History of the Hannah Meyer Project

History of the Hannah Meyer Project

The history of the Hannah Meyer Project service goes back to the late 1980’s when Hannah Meyer (zl), Esta Levy OAM (zl) and Joe & Lee Borman (zl) joined forces and recruited volunteers to bring Yiddishkeit to Jewish residents living in aged care facilities. They also visited the Montefiore Parents’ Home in Hunters Hill each week to entertain with singalongs and celebrations of holidays and festivals.

These stalwarts started their volunteer visiting long before the government realised the value of helping aged care residents retain their cultural heritage through the “Cluster Project”, which was announced by HACC in 1992. The concept was to encourage clergy and volunteers to provide a vital cultural link by visiting groups of aged care residents at a facility who shared a particular background. When the word came down, COA was already providing this connection, and so became the first recognised supplier of the service to the Jewish “Clusters” in Sydney.

During these visits there was personal connection and a chance to catch up on mutual acquaintances and community gossip. But what cannot be fully appreciated is the energy, dedication, and joy they brought to seniors living away from their families, and in many cases cut off from their cultural heritage. The smiles and genuine affection these volunteers gave so freely was only part of the experience at Jewish festivals, when residents could also look forward to the delivery of special parcels containing seasonal foods and small gifts prepared by COA volunteers.

All these wonderful stalwarts are gone, but their legacy lives on in the Hannah Meyer Project, which expands each year to include more aged care facilities and engages more volunteers to perform Shabbat and Festival candle lighting and kiddush, and delivers hundreds of Festival Parcels to Jewish residents in aged care and to the staff who care for them.

Brothers Alf & Joe Borman, with Hannah Meyer and Esta Levy OAM providing yiddishkeit and connection to culture in 1989 at the Vaucluse Nursing Home

Joe and Lee Borman, arms filled with Challot to bring to kiddush with Jewish residents in Non-denominational Aged Care

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