The MAI Board

Maccabi Australia’s Board consists of a President, a Treasurer, plus a further five to seven Directors. The Presidents of Maccabi Victoria, Maccabi New South Wales, Maccabi Western Australia and Maccabi Queensland as well as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors completes the MAI Board. The full Executive of Maccabi Australia meets a minimum of six times a year, continuing its commitment to strong governance, sound decision-making and national Jewish strategic leadership.

Jeff Sher

Jeff joined the MAI Board in 2009, having been involved with Maccabi since emigrating from South Africa in 1978. He has served the MAI board in various capacities including National Sports, Leadership and Strategy.  As a swimmer and water polo player, Jeff has participated in 7 Maccabiah, winning 15 medals. At the 2009 Games he won 4 Gold Medals, 2 Silver and four years later performed even better, winning 5 Gold, 2 Silver in Masters Swimming across all freestyle distances including the Ocean swim. He also won bronze medals with the water polo team in 1981 and 85.  At the 2017 games was the Team Manager for the Masters swimming team. He has been a Club Secretary of the VIC Swimming Club and of the NSW Water polo Club. He was the recipient of the 2013 Maccabi National and Victorian Masters Sportsman of the year awards. Jeff has an MBA and significant experience in business leadership. He has been a CEO of an Australian public listed and an Executive Director of a South Africa-based transnational listed company. More recently he has been a strategic consultant to a number of significant retail and supply companies. 


Barry Smorgon OAM
Chairman and Head of Delegation 21st Maccabiah

Barry participated in his first Senior Carnival in Athletics as a 14 year old. He competed for Maccabi Athletics from 1962 till 1970, winning many awards as Jewish champion, and went on to the Maccabiah Games in Israel in 1969 as a member of the Athletics Team. Barry also played Australian Rules Football for AJAX Football Club from 1970 to 1978, playing 100 games. He served on the Committee of both clubs as Vice President, as well as on the Maccabi Victoria Executive. Barry was Patron of MAIGs in Sydney 2004 and 2010. He joined the Executive of Maccabi Australia in 2006, and created the Board of Governors in 2007, serving as Founding Chairman, along with the role of Chairman of MAI.  In business, Barry serves as Executive Chairman of Tismor Health and Wellness which manufactures food and pharmaceutical products and Sandbar Investments, a private investment company. He is a Director of DBR Corporation as well as several other private companies. Barry is former NSW Chairman of AIJAC a position held for 16 years and Life Governor of Jewish Communal Appeal.

Barry received the Award of Australia Medal ( OAM ) for services to the Community , Business & Maccabi in 2010.


David Birnbaum
Treasurer and Secretary

David has been part of the Maccabi family from a young age having played a mix of sports as a kid.  But for over 25 years, David’s sporting passion has found him on the hockey field as a proud member of Maccabi Hockey Club.  Having served MHC in various roles, including a successful period as a Coach of Junior teams, David has been Treasurer for the last 13 years. During this time he has also held Board and advisory roles with other Not-For-Profit organisations within the Jewish and wider Melbourne community.

Together with his wife Ariella and their kids Jake and Timnah, the Birnbaum family enjoys volunteering and are all excited by this new role.

David is a strong believer that the social opportunities that sport offers, in addition to the physical and mental benefits, plays a critical part in developing valuable life skills and sees Maccabi as a major part of this equation.

With a background in Corporate Restructuring, Advisory and Banking & Finance and now managing a successful SME, David brings with him strong commercial and strategic skills, treasury experience and a great excitement to work with Maccabi in what he sees as an exciting time ahead for the organisation.


Debbie Rutstein
Member Protection (MPP)

Debbie has been involved as a volunteer from an early age. She began her volunteering adventure at Netzer as a madricha, then was on the AUJS NSW committee as education officer. Soon after she was a pioneer volunteer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She joined the Emanuel School Board in 2007 until leaving in 2016 where she had become Secretary. Whilst doing this she was a volunteer team manager and at times,coach, for her son and daughter's Maccabi soccer teams which she did for over ten years. She was a member of the over 35 women's Maccabi soccer team for three years. In 2015 she joined the NSW Maccabi Committee and holds the Member Protection(MPP)  portfolio. In 2017 she was the assistant youth manager for the Australian team at the Maccabiah Games. In 2018 she was elected to the MAI Board and chairs the MPP subcommittee. She is also sits on the NSW Combined Independent Schools Board, and the Emanuel School Marketing Committee in a voluntary capacity. In her professional life Debbie is a lawyer and has her own practice. In her spare time she loves to follow most sports and is a keen Swans and Roosters supporter. She hopes to ensure that Maccabi is a safe and welcoming place for all.


