 1983-1986; Member, Family Law Committee, 1981-1984 and 1975-1977; Moot Master, National Family Law Moot, 2009-2012.

Member, Family Law Council, 1988-1992 and 1983-1984.

Chairman, Family Law Committee, Victorian Bar Association, 1984-1986.

Consultant Editor, ‘Federal Law Reports’, ‘Australian Journal of Family Law’, and ‘Halsbury’s Laws of Australia’.

Deputy Chair, Children’s Bioethics Centre Development Board, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, current; Member, Bioethics Clinical Development Board since 2008; Member, Clinical Ethics Committee, 2010-2015.

Chairman, National Centre Against Bullying, current.

Joe Kay told J-Wire: ” I am particularly conscious of the bravery and wisdom of my maternal grand parents and my father Abraham Kochn who made the decision to emigrate to Australia as basically penniless migrants in 1928/9. They each came here to make a better life for themselves and their progeny. Australia welcomed them. They succeeded but my father particularly lost most of his family in the Shoah.

I join my cousins Professor Max Kamien AO and Magistrate Greg  Levine OAM as grateful recipients of the fruits of the humble bakers Joseph and Pearl Levine’s endeavours.”


Dr Ivan Thomas LORENTZ, Double Bay NSW 2028

Ivan Loreentz

For significant service to medicine as a neurologist, and to pioneering treatment methods for neurological disorders.

Service includes:

Foundation Neurologist, Westmead Hospital, Western Sydney Local Health District, 1978-2005.

Pioneered the use in Australia of botulinum toxin (Botox) therapy for the treatment of neurological disorders, particularly dystonia, late 1980s.

Visiting Senior Neurologist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, 1970-1980 and Assistant Physician, 1964-1970.

Visiting Consultant Neurologist, Parramatta Hospital, 1967-1978.

Clinical Lecturer, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, 1964-2005 and Examiner in Medicine, 1968-2005.

Clinical Neurologist, since early 1960s.

Professional Associations:

Movement Disorder Society of Australia and New Zealand:

President, 1993-1996.

Treasurer, 1990-1993.

Co-Founder, 1988.

Life Member.

Honorary Secretary, Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists, 1993-1996; Member, since 1964.

President, Section of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, New South Wales Branch, Australian Medical Association, 1968-1970.

Clinical Associate, American Academy of Neurology, current.

Dr Ivan Lorentz felt very honoured to be recognised for his work in the treatment for neurological disorders.

He said: “It is not just for me but for my research co-workers into the use of botulinum toxin, particularly in regard to dystonia (a state of abnormal muscle tone marked by spasms). Dystonia was previously treated with drugs and operations.”

He first became aware of the use of the potent botulinum toxin on reading a Canadian medical journal in the 1980s by ophthalmologist Professor Alan Scott who  later helped him start clinical trials in Australia.

The extremely strong poison is now used in treating a wide variety of neurological and muscular disorders but it took research  – in Australia by Dr Lorentz and globally – to ensure its proper use in order to achieve the highest efficacy.

“There were patients who had endured problems for years who benefitted from use of this toxin” he said.


Richard Barney SCHEINBERG, Bellevue Hill NSW 2023

Richard Scheinberg

For significant service to the community through philanthropic support for educational, youth, medical, cultural relations and social welfare groups.

Service includes:

Education Heritage Foundation:

Involved in the establishment of the Foundation in 1995.

The Foundation supports and/or aids institutions of learning and assists in the promotion of education and cultural relations.  The Foundation distributes funds to:

Macquarie University – Lectureship in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel.

Courage to Care – a major outreach program and travelling exhibition:

Point Zero – creates, promotes and encourages positive social activities to reduce and prevent the incidence of substance abuse and harm to young people:

Y2i (Youth to Israel), established in 2014.

Kesser Torah College:

Board Member, 2003-2005.

Member, REEF Board, current.

Jewish Communal Appeal:

Executive Member, 2004 – 2011.

Honorary Life Governor, 2014.


Executive member, Urban Taskforce, since 2005.

Board member, Sydney Medical School Foundation, University of Sydney, 1995-2012.

