‘Grande dame of Sydney Jewry’ mourned

‘Grande dame of Sydney Jewry’ mourned

Joy Balkind, who passed away earlier this month aged 95, has been remembered as 'a true doyenne of the community'.

Joy Balkind. Photo: Giselle Haber
Joy Balkind. Photo: Giselle Haber

THE community “is poorer” for the passing of Joy Balkind, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) CEO Vic Alhadeff says.

Balkind, who passed away earlier this month aged 95, devoted her time and support to a number of causes over many years, including JBOD, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), WIZO, the Fund for Jewish Higher Education and Nefesh. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011.

“Joy Balkind was a true doyenne of the community,” Alhadeff said.

“Not only did she serve as honorary secretary of JBOD and as a stalwart of both WIZO and the Fund for Jewish Higher Education, but she would dispense advice at board meetings in her characteristically understated way, always sound, unfailingly thoughtful.” 

ECAJ co-CEO and Fund for Jewish Higher Education chairman Peter Wertheim said Balkind will be greatly missed by those who worked with her.

“Joy was truly a grande dame of Sydney Jewry, a rare person who was thoroughly imbued with a sense of communal service,” he said.

“I remember sitting with her at board executive meetings. She never tried to dominate the discussion or make herself the focus … but when she did speak her contributions were always well-considered and worthwhile.”

He added, “In her quiet but effective way, Joy saw the need and was a wonderful supporter of university Jewish studies courses for many years.”

WIZO president Diane Symonds said, “[We] will always be indebted to Joy for her dedication and commitment over so many years.

“Joy was an active member of WIZO for over 60 years and held various positions on the NSW executive but mostly as treasurer as she was pragmatic, methodical, extremely organised and highly intelligent,” she said. 

“Her knowledge of the history of our community was invaluable to the organisation. Whenever there was a WIZO project that needed funding she would personally make sure we reached our target.”

Rabbi Aron Moss said Balkind was the first major donor for Nefesh’s new centre. 

“When she saw young families with little kids running around the shule, she saw the Jewish future of Sydney and wanted to support it.

“Her selfless devotion to the common good will be remembered always,” he said.

Recalling her as “a caring, loving and generous aunt to her nieces and nephew”, nephew David Kessler said Balkind “was committed to helping those in need”.

He told how the USYD science graduate embodied her father Zorach’s business acumen and her mother Esther’s fine character.

“She was a woman of worth, cultured character, intellectual and moral stature, and good deeds.”

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