Museums Together: Students build bridges between Melbourne’s Jewish and Islamic communities

July 31, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Students from King David School and Sirius College participated in the inaugural session of Museums Together at the Immigration Museum yesterday.


The four-month bridge-building program seeks to spark acceptance and respect in young minds.

Sirius College Religion & Values Educator Dr Sadik Kirazli: ‘Museums Together represents an opportunity for our students to learn about difference as well as how to live with people from diverse backgrounds, which is so important in this country.’

Museums Together will see 100 Year Six students get to know each other, train as guides at their respective museums, and act as hosts when their counterparts visit – cultivating a deeper understanding of their own culture while encountering another not as close to home.

Their first session encompassed activities around story, identity and participation, with students committing to active listening as well as open hearts and minds.

King David School Year Six & Transitions Coordinator Andrew Berhang: ‘You could feel excitement but also nervous energy in the room as the students made new connections. They had a great time interacting with the facilitators and each other, and building new friendships.’

In 2017, the Jewish Museum of Australia – with support from the Islamic Museum of Australia – received a three-year grant from the Sidney Myer Fund to develop and deliver the grassroots program with students from Jewish and Islamic schools.

Developed by educators from each Museum, Museums Together will run across five sessions in collaboration with the Immigration Museum, Melbourne Playback Theatre Company and St Kilda Shule. It has been tailored to integrate with the Victorian civics and citizenship, ethical capability, intercultural capability, and personal and social capability curricula.

King David School student Gabriel Halperin: ‘It was really fun – meeting a bunch of people from a different culture to my own. I couldn’t wait for it! I’m looking forward to making some new friends; I have already.’

Sirius College student Ekteena Islam: ‘So far we’ve learnt how to get along with people from another culture, kids just like us. We have so much in common, we’re all human.’

Museums Together aims to go beyond educating each group about their commonalities and differences to build real bridges between communities so future generations might respect and accept each other, and stand against intolerance and racism.

Jewish Museum of Australia Senior Education Coordinator Jenny Better: ‘In the aftermath of Christchurch, we must do all we can to combat intolerance and division. Exposing students to difference is the simplest way to achieve this.’

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