Lead Non-Executive Director, Microsearch Research Foundation, 1989-1998.

Joint Chair, Yeshiva College Assistance Committee.

The award has capped an exciting week for Richard Scheinberg who welcomed the arrival of his first grandchild.

Richard Scheinberg told J-Wire: “It is a privilege to have been honoured on the Queen’s Birthday with an Order of Australia Medal, especially given the privilege I have already felt in working with so many charitable and community organisations and the people within them.

To undertake these activities for the community gives context and purpose to social endeavour and helps give back to a community and a country from which we derive so much.  My father came to Australia as a refugee in 1938 – to this great land of opportunity, and while Australia really is “the lucky country” in so many ways, we do live in a complex world and the social and charitable structures, such as those I have worked with over the years, provide so much benefit for so many.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to their strategic direction and it has been especially rewarding to have worked with the many talented people within these organisations.

Having started the work for which I have received this honour in my thirties, I would encourage others to start engaging in social, charitable and community work early in their careers and to use that energy and purpose to contribute to the ongoing progression of our community and to assisting those less fortunate than ourselves.

As a father of four and having just this week become a grandfather, I would also like to thank my wonderful family for their ongoing support and to share this honour with them.”


Graham Harry SLADE, Armadale Vic 3143

Graham Slade

For significant service to the community as a supporter of aged care, medical and multicultural associations, and to the pharmacy profession.

Service includes:

Board Member, Jewish Care Victoria, 2001-2002; Member, Values Committee 2002-2006; President, Montefiore Homes (now Jewish Care Victoria), 1993-1995; Board Member, 1987-2002; Life Governor, since 2002; Philanthropic supporter.

Board Member, Jewish Community Services, (previously known as the Jewish Welfare Society), 1999-2000.

Benefactor, Epworth Men’s Health Lunch, Epworth Hospital, 2015.

Benefactor, Epworth Medical Foundation, since 1990.

Secretary, Victoria Street Traders Association, 1995; Co-Chairman, Victoria Street Lunar Year Festival, 1985-1995.

Member, Management Committee, Richmond Chamber of Commerce, 1993-1994.

Chairman, Victoria Street Development Committee, circa 1980s.

Secretary, Rotary Club of Richmond, circa 1990s.

Board Member, North Richmond Family Care Centre, circa 1979-1981.


Proprietor, Slade Pharmacy Services (VIC, NSW and QLD), since 1965.

Member, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, since 1962.

Awards and recognition includes:

Recipient, Certificate of Appreciation, Richmond Asian Business Association, 1995.

Recipient, Certificate for Special Civic Service, City of Richmond, 1993.

Graham Slade told J-Wire was surprised to learn that he was to be awarded an AM. He said: “I am very proud not only for myself but for my family that our work has been recognised by our country. As much as it will bring joy to my family, I have taken a little time to think how proud my late mother would have been to be able to share this special time with us.”


Dr Raymond David SNYDER, St Kilda West Vic 3182

Dr Raymond Snyder

For significant service to medicine, particularly as an oncologist, to cancer research, and to professional and service delivery organisations.

Service includes:

St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne – 1977-2014:

Director of Cancer Services and Director of Oncology, 2007-2014.

Co-director of Cancer Services, 2004- 2007.

Acting Oncologist; Assistant Outpatient Physician; Assistant Oncologist; Oncologist.

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital appointed by the University of Melbourne, 2002.

Eastern Palliative Care:

Chair, Committee of Management, 2008-2010.

Finance and Risk Committee, since 2008.

Ethics Committee, since 2006.

Building Review Committee, 2010-2011.

Board Member, since 2006.

Victorian Co-operative Oncology Group, (now Cancer Council Victoria’s Clinical Network):

Chair, Executive Committee, 2002-2005.

Chair, Psycho-oncology Committee, 1998-2001.

Chair, Breast Cancer Committee, 1987-1992; Deputy Chair, 1982-1986.

Deputy Chair, Breast Cancer Trials Committee, 1986 -1995.

Council member and Standing Research Committee, Cancer Council Victoria, current.

Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group:

Chair, 1995-2005;

Member, Scientific Trials Committee.

Founding Member, since 1977.

Medical Oncology Group of Australia:

Chair, 1990-1995 and 1996-1998; and

Member, from 1970s.

Chair, Specialist Advisory Committee on Medical Oncology, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 1996-1998 and Fellow, 1997.

Member, Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium, 1997-2013.

Member, Clinical Management Advisory Committee, Western and Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service, 2005-2104.

Member, Reference Group, Victorian Cancer Agency, since 2017.

Appointee, Ministerial Taskforce on Cancer, Minister for Health, Government of Victoria, 2003-2007.

Member, International Breast Cancer Study Group, since 1978.

Member, Australasian Germ Cell Trial Group.

Member, Management Committee, Biogrid (Victoria), 2008-2014.

Awards and recognition includes:

Recipient, Gold Medal, Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group, 2014.

Raymond Snyder said his award an acknowledgment of the work has been able to do in cancer research as one of the first medical oncologists in Australia.

“I have worked with a great team of people who were able to deal with the clinical work while I was able to do further voluntary work” he said.

As yet he has not shared the news with family and friends but expects to be able to pinpoint who nominated him after it becomes public.


Emeritus Professor Ronald TAFT, Kew Vic 3101

Ronald Taft

For significant service to education and research in the field of psychology, and to the community.

Service includes:

Monash University:

Emeritus Professor of Social Psychology.

Volunteer, Centre for Migrant Studies.

Supporting graduate students.

Donating funds to a PhD Scholarship for Excellence.

Ron Taft Teaching Equity Grants, for disadvantaged students.

Professor of Social Psychology, pioneering research and publications in the field of ethnicity and the psychology of immigration, retired 1981.

Fred Schonell Chair of Education, 1968-1981.


‘My World: Reflections on My Life and Times’, (Caulfield, Victoria), 2015.

‘From Stranger to Citizen’, (Perth : University of Western Australia Press,1965)

Writes columns for ‘Quadrant Magazine’, current.

Editor, ‘The Australian Journal of Psychology’, 1966-1972.

Professional organisations:

Foundation Member, Australian Psychological Society, since 1944; President, 1963; Life Member.

President, International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1982-1986.

Foundation Chair, National Committee for Psychology, Australian Academy of Sciences, 1964; Fellow.

Executive Member, International Union of Psychological Science; Fellow.

Executive Member, International Association of Applied Psychology, no dates.


Jewish Organisations:

Foundation Member, B’nai B’rith, Melbourne, since 1945.

Member, the Leo Baeck Centre, East Kew, current.

Principal Researcher, Melbourne Jewish Community Surveys, 1967 and 1991.

Foundation President, Temple David, Perth, 1951-1965.

Youth leader and Foundation Chairman, Melbourne Jewish Youth Council, 1930s.


Volunteer contribution to a range of other organisations including the Good Neighbour Council and the Immigration Reform Association. Recognition

Recipient, Jubilee Fellow, ‘in honour of his fifty years of Academy membership and service’, The Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, 2014.

Recipient, Menorah Award, ‘in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Australian Jewish community’, B’nai B’rith Council of Australia, 1992.

Recipient, Silver Medal, ‘for Excellence in Scientific Research’, Royal Society of Victoria, 1975.

“I was pleasantly surprised to receive this honour” Professor Taft told J-Wire.

“It is nice to get the recognition for the work in did in my academic career and the community work I undertook over the years.

He recently turned 97 and enjoys attending services and social functions at the Leo Baeck Centre.

There will be a BYO lunch at his independent living complex on the Queen’s Birthday holiday which will make for an unofficial celebration of the honour.

“My children are all overseas next week so I will celebrate again when they return” he said.




The late Walter Michael BLUMENFELD RFD,

Walter Blumenfeld

Late of Holt ACT 2615

For service to the community of the Australian Capital Territory.

Service includes:

Volunteer, ACT Branch, State Emergency Service, 1979-2016; Life Member, 2006.

Volunteer, ACT Branch, St John’s Ambulance Community Care, 1997-2016.

