Jewish Care Volunteer Crowned Senior Achiever at Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.
By Jenna Chaitowitz
Jewish Care Victoria’s longstanding volunteer, Masha Zeleznikow OAM won the Council on the Ageing Senior Achiever Award on 1 October 2015 (International Day of Older Persons) at the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards. Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing, Martin Foley presented the award at Government House.
The Victorian Senior of the Year Awards acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of volunteers aged 60 years and over to their local community and Victoria.
Masha has been a volunteer at Jewish Care for over 37 years, and was awarded this honour for her drive and commitment, as well as being a role model for overcoming disadvantage and isolation.
Following the influx of Russian Jews immigrating to Melbourne in the 1970s, Masha helped them find work and accommodation, and overcome language and cultural barriers. She recognised the need to support the disadvantaged and socially isolated within Melbourne’s Russian and European Jewish community, including Holocaust survivors, and as a result Masha established the ‘Tuesday Club’ in 1978.
Still operating today as part of Jewish Care’s Healthy Ageing Program under Masha’s supervision, the Tuesday Club allows participants to enjoy good food, guest speakers and each other’s company.
Masha and her late husband Avram also owned the iconic Cafe Scheherazade on Acland Street, St Kilda for many years- a hub for European Jewish immigrants.
“Masha’s ability to inspire others allowed for the immense impact of her work to ripple beyond her immediate community and into the wider Victorian community. She is an incredible advocate for the Jewish community and we are proud to have her in the volunteer family,”
Jewish Care’s General Manager of People and Culture, Mary Scott said.
Masha said she felt “wonderful” about winning the award.
“I was always willing to help people and it’s good to see it being appreciated. I think that younger people should also get involved in community work and give back.”
“It’s not because you volunteer to be appreciated; throughout my life I volunteered simply because it was the right thing to do in my family,”
Masha has also received other accolades this year including the Outstanding Achievement by a Volunteer: Supporting Diversity award at the 2015 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards in May, and Jewish Care’s Leo and Mina Fink Award for Outstanding Community Service.
Ayal Tusia, Manager Marketing & Communications
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