SYDNEY’S Bert Rosenberg, who passed away on April 6 just two months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, is being remembered as “a true Maccabi legend” whose positive spirit and passion for tennis will live on forever.
Rosenberg’s on-court achievements were substantial, and his off-court commitments to supporting Jewish sport were inspirational.
He made his Maccabiah Games debut for Australia in 1983 and only missed one chapter of the games for the next 34 years, winning many medals in singles and doubles along the way.
Just last year, he medalled in the men’s masters singles at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Mexico City at the age of 87 and won the Australian 85+ men’s national championships, earning an Australian singles ranking for that age category of six, and a world ranking of 45.
He finished the year by representing Australia at the ITF Super Seniors Tennis World Championships in Croatia.
The adored grandfather of nine – and father of Lance, Anton and Justin Rosenberg – had even registered to play at the next Maccabiah Games before his cancer diagnosis.
“He had recommenced training in January and was as active as ever – he even said he had a 10-year plan!” Lance Rosenberg said.
“He was remarkable.”
Maccabi Australia chairman Barry Smorgon told The AJN that as head of the Australian delegation for the 2022 Maccabiah Games, “Bert was one of the names I had in mind to captain the team, such is the respect and esteem in which he is held.
“I was able to witness his bronze medal winning game in soaring heat at the Maccabi Pan Ams last July, and the joy of that medal draped around his neck is a lingering memory for me.
“He had a unique ability, despite his age, to connect to the entire team.
“His legacy will be an enduring one from every perspective, and he will be sadly missed as a Maccabi friend, supporter and participant.”
Maccabi Australia president Jeff Sher said, “I was in awe of his energy, passion for tennis and desire to be involved in the Maccabi experience.
“His youthful enthusiasm and joy rubbed off on all those around him.”
Maccabi NSW president Lauren Ehrlich, who captained the Australian tennis team at last year’s Maccabi Pan Ams, said getting to know and play alongside ‘Bertie’ “was an absolute privilege”.
“Always encouraging, Bertie epitomised the true meaning of mensch,” Ehrlich said.
“Bertie was never one to boast, but his huge medal haul and senior international ranking speaks for itself.
“He is a legend, and he’ll be sorely missed by all who knew him around the globe.”
In a message on behalf of Maccabi White City Tennis Club, its president Jeremy Fisher said, “Bert’s smiling face, competitive spirit, positive attitude and spirit will remain in our hearts and minds forever.”
Earlier this month, Maccabi NSW posthumously awarded Rosenberg its 2019 Masters Sportsman of the Year award.