Volunteer Guide, Australian War Memorial, 1994-2016; Life Member, Voluntary Guides, 2014.

Awards and recognition includes:

Recipient, ACT Volunteer of the Year (Emergency Services Category), 2016.

Recipient, Order of St John Service Medal, 2012.

Recipient, ACT Community Protection Medal, 2011.

“It was a great shock when he died” his widow Helen Blumenfeld told J-Wire.

“He was an extremely fit man. He skied and cycled 30kms daily. We used to go to the gym together.

He slipped on a stair, got concussion was gone  the next day, which was Anzac Day. Our son marched in his place” she said.

“We were married one month short of 50 years. I used to say our marriage only lasted so long because he was a sea captain and was away half the time.

“When he gave up the sea he was always working or volunteering; he was always on the go.

I still miss him terribly but I keep going to gym every morning. He would have wanted that” she said.


The late Derek Kenneth CHALLIS

Late of Manifold Heights Vic 3218

The late Kenneth Challis

For service to the community through a range of roles.

Service includes:

Lions Clubs International:


Chairman, National Public Relations Committee, 2005-2008; District Member, 1998-2000.

Life Member, 2008.


Cabinet Secretary, Lions District 201V2, 2013-2014; District Governor, 2001-2002.

District 201V2 Chairman, East Timor Project, 2002-2009; Public Relations and Lions Information, 1996-2000; Road and Water Safety and Disaster Liaison, 1995-1996.


President, Lions Club of Anglesea, 1975-1976; Member, 1969-1977.

President, Lions Club of Geelong, 2003-2004; served in various executive positions; Member, 1981-2016.


Managing Director and Founder, Challis Group, 1981-2016.

Vice-President and Secretary, Victorian Division, Institute of Mercantile Agents Ltd, 2012-2015; various executive and committee positions, ‘for many years’.


Phillipa CHALLIS, Manifold Heights Vic 3218

For service to the community of Geelong.

Service includes:

Phillipa Challis

Director, Zonta Club of Geelong, 2016-2017; President, 1985-1986; Vice-President, 1984; Board Member, 1992-2002; Acting President, 2013; Membership/Fellowship Convenor, 2004-2013; Member, since 1982.

Director, Zonta District Area 4, 1994-1996; Chair, Public Relations and Communications Committee, 1996-1998; Member, District Nominating Committee, 2008-2010; Member, District Status of Women Committee, 2010-2012.

Part-Time Fundraising Coordinator, Mercy Family Care Centre, 1985-1993.

Director, Geelong Chamber of Commerce, 1996-2001; Chair, Program and Development Committee, 1994-2000; Director, 1996-2001.

Volunteer, McKellar Centre, Barwon Health, ‘for many years’.

Coordinator, TARTS (Top and Really Terrific Sorts) charity luncheons, current.

Committee Member, Special Events Committee, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 1985-2005.

Helped establish the Anglesea Netball Pennant Competition, 1974.

Founder, Laughter Club Victoria, 2002.

Laughter Therapist, Geelong Laughter Club, current.

Registered Laughter Ambassador, Laughter Yoga Club International, since 2006.

Justice of the Peace, since 1994.

Phillipa Challis told J-Wire the news of the award was “bitter-sweet”. She said: “I worked with my late husband for 46 years. I remember when we first came to Anglesea he was concerned that the community did not have an ambulance and worked for five years to raise the funds to obtain one. I was a Lions lady and we worked together on so many projects. When the Timor war was over, Kenneth worked hard to restore the infrastructure,

Phillipa has fond her younger days in Melbourne where she went to Mt Scopus. She added: “Recently I went for the first time to Temple Beth Israel with three of my classmates. We had all turned 70 and were called up to the Torah. It was very special. I didn’t do all the community work I did for recognition…but it means a lot.”



Rabbi Ronnie FIGDOR, Vic

Rabbi Ronnie Figdor

For service to the community through a range of organisations.

Service includes:

Chief Executive Officer, St Kilda Hebrew Congregation Inc., since 2012.

