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.


[Home][Where We Are][Reconnections][News][The Past][Recollections][In Memoriam]
Contributed: 2015
THEN...
In 1958
Jack Mirjam




NOW...
... In 2004