AUSTRALIAN Jewish News stalwart Joshua Levi was posthumously honoured with a Changemaker Award on Monday night for his outstanding contributions to Australian society, the Jewish community and Israel.
Levi, who passed away in February at the age of 36, worked on the paper for 10 years and went on to become its deputy editor and later CEO.
At this week’s B’nai B’rith and JNF Jewish Changemaker Awards ceremony, hosted via Zoom, it was announced that a new category is being added to the annual awards in his honour.
The Joshua Levi Professional Changemaker Award will recognise young communal professionals who excel in their field.
The awards, until now, have been volunteer-based.
Presenting the inaugural award to Levi’s family, AJN national editor Zeddy Lawrence said, “Everything [Josh] wrote was for the public interest and for the communal interest. It was about making the Jewish community a better, safer and more honest environment for all of its members.
“As a community, it is incumbent on us to encourage others to follow in his footsteps and to recognise their endeavours.”
In the youth category this year, the JNF Award for Contribution to the Jewish Community was jointly won by Emanuel School students Chloe Miller and Liat Granot. The pair has served in a variety of capacities in volunteering and partnering for the celebration and advancement of Jewish life at school and in the wider Sydney community.
Fellow Emanuel student Lara Fosbery jointly won the award for Contribution to Australian Society for her passionate engagement with sustainability and climate action; Adam Leizer of Moriah College also won the award for his volunteer work with Kids Giving Back, COA, Scouts and Music for Mateship.
Meanwhile, Tzofim madrich Jonathan Francis took home the award for Contribution to the State of Israel for his effort with the Israeli Scouts in Australia.
In the young adult category, the award for Contribution to the Jewish Community was jointly won by Dane Stern, who is involved in a range of communal organisations including the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and AUJS WA president Dylan Kotkis for his work in raising the profile and presence of young members of the Perth Jewish community.
The Contribution to the State of Israel award went to Yoel Benn for his involvement in Habonim Dror Perth and commitment to the values of justice, tikkun olam, and individual and communal responsibility.
Communal identity Simone Starikov won the award for Contribution to Australian Society for her efforts in arranging an event to raise funds for the NSW Rural Fire Service in the wake of the devastating bushfires, and for connecting young Australians – both Jewish and non-Jewish – with the memory of the Holocaust.
Lastly, the B’nai B’rith Award for Leadership went to Jarod Rhine-Davis for his work in repairing relationships between the Australian queer and Jewish communities, and for facilitating cross-community collaboration opportunities.
JNF national executive assistant Etty Ayalon said, “We aim to acknowledge the outstanding pool of passionate activists in our community, supporting them on their journey in becoming young professionals and leaders.
“As a community we should be extremely proud of all the nominees and their achievements.”