Our People

Festival Director

Nicolas Brasch
Nicolas has extensive experience in the industry as an award-winning author; teacher of professional and creative writing at Swinburne University, RMIT and other institutions; past Chair of Writers Victoria; workshop facilitator; owner of a corporate writing business; and many other positions and endeavours. He is currently undertaking a PhD in creative writing.

General Manager

Lisa Klepfisz
Lisa has a love of the arts and reading. She holds a BA(Hons) in Fashion, a LLB(Hons), a Grad Dip Law (Intellectual Property) and has worked in Commercial and Intellectual Property Law. Lisa has enjoyed stints living overseas with her family. Most recently she was President of the Parents’ Association at The King David School.

Programming Manager

Janine Schloss
Janine has a background in English and Education and has worked as a freelance writer and teacher of English as a Second Language, both locally and overseas. She has completed a Bachelor of Honours in English Literature and a Bachelor of Teaching. She can be found writing a compilation of short stories. Janine is a former Co-Director of MJBW.

Programming Committee
Margaret Brener
Morry Frenkel
Elissa Goldstein
Julie Grossbard
Dina Kluska
Emma Kranz
Tali Lavi
Bram Presser
Renata Singer

Morry Frenkel

Esther Kister

Event Co-Ordinator
Andrew Gaynor

Facilities & Events
Julie Grossbard

Hannah Greenberg

Marketing & IT
Margaret Brener

Dina Kluska

Schools Program
Helen Raik

Volunteer Co-Ordinator
Ellen Frajman

General Volunteers
Andrea Bliss
Hannah Fagenblat
Margaret Fischer
Randi Grose
Yvonne Kay
Rita Kornhauser

MJBW Board

Esther Kister
Esther was the founder and inaugural Festival Director of Melbourne Jewish Writers Festival (2013-2015) and became the Emeritus Director of Melbourne Jewish Book Week which replaced MJWF in 2016. After a stint in social work where she couldn’t improve the world, she lists her career highlights as her work on significant government and NGO projects including a leading role in the introduction of the Victorian Seniors Card in 1991. She has been involved in a range of Jewish cultural and educational organisations and in the broader community, in welfare related areas. Esther was appointed Chair of the Board in 2019.

Tammi Faraday
Tammi’s career traverses Broadcasting, Podcasting, Content Direction, Investigative Journalism, Human Rights Advocacy, Documentary Film Making, Digital Storytelling and Law. She commenced her media career as an investigative, on-air journalist with Channel Nine. Previously, she was a solicitor with Marks Freeman Lawyers. In 2005, Tammi moved to London and produced critically acclaimed documentaries for global release. Since returning to Australia, she hosted a satirical radio show and worked as Head of Strategic Communications in the For-Purpose space. In 2020, her podcast, Brave Journeys will be launched in collaboration with Jam Street Media USA. Tammi joined the MJBW Board in 2020.

Joe Reich AM
Joe is an ophthalmologist whose professional roles have included Chairmanship of The Senior Medical Staff at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and is a current board member of Vision Eye Institute.  He has also been past president of the Australian Jewish Medical Federation and Australian Friends of the Israel Medical Association.  Joe has published three works of fiction and a biography and has two novels accepted for future publication. He has enjoyed being a supporter of past programs of MJBW and its predecessor and has been involved in comedy debates for various Jewish community groups over many years. In 2019 he was awarded an AM for services to ophthalmology. Joe became a MJBW Board member in 2019.

Sharon Cohen
Sharon is a special counsel at law firm Clayton Utz. She specialises in intellectual property and technology law, with a particular focus on advertising and marketing matters. She is also a privacy law specialist. When Sharon is not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys settling down with a good book. She previously served on the Board of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Sharon joined the MJBW Board in 2019 and has the role of Company Secretary.

Bram Presser
Bram is a multiple award-winning writer whose stories first appeared in Best Australia Stories, Award Winning Australian Writing, and Higher Arc. His debut novel, The Book of Dirt, won the 2018 Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction in the US National Jewish Book Awards, and in Australia the same year, the Voss Literary prize and three awards in the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and The People’s Choice Award. He has appeared in major literary events and acts as the liaison between the board and the programming committee. Bram joined the MJBW Board in 2019.

Partners and Supporters

Foundation Partners
The Krystal Scholarship Fund
The Sunraysia Foundation
Anonymous (1)

Major Partner
Gandel Philanthropy for Schools and Children’s Programs

Book Chat Supporters
Sandy and Phillip Benjamin
Besen Family Foundation
Dr Mark and Dr Alla Medownick
Anonymous (2)
Joe and Rose Reich
The Australian Jewish News

Media Partner
The Australian Jewish News

Cultural Partners and Supporters
45 Downstairs
Festival of Jewish Arts & Music
Jewish International Film Festival
Jewish Museum of Australia
Melbourne Writers Festival

Education Supporters
Beth Rivkah Ladies College
Bialik College
Yeshivah College
King David School
Mt Scopus Memorial College
Sholem Aleichem College
Swinburne University
Yavneh College

Sandy and Philip Benjamin
Andrea and Philip Bliss
The Dodge Family Foundation
Lisa Farber
Kay and Barry Fink
The Finkel Foundation
Leonie and Luis Fleiszig
Future Leaders
Rachel Goldberg
Julie and Garry Grossbard
Susan and Gary Hearst
Esther and Michael Kister
Marianne and Arthur Klepfisz
Emma and Henry Kranz
Helen Liberman
MARD Foundation
Dr Mark and Dr Alla Medownick
National Council of Jewish Women
Real Film and Publishing
Sue Selwyn
Irene and John Sutton

Official Booksellers
The Avenue Bookstore

Marketing Design
Print Strategy Management
Website and Mailchimp Design

Special Thank You
Joey Borensztayn & Jenny Leongue, ABL Honorary Solicitors
Stephanie Boymal, Greenberg & Co, Honorary Accountants
Helen Friedmann Consultancy Pty Ltd
Gary Peer
Little Black Sheep Design for MJBW logo

Contact Us