Short Courses


95% of short course participants recommend it to a friend.

This is what some of our students have to say:
“These courses are a most important part of my weekly lifestyle”
“Every presenter brought a fresh approach to learning”
“Really appreciate the diversity of lecturers”

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For more details please contact or (03) 8534 3600

Belief and Ritual

Highlighting and explaining the foundations of Judaism’s religious and ethical beliefs

Monday afternoon1pm-3pm


Women and femininity in the Bible

Rebecca Forgasz

4 week course May 2, 9, 16 and May 23*

Presented in memory of Lionel & Naomi Gross.
Over three sessions, Rebecca Forgasz, a passionate feminist scholar and the Director of the Jewish Museum of Australia, will explore key female characters in the Bible and feminist reinventions of Jewish ritual. This course also examines the association between the Hebrew letter ‘mem’, water and femininity – all through the lens of exhibitions that Rebecca has curated or commissioned at the Jewish Museum of Australia.
*The fourth session on May 23 will take place at Lamm Library as part of the Melbourne Jewish Writers Festival.
Rebecca will chair the event Many Shades of Feminism: Women Pushing the Boundaries. Lee Kofman, rebellious daughter of ultra-orthodox Jews, writes of her own experience of non-monogamy and of those in unconventional relationships in her recent book The dangerous bride: a memoir of love, gods and geography. Israeli scholar, Elana Sztokman is a leading Jewish feminist thinker whose books call for gender equality within the orthodox community and Clare Wright, internationally recognised scholar in social history and women’s political activism explores women’s contribution to the Eureka rebellion in her Stella Prize winning book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (2013).

Cost: $130 (member) $155 (non-member)

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Monday afternoon1pm-3pm


People of the books

Carmela Levy-Stokes

4 week course May 30 June 6, 20, 27

What can modern Jewish writers teach us about our Jewish identity?
Many of us move in and out of our links with Judaism and yet still have an elusive sense of Jewishness deep within ourselves. Aharon Appelfeld, one of the foremost Israeli writers, comments that during the Holocaust, Jews, no matter whether they were committed to or alienated from their Jewishness, were confronted with this mystery of what they carried within them.
This course seeks to explore whether Jewish writers can shed any light on the concept of Jewish identity. You will move between Shai Agnon, the Israeli Nobel laureate for literature, who was steeped both in Torah and the wider world, to Philip Roth, the celebrated American Jewish novelist who explored a wide variety of Jewish identities, through his characters. The fascinating and often challenging views of Aharon Appelfeld, Natan Sharansky and A. B. Yehoshua will also be examined.
No pre-reading required.

Cost: $130 (member) $155 (non-member)

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Timeline of Jewish History

Depicting 4000 years of rich and remarkable history

Monday afternoon1pm-3pm

Monday evening - Course cancelled7.30-9.30pm


4,000 years of Jewish history

David Solomon

6 week course May 9, 23, 30 June 6, 20, 27

They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.
Experience an exhilarating and erudite overview of the entire span of Jewish History. In this dynamic and informative six part series, David Solomon offers an in-depth look at the whole of Jewish history, tackling 500 year blocks in each session, ranging from the Biblical period, medieval times to the modern day. Each session is packed with the narratives, explorations, insights and contextualisations that are the hallmarks of David’s lectures.

Cost: $200 (member) $225 (non-member)

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Monday evening7.30-9.30pm


Generations of Holocaust memory

Esther Jilovsky

4 week course May 2, 9, 16, 23

More than seventy years since the Holocaust, and the publication of Holocaust memoirs shows no signs of
diminishing. However in recent years, it is not only Holocaust survivors who are publishing their memoirs, but increasingly,
their children and grandchildren and others with a family connection to European Jewry. In these classes you will study
how survivors write about their memories of the Holocaust.
You will also have an opportunity to consider how the mantle of memory is being assumed by the second and third generations, many of whom write their family’s Holocaust story and include their own experiences of visiting Holocaust sites such as Auschwitz. Through reading excerpts from Holocaust memoirs, you will learn about inherited memory, trans-generational trauma and secondary witnessing as well as investigate how such memoirs come to represent the

Cost: $130 (member) $155 (non-member)

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Monday evening7.30-9.30pm


Israeli identity and mythology

Zvi Civins

4 week course May 30 June 6, 20, 27

How Jewish Historical events helped shape the Zionist dream.
Modern Israeli society is united around key historical events. Was it ever so? This course will examine how the
early Zionist movement adapted and adopted the historical events from Jewish history in order to create not only a
new state but a new definition of ‘Jew’. Based on the book Recovered Roots by Yael Zerubave you will look at Masada,
Bar Kochba, Trumpeldor and Tel Hai – amongst other events which helped (through creative interpretation by
the period’s historians and thinkers) result in the creation of the State of Israel.



Dr Esther Jilovsky Esther Jilovsky is an academic and writer. She is the author of Remembering the Holocaust: Generations, Witnessing and Place (Bloomsbury, 2015), a book which grapples with the complexities of visiting Holocaust sites. Remembering the Holocaust traces how survivors, the second generation and the third generation write about visits to Holocaust sites and how this shapes their memory of the Holocaust. Together with Jordana Silverstein and David Slucki, Esther edited the pioneering volume In the Shadows of Memory: The Holocaust and the Third Generation (Vallentine Mitchell, 2016) – the first book to collect experiences of grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. In the Shadows of Memory contains many moving contributions from around the world.
A graduate of the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford, Esther was awarded her PhD by the University of London in 2011. Currently Honorary Fellow in German Studies and Affiliated Faculty of the Program for Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Melbourne, Esther has published research on Holocaust memory in the second and third generations, the role of place in Holocaust memory, and German-Jewish identity. She is writing a memoir about her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust, and her great-grandparents, who were killed in the Holocaust.

David Solomon David Solomon is a globally roaming scholar, teacher, writer and translator, currently completing the first-ever English translation of the fundamental kabbalisitc text, Tiqunei HaZohar. David teaches Jewish History, Tanach, Jewish Philosophy, Hebrew, and Kabbalah; he is, however, perhaps best known for his dynamic presentation, The Whole of Jewish History in One Hour. For more information please visit

Carmela Levy-Stokes Carmela Levy-Stokes is a psychoanalyst in private practice. She has a doctorate in psychological medicine from Monash Uni and teaches psychoanalytic theory and practice with the Institute for Training of the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis. She has a passion for all aspects of Jewish culture and how to maintain being Jewish in a thriving non-Jewish society. She has presented on "Jewish Identity and the Unconscious" and for the Jewish Museum exhibition Freud and Friends on "Freud's Jewish Identity".–
Along with being a savta,the Jewish Museum’s adult education classes have prime of place in her busy life , both as a student and a teacher.

Rebecca Forgasz was appointed Director of the Jewish Museum of Australia at the beginning of 2010. She has been associated with the Jewish Museum for fifteen years, and has held exhibition-related roles at Public Record Office Victoria and the State Library of Victoria. Prior to taking on the role of Director of the Jewish Museum, Rebecca worked as Manager, Donor Stewardship and Recognition in the Advancement Division at Monash University, where she gained experience in the area of fundraising and donor relations. Rebecca holds Masters degree in Jewish Studies (Oxford) and Women’s Studies (Monash), as well as a Diploma of Education.