Bernard J. Lustig Memorial Scholarship

Support outstanding tertiary students in the achievement of their potential as scholars and as leaders in our community

The B’nai B’rith Bernard J. Lustig Scholarship is now in its 67th year, having been established by B’nai B’rith Youth Melbourne in 1956 to commemorate its second President, Bernard J. Lustig, a brilliant young barrister, who tragically died in a car accident in January 1955.

The $2,500 scholarship is offered in two separate categories:

  1. A research grant to master’s and doctoral thesis candidates, and
  2. A travel grant to outstanding student leaders at university level, to fund overseas travel to participate in leadership development programs.

The criteria for assessing scholarship applications are:

  • Academic ability
  • Leadership ability and track record
  • Involvement in the life of the Jewish and wider community


Recipients of the 2022 Bernard J. Lustig Scholarship:

Sammy Brygel, Isabel Gelb and Alon Meltzer

Mt Scopus Jewish Studies teacher Rabbi Sammy Brygel has been awarded a travel grant to enable him to attend Yeshiva Shapell’s – Darche Noam for a year. The immersive Yeshiva experience will provide Sammy with professional development as a Jewish Studies teacher. Additionally, Sammy and his wife Esther will be joining the World Mizrachi Shalhevet program – a program designed to train young educator and rabbinical couples as they lead communities in the diaspora.

Isabel Gelb, a student of Monash University, holds Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce degrees and will be using the Scholarship travel grant to further her studies abroad at King’s College London. She is looking forward to availing herself of the many leadership and volunteering opportunities available in London.

Rabbi Alon Meltzer, Rabbi of Or Chadash Synagogue and the Director of Programs at Shalom, is currently studying a PhD at LaTrobe University’s Law School. He has been awarded a research grant to enable him to write his thesis on “Digital Fidelity: how social media has impacted on Modern Orthodox Jews and their relationship with Jewish law and the rabbinic establishment”. This fascinating research will not only inform current research on the trends and impacts of social media across society, but will also delve into its effect on Jewish legal texts and processes.

We wish all our scholarship recipients the best of luck with their travels and their studies.


Scholarship Background

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 female 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 speechwriter 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. One winner was a school counsellor researching for a master’s degree in psychology. In 2019, three scholarships were awarded, to an outstanding law student, to a musician preparing a PhD, and to a philosophy graduate who went to Oxford to write a thesis on ethical issues of artificial intelligence.


Award board listing all recipients of the scholarship in the B’nai B’rith office