Why I am proud to be a member of Mizrachi

Why I am proud to be a member of Mizrachi

You may notice that on all our Yavneh publications there is a footnote that details that Yavneh is a part of the Mizrachi Organisation. This week I thought I would spend some time sharing with you the Mizrachi story, how Yavneh came to be and why I am proud to be part of the Mizrachi community.

Mizrachi Melbourne was started in 1943 by a group of refugees familiar with the ideals of Mizrachi in Europe. They sought to establish a Modern Orthodox Religious Zionist entity, that would nourish their souls and provide a place where likeminded people could feel at home.

How fortunate our community has been in that the refugees who arrived post the Shoa (Holocaust) had the courage to establish so many of our major institutions and schools.
In 1959, Dr Hans Ruskin a”h established with others, a Mizrachi Day School, there was also an attempt to set up a Teacher’s College, although I am unsure as to what happened to it.

There are a few versions as to when Yavneh opened her doors, we have adopted 1962 as the official date. Mrs Kozminsky a”h, a visionary educator was the first principal and she set about establishing Yavneh as a wonderful primary school. It was situated on the Mizrachi Campus at 81 Balaclava Road and lots of little people climbed all those stairs each day to their classrooms above what today is the kinder. Ivrit and Jewish Studies were a high priority and many a Yavneh, year 6 graduate boasted about reading Maariv (the Israeli paper) every day in their Ivrit class.

The school was highly successful with student numbers growing each year. In 1979, the Yavneh Board together with Mizrachi support decided to open a Secondary School and purchased a site in Mercer Road Armadale. Rabbi Rachlin a”h was the Secondary Principal and Michael Singer a”h, the Primary Head. Over time and with continued success, the school outgrew its Armadale Site, and a new site was purchased in 1988. Next year marks the 36th year on the Nagle Avenue site.

Throughout the sixty-two years of existence and the few setbacks along the way, the Mizrachi Organisation has supported the College in its endeavours. Sometimes that support was financial, but the more important support was that provided by its leaders, Rabbis, and members. Yavneh is the jewel in the crown of Mizrachi. Very few shul communities around the world can claim to have provided a Jewish education to thousands of children.

While Yavneh was busy expanding and developing as a school of excellence, Mizrachi was providing more resources for our community.

Kashrut- Mizrachi established Kosher Australia, widely recognised around the world and accepted by the whole community as the preeminent Kashrut autority.

Eruv- The Melbourne Eruv that allows us to carry on Shabbat and frees generations of young families to venture out on Shabbat was and remains a Mizrachi initiative.

Bet Midrash – the only Torah Mitzion place of learning in Melbourne, that provides a place for returnees from Shnat programs and members to learn with the Hesder and Midrasha Team and a Rosh Kollel. The only Midrasha for women in town.

Rabbi Abaranok Award for studies in Israel – Rabbi Abaranok was a beloved Rabbi of Mizrachi and on his retirement a fund to sponsor graduates undertaking Torah studies was established by Mizrachi members.

Miz Cares – Volunteers who provide shabbat meals, hospitality, sick visiting and more.

Miz Kids – exciting learning programs for children attending Shul on Shabbat.

Emunah- a women’s organisation closely affiliated with Mizrachi that cares for Israeli children and women at risk.

Bnei Akiva- the largest religious zionist youth group in Australia, is supported by Mizrachi with many of its leaders’ graduates of Yavneh.

Charity Fund- A charity fund that provides critical financial support to many families in the wider community, all done with dignity and compassion.

Melbourne Mikveh- no longer around, but for decades was the only Mikveh used by all sectors in Melbourne and proudly managed by lay leaders from Yeshiva and Mizrachi.

Mizrachi Minyanim- Whatever your age or preference, Mizrachi has a shul for you, with five shuls operating on Shabbat, it’s a wonderful place to daven.

You only need to scan the bottom of a Mizrachi letterhead to see the vast array of activities that fall under the Mizrachi banner. So why am I proud to call myself a Mizrachi member?

Community Connection: Mizrachi provides a powerful sense of community and belonging, connecting us with like- minded individuals who share our cultural, religious, and social values. This sense of belonging is a source of pride and fulfillment.

Shared Values: Mizrachi is grounded in the values of religious zionism, which emphasizes the importance of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Mizrachi sits in the epicentre of Religious Zionism in Melbourne.

Contributions to Society: Mizrachi is involved in various charitable and community-building activities, both locally and globally. Being part of an organization that makes positive contributions to society evokes a sense of enormous pride.

Personal Growth: Membership in Mizrachi Melbourne provides opportunities for personal and spiritual growth through educational programs, leadership opportunities, and communal experiences.

As someone who has been associated with Mizrachi since my own Bnei Akiva days, I have been privileged to play a small role in some of the exciting events of the past decades. As part of the Yavneh family, I look forward to all of us joining together to build a stronger community whilst remaining steadfast in our dreams for our beloved Israel.

Shabbat Shalom

David Fisher, Head of Administration