The B’nai B’rith Victoria Menorah Awards were established in 1978. They are presented annually to worthy recipients who:
Click HERE to read the latest (March '20) Newsletter
Category 1 Research Grant
Category 2 Travel Grant
Download the application form / guidelines
Click above to download the 2020 forms.
SIXTY YEARS ON, A LIVING MEMORIAL REMAINS
It happened in 1955. Summer holiday period. Hume Highway. Car, driver, two passengers. The car swerved off the road and hit a tree. A common event, a tragedy, more frequent then than today. Two young men died. The woman passenger survived.
The accident ended the life of Bernard Lustig, a brilliant young barrister, winner of the University of Melbourne’s Supreme Court Prize. He was the older son of Adolf and Kate Lustig, German refugees from Nazism who fled to Australia before the war. As the war ended Adolf helped found the first B'nai B'rith lodge in Melbourne.
Bernard followed in his father’s footsteps as a lawyer, although Adolf’s career in Munich was cut short by the Nuremberg Race Laws. Bernard also became interested in B'nai B'rith in 1951, becoming a founding member of B'nai B'rith Youth Melbourne and one of its earliest presidents.
His death generated a thought among the members of the BBY committee. Let’s establish a scholarship in his memory. Too ambitious, said some. But anyone who knew the late Pauline Richter (later Pauline Glass) would testify that this was a young woman who was motivated, capable and persistent. She won the day.
With financial contributions from B'nai B'rith Melbourne Lodge and its Women’s Chapter, the youth group set up a fund later that year, and awarded the first scholarships, to assist capable Year 12 students about to embark on a university course in 1956.
Six decades have passed, and the scholarship is now the oldest continuing B'nai B'rith project and the longest running scholarship in the Victorian Jewish community. As with any project that survives for so long, it has had to change with the times. The first scholarship was worth ₤50. Today, winners receive $2500. Winners are decided by a long-serving group of trustees comprising senior academics and representatives of the Lustig family.
The administration has changed. BBY Melbourne no longer exists: the scholarship is now a B'nai B'rith Victoria project. Instead of treasurers handling a couple of cheques, the scholarship receives some of its funding from an investment fund managed by the B'nai B'rith Charitable Fund (and from numerous individual donors).
Information technology has wrought changes too. Originally, applicants sent hand-written letters in response to an AJN ad. Now there are detailed guidelines and an extensive application form, submitted by email. Nearly all communications among the trustees are handled electronically.
The purpose of the scholarship has also altered since its early days. The scholarship is now offered in two categories: as a research grant to master’s and doctoral thesis candidates, and as a travel grant to outstanding student leaders at university level, to fund overseas travel to participate in leadership development programs.
Some recent winners have travelled to Israel to participate in short courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Another worked as a deputy speech-writer for the Israeli Mission at the United Nations in New York. A young medical practitioner was assisted to pursue post-graduate research at Harvard University. The major winner in 2017 was a school counsellor researching for a master’s degree in psychology.
Applications open in March each year and close at the end of April. Intending applicants should send an email to the B'nai B'rith Victoria Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, requesting a copy of the guidelines and an application form.
Download the program for Sunday's Concert.
2019 Showcase Committee.
"The booklet should be printed as a 2-sided document, short-edge binding"
The B'nai B'rith Showcase is a member of, and has accreditation with,
The Association of Eisteddfod Societies of Australia Inc.
This is the only Jewish Showcase in Australia and fulfills a specific need - it does not replicate what any other Jewish organisation is doing. Jewish musicians are enabled to compete in an officially recognised Showcase; as most are held on Shabbat, this competition acts as a bridge through all streams of Judaism - covering Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels (ages 8 - 25).
Register now and you too can be part of this exciting event!
Please see the attached files on the right for sign up information or phone the B'nai B'rith Office on
(03) 9523 0888 or email email@example.com
JUDY FIRESTONE-PODCAST PROMOTING SHOWCASE ON J-AIR 24/07/20
Our Solo Sections are:
Hebrew and Yiddish Vocal
Woodwind and Brass
In 2019, B’nai B’rith Vic celebrated its 27th year of holding the Jewish Youth Eisteddfod and
rebranded its name to ‘Showcase: Fostering Jewish Musical Talent’.
Its first chairperson was Rosalie Maller and its second was Esther Gross, who guided the project through until 2012, when ill health forced her retirement. Until then, it remained a special project of B’nai B’rith Unit Re’ut.
Andrew Kolb took over the chair of the Eisteddfod in 2014, and retired at the end of 2019.
During those 6 years, the Eisteddfod grew to 8 Heats namely: Classical Vocal, Contemporary Vocal, Hebrew and Yiddish Vocal, Woodwind, Classical Strings, Guitar, and Classical and Contemporary Piano.
It was also exciting to see a rapid rise in school ensemble participation.
There were performances from Melbourne’s four Jewish day schools: Mount Scopus Memorial College, Bialik College, King David School and Leibler Yavneh College.
Showcase is made possible by the generosity of the many donors and sponsors, including B’nai B’rith Victoria, the Pratt Foundation and Glen Eira City Council.
The Australian Jewish News kept people informed of our activities via advertising and featured articles.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Zelman Cowen was our distinguished patron. After his death, Lady Anna Cowen AM accepted the offer to become our new patron. This year, she will be joined by Mr
Doug Heywood OAM as Joint patron.
2020 is not like any other year that we have previously faced. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to try new options: Zoom meetings and Online Showcase 2020.
