THERE were winners in seven categories at the 2019 Jewish Changemaker Awards but JNF Australia CEO Dan Springer praised the 66 nominees from all over Australia as “all being winners … our leaders of the future”.
The annual awards, presented by JNF Australia and B’nai B’rith, acknowledge contributions made by Jewish youth (U18s) and young adults (aged 18-35) through volunteerism.
B’nai B’rith Alfred Dreyfus Unit president Ernie Friedlander said with antisemitism on the rise, it is even more important to “recognise the achievements of our young people, and the impact they’re making in society”.
The major prizewinner was Canberra resident Sarah Greenbaum, who won the B’nai B’rith Award for Leadership. Greenbaum recently served as vice-president of the ACT Jewish Community and chair of its Progressive Congregation. She played a critical role in developing the congregation, and also planned a successful Limmud program.
The youth contribution to Australian society award was won by Sydney’s Elia Gil-Munoz.
Crediting her mum, Claire, for instilling in her the value of volunteering, Gil-Munoz was recognised for helping to repair a school during an Emanuel School Generosity Abroad trip to Kenya, and for regularly volunteering for JNF, Thread Together, Montefiore Home, JewishCare and Chifley Public School reading group.
Emanuel School’s Miriam Itzkowitz won the youth award for contribution to the Jewish community, for her efforts with organisations including the Friendship Circle, JNF, MDA and Betar.
“The Jewish community is kind to me, so I feel I want to help out,” Itzkowitz said, adding that her younger brother Alexander, who is on the autism spectrum, is a strong source of inspiration.
Hatzofim Sydney branch volunteers and youth leaders, Roy Halberstadt and Leanne Juter, were the youth winners for contribution to Israel.
“The Good Box” social enterprise co-founders – Queensland residents Gali Blacher and Maddy Jones – and Sydney’s Ben Wilheim, founder of the “Remember September” pancreatic cancer fundraising campaign, won young adult awards for contribution to Australia.
The winners for young adult contribution to the Jewish community were Sydney’s Haim Ayalon, a UIA Young Leadership stalwart, and Jordan Cohen, an active Hatzolah and CSG volunteer and a former head of NSW AZYC.