Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce made an official visit to Chabad-Lubavitch regional headquarters in New South Wales, lauding the soup kitchen at Sydney’s Yeshiva Centre for its contribution to fighting hunger and poverty.

More than 500 guests attended the July 2 visit, during which Bryce – an appointee of Queen Elizabeth II and the first woman to hold the position – assessed programs at the Yeshiva Centre, including its day school and seminary.

After meeting with students at the school, she remarked that “the enthusiasm of the young people” shone through their interactions with others.

She also toured Our Big Kitchen, the community soup kitchen directed by Rabbi Dovid and Laya Slavin. Staff led a challah-baking demonstration for the official, noting that the center provides meals to those in crisis on a daily and weekly basis.

Following a performance by the Yeshiva College Choir led by Yehoshua Niasoff, student representative Raizel Feldman spoke about the governor general’s commitment to education and the inspiration it provided to Australia’s youth.

Feldman’s mother and the college’s principal, Pnina Feldman, presented Bryce with a silver menorah handcrafted in Israel. In her remarks, Feldman praised the governor general for bringing “femininity, warmth and dignity” to her office and spoke about the official’s devotion to charitable causes. In presenting the candelabra, Feldman noted that in the Holy Temple, the menorah’s lights faced outward. Present-day menorahs, she said, similarly serve as a reminder to people to add light to their communities, especially through increasing in acts of kindness.

Said Bryce: “I look forward to showing the menorah to the thousands of visitors that come to Government House in Canberra and telling them of my unforgettable visit to the Yeshiva Centre,” said Bryce.

During the ceremony, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, dean of Yeshiva College, gave Bryce a copy of Towards a Meaningful Life, a book by Rabbi Simon Jacobson based on teachings of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.