As principal of Beth Rivkah Ladies’ College for more than forty years, Shmuel Gurewicz was the driving force behind the growth of the school and the development of excellence in the religious and secular education of its students. Held in esteem by students and teachers alike for his educational programs and personal integrity, he is affectionately known by all as ‘Mr G.’
Himself a lifelong student of his mentor, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson, of blessed memory, Mr G records in his memoir the pivotal role the Rebbe played in shaping his personal and professional life through his advice and instruction by letter and during the numerous visits Mr G made to seek his counsel in person, both as a young man and later with his family.
Mr G was born in Moscow during the Stalinist era, the only son of devout parents, whose religious life was made even more difficult after the German invasion in 1941, when the family was evacuated to a remote village. In 1945 the family ran away to Tashkent, Uzbekistan,and after nine months, in 1946, travelled illegally to Lvov. They found refuge in Krakow, Bratislava, Vienna and Paris before immigrating to Australia in 1949. As a young yeshivah student on hid first visit to the Rebbe, Mr G was directed to establish Chabad youth movements and to make education his focus; he began hid teaching career at Yeshivah College.
The Rebbe also advised him to visit Israel, where he met and married Chava, his wife for more than fifty years. They later made aliyah and Mr G took part in the Six-Day War. After receiving an offer to become principal of Beth Rivkah, he sought the Rebbe’s advice and was directed to return to Melbourne, where he and Chava worked at Beth Rivkah, he as Principal and Chava as a teacher. They are blessed with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.