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Michael Hofman and Esther Belleli

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Michael Hofman (OC ‘82) recalls his time at Scopus fondly, attending the Burwood campus with his older brother Irving from kindergarten through to Year 12. Growing up in the Doncaster area with his parents, Salomon and Erna, he wistfully remembers being driven to school and therefore missing out on the school bus experience. Other strong memories are of the Year 11 Kakadu trip, and the school camps held in Ballarat. 

“I remember it being quite cold in winter and not the most comfortable accommodation,” he says, smiling. “But certainly very memorable!”

What also stands out was the support he and his brother received to stay at the school. Both first-generation Holocaust survivors, his parents met in Israel and moved to Australia in the 1960s, newly married and starting their lives anew. 

“I think it’s fair to say they didn’t have a lot of resources,” Michael reflects. “They really didn’t have enough for two private school fees, so I was supported through schemes that Scopus had and I attribute some of my success today definitely to that.”

“I think that’s a really nice aspect of the Scopus community and probably one of the primary reasons why I’ve joined the Foundation,” he adds.

Michael graduated as dux of the school and went on to study medicine at Monash University. Today, Michael also holds a professor appointment at the University of Melbourne and leads a large program in prostate cancer research. 

“The values that Scopus taught me contributed a lot to what I ended up doing, both my pathway through life but also that firm foundation in high-quality education and learning,” Michael says. 

Together with his wife Esther Belleli, Michael continues to hold those values dear and is appreciative of the opportunities Scopus now provides his three children – Alana, Rebecca and Ben. 

His two oldest children are graduates of the Bilingual Hebrew program, which he found very impressive, and he also praises the infrastructure across all three campuses and the education on offer.

“School looks a lot more fun now, compared to my time!” he says.

Helping students who otherwise couldn’t afford a Jewish and Scopus education is also close to his heart. As someone who directly benefited from this, he sees the real effect this can have on a student’s life.

“We should help out those less advantaged kids so that wherever possible, anyone that’s Jewish who wants a Jewish education can go to Scopus,” he says.

“It’s great to become a member of this group who want to commit to the future of Scopus and see it go from strength to strength over time. I really look forward to that opportunity.”

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