Melanie Lindenberg

“Shabbat dinner is the connection of all of us each week, and truly the reason that we’re a united, close family.”

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1961.
My mother, father, brother, husband, 23-month old son and me pregnant with my second child, arrived in Australia in June 1985.

Coming to Australia

I feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity which Australia has offered us. I imagine our lives may have been very different in South Africa in so many ways, but I think our greatest achievement was to land on Australian soil. As a family, how unique is that. You don't often find many families where the entire family is here. It's just remarkable, really. I guess my parents were the drivers. It didn't go without some sacrifice from everyone, but it was the best thing we ever did.

Shabbat keeps the family together

Shabbat for me is probably the most important thing that we do as a family.  Every Shabbat my family gets together.  Usually we try and make it so that everybody has something that they love. For us, the Shabbat dinner is the connection of all of us each week, and truly the reason that we're a united, close family. I do believe that. Our kids love sitting at the Shabbat table.

Key Migration Wave - South African Jewry

South African Jews have immigrated to Australia since 1948, initially for ideological reasons opposing apartheid, and later propelled by increasing of crime, violence and insecurity. There were three distinct waves of migration: following the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960; the Soweto Uprising of 1976; and preceding the collapse of apartheid in 1990.

Listen to Melanie's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Read full transcript here

Melanie tells  of how she and her family migrated from South Africa and how unusual and lucky it is to have their whole family and extended family together in Australia.


Melanie is an avid cook and loves to bake. For her, the Shabbat dinner is the most important thing that they do as a family.


Although Melanie and her husband did not go to Jewish schools in South Africa, sending their children to Jewish schools in Australia has been an incredibly journey for the family.


To Melanie, naches is the family unit and, as migrants to Sydney, giving back to the community, which she has done as a volunteer for various organisations over the years is important to her.