Executive Director, Mizrachi Organisation, 2008-2012.

Volunteer, Adelaide Chevra Kadisha, 2004-2006.

Executive Director, Aleph Society, 1999.

Member, Council for Christians and Jews Adelaide, 1995-1996.

Rabbi, since 1990.

Board member, Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, 1981-1982, 1997-1998.

Religious Officer, Melbourne University Jewish Students Society, 1980.

Committee member and Co-Founder, Jewish Emergency Management Plan Inc., since 1998; Executive Director, 2005-2007.

Victoria Police community liaison, since 1999.

Deputy Team Leader/Training Officer, Victoria State Emergency Service, 1983-1987.

Ethics Teacher, Jewish Museum of Australia, since 2011.

Ethos Day volunteer lecturer, Jewish Care Victoria, since 2011.

Ethics Teacher, Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, 2002-2012.

Instructor and Assessor, Feuerstein learning techniques, 1998-2003.

Member, Independent Schools Board IT Reference Group, 1995-1996.

VCE vetter and examiner, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board, 1993.

Judge, Tournament of Minds, La Trobe University, since 1991.

Teacher, Yeshiva Beth Rivkah Ladies College, 1998-1999.

Principal, Masada College Adelaide, 1994-1996.

Director of Jewish Studies and Vice Principal, Leibler Yavneh College, 1989-1993.

Head, Faculty of Science, Adass Israel School, Elsternwick, 1988.

Teacher, Mount Scopus Memorial College, 1983-1987.

Rabbi Ronnie Figdor told J-Wire he in a tad embarrassed about the awards. He said: “I can think of many more people who are more appropriate. I am privileged for having perfect role models in communal activities. My grandparents and other family members were heavily involved. One was the first president of B’nai B’rith, my grandfather was involved in the Kashrut and his wife in education. I grew up in a world of community involvement.”


Robert Joseph GESCHEIT, Dover Heights NSW 2030

Robert Gescheit

For service to the community of Eastern Sydney.

Service includes:

Co-Founder, Dover Heights Shule, 1997; President, 1997-2010; Life Member, 2010.

Planner and Project Manager, Sydney Eruv, 1998-2002.

Volunteer, Family to Family Respite program, Jewish Care, since 2006.

Awards and recognition includes:

Recipient, NSW Government Community Service Award, 2015.

Recipient, Exceptional Volunteer Commitment Award, Jewish Care, 2014.

Robert Gescheit told J-Wire he felt amazed and surprised to be recognised for things he has enjoyed doing for the past 25 years.

“I passionately believe in doing things for the benefit of the community. I must give credit to my wife for her patience and support for causes which have taken up so much of my time and kept me away from home. Her understanding motivated me to do more” he said.

He is proud of the fact that Dover Heights Shul has grown so much since it was founded 20 years ago that planning is underway for its campus has to be increased.


Daniel John GOULBURN, Bellevue Hill NSW 2023

Danny Goulburn

For service to the community through health, education and sporting groups.

Service includes:

Wolper Jewish Hospital:

President, since 2014; Honorary Treasurer, 2008-2014; Chairman of Trustees, Wolper Jewish Hospital Foundation, since 2014; Hospital Representative, Jewish Board of Deputies, current; Trustee Governor, Jewish Community Appeal, current.

National Co-Chair, Australian Council of Jewish Schools, since 2010.

Member, Advisory Committee, Abraham and Hake Rabinovitch Trust, since 2012.

Member, Consultative Committee, Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales, 2010-2015.

Moriah College:

Life Governor, since 2005; Trustee, since 2010; Vice-President, 1998-2005; Honorary Treasurer, 1994-1998; Board Member, 1992-2005; Member, Master Planning and Nominations Committee, current; Chair, Building and Development and Master Planning Committees, 1993-2006.

Australian Maccabi Federation:

Vice-President and Honorary Treasurer, 1980s; Organiser, 4th Maccabi Junior Sports Carnival in Sydney, 1986; Assistant Team Manager, Australian Team, Maccabiah Games, 1985; Vice-President and Executive Member, Maccabi New South Wales, 1980s.

