Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Union for Progressive Judaism is responsible for governance and oversight of the organisation. 

Current members of the Executive Committee are:

Co-President: David Knoll AM
David is a Sydney barrister.   His family have been members of Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney for decades. He has served as the Honorary Secretary of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the elected roof body of the Australian Jewish community, on the Boards of Multicultural NSW, and the Council for Jewish Community Security.  He is a Past President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the peak body of the NSW Jewish community. In 2011 he was chosen as one “40 Inspirational Alumni” featured for the 40th Anniversary of UNSW Law School, and in 2010 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the Jewish community through a range of peak, religious and educational organisations, and to the promotion of interfaith relations. David is married to Karen. They have three adult children.

: Brian Samuel OAM
Brian has been associated with the Progressive movement all his life . He is a Past President of Temple Beth Israel from 2008-2010 and President of Progressive Judaism Victoria from 2012 to current. In addition to his involvement with Progressive Judaism he is involved in a number of community organisations. He has been associated with the clothing industry for just on fifty years with expertise in marketing. He has been appointed an Ambassador for White Ribbon Australia, an organisation that campaigns to stop violence against women. He believes that Progressive Judaism brings innovation and creativity to Jewish traditions. It should provide pathways to its members and friends to enjoy an engagement with Progressive Judaism that enhances their lives through spiritual enrichment, learning and community. Brian is married to Jenny and they have two grown children and seven grandchildren.

Immediate Past PresidentRoger Mendelson
Roger has considerable business experience to contribute to his role at the UPJ. He is the author of two published books on business and a novel, Eliyahu’s Mistress .  He is a lawyer and is CEO of a business he founded 40 years ago.He served as president of Temple Beth Israel from 2005-2008, and as vice-chair of Progressive Judaism Victoria (formerly "The Victorian Union for Progressive Judaism") for one year. Roger believes that the Progressive Movement should strive to be accessible, welcoming and  relevant in a pro-active way. Roger is married to Sue, and the couple has three grown children and 5 young grandchildren.

Vice-President: Danny Hochberg
The son of Holocaust survivors, Danny has been a youth leader and active parent of Habonim Dror ,including Mazkir of NZ Habonim, and President of the Parents and Friends of Sydney Habonim; Coogee Synagogue Board member for over eight years; a host of UIA and the Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA); long-term involvement with Maccabi culminating as President of Maccabi NSW and a manager at the Maccabiah. He was a Governor of the JCA and a member of the Maccabi Australia Board. He remains on the Maccabi Sports Centre Board. Danny is currently a member of the Emanuel Synagogue Board, Past Chair of the Shoah Remembrance Committee, and was a member of the Executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies for six years. He said, “My years in communal life have allowed me to accumulate invaluable experience and understanding of the community. I am particularly passionate about developing the next generation of leaders. I have a keen interest in politics. I hope to leverage this, along with my communal experience, to benefit our community. I have been married for 33 years to my lovely (and understanding) wife Sandra, and have 3 children aged 29, 27 and 23 years.”

Vice-President and ARZA President: Helen Shardey OAM
Helen was educated at Methodist Ladies College and graduated from The University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. She was elected to the Parliament of Victoria in 1996 and re-elected in 1999, 2002 & 2006 as the Member for Caulfield. Helen retired from the Victorian Parliament in 2010. During her time in Parliament, she served as the Shadow Minister for Health for five years after serving as the Shadow Minister for Aged Care, Multicultural Affairs, Housing and Community Services. She was previously an Economics and Politics teacher, chief of Staff and senior policy adviser to the Federal Coalition, a consultant to Western Mining Corporation, Metropolitan Female Vice President, and member of the Administrative Committee for the Victorian Liberal Party. Helen has previously served on the boards of the Jewish National Fund and the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Authority. She was the recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for her contribution to the Jewish community. Helen currently chairs the board of Alfred Health, serves on the board of Temple Beth Israel and has been elected as Vice-president for Progressive Judaism Victoria. She was recently elected to the Executive of the Union for Progressive Judaism.

Honorary Treasurer: Sally Castle

Honorary Secretary: Professor Larry Lockshin
Larry Lockshin is Emeritus Professor of Wine Marketing and former Head of the School of Marketing at the University of South Australia.  He is originally from Ohio in the U.S. but migrated to Australia from Canada where he spent four years as an Assistant Professor. He and his partner/wife Janet Henrie have two adult children living in Melbourne.  He has been on the Board of Management for Beit Shalom Synagogue for over 20 years and served two terms as President. He received the UPJ Vatik award in 2013. He is the current past president of the Jewish Community Council for South Australia, where he served for seven years. Along with duties as Secretary, his UPJ focus is on a range of outreach activities to aid the smaller congregations within the UPJ. These include co-chairing the UPJ committee on Relational Judaism.
Committee memberAndrew Blencowe
Andrew is a Sydney chartered accountant who has also qualified as a lawyer. His experience is mainly as an accountant in public practice in the areas of accounting, tax and small business. Andrew is a member of Emanuel Synagogue and was the honorary accountant for Newtown Synagogue for a number of years. He is  married with two adult daughters.


Committee memberDorothy Graff
Dorothy was the inaugural chair of the Social Justice Committee in 2001 at Temple Beth Israel, which sought to reduce disadvantage in pockets of people in Melbourne. She served on the TBI Board from 2008-2019 as member, Chair and Vice President. She is currently on three TBI Committees: Communal Life (Chair), Honours and Awards, and Project Dignity (refugee focussed). She received the UPJ Ner Tamid Award in 2019. Dorothy's professional life included employee and organisation development, and HR processes in national and international organisations, and career transition consulting for people at all organisational levels in the major market sectors. Dorothy loves working with people and seeking to make a difference.

