From left: David Ossip, Gabrielle Upton, Jonathan O’Dea, JBD CEO Darren Bark.

The Australian Jewish News
February 23, 2023

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) thanked three retiring NSW MPs at its plenum on Tuesday night.

Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton, Davidson MP Jonathan O’Dea and Upper House member Walt Secord – who was overseas – were acknowledged for their tireless efforts working on behalf of the NSW Jewish community.

JBD president David Ossip told The AJN, “Gabrielle, Walt and Jonathan have made a tremendous contribution to our community, our polity and our entire state. They are three mensches who will be sorely missed when they leave Parliament.

“The NSW Jewish community, as well as the community at large, owes them a debt of gratitude for their service and immense contribution to public life.”

He said Upton has helped secure significant communal funding, including for much-needed security upgrades, has “consistently and resolutely” spoken out against antisemitism, and served as chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel “with great commitment and ability”.

Secord, Ossip said, has been a “staunch and loyal friend” to the Jewish community, becoming a community member himself recently.

“Walt introduced a private member’s bill into Parliament last year to ban the public display of Nazi symbols. This is now a much-welcomed reality in our state,” Ossip said.

“Jonathan has been a consistent and reliable advocate for our community, never hesitating to stand up for our community and regularly attending communal celebrations and events over his 16 years in Parliament.”

The plenum also saw the annual presentation of the JBD’s President’s Award, this time named for Robert Goot and presented to former CEO Vic Alhadeff.

“Vic was an outstanding and tireless leader of the board and our community for 17 years. He set the example for what it means to be a leader of our community and made an outstanding contribution towards promoting a safe, inclusive and cohesive NSW community,” Ossip said.

“We wish Vic a hearty Mazal Tov and thank him for the remarkable service he has given the Jewish community.”

Saying he was “deeply honoured” to accept the award, Alhadeff paid tribute to the four JBD presidents he served under, making special mention of the late Jeremy Spinak. He also thanked communal stalwart Goot “for his counsel and wisdom over many years”.

Goot said Alhadeff “is rightfully highly respected and a most fitting recipient” of the award.

While clarifying he was not involved in the selection process, Goot said that if he had, “I could not have wished to choose a more fitting recipient.”