Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Incorporated

Founding Member General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD

President's Message

Board Members


President: Marvin Bude
Hon Treasurer: Philip Burman
Assistant Treasurer: Natalie Wills
Secretary: Randi Grose
JCCV Representative: Garry Fabian
Researcher, Welfare, Past President & Life Member: Ben Hirsh
No Portfolio:
Manny Kingsley
Dennis Max

Portfolio Holders

MC & Life Member: Julie Leder
Grants & IPP: Michael Raleigh
Life Member: Ian Mansfield

Association Officers

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  • Patron-In-Chief


    Major General Jeffrey V Rosenfeld AC OBE KStJ (Ret'd)

    MB BS (Melb), MD (Monash), MS (Melb)
    FRACS, FRCS (Ed), FACS, FRCS (Glasg) ad eundem, FACTM, MRACMA, RAAMC
    Professor & Head, Department of Surgery, Central Clinical School, Monash University
    Professor & Director, Department of Neurosurgery, Alfred Hospital and Monash University
    Chair, Australian Defence Human Research Ethics...

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  • Patron


    Mr Jack Smorgon AO

    Jack Smorgon was involved in the Smorgon Group of Companies from 1954 until 1995, mostly in the meat industry where he was Managing Director of the Meat Division from 1976-1991.

    A Member of the Board of the Committee for Melbourne (CFM), he was appointed Chairman in 1995 and stepped down after 10...

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  • President Board

    President Board

    Marvin Bude

    On 11 July 1968, I enlisted in the Australian Army 3 Base Worksop (RAEME) as a craftsman and was honourably discharged on 27 February 1973, with the rank of Sergeant. My postings were at Bandiana, Puckapunyal and finally at Chapel Street, St Kilda Barracks.

    To members who were rising through the ranks to attain...

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  • Hon Treasurer Board

    Hon Treasurer Board

    Philip Burman

    My father was a Corporal with 4th Docks Operating Coy, Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) in New Guinea during World War II. He died on the 11th July 1945 in Wau, New Guinea and was buried in the Lae War Cemetery.

    I am an accountant and was a partner in a medium sized accountancy practice...

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  • Asst Treasurer Board

    Asst Treasurer Board

    Natalie Wills

    As a qualified and Registered Bookkeeper and BAS Agent with my own Company for the last 11 years, I do auditing and bookkeeping for my clients. I am the daughter of an ex-service member of VAJEX Australia and it is my pleasure to assist the Hon Treasurer. 
    I am happily married and have two wonderful sons.

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  • Secretary Board

    Secretary Board

    Randi Grose

    Randi Grose is the daughter of parents who both served during WWII. Her father Harry Grose was a signalman in the Army, while her mother Ruby (née Schoenheimer) served in the Air Force. Both became life members of VAJEX Australia following their arrival in Melbourne from Brisbane, where they had been foundation members...

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  • JCCV Rep Board

    JCCV Rep Board

    Garry Fabian

    My story spans two continents and a range of different places and life experiences.

    I was born in Stuttgart, Germany, a country where my family lived from the beginnig of the 13th Century.

    With the advent of the Third Reich in 1933, it became a place that progressively became more hostile and dangerous, and even life threateningly dangerous for those of the Jewish religion, as well as people whose outlook did not conform to the National Socialist concept of the ideal citizen.

    In 1936 my family decided to emigrate to the Sudenten Land part of the Czech Republic to start a new life. However, this dream was short lived when the area was annexed to Germany in 1938. On 15th March 1939, we fled to Prague, the capital, which was occupied by Germany.


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  • Board Member

    Board Member

    Manny Kingsley

    Manny is the son and son-in-law of Holocaust survivors. He is the stepson of Henry Kingsley, a “Dunera Boy”, whose pre-war family was murdered by Nazis and others who joined and served in the Australian Army.

    Manny, a former History Politics teacher and University Lecturer, has a PhD in History and Education from the University of Melbourne. He joined VAJEX Australia to support past and present Australian Jewish Servicemen and Women.

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  • Welfare Officer/Past President/Life Member

    Welfare Officer/Past President/Life Member

    Ben Hirsh

    Ben Hirsh is a past President of VAJEX Australia was a Board member for over 20 years, serving as Secretary and Vice President.

    Ben has assisted in locating graves and memorials of long-forgotten Jewish soldiers who died on active service in Australia, ensuring their commemoration both on our Wall of Remembrance and Memorial, and...

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  • Past President/Life Member

    Past President/Life Member

    Judy Landau

    Judy Landau is a Past President who also served as Editor of PARADE magazine and InFormation newsletter and set up this website in 2009. She was Webmaster and Research Historian until 2018 and stepped in as the Secretary, Treasurer, PTE Greg Sher Shield awards manager and Grants Officer when there were no portfolio...

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  • MC/Life Member

    MC/Life Member

    Julie Leder

    I have been a Musician, a Senior Constable in the Victoria Police and until a few years ago, a Sergeant in the Australian Army Reserve.

    Joining the Army in 1977 means I was a member for 33 years. At that time there were no women permitted in the Band Corp (the first woman couldn’t...

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  • Grant’s Officer / IPP

    Grant’s Officer / IPP

    Michael Raleigh

    Michael Raleigh was born in Melbourne in 1945. His parents, both Viennese, came to Australia in 1938 to escape the Nazis. He attended Brighton High School (as it was then) and commenced employment in 1964 with the Commonwealth Department of Immigration looking after overseas students...

