Tributes are flowing for Jewish communal stalwart, philanthropist, and businessman Joseph Brender, who passed away in Sydney on Tuesday, aged 92.
Krakow-born Brender was a former president of UIA and Sydney’s Central Synagogue, a life member of Hakoah Club, and a committed donor to organisations in Australia and abroad.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1985 for his service to the community, and to industry.
Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon said Brender’s loss “will be mourned beyond Australia”.
“His passion, generosity and altruism will be remembered in Israel, where his contributions helped to build important national institutions, such as Tel Aviv University,” he said.
“His love and affection for Israel and its people left a lasting impression on me.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry deputy president Robert Goot called Brender “one of the giants of the Sydney Jewish community”.
“Joseph was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, an astute leader with a very sharp mind, and he was a committed and proud Jew, whose support for the community, and Israel, was legendary.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council national chairman Mark Leibler and executive director Colin Rubenstein said while Brender’s impressive accomplishments in the broader community and philanthropy are well acknowledged, “Joseph was also a tower of strength in the growth of the Australian Jewish community, and a champion of Israel.” They noted he was “one of the key figures” in establishing AIJAC’s Sydney office.
Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said Brender “epitomised the success story of the Australian Jewish community”.
“Joseph was a proud Zionist, who generously gave his time and financial support.”
UIA NSW president Gary Perlstein described Brender as “one of the great pioneers of communal leadership”.
“What made his giving so profound is it came with wisdom, love and care.”
A spokesperson for Moriah College also added, “the Moriah College Board of Directors, Trustees, Foundation Board Members, Staff and the entire Moriah family, express their heartfelt condolences to Gerda, Michelle, Steven and the entire family on the sad passing of Joseph Brender AO (z’l).”
“Joseph is very fondly remembered by the Moriah family particularly for his outstanding lifetime commitment to the Jewish community, especially through UIA and Central Synagogue, and also for his continued and munificent support of Moriah over decades and as a benefactor with Sam Moss (z’l) of the College’s Brender Moss Library which has provided thousands of Moriah College students with a central space providing tools and resources to learn and study.
Joseph will be sorely missed.
May Joseph’s memory be a blessing to all who knew him.”