Vic Alhadeff

“...respect for difference that is an overwhelming feature of Australian society.”

I was born in Shabani, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia at the time) in 1952.
My wife and I arrived here in 1986 with two daughters, then aged six months and two years.

Coming to Australia

Immigrating to this country, the factor that impressed us most greatly was the respect for difference that is an overwhelming feature of Australian society. The acceptance and embracing of diversity. Coupled with that is a strong sense of obligation to speak out against injustice, to take a stand against racism, to publicly oppose bigotry. This is something which appealed to me enormously about this country from the moment we were privileged to set foot in Australia in 1986.

I want my grandchildren to live in a society without bigotry

What I hope for my children and grandchildren is the same factor which prompts me to get up in the morning - a society that is free of bigotry and free of racism. I believe that issue is the biggest scourge that confronts us as a society and which we need to tackle, whether the bigotry be against people of different colours, faiths, traditions or religions. I abhor bigotry with a passion. Combatting it and working to achieve a society where mutual respect is the norm is what drives me, first and foremost.

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 Vic's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Full transcript available here

Vic speaks about the annihilation of the Jewish community of Rhodes Island, his family's ancestral home, and the apartheid system which he lived under as a journalist in Cape Town. They both informed the person that he is and his decision to leave South Africa to come to a country such as Australia.


Being a Sephardi Jew, with his forebears from Spain,via Greece and then Zimbabwe, Vic’s upbringing exposed him to a great mix of Turkish, Greek, Oriental and Middle Eastern food.


Vic shares with us a very powerful moment when family and friends returned to Rhodes Island for his daughter’s wedding in the 500 year old synagogue there.


Vic is driven by wanting a society where everyone is equal and everyone respects each other. He tells us of a line in Jewish teaching which says “that which is hurtful to you do not do unto others”. He believes if we can all abide by this we will have achieved a great thing in our society.