In a setting of soft lights, beautiful music and phenomenal entertainment, The Yeshiva Centre – Chabad NSW HQ held its annual Gala Dinner last week at the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre in Darling Harbour.
Over one thousand guests attended including high profile communal leaders, Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem and dozens of Federal, State and Local Government representatives. Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker was Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales.
The guests were treated to fine cuisine catered by Passion8 catering and a world-class performance by Toronto-based piano virtuoso Gershon Wachtel, thrilling the audience with Classical, Jewish and Broadway music. James Galea, Australia’s number one magician, captivated and astonished with an eye-opening show featuring his unparalleled illusionist skills, whilst Master-of-Ceremonies Vince Sorrenti lightened the mood throughout the night with his talent as one of Australia’s best comedians.
The evening began with an Invocation Prayer by Rabbi Pinchus Feldman OAM, Dean and Spiritual Leader of the Yeshiva Centre. Rabbi Feldman appealed for G-d Almighty to bless the Queen and her representatives in government, and to bestow health, wisdom, compassion and productive fellowship to all of our fellow Citizens. He also prayed for society to follow the Seven Noahide Laws, resulting in our many ethnic and religious groups living together in mutual respect and harmony.
Rabbi Feldman beseeched that G-d help bring an end to the senseless violence and hatred amongst peoples of the Middle East so that the region will be an example of coexistence for the rest of the world, and concluded his prayer with the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that goodness and kindness be commonplace amongst all of humanity.
Following a promotional video which highlighted the extensive activities of the Yeshiva Centre, Mr Harry O Triguboff AO, Major Sponsor for the evening, was called up to introduce the Governor. Mr Triguboff referred to the high esteem and respect for the Governor amongst all segments of the Australian Community, an abiding testament to her beloved leadership. He also spoke about his special relationship with Yeshiva and Chabad, revealing that the Lubavitcher Rebbe had encouraged him to support Chabad and blessed him that by doing so he will merit business success. He then declared that this has rung true with more and more commercial success each and every time that he extends his charitable hand.
Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, the Governor of New South Wales, started her address with a memory from her childhood in country Australia. Her parents, Lebanese-born medical professionals, brought her up to know that she was from the same roots as the Jewish people, descendents of Abraham. Professor Bashir researched Jewish settlement from the First Fleet that was sent to Australia in 1778, which began with fifteen Jewish adult convicts and one free settler child, growing to thirty thousand in the mid-1930’s and over one hundred and twenty-thousand Jews in Australia today. She acknowledged the outstanding contribution that Australian Jews have made to every facet of Australian society.
Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman formally thanked the Governor, presenting her with a beautiful sterling silver Menorah (candelabra) to illuminate her surroundings with a symbol of goodness, kindness and justice for all, patterned upon the Governor’s own warmth and spirituality. The Governor was visibly touched by the gesture and responded by saying that the Menorah will have pride of place in Government House, her official residence.
A video segment was then shown from ABC TV’s “7:30 Report”, that recently featured the fantastic humanitarian work done by the Yeshiva’s “Our Big Kitchen”, established and run by Rabbi Dovid and Laya Slavin.
The evening concluded with Grace after meals led by Mr Gaby Amzalak, President of Yeshiva Synagogue.
To view the 7:30 report segment click here: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2012/s3410812.htm
To view the Yeshiva promotional video click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEqxWgRmISY