TRIBUTES have flown in for Mizrachi Synagogue’s oldest member Hersz Friedman, who passed away on September 13, aged 100.
A Bondi Beach legend, Friedman would often be spotted enjoying a walk and a chat along the beach’s promenade early in the mornings for more than half a century.
A mural that his family painted of him as a present to honour his 100th birthday on January 1 remains a wonderful reminder of his zest for life, and love for Bondi and its people.
At 100, he still lived independently, drove, went to shule, cooked Sunday lunches for his children, ran a Yiddish conversation group at COA Sydney and joined in its weekly activities.
Born in the eastern Polish town of Krasnostav, Friedman was 19 when Germany invaded.
He escaped to the Soviet Union for six years, then returned to Poland where he met Fay. In 1959 they migrated to Australia, with three young children in tow.
Mizrachi Synagogue’s Rabbi Shua Solomon told The AJN that Friedman was lovingly known as Zaida (grandpa in Yiddish) by his five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“But such was his presence at our shule for decades and decades, the Mizrachi congregation felt that Hersz was their Zaida too.
“Just a few months ago, before the COVID-19 outbreak, Hersz was still a regular at Shabbat morning services.
“He was constantly smiling, he’d never complain about anything, and we all really looked up to him.”
COA Sydney’s CEO Rachel Tanny said, “Hersz was the life of the party at COA and a consummate charmer, probably because of his unstoppable smile.
“He was an inspiration to us all, and after all the adversity he faced in his life, he never lost his positive outlook.
“Hersz grasped life with both hands and lived each day more fully than some people live entire years,” she said.
“He will be deeply missed.”