Jodi Rosenthal

Jodi has been working in the sports industry for over 20 years, with a background in sports management and coaching she is passionate about sports development, participation and competition, with a wealth of experience in both corporate and government sports industries. Jodi, born and breed a Queensland, participated in her first Senior Carnival at 14, she went on for over a decade competing for QLD, WA and NSW.

After moving to Perth in the early 90's, she has called Sydney home for over 20 years, married to Anthony, she has 2 daughters. Jodi has been involved in Maccabi Executives in WA and NSW and run the Sport Programs for both Junior and Senior Carnivals. In 1993  Jodi captained the first Australian Netball Team at the Maccabiah Games. Competing at a high level in Netball, she has spent many years coaching and currently educates and up-skills coaches across NSW.

Jodi hopes to bring her experience and enthusiasm to Maccabi Australia, she looks forward to working with all states continuing to connect Jewish people through sport.


Tom Goldman OAM
Chairperson of Board of Governors 

Tom's more than 48 year involvement with Maccabi includes 12 Maccabiot in various capacities including Head of Delegation in 2009. He is a Past President of Maccabi NSW and Past President of MAI (1994 - 1998).  As a result of his extensive service and commitment to Maccabi he is now a Life Member of both MAI and Maccabi NSW, as well as receiving the honour on the world stage after Yakir Maccabi. Tom was also recently apopinted to the position Vice President of Maccabi World Union.  In his working life Tom is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Travel and was formerly Chairman of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents NSW Branch, Director of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents and Chairman and Director of Travelscene Limited. He currently serves on the Helloworld Advisory Board.

Tom is currently a Vice President of Maccabi World Union.


Brian Swersky
President of Maccabi Victoria

Brian is a Maccabi man through and through. He began his affiliation with Maccabi in the 1970's as Captain of the AJAX Swimming Team.  He has attended numerous Carnivals, been a Team Manager for Junior Girls Basketball and is a member of the Maccabi Cycling Club.

Brian was on the Junior Carnival Organising Committee (Marketing) for Melbourne Junior Carnival 2011 with responsibility for the Community Day, and the following year joined the Board of Maccabi Victoria as Chairman.

He has played an instrumental role in the development and roll out of Maccabi’s Member Protection Policy (MPP) program, of which he is most proud.  In August 2016, Brian was elected the new President of Maccabi Victoria.

Outside of his Maccabi life, Brian worked for many years as a Solicitor with Swersky & Velos Lawyers.  He left the practice to become the Managing Director at Dimmeys Stores for ten years.  He is currently co-Managing Director at Lincraft Australia where he has been since 2005.

Brian is married to Leah and has 4 children.


Lauren Ehrlich 
President of Maccabi NSW

Since her arrival back in Australia in 2000 Lauren has been a committee member of the Maccabi NSW Netball Club. She has held positions which have included the presidency, coaching coordinator, umpire coordinator, club secretary, coach (level2) and is a certified National C umpire. She is a past squash player winning at A1 level and has also played tennis at an international level.

Lauren is extremely passionate about sport in general and firmly advocates the Maccabi motto which is connecting our Jewish community through sport. She believes that this promotes the Maccabi identity and brings together people of all ages to participate at all levels in something they love.

Other community involvement includes:

  • Past President Moriah College Parents and Friends Association. 2012-2017
  • Attended 5 consecutive Maccabiot as athlete and manager positions ..and winning medals too! Most recently,   Regional manager of the North.
  • Head of delegation to Pan Am Games Chile-2015/2016
  • Athlete / manager Pam Am games Brazil-2011/2012-Bronze medalist
  • Medalist in tennis 2005/2009
  • Recipient of volunteer of the year from Northern Suburbs Netball Association


Justine Sharbanee - President Maccabi WA 

Justine Sharbanee joined the Maccabi WA Executive in 2006, but was involved in Maccabi WA many years before that as a Carnival participant and Youth Leader. She attended her first Senior Carnival in Adelaide as a very young (chaperoned) 13 year old in the WA Physical Culture team and then competed every year after that in physical culture, athletics and netball.

Justine represented WA in State team in 1981, 1982 and 1983 as a sprinter and went to the 12th Maccabiah games in 1985 for athletics. As she was living in Israel at the time she ended up represented Israel in the inaugural netball team at the 14th Maccabiah Games in 1993.

Justine was President of Maccabi Netball club from 2006 – 2011 and again 2016 - 2017. She was Junior Carnival Team Manager at the 28th Perth Carnival in 2010 and  2011, Junior Carnival Social Director in Perth Carnival in 2013. Most recently Justine was Team Manager of the Senior Women’s Netball team for the Maccabiah Games in 2017 where the girls won gold.

Out of Maccabi Justine has also been President of the Perth College Netball Academy 2012 – 2017, one of the largest clubs at Perth Netball Association, and worked in fashion marketing and tender proposals for Occupational Physicians.

Justine is married to Paul and has 3 children.


Dale Smorgon
Chair - Maccabi Foundation

Dale is the CEO of Innovative Retail Pty Ltd, a leading supplierof children's entertainment a family investment company. He is a passionate lover of many sports and played for AJAX Football Club for many years at both junior and senior levels, including being part of the 1999 Reserve Grade Premiership team. Dle has three sons, two of which are active in both Maccabi Basketball Club and AJAX Junior Football Club.

Dale joined the Foundation Board in January 2015.


Susannah Swiatlo
National Leadership

Susannah is born and bred in Victoria. She was active in maccabi as a teenager participating in carnivals. Her involvement commenced again as a parent at the Maccabi Victoria Basketball club where she has been an active exec and committee member for the last 13 years and in more recent years involved with Maccabi Australia in JCC Games (2014-15) Pan American Games (2019) and Maccabiah Games 2022.

Susannah is a trained social worker with many years experience working in the Department of Justice - Correctional Services.

She is married to Mark and they have 2 daughters aged 18 and 21.

Susannah feels the Maccabi values of volunteerism, teamwork, respect and community align so closely with her own personal values and interactions & the Maccabi ethos of “connecting our Jewish community through sport and wellbeing" resonates very strongly with her as she focuses on being able to facilitate people to connect, share experiences, bond and create lifelong friendships.

Susannah aims to continue to add value to the organisation on board level.


Dr Craig Nossel
Maccabi Life

Craig completed his Medical degree at the University of Witwatersrand, and his MBA at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. He also studied an MPhil in Sports Medicine at University of Cape Town. Prior to his move to Melbourne at the end of 2019, Craig was Head of Vitality Wellness at Discovery where he helped develop one of the leading incentive-based wellness programs. He has published scientific papers and holds patents in this field to find innovative ways to get people to engage in a healthier lifestyle.

Craig is currently the CEO of Carenomics, a behavioural economics-based consultancy that he co-founded, working with a variety of organizations to drive greater customer engagement.

In addition to his business interests, he spends considerable time working in the NGO space. Craig sits on the board of Reach-for-a-Dream, Kids Kicking Cancer, Laureus Sports for Good Foundation, The Roxy Davis Foundation, Active Geelong and Kicking it Forward. He was previously a board member of parkrun SA and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. He has also played an advisory role at the WEF on Workplace Wellness and at the WHO in physical activity. Craig currently runs an MBA elective in Dynamic Innovation and is a mentor for the University of New South Wales Health10X program.

Sam Strunin

Sam has joined the board of Maccabi Australia, with a brief to oversee the organisation's Marketing/Branding portfolio.

Sam is a proven brand visionary and thought leader who comes to Maccabi Australia after holding the same portfolio with Maccabi Victoria for almost 8 years. Sam has been involved with Maccabi for more than 40 years, having played for the hockey, tennis and football clubs as a junior and continues to play tennis at the Maccabi Victoria Tennis Club. He Is married to Lisa and together they have two sons Joshua and Jarrod, both keen sportsmen and active members of the Maccabi Basketball Club and AJAX Junior Football Club.

Sam’s background in Marketing/Branding and digital design spans almost 30 years working with local, national and international brands including Red Cross, Trevor Barker Foundation, Adidas, Loreal, BMG Records, EMI Records, Lion Nathan, Fox FM and others. Sam also provides brand guidance to not-for-profit community organisations. 

Sam is passionate about connecting our Jewish community through sport. He has a deep understanding and knowledge of Maccabi and believes strongly in the important roles Maccabi plays in the community. Sam sees his role to ideate, prioritise, develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to create brand messaging and awareness, increase social media followers, and drive membership and brand loyalty across Australia.

He is “Maccabi PROUD” and honoured to be charged with this responsibility and looks forward to sharing Maccabi’s amazing ongoing story through various campaigns, events, digital marketing, PR and intercommunity collaboration.


Maccabi Life - Loyalty and Rewards Launched
Maccabiah Games 2022


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