- Local Champion
Sylvia Gelman is a highly respected elder of the Jewish community. She began her working life as a teacher in government schools and then at Mt Scopus College in Melbourne.
In 1970, following her retirement after 30 years of teaching, Sylvia joined the National Board of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA). She became National President of NCJWA from 1973 to 1979 and has been a Life Governor of the organisation since 1988.
Sylvia has also been involved in the International Council of Jewish Women Australia (ICJW) for over three decades and has held the position of honorary member of the Executive since 1990. Her national and global activism for women, through both NCJWA and ICJW, encompassed a broad spectrum of women and led to Sylvia's involvement in the National Council of Women Victoria (NCWV), where she held the position of President from 1986 to 1989.
In honour of Sylvia's remarkable contribution to education and women's issues, the NCJWA Victoria established the Sylvia Gelman Award in 2004. The award is presented annually to an outstanding woman educator in Jewish Studies in Victoria.
In 1981, Sylvia was awarded an MBE in recognition of her service to education, youth and the Jewish community. In 2003, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, AM, in recognition of her service to the community, particularly through a range of organisations concerned with issues affecting women. In 2011, Sylvia received the General Sir John Monash Award for Outstanding Service.
Reviewed 25 May 2022