Who could have predicted this only 3 months ago? 2020 will certainly be a different type of Showcase without ensemble participation.
On behalf of the Showcase Committee I would like to thank our new chair Judy Firestone.
We cannot do this without community help and support. Together we can be triumphant.
Chair of Showcase (formerly Eisteddfod) 2014-2019
Making a Difference is a project (of Melbourne Mitzvah Lodge) which has been running since 1996. In that time we have raised some $150,000 from our members and their friends and given away bursaries to 219 Year 11 & 12 Jewish financially disadvantaged students to the end of 2015. Usually our money is raised by our members when they have simchas and request that their friends make a donation to 'Making a Difference' instead of bringing a gift, or other happy or sad occasions. Sometimes members give donations for no reason at all! Sometimes the Executive give us a donation to cover a bursary or Melbourne Mitzvah Lodge has a function during the year for us.
We have no administration costs and every dollar received is used for these bursaries. We only accept requests from school welfare co-ordinators. In 2015, we received requests from 8 schools who nominated some 18 students for 2016. After careful and lengthy deliberations, the committee decided to award 13 bursaries to the amount of $14,000. 11 were for amounts of $1000 each and the two most needy students received $1500 each, i.e. for the Sylvia Klein Bursary and the Herbert & Viva Leder Bursary both named in honour of long serving, much loved but deceased members of our committee.
We would be delighted to receive donations from people outside our Lodge should they wish to support our wonderful work.
You are welcome to make a direct deposit or forward cheques to:
B'nai B'rith Victoria
306 Hawthorn Road
Caulfield South VIC 3162
(please mark cheques 'Making a Difference' )
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKING A DIFFERENCE GROUP
B'nai B'rith Melbourne Mitzvah Lodge
Attention: Jewish Students
Whether we are happy or sad, it is our responsibility to assist others less fortunate through Tzedakah. For 20 years Making a Difference has been dedicated to fulfilling this Mitzvah by providing assistance for financially disadvantaged Jewish students. We need your help to raise money so that we can ensure all Jewish students can have access to education.
Account Name: B’nai Brith Charitable Trust
Account Number: 900128923
Include Reference: MAD + surname/name of special occasion
Connect with Making a Difference on Facebook
BBVIC - A New Community Service Project
Click and Connect (C&C) is a Melbourne-based organisation that got off the ground in 2016. Their project is already under way, helping students in four schools in various parts of Israel.
Dr Paul Gardner AM has agreed to be the initial liaison between BBVic and C&C. Here are his thoughts about how B'nai B'rith might be able to assist:
“I have met with some of their leadership on two occasions and have been impressed by their vision and their competence. For them to grow, they require more resources, especially human resources. This is a hands-on-the-internet-direct-help project, not a fund-raising exercise.
So, here’s how you might become involved:
Are you a retired teacher willing to spend an hour every fortnight on the internet with a particular child in Israel?
Or if not a teacher, would you enjoy having a conversation in English about any topics of mutual interest? (The aim is not to cover a curriculum, simply to encourage the kid to talk.)
Or, if direct conversation with kids is not your forte, would you be willing to provide volunteer assistance to C&C to help out with managing their project?
Do you know anyone in your circle of family and friends – they don’t have to be B'nai B'rith members – who might be interested in helping out in some way?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES! -- and I would love to get some enthusiastic YES! responses – please contact me.”
email@example.com 9578 4724 0412 275 623
Fellowship Group Concert: provides an outing which includes afternoon tea and entertainment once a month to senior citizens who either come from independent living or aged care facilities. Our volunteers offer transport to the event, where possible.
Volunteers prepare and serve afternoon tea. Many of the entertainers provide their services for free or a reduced rate.
Proceeds go to B’nai B’rith projects.
For more details, please contact Cera at 0412 304 894
All photos on this page, thanks to Judi Schiff Photography (click on photo to see the full picture)
BBVIC runs 3-4 main charitable collectathons throughout the year. This year, we had the pre-Pesach Food Collectathon for Impact For Women, and we had a Blitz Winter Clothing and Blankets Collectathon for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation.
Our Hatikvah Unit meet on a regular basis to make calico dolls for the Royal Children’s Hospital, and are currently collecting blankets and linens for the RSPCA Collection.
Unit Akiba are running the Great Book Swap fundraiser in aide of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
Gesher Unit are joining with JECO to do a reverse garage sale.
We are also currently having a drought appeal along with BBANZ for the farmers who are going through this terrible ordeal.
Year round we collect glasses to be sent to Israel in conjunction with TBI. If you have any spare specs, visit the BBVic office and we'll collect them for you.
BBVic remains dedicated to raising awareness of important issues and helping out those less fortunate than us.
To find out more about BBVic projects, see below.
BBANZ is holding a Drought Appeal for farmers who are currently suffering severe hardships. The Appeal will be through the BB Foundation and is Tax Deductible. The farmers are having it tough at the moment so all monies collected will be going directly to them.
Courage to Care encourages individual acts of courage, social activism, action against apathy, a sense of empathy, a better understanding of history.
Chairman (NSW): Juliet Seifert
Chairman (Victoria): Tony Weldon
Courage to Care is a major outreach program and travelling exhibition, designed to show people of all ages, all races and all persuasions that the individual can make a difference in a society which no longer cares, and that all of us has a personal responsibility to ourselves, our family and our community.
Learn more about how B'nai B'rith Australia / New Zealand is making an impact in communities across our region.