Elaine Bloch-Jaffe began her association with us six decades ago as a graduate kindergarten teacher at the Kew Campus of Mount Scopus College. At that time, in 1952, Abe Feiglin was Principal and Elaine was recently married to a young lawyer named Arnold Bloch. Elaine was no stranger to communal life, having travelled from her birthplace of Manchester to Australia in 1938 when her father Rabbi Freedman was invited to take up the pulpit of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation.
The Blochs became parents when their eldest, Susan [Boltin], began school in 1960. Four other children followed.
By 1965 Arnold was President of the College and Elaine a regular hostess for visiting VIPS, shlichim and speakers. “So I was there through [Bursar] Cyril Ashton and [Foundation Executive Director] Jim Myers,” Elaine relates “and didn’t we have some amazing events? I
remember lots of auctions. At one I bought a car! At another, one prize was twelve first class tickets to the USA. A donor bought it and gave a ticket each to everyone on his table!” Whether it was collecting goods for the Annual Bazaar or “roneo-ing” the weekly newspaper,
Elaine was involved. “We were considered very advanced to have a roneo machine but we still had to collate each issue,” she recalls. Arnold Bloch was made a Life Governor of Mount Scopus in recognition of his work, and Beit Aharon, the Arnold Bloch shule at Gandel Besen
House, is named for him.
After Arnold’s untimely death at only 56, Elaine was invited more and more into the spotlight, taking on speaking engagements beginning with a speech at her eldest granddaughter’s Batmitzvah. Two of her children and several grandchildren have settled in Israel but there
have been Mount Scopus graduates in each generation, and with 40 great-grandchildren to date, the dynasty is going strong.
Elaine was a ‘foundation’ Foundation member from the very beginning and remains a staunch supporter of the College. Plenty of women might be slowing down at this stage of life but Elaine is convinced “it doesn’t matter what your age is, there is always some way you