Betty Wilkenfeld, as well known for her decades of communal work as for the international Bloch dancewear empire she founded with her father Jacob, was guest of honour at Montefiore Randwick recently.
Family, friends and business associates gathered to celebrate with Betty for the launch of her memoir En Pointe, the latest in Montefiore’s Community Life Story series, honouring those who’ve made an outstanding contribution to the Sydney Jewish community.
Betty’s children Judy and Simon attended with their families (her eldest son David is based in the US), as did friends and business associates. Many took the opportunity to say a few words about Betty or share an anecdote about this inspiring woman who has achieved success in business, while still finding the time to give back to the community and raise her much-loved family.
Bloch employee of 50 years Sandie Windsor Richards recalled the day Betty hired her in the business that went on to international success under Betty and her late husband Gershon, and is now run by their two sons. Another guest Judy Lowy praised Betty’s commitment to Zionism and Jewish continuity through her communal involvement, which began with teaching in the early days of Moriah College, and led to roles on the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, at the Sydney Jewish Museum and as President of WIZO NSW. These days she’s enjoying spending time with family, which now extends to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
En Pointe was commissioned as part of a new Community Life Story initiative, inspired by the unique Life Story program offered to Montefiore residents that has been running for more than a decade. Montefiore’s Rene Icilchik extended thanks on the day to volunteer author Margi Fain for her dedication to the project, spending time with Betty over many months to record her memories and gather photographs.