TRIBUTES have flowed for philanthropist and communal figure Ron Tatarka, who passed away suddenly last weekend.
Tatarka, 58, is being mourned as a passionate supporter of Jewish causes, a generous sponsor of many Jewish organisations, and a pioneer in the early days of Chabad Youth in Melbourne.
He was a major donor to many organisations, including Magen David Adom (MDA), Shaare Zedek Hospital and Spiritgrow. He was a former director of the Jewish Charity Fund, and the Gandel Centre and Emmy Monash both have floors dedicated in his name.
Tatarka was remembered for his instrumental administrative roles at the Yeshivah Centre and at the Yeshivah Gedolah, the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand.
In 1982, he began as youth director at Chabad Youth, a Yeshivah organisation, serving for almost five years, establishing its Camp Gan Yisrael (CGI).
A spokesperson for Chabad Youth told The AJN, “Without the incredible generosity, wisdom, and partnership he extended, Chabad Youth would not be where it is today.”
Chabad Youth noted that his philanthropy and support paved the way for the founding of CGI, a program that now hosts more than 1000 children over the summer. “Ronny has served as a steadfast partner and adviser to Chabad Youth for many years, and he will be greatly missed.”
In the business world, Tatarka was founder and managing director of Scott Winton Insurance Brokers, which became known in the Jewish community for its widespread sponsorship of communal projects.
Former Zionism Victoria president Sam Tatarka told The AJN his late brother “used his success in business to support a huge variety of charitable causes”.
“He genuinely cared for the welfare of just about anyone who came within his hearing. He’d hear a person didn’t have a job and he’d organise a job for them.
If he knew somebody didn’t have food, he’d organise food. He was that kind of quiet, behind-the-scenes facilitator and donor to numerous causes,” he said.
Zionism Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm described Tatarka as “one of the quiet contributors to our community, a ready and generous supporter of communal activities”.
On Facebook, Spiritgrow posted, “Over the years, Ron’s advice and support have ensured that many of our educational initiatives could come to fruition.”
Tributes were also paid online by Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek Hospital and Australian Friends of MDA.
More than 500 people attended Tatarka’s funeral in Springvale last Sunday.
He is survived by his wife Sarah, six children, and siblings Sam and Ros Tatarka.