Farewell to a true leader, and a mensch
Vale Jeremy Jones

Farewell to a true leader, and a mensch

National editor of The AJN Gareth Narunsky shares his reflections of "rarest of human beings" Jeremy Jones.

Jeremy Jones and Gareth Narunsky before the 2014 NRL Grand Final. Photo: Noel Kessel
Jeremy Jones and Gareth Narunsky before the 2014 NRL Grand Final. Photo: Noel Kessel

Whenever I would ring Jeremy Jones, no matter the reason for the call, we would always start by discussing the most important topic of the day. Which was Rugby League of course.

Those who knew Jeremy know what a passionate fan he was of the South Sydney Rabbitohs – I myself am a long-suffering Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs fan – and we would spend at least five minutes discussing our respective teams, the state of the NRL more generally and whatever news or gossip had come out of the previous weekend’s round of footy.

Indeed, when I saw Jeremy at an AIJAC Rambam event in late July, the first thing I asked him was his assessment of a Souths player who had signed with the Dogs for next year. When I left that event, we made a verbal agreement to catch up for lunch in Centennial Park.

What I didn’t know then was it was the last time I was going to see him.

Much has been said in these pages about the man Jeremy Jones was: a passionate advocate and communal leader, an intellectual, a mensch.

Jeremy was also one of those rare people that made time for, and forged a unique connection with, everyone. His quick wit endeared him to all.

In addition to dealing with Jeremy through my role at The AJN, I also had the good fortune to work with him for two years at AIJAC, between 2016 and 2018, and witness his brilliance firsthand. He had an intricate understanding of the issues Jews in Australia and around the world face and the ability to enunciate them in an impossibly clear way; he forged relationships across divides; he represented our community with absolute distinction. I consider myself lucky to have had that opportunity to learn from him.

Even once I returned to The AJN, I knew I could always call Jeremy to ask advice on a story or just to chat about the issues of the day – and footy, of course.

For someone who kept himself so healthy, Jeremy’s diagnosis in late 2021 was a cruel stroke of bad luck; yet in his typical style, he defied the medical odds and carried on, continuing to cram every day and make the most of his time.

The multitude of tributes – some from overseas – in the days following his passing speaks volumes.

Jeremy Jones was the rarest of human beings. The world is a far poorer place on account of him no longer being in it.

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