President, New South Wales Maccabi Golf Club, 1977-1981.

Committee Member, New South Wales Maccabi Cricket Club, 1980s.

Danny Goulburn told J-Wire: “It is an extremely humbling experience to receive such an honour.

I have been on boards and committees of numerous Jewish organisations for over 40 years for no other reason that I wanted to contribute to our community’s strength and wellbeing.

It is wonderful that this contribution has been recognised but it has come as a very pleasant surprise.

I wish to graciously acknowledge the support of my family over some many years.”


Ian Perry HYMAN, Warrawee NSW 2074

Ian Hyman

For service to people with a disability.

Service includes:

Inala – supports individuals living with disability:

Board Member, since 2012.

Chairman, Annual Sportsmen’s Political Lunch, since 1993.

Chairman, Building and Assets Management Subcommittee, since 2015.

Special Olympics Australia:

Board Member, 2007-2009.

Past Chairman, Sustainable Revenue Committee.

Founder, Past Chairman and Fundraiser, Special Olympics North Shore, 2003-2007.


Director, 2000-2003.

Chair, Corporate Fundraising Committee, 1993-2003.


Fundraiser and supporter, Geton Stage, Disability Theatre Company, 2010-2016.

Fundraiser and supporter, Cromehurst Special School, since 2007.

Fundraiser and supporter, St Edmunds School, ‘more than 10 years’.

Fundraiser and supporter, Bayley House, Melbourne, since 2014.

Honorary Treasurer, CNS Precision Assembly, since 2015.

Board Member, Association for Children with a Disability, 2012-2015.

Past Management Committee Member and Vice-President, Down Syndrome New South Wales.

Turnaround Management Association:

President, 2009.

Vice-President, 2008.

Board Member, 2005-2009.

Chairman, National Membership Committee, 2005-2008.

Chief Executive Officer, Hyman’s Valuers and Auctioneers, since 1984, has conducted over 300 auctions for charitable organisations since 1985.

Past Member, Education Committee, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

Chairman, Professional Riskmanagers Pty Ltd, since 2007.

Ian Hyman had not previously thought about the impact of his 25 year involvement in fundraising and working for the benefit of people with a disability. He sees it as something he did as part of a team.

“Working for people with special needs is something I am passionate about. My son, aged 24, has Downs Syndrome and it’s wonderful to see him participate in activities he loves.  He is employed at CNS Precision Assembly (an Australian Disability Enterprise) and that gives him pride in himself” he said.

He is particularly proud of the sports programs he has been involved in setting up – Special Olympics North Shore. When they started in 2003 there was only one sport available for special needs children.

“They are now able to participate in things like dance, swim squads and softball to name a few of about 40 sports programs available.

“I often get Facebook messages from kids I have met over the years and it is great to see them grow up and become more independent” he said.


Susan IVANY, South Yarra Vic 3141

Susan Ivany

For service to women, and to aged care in Victoria.

Service includes:

Co-Vice President, International Council of Jewish Women, since 2014; Board Member, since 2002; Co-Chair, Status of Women Committee, current; Convenor, Status of Women in Jewish Law Working Group, current; Chair, Asia Pacific Region, 2000-2004; supporter, ‘Stop the Traffik’, and ‘Project Respect’, current.

Vice-President, National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, 2011-2015; Board Member, 2002-2015; Honorary Secretary, 1985-1991; past Convenor/Chair, Status of Women Committee, Life Member, since 2015.

Board Member, National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (VIC), 2011-2014; President, 2006-2010; Vice President, 2002-2006; Life Member, since 2014; past Convenor/Chair, Status of Women Committee; Founder and Chair, Unchain My Heart Inc., since 2014.

Advisory Board Member, Project Deborah, since 2013.

Board Member, Tashmadada, current.

Co-Vice President, Jewish Care Victoria, since 2015; Board Member, since 2011; Co-chair, Annual Appeal, 2004.

Past Executive Director, Australasian Union of Jewish Students, circa 1988; Secretary, 1985-1991.

Susan Ivany told J-Wire she was thrilled to be awarded her honour.

