Velvel Lederman

“For me it’s second nature to wake up in the morning, go to the synagogue, do the prayers.
I actually go three times a day.”

I was born in Sydney, Australia in 1954.
My parents were both born in Poland and arrived in Australia in May 1949.

Feeling fortunate

I really am fortunate that I was born into a religious family. My father had been a fourth generation cantor. I think the upbringing that they gave us gave us a love of Judaism. Having grown up and wanting to get into education, I wanted to give this over to the next generation. For me it's second nature to wake up in the morning, go to the synagogue, do the prayers. I actually go three times a day. Actually, this very day in honour of my father, I do the Friday visits at the two nursing homes that I'm appointed to and run the Shabbat parties.

Eat, Pray, Naches - in that order

Eat, Pray and Naches. I thought that was a very interesting way of putting it, because in the Hasidic (fervently orthodox) custom, they say a person should eat first so that they'll have the strength to pray afterwards. It shouldn't be the other way around because if you pray and you haven't eaten, you might not have any strength to pray. It's in an old Hasidic story. You eat, and then you have the strength to pray. By praying, you get the naches.

Key Migration Wave - Holocaust Survivors

Australia has been the refuge for more Holocaust survivors per capita than any other country, apart from Israel. The Close Relatives Reunion Scheme after World War II allowed Holocaust survivors to enter on the basis of having family that already resided within Australia. There were a total of 27,000 Holocaust survivors in Australia who arrived between 1945-1961. With the passage of time, only a few are still with us, but their children and grandchildren are carrying on their legacy.

Listen to Velvel's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Full transcript available here

Velvel talks about his parents, who survived the Holocaust, and their challenges coming to Australia from Poland.


Learn about the traditional Jewish foods and how his mother made the best challah “cake”.


Velvel considers himself very fortunate to be born into a religious family and how praying three times a day is second nature. He explains many of the Jewish festivals and his family's own Jewish traditions and customs.


Eat, Pray, Naches – in that order. Velvel explains the Yiddish definition and the meanings behind the concept of naches.