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In Gratitude: John Michael Schaffer

2016 Yakir Keren Hayesod Award recipient

Perth, Australia

John Schaffer, Chairman of the Western Australia United Israel Appeal Board of Governors, was born in Perth, on October 10, 1950, to two Holocaust survivors who had arrived in Australia the previous year.

After receiving a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) degree at the University of Western Australia, in 1971, he joined the family business. He served as Director and Operations Manager, then Managing Director and, after his fathers’ death in 1988, Chairman and Managing Director. The company is highly diversified, dealing in building materials, automotive leather, and property investment.

John has followed in his father’s steps in the world of Jewish philanthropy, accompanying him to the annual gatherings of UIA from the time he was a teenager. He considers his participation in the third UIA Western Australia mission to Israel, in 1976, a turning point in his life: “I understood then what Israel meant and have been involved ever since”.

A year later, John married Debbie, with whom he had three children, Grant, Todd and Brooke.

John has been a central pillar of the UIA Perth and Western Australia Campaign. In 2006, he and Debbie took part in a UIA Australia mission to Israel. Four years later, he celebrated his 60th birthday in the Jewish state with a “Family Mission”, which left an indelible imprint on every participant.

John and Debbie’s home has for years been a “must stop” for every Israeli personality visiting Perth. At numerous functions and events hosted by the Schaffers designed to raise the profile of UIA and of the State of Israel, elected officials, ambassadors, military commanders and KH leaders were able to convey to local Jewish and Zionist leadership their analysis of Israel’s challenges, achievements and difficulties, These meeting helped enhance fundraising – one of John’s major objectives.

John’s philanthropic involvement covers a wide range of local and Israeli organizations and institutions that meet the condition: “to make a difference”. He currently serves as Chairman of the Korsunski Charitable Trust of the Carmel School, of which he is past Chairman. He also chairs the Phineas Seeglison Charitable Trust, set up in 1935 to support needy Jewish families and Perth residents.

In addition, he supports a large number of Israeli organisations represented in Perth, including the JNF, Yad Vashem, the Hebrew University, Hadassah Hospital and more.

John is also Trustee and Chairman of the Ear Science Institute of Australia, a not-for-profit organization that has helped thousands of people regain their hearing.

A confirmed sportsman, John enjoys keeping fit and swims regularly with the same group, as he has for over 25 years.
For his vision, his extraordinary leadership and his unwavering dedication, John Schaffer is a worthy recipient of the Yakir Keren Hayesod Award.
The worldwide Keren Hayesod family wishes to thank John for his generosity, vision and dedication. May you enjoy many more years of good health and happiness with Debbie and all your loved ones, along with continued activity on behalf of Keren Hayesod, Israel and the Jewish people!

For his vision, his extraordinary leadership and his unwavering dedication, John Michael Schaffer is a worthy recipient of the Yakir Keren Hayesod Award.

John Michael Schaffer

Proudly showing the Yakir Award, as KH leadership and Rabbi Israel Meir Lau show their appreciation for his outstanding achievements. From left to right: KH-UIA World Chairman, Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg; KH-UIA World Board of Trustees Chairman, David KoschitzkyJohn SchafferRabbi Israel Meir Lau and KH-UIA Director-General, Greg Masel.


John Michael Schaffer

John Michael Schaffer addresses the audience.