The official opening of the new Beth Rivkah Primary building – The Spigler Family Wing – in Melbroune, Australia, was an interactive delight of STEM demonstrations, coupled with a warm welcome to mark the occasion.
The Queen’s birthday public holiday provided the opportunity for over 300 Rabbonim, parents, alumni, grandparents, community members, donors, Government and Council officials to flock to the impressive new building for a guided tour of the state-of-the-art classroom facilities, library hub, makerspace,
STEM centre and breakaway spaces, a morning tea prepared by Beth Rivkah Culinary Arts students, and the official unveiling of the new facilities.
Taking place in the new state-of-the-art ‘Loti & Victor Smorgon Family Library’, the morning’s events opened with an instrumental prelude from the talented Beth Rivkah Primary Ensemble and an entertaining musical interlude of vocal and choreographed movements by the Year 4 Beth Rivkah choir.
Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, Principal of Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges, welcomed the guests and expressed the school’s appreciation for the generous donors and Federal Government grants that have made this new wing possible.
He noted, “This building is a true partnership of school, government and community support and enables us to keep our ‘open door’ policy and to continue to empower more students with a better future… The new building is a space for exploration and learning, for creativity and discovery.”
Rabbi Smukler outlined the significance of the day, stating that “on this day 77 years ago, 28 Sivan 1941/ 5701 the Rebbe and his wife escaped Nazi-occupied France and arrived in America [where they became] involved in the leadership of Merkos L’iyunei Chinuch – promoting the importance of Jewish education. [With this new building] we can expand on this tradition, and expand our school that was founded and guided by him.”
Attendees heard inspirational and heartfelt messages from major donors and Senator James Paterson, representing the Australian Federal Government. From the Spotlight Foundation, Morry Fraid AM and Vivienne Fried addressed the attendees as donors of the Roth floor that has been dedicated in memory of Mrs Marianne Roth (Vivienne’s late mother).
The Fried and Fraid families have had a long and close association with YBR, spanning more than 60 years. Morry highlighted his “strong emotional attachment to the school” and his passion for promoting Jewish education, while Vivienne reflected on her mother’s deep passion for education and expressed that she was “honored to have this named after [her]”.
Senator Paterson, in attendance to represent the Government’s contribution to the building, took to the floor and noted that there is “something special and unique about opening this school building [as] the vast majority of funds raised to construct the new building were raised from the school community, philanthropists and donors – a tribute to the Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah community.”
He highlighted Beth Rivkah as a “wonderful example of passion and dedication to education”, with its outstanding academic results and its focus of passing on Jewish values to the next generation.
A moving and heartfelt address from Saul Spigler expressed his joy at being a partner in the building and outlined his longstanding support of and connection to the Colleges – with this being his 60th year of association with the Colleges.
He dedicated the new Spigler Family Wing in memory of his parents Kalman and Rochel Spigler A”H and his wife Beverly’s parents Harry and Betty Rubinstein A”H – who were “inspiring role models of how to lead a Jewish life [and had a] tremendous dedication to Jewish continuity and Jewish education.” He further conveyed, “We hope their memories and legacy will live on and be an inspiration to many who will learn and grow in this building.”
He complimented the schools on providing education standards and educators of such a high calibre. To express hakaras hatov (gratitude) Beth Rivkah Year 1 student Layla Spigler, Saul and Beverly’s granddaughter, presented them with a thank you gift on behalf of the school.
A video presentation provided a virtual tour through the new facility showing classrooms, library and makerspace in action, and was punctuated by student impressions of the new learning spaces. Interactive makerspace rotations were on display for guests to enjoy, after which Saul and Beverly Spigler along with their family took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, declaring the building officially open.
During the event a morning tea was enjoyed by guests, with several dishes expertly prepared by Beth Rivkah Year 9 and 10 Culinary Arts students. In addition, students in year 6 and 7 were instrumental in assisting on the day by ushering guests, providing waitressing support and presenting gifts during the formalities.
Beth Rivkah’s new wing will take learning at Beth Rivkah Primary to new heights – with additional classes that will encourage broad thinking, develop communication skills and advance students’ collaborative abilities – helping cultivate the thinkers and contributors of tomorrow.