Leadership Team

The JAQ team is led by a group of individuals who believe deeply in creating a vibrant Jewish future in Australia, and who are passionate about showcasing Jewish arts and culture to the world.

The leadership team is made up of community leaders who have a strong track record in building some of Melbourne's most successful community cultural organisations. These committed and passionate leaders have worked persistently over the last 8 years to create the JAQ vision and bring it to life.

Noè Harsel

Director and CEO – Jewish Museum of Australia

Noè Harsel works in the arts, culture, literature and music spaces, as a communications professional, collaborative leader and creative producer. She is the Director & CEO at The Jewish Museum of Australia, outgoing Chair of Writers Victoria, creator and host of Live Write, an online writers’ group, and Why Write, a short podcast that asks writers why they write. Noè also co-created and hosts the SBS podcast Like Us, a discussion about race, identity and culture inAustralia.


President of Sholem Aleichem College

Ben is a forward-thinking community leader for whom community service and engagement have always been an important part of life.

Ben's involvement in Melbourne's SKIF Youth Movement led to many years as lead organiser of the annual festival In One Voice, bringing thousands of people together in a vibrant event to celebrate the Jewish community and promote social cohesion and community understanding.

As its president, Ben has helped shaped the success of Sholem Aleichem College, overseeing two major building projects to accommodate enrolment growth.

Outside of his community activities, Ben is Managing Director of AFW Pty Ltd and has four children and two gorgeous granddaughters.


CEO Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library

Rachel is the CEO of the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library, the home of Yiddish culture in Melbourne.

A positive and motivated manager and leader, Rachel is passionate about connecting people in a vibrant and inclusive community, and contributing to the ongoing survival and flourishing of Melbourne’s Jewish community.

Her previous roles include as a commercial barrister, lecturer and program director at Monash Law School, General manager at the Victorian Bar and CEO of for purpose organisation, Soap Aid.

 Rachel has both Law and Arts degrees, and a Masters of Laws. She is a Graduate of the Institute of Company directors course and  is currently enrolled in the MBA program at Deakin University.


President of the Jewish Museum of Australia: GANDEL CENTRE OF JUDAICA

A spiritually-inclined community leader, Gideon is the Director and Board President of the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica.

Keenly aware of the challenges facing Melbourne’s Jewish community Gideon has passionately pursued the creation of the Jewish Arts Quarter as a place where future generations can connect, learn and immerse themselves in Jewish arts, culture and history in a way that’s quintessentially Australian. He also hopes that by inviting the broader public to visit and experience the creativity and culture of the Jewish community, JAQ will foster greater tolerance and understanding.

With a law and corporate finance background, Gideon’s career has taken him from digital players SEEK (Australia) and Yahoo (US) to housing construction at Metricon, where he performed a variety of general management roles before becoming a non-executive Director. He ran his own business advisory firm, became the Chief Commercial Officer of hipages, Australia's leading home improvement and trade services, and is now running a private family investment office.

Gideon has a passion for travel and new cultural experiences and loves to keep healthy and active. He’s also a busy dad to his four children.


Head of Engagement

Kylie Appel is passionate about social entrepreneurship and strives to make a positive long-term impact by serving the needs of the community.

As Head of Engagement for the Jewish Arts Quarter, Kylie is dedicated to the creation of the Jewish Arts Quarter and how it will bring long term social, cultural and economic benefits to both the Jewish and broader community.  

Kylie previously dedicated her time to the global humanitarian project Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM). A leading not-for-profit organisation, TOM creates affordable open-source assistive technology solutions that improve the lives of people living with disabilities or in disadvantaged communities.

Kylie has worked in the philanthropy team at Make-A-Wish Australia and the Jewish Museum of Australia where she was a member of the leadership steering committee. During her time at the Museum, Kylie was responsible for developing and implementing the Museum's marketing strategy and launching multiple world-renowned exhibitions.

She is also a Board member of the Executive Committee of UIA Victoria advocating for the needs of people in Israel.


President of Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library

Joe has a deep-rooted commitment to Melbourne’s Jewish community and has dedicated much of his life to creating richer community engagement and participation.

Growing up on, or nearby, the stage at Kadimah and more recently acting as lead in Salt Pillar plays, Joe’s involvement with theatre and the performing arts is life-long and strong. For the past 32 years, Joe has been Co-President and Director of Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library. He has also contributed in various roles to Melbourne’s Jewish organisations including Sholem Aleichem College, Saltpillar, March of the Living and SKIF youth movement.

In his professional life, Joe is a co-founder of ASX listed Spirit Telecom (ST1) and retains a consulting role in the telecommunications industry.

Joe loves performing on stage and cooking for his family. Having just become a grandfather, he takes great pleasure in doting on his new grandchild.


Immediate Past President of the Jewish Museum of Australia: GANDEL CENTRE OF JUDAICA

Barry has spent the past six decades making positive contributions to both the Jewish and broader community. 

He is the Immediate Past President of the Jewish Museum of Australia, a Trustee of Gandel Foundation, and Immediate Past Chairman of Bet Olam, a not-for-profit Jewish funeral service. As Past President, Treasurer and Board Member of Montefiore Homes, Barry was instrumental in the creation of Jewish Care, Australia’s leading provider of care and support in the community. He’s also held positions as Vice President and Board Member of Temple Beth Israel and as a committee member of the Royal Childrens Hospital.

During a long and varied career, Barry has been a Chief Executive, Director and Chairman of property, manufacturing, retail and private equity groups, CEO of a Bank, a senior lecturer at RMIT, a management consultant, share broker and senior accountant.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements and service Barry was awarded an Order of Australia in 2003. But what he is most proud of is having been able to help young people thrive. 

Barry believes that JAQ is an important recognition of the Jewish contribution to Australian life. He’s delighted by the idea of helping the community, particularly the younger generation, get together and develop their talents in a safe, supportive environment. He looks forward to people coming together to witness the arts and culture of the Australian Jewish community – and he eagerly awaits the fulfilment of this dream.

When he’s not working, Barry enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, reading, running and swimming.

Monica Kempler


Monica has been a passionate leader, volunteer & participant in the Melbourne Jewish community since her youth.

She has been involved in a wide gamut of Jewish communal organizations, including Chair of Young UIA; a board member of Jewish Welfare (now called Jewish Care); an Advisory Board member of the Australian Centre of Jewish Civilization at Monash University; a board member of JNF; and is currently a Council member of Mount Scopus Memorial College.

In her professional life, Monica was a corporate lawyer for Century Plaza & Visy Industries, specializing in property & commercial law. Currently she is an advisor in philanthropy in Jewish causes.

Monica loves adventure travel, the arts & culture, skiing, and cooking for and with her family.


Head of Development

Gary is a community leader who has spent over 20 years working and volunteering in the Australian Jewish community.

He recently worked with the Hakoah Club in NSW in their capital appeal to raise over $80 million to build a world-class Jewish Community Centre in Paddington. He oversaw the fundraising, marketing and community engagement functions of the club. 

Prior to this he was Stand Up’s CEO for 10 years and played a key role in spearheading the explosive growth of its programs and volunteer community. Gary is currently the Chair of the AUJS board.

He keeps active doing triathlons and CrossFit, and spending time with his three gorgeous children. He can't wait to take them to the Jewish Arts Quarter one day so they can immerse themselves in this wonderful and vibrant communal hub.