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  • Life Member

    Life Member

    Ian Mansfield

    Ian Mansfield joined VAJEX in 2003 and was Secretary from 2003-2013 and has served as Treasurer since August 2009.

    After leaving Melbourne High School, he joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 27th July 1981 as a Seaman SN (Stores). Ian completed Recruit Training at HMAS Cerberus on the 18th January 1982 and was...

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Photo of Rabbi Ralph GenendeRabbi Ralph Genende is a well-known Modern Orthodox Rabbi with a passion for social justice and creating bridges between different cultures and faiths. For him the purpose of religion is to create a better society for all people and to engage with the critical issues facing Australian society. The role of the rabbi is, in his words, to challenge the comfortable and comfort the challenged.

Rabbi Genende is Senior Rabbi and Manager to Jewish Care Victoria, Melbourne’s largest Jewish organisation. He is Principal Rabbi to the Australian Defence Force, Member of the Religious Advisory Council to the Minister of Defence (RACS), board member of AIJAC (Australian Israel Jewish Affairs Council) and member of the Premier's Multifaith Advisory Group. He has served as President of Jewish Christian Muslim Association (JCMA) and is a long-time executive member of the Rabbinical Association of Victoria. He is a member of Swinburne University’s Research Ethics Committee, of the Department of Health Ethics Committee and is a member of Glen Eira City Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan for recognition and integration of our First Peoples.

In 2018 Rabbi Genende was awarded an OAM for his services to multi-faith relations, and to the Jewish community of Victoria. He is a trained counsellor with a Masters degree from Auckland University.


by Walter Jona AM

Originally published in
The Journal of the Australian Jewish Historical Society Vol XII 1993 Part 1, pp170-178

The Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Inc, more familiarly known as VAJEX Australia, is much more than just another organisation in the Jewish community of Victoria. Its historic role and that of its predecessor associations distinguishes it from most of the other 150 plus organised Jewish groupings in Victoria, for it is the only Jewish organisation which singularly perpetuates and honours  the memory of Jewish men and women in the Armed Services of Australia in the world wars and in all other conflicts in which Australia has been engaged.

In more recent years, VAJEX Australia has welcomed to its active membership large numbers of Allied servicemen and women of World War II, including many Jews from the former USSR now residing in Australia.

VAJEX Australia has vigorously and persistently endeavoured to ensure that succeeding generations should know of the Jewish record in Australia's wars. It is a record of immense pride. The statistics of Jewish war service in the armed forces of Australia reveal a remarkably disproportionate response from a tiny section of the general Australian community. The sacrifices of Jewish service personnel and the level of personal achievement of servicemen and women far exceed proportionately the comparative statistics for the rest of Australia.

Furthermore, the contribution made to Australia by the Jewish survivors of Australia's wars and the services rendered by them to the well-being of Australia and its citizens is as remarkable...

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vajex insignia sm

Read Heraldic Description of Insignia

Commemorative Stamp

At the VAJEX AGM on 6th March 2011,
Commemorative Stamp in Honour of our name change

the membership voted in favour of a name change to:
Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Incorporated

First Amendment
The addition of an ampersand after “Ex” was to reflect that currently serving military personnel can be members and not just veterans.
Second Amendment
The addition of the word “Australia” was threefold.
1. Some of our serving personnel are posted around Australia and are not confined to Victoria
2. We have non-service members whose relatives are/were Victorians but they live interstate
3. Since the 20th December 2009 launch of our website, some confusion has arisen from international visitors to the website as to our location, because there is more than one Victoria in the world.


Judy Landau presents Jack Morgan with Certificate of Appreciation from VAJEXNew Headquarters
Education and Visitors Centre
Lamm Jewish Library of Australia
304 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South

On 18 July 2013 at 4.30pm, President Judy and VP Ben drove their cars through one of the worst storms in recent history to attend a meeting with Dr Danny Lamm. The purpose was to request room in the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia for VAJEX Australia to use as our Headquarters.

What had happened to our long-standing HQ at Avoca Avenue Elwood?...

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Lamm Jewish Library of Australia

Besen Philanthropy

The Ryzman Family

Jack and Robert Smorgon Families Foundation

Debbie Dadon

Henrietta Kaye AM

Dina Burgess

Peter Fuchs

Norma Beaconsfield

Maurice Smith

Ian Teague

John Cohen

Julius Hoffman

Paul Baxter

Sam Krycer

Israel Moss

Abe Braver

presentation to ryzman family

Presentation to the fabulous Ryzman Family who constantly assist VAJEX Australia. - Sunday 17 November 2013


Caring for Jewish military personnel from Allied Forces and their families

vajex logo



  • To foster a spirit of loyalty to the Queen, the British Commonwealth and the Commonwealth of Australia;
  • To perpetuate and honour the memory of all allied service personnel who served, including those who died during or since service;
  • To protect the interests and advance the welfare of all Jewish Ex-Service persons and their immediate family;
  • To officially represent the Jewish Ex-Service persons in all matters affecting the Association;
  • To subscribe to such local or other charity as the Board may deem fit;
  • To render such assistance to Jewish personnel serving the armed services of the Commonwealth of Australia or her allies as in the discretion of the Board shall seem to meet.

Read full constitution (Members only)

Amended 2 March 2014.

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