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The Finkler Panel

May 8, 2012 – 10:04 pm10 Comments

Galus Australis is excited to be hosting a couple of panel discussion sessions at the upcoming Limmud Oz in Melbourne.

One of these sessions will be on The Finkler Question and Jewish Identity. The Finkler Question, authored by Howard Jacobson (known in some quarters as “The English Philip Roth” although he apparently prefers to be known as “The Jewish Jane Austen”), was the Man Booker Prize winner for 2010, and was noted for its combination of brilliant comedic wit with pathos.

The novel centres on the friendship between three characters, two of them Jews and the other a philo-Semite. Amongst other things, the novel explores Jewish identity in the Diaspora, particularly in a climate of growing anti-Israel sentiment.

Panellists include Bram Presser, Mandi Katz, and Philip Mendes.

We encourage all our Melbourne-based readers to come along to participate in our panel discussion. For those have not yet had the privilege of reading this extremely humorous and insightful novel, there’s still time to read it, but you better get a move on, as Limmud Oz is just around the corner!

In the meantime, feel free to suggest any talking points in the comments sections.

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  • frosh says:

    If you’re undecided, listen to this excellent 4 minute essa by David Sax on NPR
    ‘Finkler’ Questions The Meaning Of Jewishness

  • letters in the age says:


  • Harry Joachim says:

    Why are so many of the GA articles and associated events, etc., Melbourne-centric? Aside from Simon Holloway and Keren Tuch, your contributors are all from Melbourne. What about recruiting some more Sydney-based people? And what about the significant Jews in the West and in QLD? I am sure they have views to share.

  • Harry Joachim says:

    How come Limmud-Oz in Sydney (bigger and better than Melbourne) hasn’t been a focus of Mr Frosh and Ms SD?

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    I must read this book which has been on my bookshelf since the beginning of 2011. I just have not had time to read it. An interesting speaker. Must try and get to hear him.

  • letters in the age says:

    Maurace Sendak has passed away

    Author of the classic childrens book

    Where the Wild Things Are

    RIP to another prominent Jew

    sad days for many whose childhoods have died


  • Mandi Katz says:

    Hi Ilana – sadly Jacobson won’t be at Limmud. Just a few of us talking about the book and the many openings it provides for discussions on how and why Jews identify with Israel.

    Harry – Limmud Oz in Melbourne and Sydney are both great events, but with different flavours as one might expect – many of the guests invited to Limmud in Melbourne this year will also present in Sydney at Yom Limmud. It’s not a competition….

    The Melbourne program this year is shaping up beautifully with a broad range of panels, fourteen very varied overseas speakers and performers, and hundreds of local presenters on every Jewish topic imaginable (and some you couldn’t imagine) . Also Little Limmud – a great program for kids on Sunday 10 June involving circus skills, crafts and a musical program by overseas artist and educator, Shira Kline. Children need to be accompanied by an adult but it’s open to all children in the community even if their parents are not attending Limmud.
    The program is being finalised but you can see some of the speakers on the website and subscribe to the mailing list at http://www.limmudoz.com.au.
    And like Limmud Oz Melbourne (community organisation) on facebook to receive updates.

  • We are aware that Galus Australis can seem a little too Melbourne centric, but it is not by design. In fact, we’ve made several efforts to cover other communities in Australia (and even New Zealand).

    For example, at the previous Limmud Oz held in Sydney, we invited presenters to write articles about their topics (just as we invite Melbourne presenters to do). Unfortunately, we didn’t receive a large response.

    The topics and communities covered on Galus are primarily a result of the articles submitted by community members. Unless someone wants to fund us to have paid staff members (and we’d welcome that), this will remain the case in the future.

  • philip mendes says:

    Ant: that was a really constructive panel discussion today. Good on you for organizing it.



  • Elliot says:

    I know I enjoyed the session! A very good panel. The main thing missing from the discussion was someone who absolutely hated the book and was willing to say so during the discussion.But either there was none in audoience who had this view, or they kept it to themselves.

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