Name: Jack Mirjam
Born: April 1933
Came on Aliyah: May 31, 1974
Married to Rosette Landerer March 25,1958
Family: We have three daughters :
Bambi (now Alyagon) who has two children : Nataly and Sagi.
Michelle has two children : Eran and Maya.
Ilana (now Kantor) has three daughters: Inbal, Noa and Yarden.
We resided in Afeka, Tel Aviv until 1990 then shifted to our home in Raanana. 
After spending approximately 4 months in Ulpan I was fortunate to land a job with the Ford company major dealership in Tel Aviv. I worked there for 20 years until retirement.
Betar: I attended the first Betar camp in 1948-49 summer.

After the camp a small group of young men was formed including Shimshon Feder, myself ,Max Swialto, Issy Platchinsky, Michael Oberman, David Barkman and later Moshe Bush, Ray Loven, Lou Paper and Manny Shadur.

It was my first experience in an organized Zionist group. Rather uneventful. What did ensue was that a few of us were selected to become Madrichim. The course was primitive and badly organized. But it raised an interest in my mind that grew into an ideal.

Unfortunately during my early years in Australia I had experienced many incidents of antisemitism. It was hard for me to absorb the simple fact that I, who liked human companionship, was not accepted for who I was but judged by my curly hair or long nose. I had many non-Jewish friends but it was not enough. Each day that I attended South Brunswick State School I tried to avoid yet another confrontation of insults or violence. Many times my elder sister would come to my rescue and save me from physical abuse.

Later on at Coburg High School where I was just one of 3 Jews at the school it grew even worse until, at one stage, I was dragged to the principal's office as I had struck one person accidentally in the throat and he lost consciousness.

At the threat of expulsion from the school I unloaded my recent mis-treatments at that institute and the headmaster was so shocked that he called in my tormentor and threatened him with expulsion.

I have mentioned this past background to help understand why I found an affinity with the Betar Movement Ideology. Instead of being part of a shamed cowardly nation despised and hated by all, I learned of our history and became acquainted with the ideology of Vladimir Jabotinsky. It took quite a long time for me to reach the conclusion that my place in the world would never reach stability until I came to understand my roots, my pride and self realization. And so began my journey.

Luckily I found another person who also came to similar conclusions. As it ended, Shimshon Feder and I continued the course but it left us feeling frustrated and lacking information.
We had been told to go out and form a group which was to be the foundation of the new Betar Australia. So we gathered our brothers and sisters and a few young children that we knew and started. We knew that we had to keep their interest for a couple of hours a week. And thus it began. A voyage of self discovery - we searched for game books ,songs and stories to tell.
We gained many lessons in the progress. In order to teach others we had to teach ourselves. In order to show confidence we had to be confident in our own grasp of the material. It was a period of learning about people. Slowly and surely we started to succeed.

At the same time Shimshon and I were sent as delegates to the Melbourne Jewish Youth Council (MJYC). At the beginning of the 1950s the MJYC was completely under the control of Jewish communists. At first it was extremely difficult for two youths to gain confidence to address such a large gallery. But it was another part of our growing up process in preparation for the future. During our delegation period at the MJYC we happened to meet many people who would become part of our lives. One was Theo Balberyszski. We couldn’t place this person in this group. Was he a Bundist or Independent? As it was we approached Theo and invited him to our group. And it clicked. So we formed the group that forged a long life friendship and the beginning of a great youth movement.

Another person who we met in those early days at the MJYC was Issy Liebler who later became the driving force in wrestling control from the communists to the Zionists.

We had created a leading group together: Joseph Steiner, Dora Hirsh (later his wife), Theo Balberyszski, Shimshon Feder and myself.

Let me try to recall some of the highlights:
Woori Yallock Camp 1
Kinglake West 1
Woori Yallock Camp 2
Blue Mountains
Wonga Park Camp
Beaconsfield and others.

During our over 4 decades of life in Israel we have held many parties and functions together. We have had many guests coming who were not from Betar and one question kept being asked.  "How is it that after so many years you are so close together?"  Together with this my own grandchildren have asked,  "How do you have so many friends in Australia after so many years?"

I have two answers. The first being that in the period of building the movement we got to know each and everyone personally and treating them as equals with respect and care. The second is my brother Philip who loved people and would go out of his way to bring them into society and help them overcome their shyness or lack of self esteem. To this day I still meet people in Australia who claim that Philip set standards of life that follows them to this day. All this is Hadar Betar. A way of life, of behavior, respect for your fellow man, kindness and gentle behavior.
In my active life in Betar I acted as Madrich, Mefaked, Natziv (twice), Course Artzi in Israel, Representative at MJYC and State Zionist Council and later ran Leadership Courses for later generations of Betarim.

The philosophy of Betar, taught by Jabotinsky, became my basic principle in life by having three lovely daughters and 7 grandchildren. I have been lucky to have the time and ability to develop my love for painting and have succeeded enough to have 3 exhibitions. I gave a lot to the movement but I gained a thousand fold. I feel honoured to this day that I can still call as friends Theo and Anat, Shimshon and Perla, Freda, Leah, Solly and Rosalie, Bish and Rosaly, Effie and Felicity, Danny and Heather, Dora Steiner. And in Australia Aaron and Eve, Rachel and Eric, Betty and Mony, Avram and Raymond, Brian Rudzki, Judy and Shimon, Lou and Franky, Morry and Elka.

The most outstanding person that I have ever met was Gad Pedhazur who most recently passed away. A handsome, brilliant, intellectual person. He was an officer in the Etzel with a heavy bounty on his head. But if ever a human being should be held up as an example for mankind he fit the role. Besides a great Shaliach for Betar and incidentally loved by all the movements, he showed me personally how to understand and enjoy literature from Franz Kafka to even James Joyce.

Then there was Philip my brother who I loved as a brother, friend and teacher.


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Contributed: 2015
THEN...
In 1958
Jack Mirjam
NOW...
... In 2004