It was a proud moment when Wellington’s Myra Mortlock received a Ner Tamid award from the president of the Union for Progressive Judaism, Roger Mendelso [pictured below].

The award is given to “unsung heroes” in progressive communities throughout New Zealand and Australia.

And, as the nomination for her award shows, she is certainly an unsung hero.

Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation’s chair Kevin Ratnam says that Myra has been involved with Temple Sinai and outstandingly active for over 20 years.

“She has been the backbone of many activities and programmes at the temple and carries out her tasks with humility and humour.

“Myra’s work with her refugee neighbours contributes to the resilience of society at a time when it is most needed.”

In addition, Myra is often the first person visitors meet when they enquire about the temple, spending hours on the phone with people visiting New Zealand or who are curious about Judaism.

A previous board member, she is currently team leader of the conversion committee. She vets candidates for conversion and tutors them through their journey to Judaism.

As a skilled Hebrew reader who reads regularly from the Torah at services, she has run Hebrew language classes for not only those converting or are B’nei Mitzvah, but for those who want to improve their knowledge of Hebrew.

Currently, a member of the board’s ritual and membership committees, she has played an active role in ensuring ritual and membership processes meet the objectives as a progressive Jewish congregation.

“Myra has also helped create our very successful Ma’ariv service in Lower Hutt and has organised the Temple’s Shabbaton, Mitzvah Day and Weekend Meditation Retreat,” Ratnam says.