Michael John Redhill led a remarkable life and is fondly remembered by his sons, Mark and David, as a “relentless” traveller who had a huge interest in other people, and loved hearing their stories and learning about their lives.
Born in Shanghai to Russian émigrés, his father Jack Roeytenberg was a composer and professional musician and his mother Sonia a hotelier. Theirs was a peripatetic life, with Michael attending school in Malaya, the Indian Himalayas and wartime Bombay. He ended up living and working in Singapore from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. It was there that he met and married his first wife Pat, and their children Mark and David fondly remember their very different early childhood in Malaya and Singapore followed by emigration to Australia in 1963. Michael loved his adopted country but never lost his appetite for travel, different cultures and exotic food. Amongst his many careers Michael was a rubber broker, stockbroker and insurance agent, and had his own insurance company for many years until his retirement.
During his later years Michael made a number of visits to Israel, and on one occasion found himself packing medical kits for the Israeli military in army camps. His visits to Israel clearly had a great impact as Michael was a regular contributor to the JNF’s Blue Box and Green Sunday campaigns, and left a thoughtful gift to the people of Israel through JNF in his Will.
While at home in Australia, Michael enjoyed spending time with his five young grandchildren while planning his next travels. He was not a sentimental person but clearly he was touched by the story of Israel and his Jewish heritage. As his son David said in his obituary: “The lesson Dad gave Mark and I was that money isn’t a source of wealth. If true wealth comes through generosity of spirit, Dad was a very rich man”. He shared that spirit with the people of Israel through his Will.
Mark and David were delighted to hear that Michael’s Yahrzeit will be honoured by the JNF at the President’s Synagogue in Jerusalem (and published in the Australian Jewish News) each year. Michael will also be remembered in the JNF’s annual Yizkor advertisement in the Australian Jewish News honouring our bequestors each Yom Kippur.