Double naches from the Queen

Mother and son Queen’s Birthday honorees – Professor Gilah Leder AM and Richard Leder OAM. Photo: Peter Haskin

FOR the first time in many years, a mother and son from the Australian Jewish community have doubled the naches – both receiving prestigious awards in the Queens Birthday Honours last weekend. 

Professor Gilah Leder was named an AM for significant service to higher education and to the Jewish community of Victoria; while her son Richard Leder, a commercial litigator, was awarded an OAM for his service to the community through charitable organisations. 

But neither Gilah nor Richard knew the other was receiving an honour – only figuring it out when each of them was trying to suss what the other was doing over the long weekend. 

“Dad got cagey, and wouldn’t say anything … We both had this secret that we couldn’t talk about,” told Richard. 

Musing on her own achievement with measured enthusiasm, Gilah, a mathematics academic, was overcome with pride as she shared with The AJN of the moment she learned of her son’s accomplishment. 

“I was in a state of enormous excitement. I really am so proud of him. He has worked very hard,” she kvelled, adding, “I hope he is proud of me too!”

But the honourable family achievements don’t end with the Leders. 

In Sydney, property developer and AJN publisher Robert Magid received an OAM for service to business and commerce, and to the Jewish community; while his sister, Eleanore (Nora) Goodridge also earned an OAM for service to the community through charitable initiatives. 

Both duos, were among 42 members of the community receiving honours. Equalling 4.2 per cent of the total recipients on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, it was a record high for the community, which makes up just 0.5 per cent of the total population. 

Overall, we received 17 of 319 Member of the Order (AM) awards and 21 of 593 Medal of the Order (OAM) accolades. 

Particularly noteworthy, Dr Annabelle Bennett and Emeritus Professor Leo Radom were two of just 12 honorees who were awarded the highest honour, the coveted Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). 

Bennett was recognised for her eminent service to the law, and to the judiciary, particularly in the field of intellectual property, to higher education, and to sports arbitration; while Radom was commended for his eminent service to science, particularly to computational chemistry, as an academic, author and mentor, and to international scientific bodies.

Also of significance, Dr Rachael Kohn and Carol Schwartz were two Jewish honorees out of 69 recipients who received Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) awards. Their success is indicative of the upward trend for women honorees, who received 40 per cent of awards across the board.

Full coverage in this week’s AJN.

REBECCA DAVIS