Service returns to museum
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NAJEX & remembrance day

Service returns to museum

'In truth, there are veterans of all ages, as we are reminded every year at this service, when they are invited to stand. Today's service is not an exercise in history, but in memory …and as a Jewish community, we are particularly well trained to achieve this.'

NSW Governor and NAJEX patron Margaret Beazley, and her husband Dennis Wilson, at the service. Photo: Shane Desiatnik
NSW Governor and NAJEX patron Margaret Beazley, and her husband Dennis Wilson, at the service. Photo: Shane Desiatnik

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley recited the prayer for serving members, laid a wreath, and presented youth awards last Sunday, at the first in-person NSW Association of Jewish Service and Ex-Service Men and Women (NAJEX) Remembrance Day service since 2019.

Held at the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM), the well-attended service was introduced by the Great Synagogue’s Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, who revealed that a new member of his congregation, a man in his 30s, had served in the Australian Defence Force, in peacekeeping operations in the Solomon Islands.

“It can be easy for the general public to think, mistakenly, that commemorations such as today’s, only concern events of long ago, and far away,” Rabbi Elton said.

“In truth, there are veterans of all ages, as we are reminded every year at this service, when they are invited to stand.

“Today’s service is not an exercise in history, but in memory …and as a Jewish community, we are particularly well trained to achieve this.”

Prayers, wreath laying, the recital of the Ode to the Fallen, kindling of memorial lights, the Last Post performed by bugler Samara Freedman from Moriah College, and a minute’s silence in memory of fallen Diggers, were moving elements of the service.

Guest speaker Kevin Sumption, the SJM’s CEO and former CEO of the Australian Maritime Museum – whose father served in the British Royal Air Force – reflected upon a restoration project he had led of Australia’s only floating war memorial, the wooden ship the Krait, docked in Darling Harbour.

The boat was used in two daring covert raids, in 1943 and 1944, aimed at mining Japanese ships in Singapore Harbour, but the second one, Operation Rimau, proved disastrous when their cover was blown.

“Of the 23 men who set off from Exmouth in Western Australia on a 4000km trip on this boat, none were to return,” Sumption said.

At the end of the service, Governor Beazley presented 2022 NAJEX Youth Leadership Awards to a selected student from each of Sydney’s Jewish schools.

The recipients were Tanna Segal (Mount Sinai College), Chana Shapiro (Kesser Torah College), Bailey Perlstein (Moriah College), Edward Schamschula (Masada College) and Eden Levit (Emanuel School).

NAJEX president Roger Selby said, “It is so pleasing to have so many young people attending this service – from Jewish students to the 3rd Rose Bay Judean Scouts. We want you to know how important that is, and how grateful we are.”

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