Yitzchak Feiglin took hold of the reins of the Melbourne Jewish Charity Fund (MJCF) from founding chairman, Herschel Klein 18 years ago.
Feiglin, now preparing to make aliyah, is passing them on to long-serving board member and director, Benny Berkowitz, who will join him as co-chair for a 12-month transition period.
“This will give Benny the opportunity to learn and be mentored, just as I was mentored by Herschel Klein,” Feiglin said.
CEO Yoni Paluch praised Feiglin for his role in building the organisation to become the largest financial welfare provider in the Melbourne Jewish community and for his countless hours of dedication to those less fortunate in the Jewish community.
“For many, Yitzchak Feiglin has become synonymous with Jewish charity in our community,” Paluch said.
“Though he operates under the radar and without fanfare, he has made an immeasurable difference to the lives of so many families in need.
“He is a tireless advocate for those who, due to a myriad of circumstances, are struggling to cope with life’s challenges.”
MJCF services range from rental and housing subsidies, Jewish festival assistance and food vouchers, to support for basic living costs, healthcare and counselling services.
“While the scale of the organisation has expanded exponentially over the past few decades, its founding ethos remains the same, Feiglin said.
“Our mantra is simple. We are here to help people. If we hear of a family in need, we will reach out to them to see how we can ease their suffering and restore dignity and hope.
“Our mandate is to offer support with sensitivity and compassion, and without judgement. We aim to ensure no vulnerable family is ever turned away.”
As a non-partisan organisation, the MJCF offers support across the spectrum of Melbourne’s Jewish community – from families struggling to afford housing or pay utility bills, to parents seeking help with ongoing care for children with disabilities.
Long-time board member Avi Gilboa paid tribute to Feiglin’s leadership and legacy.
“Yitzchak has made a disproportionate contribution to the MJCF, dedicating tens of thousands of hours in support of those in need over so many years. Like Herschel Klein, z’l, he has never asked for thanks or recognition for his tireless work.”
Gilboa said Berkowitz had “big shoes to fill, but he has certainly earned the position”.
“Like Yitzchak, I am sure he will do a great job.”