“My parents survived the Shoah and came here without much education. They worked hard to give my brother and myself an education. My brother is a doctor and I have achieved my goals in the not-for-profit area.

“We are so lucky to live in a country that encourages women to achieve the highest honours and show the next generation what is possible.  I think I am privileged to be able to do all the things I have done.

“My Polish father was thankful every day for the country that took him in, where he worked hard and his family thrived. We have to be grateful to that generation” she said.


Rabbi Mendel KASTEL, Bondi NSW 2026

Rabbi Mendel Kastel

For service to the community through social welfare bodies, and to youth.

Service includes:

Chief Executive Officer, Jewish House, since 2008. (A non-denominational, not-for-profit organisation offering accommodation, counselling services and basic essentials for people in crisis).

Founder, Point Zero Youth Services, since 1997.

Board Member, Waverley Youth Services (WAYS), 2000-2015.

Founder and Board Chair, J-Junction, current.

Launched, ‘Yes We Can’ Campaign, in conjunction with Coles, food drive for the needy, 2009 and ongoing.

Founder and Active role, ‘Students on the Streets’ (SOS), ongoing.

Rabbi, Great Synagogue, Sydney, 1993-2008 and Rabbinic Fellow, since 2015.

Past President, New South Wales Rabbinical Council.

Chaplain, New South Wales Police Force, since 2002.

Chaplain, various organisations including:

Sydney’s St Vincent’s Public Hospital.

Wolper Jewish Hospital.

Prince of Wales Private Hospital.

Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Awards and recognition includes:

Recipient, Local Hero award, Waverley Council, 2015.

Recipient, Woollahra Council Award, 1999.

Recipient, Wentworth Communal Award.

Recipient, B’nai B’rith Community Award.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel is a well-loved member of the Sydney community. He sees his award in the perspective of the organisation he leads. He told J-Wire: “Personally, I am very humbled. But I hope the award will present the opportunity to particularly raise the profile of Jewish House and to give some focus on the plight of the homeless.”


Vicky Kvisle

Victoria Eva KVISLE, Killara NSW 2071

For service to cancer research organisations, and to the community.

Service includes:

Director, Cure Cancer Australia, 1993-2016 and fundraiser and supporter, ‘for over 40 years’.

Supporter and Volunteer, Can Too Foundation, ongoing.

Co-Recipient, Eva Kolling Award for Philanthropy, 2015.

Vice-President, The Redlanders Past Students’ Association, Sydney Church of England Co-educational Grammar School Redlands, current.

Vicky Kvisle told J-Wire: “I am very honoured to have received this award, Cure Cancer Australia is an Australian charity, that my family and I have been involved with for almost fifty years which receives no government funding, and exclusively focusses on funding Australia’s brightest emerging researchers to combat all types of cancer. 

Cure Cancer Australia funds the innovators, the most brilliant brains, that look at the cancer challenge from differing perspectives.  These are the next generation of researchers most likely to advance the fight against cancer and you don’t need to be a scientist to help cure cancer, you don’t need to have loaded pockets. Anyone can help make a small difference.”




Gillian Layton

Gillian LAYTON, Melbourne Vic 3004

For service to children and families in the legal system.

Service includes:

Court Networker, Melbourne Family Law Court, since 1999.

Court Networker, Children’s Court, Victoria, since 1999.

Gillian Layton told J-Wire: I have been working as a volunteer for Court Network for over 18 years, in the Family and Children’s Courts.

My role as a networker is to support people who are self-represented. They often don’t come with anyone else and, for many, it’s the first time they’ve had any involvement in the court system.

For many, it’s quite a daunting and stressful experience. The surroundings and the whole process can be intimidating. Most are not familiar with the court system, and what to do and not to do.

My role is threefold:

Firstly, it’s to make them feel a bit more comfortable and to reduce their stress levels.

Secondly, it’s explaining what’s going on and to answer any of their questions.

And thirdly, try to get them to see their case more objectively, and less emotionally.

It’s important to try to get them to advance their case. To get it settled quickly and fairly.

