Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of Israel (ACT)
Mr Ron Gerstenfeld is the current Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Israel in Australia. He has been residing in Canberra since 2018.
Ron was previously the Deputy Director for Public Affairs Academy and Branding. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission and Consul at the Embassy of Israel to Uruguay, with experience in the Latin America Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel.
Ron holds a Law degree from Ono Academic College and a BA in Business Administration and Accounting (CPA, Magna Cum Laude).
In the past the Embassy selected the Australian representative for the International Israel Department of Foreign Affairs Young Leadership Program among the Changemaker Award recipients. The program has since changed format.
Co-founder and Director of The Orah Fund (NSW)
Carole Pillemer is the co-founder and director of The ORAH Project. She has her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Finance and heads up The ORAH Project’s marketing and fundraising as well as liaising with organisations.
Carole has been involved in various community organisations over the years including JCA, UIA, Moriah College and Randwick Children’s Hospital.
Peter Wertheim AM (NSW)
Co-CEO, ECAJ (NSW)
Currently the Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, which is the national peak body of the Australian Jewish community, Peter was previously a lawyer for 32 years. His major clients included trade unions and other not-for-profit organisations, and he also acted as honorary solicitor for a number of charities, including the Aboriginal Medical Service Co-operative Ltd, Redfern, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales, East Timor Relief Association Inc., Australian International Fund for Disadvantaged Children in Vietnam Limited and numerous Jewish community organisations.
Peter was one of the lawyers who acted for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in a series of racial vilification cases in the Federal Court of Australia.
He was also the elected leader of the Jewish community in Sydney from 1996 to 2000. In 2003 Peter was made a member of the Order of Australia for services to the Jewish and wider communities and for work in a variety of projects promoting communal harmony and understanding. Since 2004 Peter has been a Statutory Board Member of the New South Wales Anti Discrimination Board, a State government body.
In July 2010, Peter was appointed by the Australian Federal Government as a member of its Australian Multicultural Advisory Council and in 2011 to its successor body, the Australian Multicultural Council.
Debbie Schaffer OAM
In 2016, Debbie Schaffer was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her 12-year contribution in the disabilities sector for her role as Chair and Director of the Board of VisAbility and Guide Dogs WA.
In addition, Debbie has been associated with Ear Science Institute and on the advisory board for OzHarvest WA.
Debbie is well-known in the Jewish community for all her involvement with JNF Australia (financial and fundraising supporter), UIA Women’s Division (Federal & WA President), Carmel School (Foundation and major donor for the building of the Ashley Schaffer Early Learning Centre, named after her late son Ashley), and advisor to the new Jewish Community Centre Holocaust Building planning committee.
“I always encourage others to get involved with organisations that capture your imagination or pull on your heart strings and to give back in any way you can. When it comes to Israel, there’s merit to supporting multiple organisations because many are doing critical work to make Israel thrive. I’m delighted to be on the judging panel for this year’s JNF Bnai Brith Changemaker Awards. It’s a fantastic way to honour the young people who are making a difference in our communities across Australia and inspire others to get involved,” says Debbie Schaffer OAM.
Our Judges for the Joshua Levi Young Professional Award
Ben Levi, on behalf of the Levi family (NSW)
Founder of Code Camp, acquired by Cluey Ltd (ASX:CLU)
Ben founded Code Camp (www.codecamp.com.au) in 2013 as a series of school holiday activities teaching kids to code and create with technology.
Code Camp has taught more than 100,000 students to design, code and build their very own apps, websites, and computer games, and has employed more than 1,600 people at more than 300 locations. Some of their students, as young as 10, have now released their apps on the App Store!
Code Camp now run programs (after-school, holidays and online) inspiring kids to be creators with tech; Animation Camp, DJ Camp, YouTube Creators and more.
Ben joined the JCA Jumpstart Committee in 2016 and became Co-Chair in 2019. He also has his very own Gelato Messina flavour, Chillax Princess!
Ben will be representing the Levi family as a judge in this award category.
Vice President JNF VIC (VIC)
Vicki is a proud Zionist whose passion for Israel inspires her contribution to JNF Australia. Vicki grew up in Melbourne, attending Mount Scopus Memorial College and has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and a MBA, both from Monash University.
After a successful career in marketing and general management roles in both the fashion and industrial sectors, Vicki turned her focus to raising her 3 children who have the same passion for Israel.
Besides being a one-eyed Collingwood supporter, Vicki has genuine interest and a personal commitment to making a difference in the Jewish community.
CEO, Australian Jewish Funders (VIC)
Tracie Olcha is Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Jewish Funders (AJF), a membership organisation of Jewish social investors. Tracie works closely with the AJF network, philanthropic foundations and a multitude of organisations throughout Australia, the US, Israel and Asia to promote strategic, effective philanthropy and support their journey towards impactful giving across the generations.
She is all about empowering community members to create meaningful and relevant Jewish experiences for themselves and their peers and is the visionary behind LaunchPad – A Platform for Jewish Community Innovation. LaunchPad inspires grassroots community engagement and leadership, enabling change-makers to connect, think, create and lead.
Before joining the AJF in 2011, Tracie worked with a variety of Jewish organisations and was responsible for a myriad of projects including fundraising, marketing, major events and conferences. With a background in education, Tracie taught and held a number of leadership roles at Mount Scopus Memorial College and was education consultant for News Limited and the AFL.
Tracie sits on the International Council at Moishe House and is a Scholar with Our Common Destiny, a ground-breaking new initiative to strengthen global Jewry by linking Jewish communities all over the world to a shared set of ethics and values across religious and cultural identities. Tracie co-founded Mamilla, a six-month program that aims to unlock and activate the power of Jewish entrepreneurs and connects them with the start-up eco-system in Israel.
Israel Trade Commissioner (NSW)
Shai Zarivatch is the Israeli Trade Commissioner to Australia and commenced his position in August 2017. The Trade Commission is the Economic, Trade and Investments arm of the embassy of Israel in Australia.
Shai has vast experience in helping start-ups and fund-raising investments and has assisted hundreds of companies within their market penetration efforts in his current and previous roles. Before moving to Australia, Shai was the Director of the Europe Department at the Israeli Ministry of Economy (2013-2017). In his role, he was responsible for the overall operation of Israel’s 15 commercial offices across Europe and supervised over 250 events and activities designed to promote and facilitate collaboration between MNCs and the Israeli industry.
Prior to this, Shai served as the Israeli Commercial attaché in Singapore (2009-2013), where he was responsible for the overall trade relations, economic integration and investment partnerships created between the Israeli tech and venture community and the Singapore market.
Some of his successes include the acquisition of an Israeli start-up Amobe by Singapore’s largest telecom operator (SingTel) in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars as well as numerous partnerships generated with Israeli companies and start-ups.
Shai holds a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shai’s personal interests include team sports, reading, outdoor hiking and playing competitive chess.