Pictured above: David, Diane and Jonathan Shteinman
From Danny Rosing:
This Tuesday I attended the official opening, in the Old City of Jerusalem, of the Bob Shteinman Plugat Hakotel Museum.
It was a moving experience, about 200 people filled the small hall in the Western Wall tunnel, exquisitely carved under the Cardo and an attractive buffet spread was laid out surrounded by colourful posters and TV monitors showing aspects of the museum and covering the ceremony, film and speeches.
Neriya Meir, the head of World Betar, presented a film Betar made depicting the story of Plugat Hakotel and also spoke of Bob Shteinman and the contribution of Bob's children to the museum project.
President Reuven Rivlin spoke from the heart about his youth in Jerusalem, Betar and Plugat Hakotel and was followed by speeches from Zeev Elkin, Minister for Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat and others.
In the 1930's the British mandatory authorities forbad the blowing of the Shofar on Yom Kippur at the western wall, searched everyone approaching the wall and arrested anyone carrying a Shofar. Betar then set up Plugat Hakotel of Betarim to defy the British and, by smuggling and blowing the Shofar at the end of the Neila prayer, show the eternal connection and sovereignty of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount.
The ceremony, the film, the speeches and the warm atmosphere provided a fitting and moving experience to the occasion and the opening of a valuable museum in honour of a significant episode in Betar's and Israel's history.
Kol Hakavod to World Betar, the Israeli government, the Jerusalem municipality and the Shteinman family for creating the museum and naming it after Bob Shteinman, Mefaked Betar Sydney in the 1950's.
Also, see article from J-Wire here
In April 1958 their was a hike organized by Betar Sydney to go to Commodore Heights (now West Head) over looking Palm Beach and Pittwater and the Pacific Ocean.
It was on this hike that Judy Kovendi(now Bahar) and I met for the first time and we became instant friends and our friendship has blossomed and lasted for the past 60 years.
This photo shows us pointing to where we had to climb up from the (Pacific Ocean) shore to the top which took us then young teenagers a considerably shorter time than if we attempted it today, if fact we would not bloody even try.
- Lizzie Kornhaber
David Ochert was honoured with the Order of Australia (OAM) in the general division in the Australia Day Honours list 2018 "for service to rowing, particuularly as a coach". He has been a rowing coach at Club, State and National levels dating back to 1981. He has competed at all levels of rowing and is a life member of the Toowong Rowing Club. He is also an inductee in the Hall of Fame, Rowing Victoria (2013).
From Hedva Sheiner:
Henry and Miriam Briggs came at least twice a year to Israel to visit their children and grandchildren. They have 2 kids in Israel and 2 in Sydney and grandchildren mainly here. They bought a house in Raanana and of course when here we met up with them.
This November they came again for a special simcha, their first great grandchild was born They left Israel at the end of November 2017 and on the day they arrived home Henry started feeling ill and could not stop vomiting. It took two or three days till he was hospitalized (no beds available in the hospital!!) and he underwent various tests and finally they found that he had pancreatic cancer at quite an advanced stage. Already then they did not give him long to live!
All their family, children, husbands, grandchildren and even their tiny great grandson were flown over from Israel. The last few days of his life he spent at their home with the whole family.
A few days before he went they had a special Book Launch at the Sydney Jewish Museum. The Book is an autobiography about his life as a Holocaust survivor and is named TO LIFE L’CHAIM and in it he also writes about being in Betar and quite a long description of what it meant to him.
They are all being flown to Israel and he will be buried at the Raanana Cemetery, where on this coming Friday we will be visiting Rosette’s grave for the “shloshim”.
May they rest in Peace!!
From Miriam: From the Australian Jewish News, January 12, 2018 (Aus time), a review of the life and the book written by Henry - "To Life L'Chaim". Condolences shown here.
From Jack: "It is my saddest ever duty to inform all our friends that my most cherished and loved girlfriend and bride passed away last night.
She was an unusually fine person with an extraordinary love of life and a typically polish sense of humour. But most of all she loved people and wherever we went made friends leaving a long trail of mourners who will not easily forget her.
Everyone wishes that on their death they will leave this earth just a little better for their short visit. Well Rosette achieved that - oodles of it.
I on the other hand must confront a very bleak dark hole of loneliness."
In the next 2 months or so, we will be publishing films and videos from as early as 1954. This is a partial list of the videos that will/have become available:
1954-55 Nudnik, the Shmendrik Camper 🗹
1954-55 Kinglake West camp in Victoria 🗹
1959-60 Kinglake West camp in Victoria NEW 🗹
1960s era camps in Sydney
1962 11th Kenes Artzi in Sydney 🗹
1989 Betar Reunion in Israel.
This has been made possible courtesy of John Ziegler. Harry Stuart is attempting the restoration, which includes titling, identification of Betarim where possible, adding soundtracks to the 8mm films, improving the sound from the videos.
Still in progress, the titles above will become clickable links as they become available.
Jack's talent in painting is well known in Betar circles. However, the volume of his output over the years is astounding. Over the past few months Jack has assembled over 550 paintings and pastels in a wide variety of subjects from the Holocaust to Australian football and aborigines. And his artistic genes have been passed to his daughter Michelle Feder whose partial work has been added to his portfolio.
Download the file (Adobe Acrobat) from here. Please note that this file is around 23mb.
As of Jan 17, 2018, a Youtube version loaded by Michelle, is also available here.
OFFICER (AO) IN THE GENERAL DIVISION OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA Australia Day 2017 Emeritus Professor Larry SITSKY AM, 29 Threlfall Street, Chifley ACT 2606 For distinguished service to the arts as a composer and concert pianist, to music education as a researcher and mentor, and through musical contributions to Australia's contemporary culture. Read the article in the Canberra Times here. (Thanks to Peter Keeda for the submission.)