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The Jewish Community Farewells Helen Shardey in Style

The Jewish Community Farewells Helen Shardey in Style

21 February 2011

In conjunction with the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), 27 communal organisations came together at Lincoln of Toorak on Sunday 20th Februay, to pay tribute to Helen Shardey, former Member for Caulfield.

In attendance was the Hon Ted Baillieu MP, Premier of Victoria, David Southwick MLA, member for Caulfield, Presidents of many Jewish community organisations, Helen Shardey’s family and closest friends.

Baillieu, who made time to attend the event despite his hectic schedule, spoke of Shardey’s infectious smile even when advocating her cause and remarked that the farewell was a tribute to Helen’s term in office as it was rare for politicians to be given such a send-off by their constituencies.

JCCV President, John Searle addressed the function and in his speech said “Helen’s contribution in areas of health, disability, school funding and transport accident victims were enormous and yet Helen always kept a very close watch on her electorate and our community. Helen was especially active in equal opportunity legislation reforms, antisemitic assaults and graffiti with the need for increased police assistance”.

Shardey herself noted in her address that protecting the community from racism and antisemitism in the Victorian Parliament as shadow was a highlight and she has been made to feel proud of all that she has done by family, friends, colleagues and the Jewish community who embraced and nurtured her.

Searle’s speech continued with “Helen, you are as tough as nails when necessary yet a real softie by nature. You have a compassionate understanding of the community you represent which is why people invariably say: Helen is amazing, she was always available, always caring, would always find a way to help and always responds to our concerns.

You were present at so many of communal events, rain, hail or shine, especially in times of need demonstrating that you are not just a fair weather friend. It is for these reasons that you have inspired us, you have motivated us and you have earned our admiration, our respect and even our love.  Helen you are in every sense of the word, a Mensch”.

An emotional Shardey noted many political and personal highlights in her address. “Being awarded the Jerusalem  Prize by the Zionist Council of Victoria for my contribution to the Jewish community was a very deep and unexpected honour, particularly because it was in the company of so many eminent Australians who share my love of the community and Israel, the Jewish homeland. Probably the greatest personal highlight has been my path to the love of Judaism and all it represents. Where this will lead me is for the future and my new life.” Shardey concluded by saying that she was going to spend more time with her friends, family and the little people in her life.

Searle doubted Shardey would be able to relax as she takes on further roles within our community such as the role of JNF Ambassador at large. Prior to making a presentation to Shardey on behalf of the community he concluded by thanking her for her love of Israel and the community.

For further information, contact Jo Silver on 9272 5642.


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