What a year it has been. When the global pandemic hit our shores, things changed overnight at Jewish Care as they did across the country and globe. Our event calendar was full with dinners, lunches, presentations and more and as restrictions were enforced we had to cancel event after wonderful event.

The response from the community was extraordinary. When faced with crisis, our community stood up when most needed. Thousands in the community provided financial support, in-kind donations and their valuable time to support others in the community in serious need.


Our 2020 Annual Appeal turned overnight into a Crisis Appeal. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt immediately. Calls for help from the most vulnerable in our community were increasing daily and Jewish Care was there to respond to each call.

It was the extraordinary spirit of generosity within the community which enabled Jewish Care to respond to 4,385 calls by the end of June. The most vulnerable in the community were seeking immediate financial support, food provisions, mental health support, employment services and more. Our Appeal was the most successful in history, with the community donating $4.258million to enable Jewish Care to provide the supports and services needed urgently in the community.

We held our first Giving Day in June 2020 and were fortunate to have donations matched dollar for dollar by a generous group of matchers, including Buzz Products, the Finkel Foundation, Susie Ivany OAM & Paul Ivany and Family, Lorelle and Tom Krulis, Eddie Kutner AM & Helen Kutner and Family, Marcia and Henry Pinskier, Eva Selwyn and the Silberscher Family Foundation.

We thank our supporters for your trust and continued commitment to Jewish Care, and most importantly, believing in us as providers to the most vulnerable in our Jewish community.

We are so very grateful to every single generous donor be they individuals, families, philanthropic trusts and foundations, businesses or fundraising support groups.

Growing. For our Community. Capital Campaign

Hannah and Daryl Cohen Family Building

In 2014, Jewish Care embarked on a $200 million capital investment project to develop six state-of-the-art buildings in ten years for the Jewish community. In April 2020 the vision was realised with elders living in Montefiore Community Residence moving into their new home in the Hannah & Daryl Cohen Family Building located in the Holckner Family Senior Living & Community Precinct in Windsor.

In addition to eight individual houses, each providing accommodation to 15 elders supported by the Hand-in-Hand™ model of supports, our elders, families and community can enjoy these wonderful inviting spaces:
• Gita Smorgon Family Active Living Centre
• Roseanne Amarant & Family Health & Wellness Centre
• Schwartz Family Synagogue
• Camit and Nathan Cher Family Cafe
• Paula and Jack Hansky Private Dining Room
• Loti & Victor Smorgon Family Education & Function Hub
• Casper Family Community Services Centre
• Alan, Ada & Eva Selwyn Community Theatre
• Gallery & Cultural Lounge In Memory of Annia Castan
• Besen Family Foundation Library
• Chasya & Aaron Borochowich Sensory Garden and Succah
• Liberman Courtyard
• Jack Joel Family Playground

Senior Living Precinct Carnegie

In Carnegie, we were nearing completion of our newest residential home in the Smorgon Family Building located in the Senior Living Precinct.

This 120-bed impressive two-storey Smorgon Family Home will provide bespoke services to the Jewish community living in the south-eastern suburbs supported by Jewish Care’s unique Hand-in-Hand™ model of supports.

Active Living Centres

As part of the capital campaign, Jewish Care sought to expand its active living services to enable more people from the community to live active, independent and socially connected lives within the Jewish community. With the support of our generous donors, we were successful in developing the Anne & Eric Smorgon Active Living Centre in Caulfield and Gita Smorgon Active Living Centre in Windsor.

As elders moved into their new home in Windsor, construction was nearing completion for the Anne & Eric Smorgon Active Living Centre in Caulfield. This new vibrant and buzzling centre enables our community to live active, independent and socially connected lives through the provision of allied health services, social group activities and other health and wellbeing and lifestyle related programs. Within the Centre, community can enjoy the stunning Synagogue, the Szalmuk-Singer Family Sensory Garden and the Friends of Montefiore Wellness Centre.

Gita Smorgon Active Living Centre continues to benefit the community through the provision of allied health services, recreational and social groups, and health and wellbeing programs for seniors.

Community Housing – St Kilda East

As part of our commitment to providing quality, affordable housing outcomes for those who are at risk of homelessness, 36 housing units in St Kilda East were completely refurbished creating larger open spaces for dining and living, and with upgrades to internal and external aspects of the building including bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry, fencing and landscaping.


Foreshadowing a significant increase in requests for assistance, in March 2020, we launched a COVID-19 Helpline to provide immediate relief to individuals and families impacted by the pandemic. The Helpline was established with the generous support of the Besen Family Foundation, Erdi Foundation, Gandel Philanthropy, Spotlight Foundation and Loti & Victor Smorgon Family Foundation.

Through this helpline, immediate relief was provided to over 4,385 individuals and families who were experiencing emotional distress, social isolation, financial hardships, and difficulties in accessing groceries and places of interests.


The Volunteer Program continued to grow from strength to strength with over 350 committed and generous registered volunteers.

Volunteers are an integral part of Jewish Care, providing a range of supports including transport and escort services, visitations and social supports, assisting staff with lifestyle and recreational programs, coordinating current affairs discussions and news reading, assisting with social and educational supports and mentoring younger members of the community in their educational and vocational pursuits.

The Volunteer Program has a robust infrastructure to ensure integration into our operations. The Orientation program was supplemented with our new Development Day to widen the scope of training.

As with other areas of the organisation, overnight, the Volunteer program was immediately impacted yet our wonderfully committed volunteers pivoted to provide many of their engagement activities virtually with little impact to elders and clients.

Volunteers facilitated food drop offs, made social connections calls to many isolated individuals, supported families through remote educational support programs, conducted welfare checks and organised virtual sessions for entertainment, including news and views, music and arts and crafts.

While we are indebted to all volunteers who support Jewish Care throughout the year, the Annual Staff and Volunteers Service & Excellence Awards provided formal recognition of our volunteers for their exceptional dedication and commitment to providing quality services and support to our community. Some of the individuals were Delysia Pahoff OAM, Rosalie Silverstein, Tara Finkelstein, Brandon Krongold, Errol Rink and Abby Levy. Phillip Symons and Raisa Basman were both awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award.


The Jewish Life Services team continues to provide meaningful opportunities for elders, clients, staff, volunteers and the greater community to engage in spiritual and cultural activities throughout the year.

The team worked closely with our three residential homes, supported accommodation, independent living, in-home services, volunteers and staff to deliver engaging activities to celebrate Jewish festivals and provide spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing.

The community celebrated Rosh Hashanah with vigour, observed Yom Kippur, celebrated Sukkot and Chanukah and regularly attended weekly services with our Rabbis and Jewish Life team.

In 2020, as restrictions prevented face-to-face celebrations, every shabbat and holiday was celebrated appropriately with the community becoming adept at zooming in to Jewish Life activities.

Strong partnerships with other synagogues and community organisations provided engaging activities for all members of the community.