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The Awards: What Do They Mean? And Jesus At The Museum: What Do You Think?

November 13, 2013 – 9:01 amNo Comment

From the editor:

jesus2We’ve received two interesting press releases recently.

The first details the winners of  the JCCV’s Community Recognition Awards. These awards provide a fascinating insight into what and who our state’s peak body believes is fundamental to the operation of our community. Take note of the organisations and their affiliations. It’s worth a look. Are young people adequately represented?

The second release is from the Jewish Museum, describing the programme launch for its initiative for Catholic  schools about the context surrounding Jesus’s life. What do you think?

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From the JCCV:

Over 250 people from across the Jewish community, and representing a wide range of affiliates of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) gathered on Remembrance Day 2013 for the JCCV Community Recognition Awards.

The Awards were presented by the Honourable Howard Nathan, retired Supreme Court Justice, himself a major contributor to the community in public office and as a volunteer leader in the Jewish community.  The Honourable Howard Nathan highlighted the importance of Remembrance Day and its link to Sir John Monash after whom the major community award is named.

The prestigious Sir John Monash Award was awarded to Joey Borensztajn who has demonstrated selfless and inspiring dedication, professional work and leadership across many Jewish community organisations.

Nina Bassat AM, President of the JCCV said, “Our volunteers demonstrate the best in human behaviour.  We thank you.”

“It is particularly pleasing to see Joey Borensztajn receiving public recognition for his outstanding contribution.  Joey is a man who has contributed to our community in a broad spectrum of activities and across a vast number of organisations, quietly and to great effect.”

Highlights of the evening included an energetic and inspiring drumming and dancing display from the Access Drumming Group, and a wonderful performance by pianist and singer Matan Franco.

Volunteers from 26 Jewish community organisations were recognised for their contribution, selfless devotion and commitment to the community:

  • Leora Cohen – Access

  • Max Wald – Australian Jewish Historical Society

  • Fay Oberklaid – Australian Jewish Psychologists

  • Adina Rahamim – AUJS

  • Jack Gringlas – Bialik College

  • Len Bryer – Blake Street Hebrew Congregation

  • Leah Black  – B’nai B’rith Victoria

  • Alan Kestenberg & John Lemarchand – Emmy Monash

  • Philip Coleman – Etz Chayim Progressive Synagogue

  • Dr Arnold Shmerling – Jewish Aid

  • Jeffrey Appel – Jewish Care

  • Jake Dessauer – Kadimah

  • Janet Arndt – Jewish Museum of Australia

  • Moshe Perl – Kehilat Nitzan (Masorti)

  • Dr Deborah Freiberg-Golvan – Kew Hebrew Congregation

  • Dr George Deutsch – Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism

  • Michael Sharp – Maccabi Victoria

  • Emmanuel Santos – March of the Living

  • Rita Broner – Mizrachi

  • Peta Birnbaum – NCJWA Victoria

  • Delysia Pahoff – Melbourne Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society

  • Rudolf Khaikin – Shalom Association

  • Dr Sam Jaworowski – South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation

  • Henry Birman – VAJEX

  • Bella Hirshorn – WIZO

  • Sharene Hambur – Zionist Council of Victoria

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From the Jewish Museum:

The Jewish Context of the Life and Words of Jesus:  New Program for Catholic schools to be launched Thursday 14 November

With keynote address by preeminent scholar and broadcaster Dr Rachael Kohn.

What is a Jewish Museum in St Kilda doing teaching a program about Jesus? Life in 1st century Israel might offer up some clues.

The ancient faiths of Judaism and Christianity are deeply intertwined. The commonalities between the two religions can be illuminated by the life of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, and a charismatic Jewish teacher and healer whose followers eventually broke away from Judaism and henceforth became known as Christian. Now, the Jewish Museum of Australia places itself at the forefront of interfaith education with a groundbreaking new program, ‘The Jewish Context of the Life and Words of Jesus’. The program, which has undergone a year-long development process, has been designed to link directly to a unit of the same name taught at Year 8 level in Catholic schools across Victoria as part of the religious education curriculum. A key element of this program is a visit to the Jewish Museum of Australia where students will be exposed to 21st century Judaism and taught how to identify the 1st century practises that formed an integral part of Jesus’ life. The Jewish Museum of Australia is set to become a primary resource for teaching this unit, providing Catholic educators with a practical and new educational product for the classroom and beyond. Museum Director & CEO Rebecca Forgasz says:

“This program is an important development for the Jewish Museum of Australia and is, as far as we know, unique in providing a resource for Catholic educators from a Jewish perspective. Our talented education staff have developed a program that exemplifies the mission and vision of the Museum – a commitment to engaging people with Jewish culture in the interest of achieving greater respect and acceptance for cultural diversity and difference.”

Nostra Aetate (Latin – meaning in our age) was a declaration made by the Second Vatican Council in 1965 which dealt with the Church’s approach to Non-Christians. In relation to Jews it says that there is a bond between Jews and Christians, and that the Church is mindful to only teach things that conform to the gospel and the spirit of Christ and reject any persecution or displays of anti-Semitism towards the Jewish people. This shift in the Roman Catholic attitudes is striking and the grassroots result is that Catholic students are learning about Judaism and the Jewish life of Jesus. The Museum’s program is a direct response to this shift in focus in Catholic education, and the Museum is proud to be playing its part in strengthening the ties between these two religions. The program has been enthusiastically received by the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. David Schütz, Executive Officer of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission says:

“In recent decades, the 1st Century Jewish context of the life of Jesus has been at the forefront of scholarly Christian New Testament studies. The Jewish Museum of Australia is to be commended for this initiative, which seeks to educate Christian school students about Judaism through this ancient connection with the Christian gospels.”

To launch this unique milestone, the Jewish Museum is delighted to welcome Rachael Kohn to deliver the keynote address at the launch event on Thursday 14 November. Rachael’s own understanding, commitment and passion for illuminating commonalities among people of faith, and her commitment to the principles of multiculturalism and diversity, make her the perfect keynote
speaker for this occasion. Rachael says:

“One of the most important parts of my graduate education was studying the emergence of Jesus and his followers in the Jewish setting of late antiquity. Understanding the deep religious, cultural and political bonds of our two faiths is essential to discovering the significance of the differences that have also kept them apart. The story of our developing faiths, sometimes in conflict sometimes in judicious borrowing, is a fascinating one that we all deserve to know better.” Rachael Kohn is a current presenter on The Spirit of Things, a program about contemporary religious and spiritual trends, which she began on ABC Radio National and is now in its 16th
year. Dr. Kohn taught Religious Studies at Sydney University, and in universities in England and Canada, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of New South Wales for her “outstanding contribution to fostering religious understanding” in the Australian community. Rachael gave the inaugural Mary McKillop Lecture in Brisbane in 2010, and has lectured to Religious Education teachers in many different school systems. Rachael has contributed to many books on the subject of
religion and has written CURIOUS OBSESSIONS IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY (ABC Books, 2007) and THE NEW BELIEVERS: REIMAGINING GOD (HarperCollins 2003).

This program was made possible through the support of the Victorian Government’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship.

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