When Dorothea and Richard z”l Nossbaum met in 1946, they were living in Palestine with their remaining family members who had all fled Germany at the onset of World War Two. Life was tough, education was unavailable to them and looking to the future, they decided they wanted a better life for their children.
Shortly after they were married in 1948, they left Israel and the two of them made their way to Australia, leaving their family and familiarity behind.
“Their story is one of resilience and foresight, they really just had each other,” says their daughter Leonie.
Without education or financial support, the two worked hard to provide a warm and secure Jewish home for their three children – Marion (OC ‘68), Robbie (OC ‘69) and Leonie (OC ‘77). Having lived through pre-war Germany and Israel, they saw Jewish education as a panacea for antisemitism, and strived to give that opportunity to their children.
“My father really valued Jewish education, he thought of Jewish life, tradition and culture being kept alive through education,” Leonie explains. “He was quite a religious man and I know he worked really hard to make sure we could attend a private Jewish school.”
All three siblings attended Mount Scopus, and Leonie recalls celebrations such as Yom Ha’aztmaut and opportunities like Counterpoint camp as highlights.
“The school was broad enough to find your own place,” she says. “You could find somewhere you could fit in and there was always somewhere for you, whether it was academically or socially.”
The friendships made and kept also spoke volumes, as well as the values that Scopus instilled in all three siblings as they had their own children and grandchildren, including Leonie’s daughter Carly who’s a teacher at the school and her grandson who attends Gandel Besen’s ELC.
“I’ve got a very strong cultural connection to being Jewish because of what I learnt at school,” says Leonie. “When Scopus comes up, it’s such a talking point, and an anchor.”
This past year, the family decided to make a significant pledge to Scopus and establish a
scholarship in memory of their late father. The Richard Nossbaum (z’l) Scholarship will provide direct fee relief to families who are at risk of leaving the College due to financial reasons and Leonie says it’s their affinity with Scopus and what it provided her family that made them decide to give back.
“It’s a very big financial commitment for a lot of families, so we wanted to give opportunities to those who perhaps would miss out,” Leonie explains.
“Being able to go to Mount Scopus, not based on academic achievement but because of a scholarship, will allow someone to be a part of the wonderful community.”