I try to bring a level of compassion, empathy and kindness. It helps develop trust and it really makes a huge difference.

Gillian also works at Melbourne’s Bialik College’s Early Centre using the Reggio Emilia approach to early learning. It operates on the premise that early childhood education is the combined job of the parents, teachers, and community.

She added: “This award this an incredible honour that I wouldn’t have imagined come my way. It has been very rewarding for me to be able to be able to help people who are very much in need and who really appreciate the support.

I planned to be a Court Networker when it was first founded by Carmel Benjamin some 25 years ago. A few years late, the time came when I was available to join the volunteers. I hope to continue for many more years to come.

I am very passionate about what I do.”


Brigetta Paneth

Brigetta PANETH, Balaclava Vic 3183

For service to the community of Melbourne through a range of roles.

Service includes:

Volunteer with a range of Jewish community organisations including:

Melbourne Chevra Kadisha, ’45 years’.

Emunah Women’s Group, ‘over 50 years’.

Yeshiva-Beth Rivkah Colleges, ‘over 30 years’.

Brigitta Paneth told J-Wire that it is she who appreciates the sanctuary the Australian Government gave her family in 1939.

“Together with my parents, brother, sister, I came on a cargo boat from Germany to Australia in 1939 and it was the last boat. It was a miracle, otherwise we would have been sent to Auschwitz.

“I remember stopping in Cape Town just before Pesach and the Captain allowed us to go on shore to buy a saucepan, potato and beetroot to make food we could eat.

“My aunt here sponsored us. My parents had no money or profession but we were so grateful to be here. Whatever I have done, I have done for the community and have enjoyed doing it.

“I have so much to be grateful for” she said.


Joseph Andrew STEINER, Stonyfell SA 5066

For service to the visual arts, and to community history.

Service includes:

Andrew Steiner

Founder and Director, Remember the Holocaust – Compassion for All Foundation, since 2015.

Guest Lecturer, University of Adelaide, ‘for many years’.

Friend, Migration Museum, ‘for many years’.

Contributor, Raoul Wallenberg Exhibition, South Australian State Library, 2015.

Contributor, Conversations with Regina: A Celebration of the Remarkable Life of Regina Zielinski, 2014-2015.

Curator, Remember the Holocaust: Art and the Holocaust, 2010.

Fellow, Royal South Australian Society of Arts, since 1992; President, 1995-1997; Active Member, ‘for many years’.

Artist/Sculptor, works include:

Twelve Tribes stained glass windows, Adelaide Hebrew Congregation, 2000.

Burnside Civic Centre Sculpture (for the third millennium), 2000.

Various Stained Glass Windows, Adelaide Beit Shalom Synagogue.

Ukaria Culture Centre, Homage to Nature, Bird in flight.

Andrew Steiner told J-Wire that it was extraordinary privilege to receive the honour.

“I hope the recognition that I have received will be helpful with the Remember the Holocaust – Compassion for All Foundation which I founded in 2015.

It is quite timely because the Foundation has found a home in Wakefield Street, Adelaide in a heritage building adjacent to St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.  It is due to open later this year.

“ I believe in what is an historical first, the Catholic Church has given over some of the three-storied building and has co-operated with the Foundation to provide a home for its permanent exhibition” he said.

As it happens, Mr Steiner’s birthday lunch has been organised for June 12 so he will have the pleasure of sharing his news with family and friends.

“I celebrated the anniversary of my barmitzvah at shul yesterday, so it is a memorable weekend for me” he said.

“It’s a wonderful birthday present” he said.


Did we forget someone you know?  If so, please email 

This report was produced by Roz Tarszisz and Henry Benjamin


2 Responses to “The Queen’s Birthday Awards – The 2017 Jewish honourees”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    With about 25 Jewish recipients of the AC, AO, AM and OAM out of a population of about 80,000 in Auatraiia this result, on a per capita basis, represents ten times more than other Australians out of a population of about 24 million.


    I think it is wonderful to see what our Jewish Community contribute to the well being of this country So proud
    I have never said this before.
    Wherever the Jewish people live they always try to do the best for that country that they live in

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.