An online Jewish treasure chest

May 11, 2020 by Geoff Sirmai
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An exciting new online initiative to bring the world of art, culture and inspiring live events for the Australian Jewish community will be launched this week by actor Jonathan Biggins under the guise of Australian former prime minister ‘The Hon Paul Keating’ on Thursday afternoon.

Dunera is an online hub where isolated members of the community – and beyond – can access live events and participate in a range of cultural and communal activities from any device, at any time. It is an easy-to-use platform that aims to bring about a new sense of togetherness, even when we are apart.

Free to all, users of Dunera can watch or participate in entertaining and inspiring live events or browse the ‘On Demand’ section filled with music, talks, recipes, games and more.  The time – and space – to learn, listen and laugh together is only a click away!

An initiative of Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue – and created and curated by a group of dedicated volunteers –Dunera features a mix of community learning, cultural enrichment and good old-fashioned entertainment.

Over time Dunera will offer more and more engaging content in areas such as film, theatre, literature, food and music.  Some events will be live and interactive, while others will be ‘On Demand’ – available any time and easy to share with family and friends.

Dunera will feature the best content that is “of Jewish interest and of interest to Jews” – and other people too!

Why the name ‘Dunera’?

In September 1940, 2542 ‘enemy aliens’ from Britain disembarked HMT Dunera in Melbourne and Sydney. Most were Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi persecution in Germany and Austria. They were interned in camps near Hay and Orange in NSW and Tatura in Victoria. The ‘Dunera Boys’, as they became known, included musicians, artists, philosophers, scientists and writers. Following their release in 1941 many chose to remain in Australia, making a significant contribution to the nation’s economic, social and cultural life. (Source: The National Museum of Australia)

Founding force for the project, Daniel Grynberg, said Dunera was a gift to our community – one which is normally a hugely enthusiastic and active consumer of arts and culture.

“The current health crisis in which find ourselves has left many of our community isolated. It’s a situation we can’t control. But we can adapt. And we can innovate. Dunera was born from a deep desire to keep those isolated connected to the community.

In calling our platform Dunera, we honour the Dunera Boys and their spirit. Even during their internment, they kept their connection to a life filled with learning, culture & spirituality. Through Dunera, we can do the same.”

Dunera launches at 2pm on Thursday 14 May with an appearance from former PM ‘The Hon. Paul Keating’ (*comedian Jonathan Biggins) plus a welcome and introduction to the site from Daniel Grynberg and other hosts, including musician Ilan Kidron, Joanna Kalowski and TV chef Lisa Goldberg. Visit

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