Volume 31 Issue 1 04 Feb 2022 3 Adar I 5782

Calling all swimmers

Sonia Newell – Development Officer – Alumni & Community Relations

Welcome back – I hope you are all well and had a wonderful summer break, albeit possibly not quite what you had planned thanks to Omicron. If you are new to the School, welcome to you too. This page in Ma Nishma each week is a forum for sharing community news that I hope is of interest to our readers. Gesher is the Hebrew word for “bridge” and some years ago, it was chosen as the name for the committee that brings the whole School community together in a friend-building capacity. The committee members represent the many parts of our extended School community and although last year was spent mostly in lockdown, we were still able to find ways to stay connected. Our private art gallery tour was the only “real-life” event we managed to squeeze in between lockdown periods. 

Our Gesher committee comprises parent and Board member Daniela Freed as chair, with members Andrew Watt, School Principal; Bettina Muscnik, past parent; grandparents Kathy Passman and Tammy Keller; current parents Carli Rothman and Samantha Butt (also an alumna) plus alumni Joshua Moses (Class of 2011) and Asha Friedman (Class of 2020); Michelle Favero, our Marketing and Communications Manager, and me. All our meetings for most of the past two years were held on Zoom so we eagerly look forward to meeting again in person and organising some exciting events for 2022, so watch this space!

Grandparents – we will always want you!

Ma Nishma each week remains one of the best ways to stay connected with our School and with our community no matter where in the world you live. Please help us to get our grandparents database updated by sending through grandparent contact details so they too can read Ma Nishma to find out what is happening at School, albeit it only online for now. They will also get our Grandparents and Friends newsletters which you can see along with our alumni newsletters. Living interstate and/or overseas, means some of “our” grandparents never have an opportunity to come to School, so connecting electronically can be really meaningful and a great way for them to see what their grandchildren are doing at School in spite of the distance apart. As we still cannot have visitors on campus Ma Nishma and our Community Facebook (FB) page are great ways to stay connected with us. If not already a member of our FB page, join here.

Camp Sababa

Despite 2021 being a difficult year for everyone, the team at JewishCare’s Camp Sababa was determined to ensure this flagship event went ahead. In December 53 campers attended junior and senior camps accompanied by 90 volunteer buddies from the community who were committed to making Camp Sababa an unforgettable experience. This group of buddies for junior camp included seven members of our Class of 2021, six of whom are in this photo:

Back Row: Romi Lapidge and Dean Reuveny
Middle Row: Jared Robinson and Zac Greenberg
Front Row: Ben Torban and Jade Berson
Plus Elia Gil-Munoz (not in the photo)

There were another 30 volunteers on hand including nurses and the overnight team. Taking place in the Blue Mountains, the three-day camp was filled with fun, excitement and adventure. “It was an amazing camp, particularly after such a challenging year,” said alumna Maya Pollak (Class of 2001) from the organising committee. Camp Sababa has been running for more than 15 years and is sponsored by The Sony Foundation, JCA and the Wolper Jewish Hospital Foundation. This support has enabled the camp to grow each year and provide even more support to people with special needs in the community.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you

The summer break was not a great time for some – we were saddened to hear of the devastation in Tonga following the recent volcano and tsunami. Our thoughts and prayers are with Alisa (Class of 2001) and Jeff Siale and their daughters who are in Kindergarten and Year 3 here at Emanuel. Jeff’s mum, sister, brother and other close relatives live in the village of Kanokupolu which has been completely destroyed. Please click on the article ‘Tikkun Tonga’ in this week’s edition of Ma Nishma for more information and how Emanuel School is planning on helping to rebuild the village.   


We wish mazal tov to alumni Mitch Burnie (Class of 2011), Hannah Beder (Class of 2012) and Chloe Corne (Class 17), who all received Highly Commended awards at the 2021 JNF/B’nai B’rith Jewish Changemaker Awards night in mid-December. If you missed the event you can view it here. We also congratulate Rikki Stern (Class of 2016), Jordana Blackman (Class of 2017), Nadia Coburn (Class of 2017), Sean Torban (Class of 2018) and Miriam Itzkowitz (Class of 2020) for their worthy nominations. We know many of our current students as well as our graduates volunteer in so many capacities in our Jewish community as well as the wider community, and we would love to see nominations for them at this year’s awards. 

Mazal tov
to the Kummerfeld/Kay family

Three Australian Research Council (ARC) grants were awarded to the Kummerfeld family: Jonathan Kummerfeld (Class of 2005 and soon to be Emanuel parent) won a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA), whilst his mother Professor Judy Kay and his sister, Associate Professor Sarah Kummerfeld (Class of 1997 and current parent) were both awarded ARC Discovery Project grants. Jonathan is currently at Harvard University, Massachusetts and will return to Sydney mid 2022 with his wife and two sons to take on the position of Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science at The University of Sydney.

Friendship Circle

Shoshi Blackman at Friendship Gallery

Some of our students and alumni volunteered at the various Friendship Circle activities during the summer break as well as at Friendship Bakery. If you would like to support the Bakery, it is located at Mark Moran Vaucluse, in Laguna Street. A social enterprise initiative of The Friendship Circle engaging young adults with disabilities in the local community through skills development and workplace experiences, I’m sure you’ll love their delicious challahs as well as savoury and sweet delights. Know someone in isolation? Friendship Bakery will be doing Wednesday deliveries in the Eastern Suburbs starting Wednesday 9 February 2022. Soups, salads, quiches and sweat treats – delivered to your loved one’s home. These are perfect for lunch or a light mid-week dinner. Please place your orders by Tuesday 5.00 pm for delivery on Wednesday between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm.  

If you’re at the Bakery, say “hi” to alumna Shoshi Blackman (Class of 2017) who volunteers there week in week out.

If you have any questions, about Friendship Circle and/or if you or someone you know would like to join their programs as a participant or volunteer, please email: hello@sydneyfc.org.au.


Calling all swimmers

Maccabi Swimming Club President, Emanuel parent Elan Miller would love to see our students, parents as well as fit and active grandparents, sign up for this year’s event on Sunday 27 February. 

The one-armed saxophonist

Sad news for those who remember Neill Duncan, known as the “one armed saxophone player” (after amputation of his left arm due to sarcoma some years ago), past Emanuel music tutor and Klezmer Band member who sadly passed away on 28 December 2021. Alumma Micayla Laurence (Class of 2015) shared: “He gave me his soprano sax a few years ago and it’s still playing”. Donny Janks (Class of 2012): “He was such a great teacher. I still have fond memories of his band The Jews Brothers, playing Dunking Bagels in the MPH”.

Parent Safety Group (PSG)

A huge “thank you” to parents and grandparents who are already members of our vital PSG. We encourage more of our able-bodied readers to join up too. Please contact esadmin@sydpsg.com for more information on what is involved and how to be part of this very important team which helps to keep our campus and students safe. Parent Elan Miller is not only Maccabi Swimming Club President, he also sits on the Emanuel Security committee as Head of PSG.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my page this week. We look forward to sharing our news and yours, so if you have photos or news you would like to share with us, please send to Sonia Newell.              

Shabbat shalom, stay safe and have a great weekend.