Rabbi’s Anzac participation a first

Rabbi Yossi Friedman laying a wreath at the service.

LAST Thursday’s Anzac Day dawn service at Bondi Beach, attended by 20,000 people, incorporated a uniquely Jewish element.

Maroubra Synagogue’s Rabbi Yossi Friedman, who holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force, gave the benediction, delivering a message of unity and singing Oseh Shalom, a prayer of peace.

“I stand before you today as a proud Jewish member of our Australian Defence Force. I stand before you on the shoulders of many Jewish chaplains who have served our country since the inception of our ADF,” he told the gathering.

“The total number of Jews who served in the Australian and New Zealand Forces in World War I is estimated at close to 1800, which, at that time, was around 10 per cent of the Jewish population.

“Since Federation, some 9000 Jewish men and women have served and continue to serve in the ADF; 341 have given their lives.”

Rabbi Friedman said he felt “deeply humbled and honoured” to have participated in the service.

It is believed to be the first official Jewish participation in an eastern suburbs Anzac service.