Marcel was born in in Paris, just after the Second World War, both parents having been through the Holocaust and keen to make a new life in France. Life post war in Europe was a struggle, and eventually Marcel’s parents settled in Melbourne, a place of opportunity and relative peace. Marcel grew up with a strong pragmatic nature, embellished by a quirky sense of imagination. He thanks his parents’ war experiences and determination to survive at all costs for these qualities. These attributes also assisted Marcel to decide to take on the presidency of the North Eastern Jewish Centre in 2013 as he saw them useful in making creative decisions expediently.
Marcel believes that he brings other useful skills to the Centre. As a pharmacist for many years, Marcel worked to make a difference to his patients’ well-being through dispensing medication, and offering medical advice. In addition, over the last 25 years Marcel has worked as a psychotherapist and psychologist making a difference to the emotional well-being of his clients. It was therefore a natural progression to move from assisting individuals on a micro level to helping the Centre on a macro level.
Marcel is supported by a number of exemplary people. Firstly by Rabbi Daniel Rabin, and his wife Sarah, who are both highly motivated and passionate individuals. Secondly, the NEJC Board, who despite all being volunteers are heavily involved in Centre matters. Their generosity coincides with Marcel’s view of the importance of tzedkah (charitable acts) at the Centre. Finally, Marcel’s wife Kristen is his confidante, often providing refreshing perspectives to the many decisions that need to be made as president.
Marcel has ambitious ideas for the Centre, but being a pragmatist, appreciates some of the ideas may not reach fruition. This has not discouraged him in the least, because Marcel knows that unless one has dreams and hopes stagnation is usually the other option. Marcel would like to see the revamping of major parts of the Centre that look tired. He would like to promulgate a Centre with an emphasis on spirituality, through religious, social and cultural initiatives. And finally Marcel would like to develop the NEJC to a point where it is perceived as a model Centre for other communities, both Jewish and Gentile.