Zaida Cracks The Tonne
This New Year’s Day marks the hundredth birthday of Hersz ‘Henry’ Friedman. Known affectionately as Zaida, Mr Friedman moved here from Poland in 1959 and has been walking along the Bondi promenade every morning for decades. One of his favourite things to do is joke around with locals by saying, “I’m still here”. He speaks English, Polish, Russian and Yiddish and is a proud member of Souths Juniors. He also loves to have a cheeky laugh about his constant need for a tailor as his pants seem to get longer as he gets older!
But if there’s one thing that sums up Hersz Friedman, it’s his family. A beloved father, grandfather and proud great grandfather to Kahu, Shai and Gideon, he is widely referred to as Zaida (Yiddish for grandpa) by many who aren’t even related. His eldest son, Jack, told us he most appreciates his wisdom and sense of humour.
“I am so thankful, and fortunate, I can still ask my father for advice,” he told The Beast.
Some of you may have already noticed a giant birthday card on the Bondi Sea Wall in honour of Zaida’s birthday. Designed by family friend Rico Reinhold and painted by family members, the mural has a silhouette of Zaida hanging out at Bondi, his favourite place.
The idea came from his granddaughter, Tami, in Queensland.
“Zaida has been walking the beach for over 50 years, is well known by the regular morning walkers and it only seemed right to have the mural put up so the whole of Bondi could acknowledge what an amazing person he is,” she said.
His other granddaughter, Sar Friedman, who lives locally, made it all happen.
“Zaida is such an exceptional human and has been through so much in his life,” she said. “He is an inspiration and it feels so good to be able to celebrate him with the whole community!”
But the celebrations don’t end there. There’ll be an intimate family celebration on January 1, as well as a big party the following day. Many community groups are also putting on special celebrations throughout January, because when you get to 100 you deserve a birth-month!
So, from everyone at The Beast, Happy Birthday, Zaida. We hope you have a wonderful day (or month). We’ll leave you with some birthday messages from your family…
To the most inspiring man I have the pleasure of calling my Zaida, Happy 100th birthday! From as early as I can remember you have always been “Zaida” to everyone – all of my friends know you, love you and speak of you fondly. And how could they not?! You share the greatest stories and words of wisdom. Your smile lights up a room, and you always make everyone in your presence feel loved and welcomed. Thank you, for being you. – Rony
Zaida! Where do I start?! You are the most amazing man, your energy is like no other. Your words always positive and heart warming. You always know how to make me feel better when I’m down and laugh with me when I’m up. Your great grandsons adore you and talk about you every day. There is no other man like you. Your strength and positivity shows in everything you do. We love you more than words can say and are so excited to be celebrating 100 years with you! – Tamar
100 years ago the world was blessed with a very special human, my grandfather aka my Zaida. I’m so glad to have such a special human as not only my grandfather but also my best friend, here’s to many more years as you say, ‘filled with health, wealth & happiness’. – Taya