‘Another example of the legacy he leaves’

Rhiannon Spinak (right) accepts husband Jeremy Spinak’s award from Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Photo: Salty Dingo

JEREMY Spinak’s tireless work building bridges with diverse communities and spearheading the Keep NSW Safe campaign was posthumously recognised at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner last week.

Immediate NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) past president Spinak, who lost his battle with a rare cancer last November aged 36, was honoured with an induction into the NSW Multicultural Honour Roll, a permanent public record of people who have made an exemplary contribution to multiculturalism in NSW.

His wife Rhiannon accepted the award from Premier Gladys Berejiklian, while parents Richard and Margaret and sister Jenny looked on proudly from the audience.

“It was with very heavy hearts but also immense pride that we accepted Jeremy’s honour,” Rhiannon told The AJN.

“We were deeply moved to bear witness to this incredible accolade for Jeremy’s tireless work and influence. It was such a special tribute to the husband, son and brother we adore and miss so very much. His memory truly lives on and this will be yet another example of the legacy he leaves for our beautiful twins, Michael and Grace.”

She added, “We will be forever grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and the sharing of countless stories that embody the remarkable man Jeremy was. It has been so heartwarming in what has been the most devastating time for us.”

The citation that accompanies Spinak’s entry into the Honour Roll describes how he “focused on building relationships with other faith and cultural communities, building deep relationships with leaders of diverse faith and ethnic groups, particularly among the Muslim, Chinese and Indian communities”.

An introductory video shown at the dinner paid tribute to Spinak’s contribution to community harmony and highlighted the Keep NSW Safe campaign, which resulted in the state government enacting a law last June which criminalised incitement to violence on the basis of race, religion, gender and sexuality.

JBOD president Lesli Berger and CEO Vic Alhadeff said, “It was extremely gratifying to see Jeremy’s contribution acknowledged by the Premier in front of 1500 representatives from a vast range of communities.

“His inscription in the Honour Roll is permanent recognition of his work, as well as of the work of the Board of Deputies, and it was profoundly moving to be present at the event together with members of the Spinak family. We continue to mourn Jeremy’s loss, and his wit and wisdom are deeply missed.”

Also at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner, not-for-profit ticketing start-up Humanitix, founded by Jewish friends Josh Ross and Adam McCurdie, won the Business Excellence – Social Enterprise community medal.

The annual event was held at the Rosehill Racecourse.

GARETH NARUNSKY