Address delivered by Rabbi Raymond Apple at the memorial service for Lawrence James Adler AO, at the Great Synagogue, Sydney, in December, 1988.
This is a most distinguished assemblage, come to pay tribute to the life and work of a man of unusual gifts and achievement.
An array of the leading citizens of the land will be speaking of him and his impact on the public and commercial life of the nation; his daughter will speak more personally on behalf of the family.
All of us will go away knowing that because of Larry Adler, Australia has been enriched; because of Australia, Larry Adler, like so many erstwhile migrants, found a safe home and abundant opportunities to contribute his talents to the common good.
This service takes place in a week in which the Scriptural reading contains a remarkable feature. From the beginning of Exodus to the end of Deuteronomy, from the birth right through to the death of the great leader Moses, every section of Scripture mentions Moses’ name – with the exception of this week’s reading, T’tzavveh. He is hinted at, yet not once is his name identified. And co-incidentally, this section is read in the week of his Yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death.
Is there a moral to be discerned? The answer is surely that even though a person’s physical presence may not be perceptible, his mark, his impact, his influence, can remain strong, inescapable and imperishable.
Today others will speak of the enduring mark that Larry Adler has left behind within the family, entwined and enshrined in their lives and emotions, and in Australian public and commercial life, in concepts, approaches and achievements.
They will tell how, whether or not his name and picture appear together almost daily in the media, his imprint will remain.
My mitzvah is to say something of his impact on the Jewish community. His Jewishness was part of his being. He listened to the call of so many good causes, and they will be stronger and more effective because he gave them support. Educational ventures in particular will develop proud, knowledgeable Jews, because, as he told a representative of an Israeli educational institution whom I once asked him to see, it gave him pleasure to help children learn of their faith and tradition.
People took it for granted that they should go to him. His contributions were frequently anonymous, though in some cases he was prepared to have a school or classroom wing bear the Adler name. In years to come, even without his physical presence, these investments will bear rich fruit.
We join his dear ones in giving thanks for his life and work. We offer gratitude for the talents which Australia enabled him to cultivate. We acclaim his understanding of the needs of good causes; his deeds live after him. In this historic Sanctuary where he celebrated the joy of his daughter’s wedding, our affectionate thoughts are with his family, and we pray that his memory may be their inspiration.