Melton in Sydney

July 26, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Monday evenings in Southern Sydney have been a hive of conversation and learning as Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod delivers a lesson from the revised Melton history course ‘Crossroads of Jewish History’. With an emphasis on reclaiming the richness of Jewish history, the chronological exploration investigates significant crossroads where Jews took major decisions that shaped our shared identity and destiny. The class at Southern Sydney Synagogue is one of several Melton classes being taught around Sydney.

meltonlogoIn a city saturated with Jewish learning, Melton offers a fresh approach with its thought-provoking 10 -15 week courses. With its international headquarters at the Florence Melton Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Melton School, a social franchise, forms an international network of community-based schools offering adults the opportunity to acquire Jewish literacy in an open and intellectually-stimulating learning environment.

The situation in the Middle-East is constantly changing and it is difficult to get a grip of the ongoing conflict in the area. ‘Beyond Borders: The History of the Arab-Israeli Confllict’ with Anat Shechter-Vidor at WIZO, commencing on 4 August, is a strong, text-based historical overview from the late nineteenth century through to the current situation. The course provides students with new tools for understanding and critiquing texts and events as the conflict continues to unfold. Course material is designed to encourage discussion and debate, and to challenge students to appreciate the basis of the conflicting historical claims made by all sides in the conflict. The complexity of the conflict forces students to grapple with issues of religion, culture, history, politics, economics, identity and survival—all reflected through primary sources, including newspaper articles, poetry, songs, government documents, speeches, photographs and memoirs.

Further courses commence at the end of August. Marie Bonardelli, with her sharp wit and keen sense of humour, will teach ‘From Sinai to Seinfeld: The History of Jewish Humour’ at Montefiore Home, Randwick. The course analyses and interprets the preoccupations, rhythms and values that lie buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews and bond us as a people. ‘Israeli Literature as a Window into Society’ offers a profound insight into the Israeli national psyche through the lens of its leading writers. The course was successfully launched with Dr Shahar Burla at Cremorne Synagogue with long-term Melton student Anita Sekely saying, “It was the best and most fascinating Melton course yet.” ‘Israeli Literature’ will be taught at North Shore Synagogue by Dr Shahar Burla and at BJE by Dr Tamara Levine. Dr Levine has an MA in Comparative Literature and a PhD in Modern Hebrew Literature from University College London and is a welcome addition to our faculty. She has a special interest in the works of David Grossman, has lectured in the UK, South Africa and Australia, and has contributed to publications on Modern Hebrew Literature in the UK.

The community is invited to a Melton evening at Cremorne Synagogue for the screening of ‘Children of the Sun’ on Sunday 21 August at 7pm. The documentary, which looks at the the first generation of children born on kibbutzim, will be followed by a discussion with Dr Burla.

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