Committee member
Judi Hall
Judi Hall has worked as a lawyer for the Australian Government Solicitor’s Office, taught business law and was a primary teacher. She has held various roles on the NSW  Jewish Board of Deputies in the past 8 years including executive member and positions on various committees. While she comes from a Brisbane orthodox, Betar zionist background she has been a member of Emanuel Synagogue for decades and is married with 2 children. Her long term interests have been in the areas of leadership and youth, drawing Jews on the margins into the mainstream and linking the Jewish community to other communities. She has been President of Womanpower (Jewish women’s leadership organisation and a member of the Sydney Alliance since its inception.

Committee member: Associate Professor Josh Keller
Josh is an Associate Professor at the UNSW Business School and the Australia Graduate School of Management, where he teaches and conducts research on international management and negotiations. He received his MBA and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Josh has extensive academic and industry experience in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Josh was an active member of the United Hebrew Congregation in Singapore for 10 years and was an organizer of the Asia Progressive Jewish Summit. He has recently relocated to Sydney, where he is an active member of the Emanuel Synagogue. Josh is married to Joy and has two young children.  

Committee member: Amanda Mace
Amanda is AbleDocs' Vice President for Australasia, a digital accessibility company. She is certified by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) as a Certified Professional in ICT and is Co-Chair of the Australian Accessibility Web Accessibility Initiative (OZeWAI). She also runs one of only two Australian-based W3C Australian Chapters. Amanda has been a member of Temple David Congregation (TD) since moving to Perth from Canada in 2009. She has since served six years on the Temple David Board of Management, including two as Vice President and three years as President. She chaired the Education Committee between 2019 – 2022 and has been teaching at the TD Region school since 2020 as well as teaching an advanced Jewish study course since 2019. Amanda is also an inaugural member of the Netzer Advisory Board. In 2022 she was awarded, the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA) WA Young Woman of Worth Award. Outside of work and Temple David, Amanda loves to spend time with her husband and three children. She's an avid reader, history lover, runner, and huge sports fan, especially when it comes to Australian Rules Football.

Committee member: Dr Sue Silberberg
Sue is an academic historian, with a PhD in Australian Jewish history. Prior to returning to academia she held executive positions in government within the Arts and was the Director of the Cultural Festival for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. She began her career as a curator and museum director, working in both London and Victoria, specialising in historic buildings. She has chaired the Arts Management Advisory Group, and was on the foundation board of the Australian Jewish Museum, and a board member of the Industrial Building Preservation Trust (London).  She is a lifelong member of Temple Beth Israel, and granddaughter of one of the founding families. She has served for a number of years on the Board of Temple Beth Israel, and is currently Vice-President of ARZA. Her children attended The King David School and Netzer.

ARC (Moetzah) chair
: Rabbi Allison Conyer

Progressive Community and Netzer Shaliach: Sefi Shalam

Netzer Federal MazkiraNoa Abrahams

WUPJ Representative: Sharene Hambur
Sharene's communal involvement began at the Leo Baeck Centre in Kew where she was a youth leader and then a member of the Board of Management. Sharene held a number of positions on the Board and was President of the congregation for three years. Subsequently Sharene went on to hold the positions of Honorary Treasurer and the President of the Victorian Union for Progressive Judaism (now Progressive Judaism Victoria). Sharene has also held a number of roles as an office bearer of the UPJ including four years as Vice-President. Sharene is currently an Executive Board Member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism representing Australasia and New Zealand and continues to be a member of the Executive of the Union for Progressive Judaism in this role. Sharene joined the Executive of Zionism Victoria as a Vice-President 5 years ago having represented Progressive Judaism on the Executive for some years and will assume the Presidency of the organisation in November 2015. She is also an office bearer of the Zionist Federation of Australia. For a number of years Sharene has been a member of the Committee of Management of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and in 2013 assumed the role of Honorary Secretary of that organisation a position she continues to hold. Sharene has a deep belief in the need for each person to give to their community to the best of their ability and she endeavours to fulfil this while balancing the roles with her role as a senior lawyer with Clayton Utz Lawyers. She has practiced in the property and development area for over 30 years and takes enormous satisfaction from seeing projects in which she is involved come to fruition. Sharene has been married to Sam for over 30 years and they have two children Michelle and Jonathan both of whom are now forging their own careers. Sharene and Sam are looking forward to lots of travel and spending time together in-between communal involvements!

Executive Manager: Jocelyn Robuck
Jocelyn brings a wide range of experience to her role at the UPJ. She received a BA in Medical Dietetics from The Ohio State University, co-owned and operated a kosher catering business for 11 years, worked as a proofreader and writer at the Australian Jewish News for five years, and played an active role as a rebbetzin and synagogue volunteer for more than 30 years.  As Executive Manager, she provides a high level of support to the Executive and committees, leads and coordinates projects, and acts as point of contact for UPJ constituents and partners throughout the region and worldwide. She edits the UPJ's Weekly News & Drash, coordinates UPJ gatherings and conferences, manages the UPJ website and social media, and facilitates operational and strategic goals of the UPJ. Together with husband Rabbi Gary Robuck, she gets "naches" from three children and four grandchildren.

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