Short Courses


Click here to download the short course brochure

Click here to download the enrolment form

OR book online below.

The Jewish Museum is committed to developing and delivering an annual series of short courses, focussed around the Museum’s permanent and temporary exhibition program, to complement and extend the exhibition themes.

For more details please contact or 61 3 8534 3600

Belief and Ritual

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

Monday morning10.15am – 12pm


The dark side of Jewish humour: or what to do when it leads to dancing

Tal Spinrad

8 week course - October 13, 20, 27 November 10, 17, 24 December 1, 8

Colin Brooks Memorial Lecture Series

Join story teller Tal Spinrad as you visit the darker elements of Jewish humour. Tal seeks to articulate how Jews have shed light on some very controversial subjects such as anti-Semitism, politics, sex and the Shoah. Using texts and videos you will examine how Jewish humour is not just the punch line laugh, but often reveals a troubling truth which teaches much about the human condition of the Jew and indeed of mankind in the twentieth century. Learn about comedians as varied as Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, Alan Sherman and Andy Kaufman, as well as Israeli humour.

Course deferred.

Tuesday evening7.30pm – 9.30pm


One Year One Tanach

Weekly Guest Lecturers

8 week course - October 14, 21, 28 November 11, 18, 25 December 2, 9

The challenge: to read the Tanach (Bible) sequentially. One book in one night. The Jewish Museum ‘s unique project called One Year One Tanach invites a different facilitator each week to conduct the study session. Enjoy perspectives and readings in this text-based course that are as varied as the facilitators who each aim to offer you their unique understanding and reading of their chosen text. Lecturers in this series include Paul Forgasz, Ittay Flescher, Rabbi Fred Morgan, Deborah Stone, Marlo Newton, Shula Lazar, Victor Majzner and Avi Cohen. Books in this concluding series include The Song of Songs, Proverbs, Chronicles, the Book of Esther and the Book of Ruth.

Cost: $245 (non member) $220 (member)

Click here to book online!

Timeline of Jewish History

Depicting 4000 years of rich and remarkable history

Tuesday evening7.30pm – 9.30pm


We need to talk about Gaza: Israel and the Jewish condition

Johnny Baker

6 week course - October 14, 21, 28 November 11,1 8, 25

Presented in memory of Lionel & Naomi Gross

The ongoing war in Gaza has given rise to a new situation for Israel and the Jewish people. This course will examine the implications of the current crisis from the perspective of how Israel and Jews are viewed by the world. It will also consider the evolving relationship between Israel and Diaspora communities. The course will involve the reading and analysis of designated texts together with focused group discussion. Some of the questions to be examined include: Has the current crisis given rise to a new form of anti-Semitism? Has the international press undergone a fundamental transformation in its depiction of Israel? What has been the impact of social media in the current crisis? Points of unity and divergence in Israel Diaspora relations. A comparative analysis of the changing nature of Jewish communities in Europe, the USA and Australia. Where to from here: is there a message Jews can and should be giving their Israeli counterparts?

Course deferred.

Monday afternoon1.00pm – 3.00pm


The Golden Age of Jewish Vienna 1890-1933

Helen Webberley

8 week course - October 13, 20, 27 November 10, 17, 24 December 1, 8

Explore Vienna’s rich history with the Jews who as early as 1867, were granted full civil rights. Scientists, doctors and researchers won fame and Nobel Prizes and Jews were active in progressive politics. Musicians and writers achieved world status and Jews were also prominent in theatre as actors and producers. This illustrated lecture series will examine the Golden Age of Vienna, particularly the intellectual life of Jews up to the Anschluss in 1938. Immerse yourself in the art, architecture, music, science, literature, politics and kaffee haus society that Jews contributed to so fulsomely and that made Vienna one of the major cultural hubs of pre-war Europe.

Cost: $245 (non member) $220 (member)

Click here to book online!

Monday afternoon 1pm – 3pm


How Jesus the Jew became a Christian

Paul Forgasz

6 week course - November 10, 17, 24 December 1, 8, 15

Jesus was born a Jew and died a Jew. He taught the religion of his ancestors and lived in accordance with Jewish law. So how did this mortal man, executed by the Romans as "King of the Jews", become Jesus Christ - Son of God, the second person of the triune Godhead, the Holy Trinity? In this course we will explore how the Jesus of history became the Christ of faith.

This has been repeated because of popular demand so don’t miss out!

Cost: $185 (non member) $160 (member)

Click here to book online!

Temporary Exhibitions

Monday evening7.30pm – 9.30pm


Andy Warhol’s Jewish Geniuses

Weekly Guest Lecturers

8 week course - October 13, 20, 27 November 10, 17, 24 December 1, 8

From an original list of 100, Warhol chose to make portraits of 10 outstanding Jewish personalities (to be exhibited at the Jewish Museum). Each week a distinguished lecturer will explore the achievements and ideas of one of these Jewish geniuses and the nature of their engagement with the Jewish and non Jewish world.
Albert Einstein (Prof Steven Prawer), Sarah Bernhardt, George Gershwin and the Marx Brothers (Charles Slucki) Sigmund Freud (Prof Sidney Bloch), Martin Buber (Ittay Flescher) Golda Meir (Amanda Castelan-Starr), Louis Brandeis (Justice Michael Sifris), Franz Kafka (Paul Forgasz) and Gertrude Stein.
Andy Warhol’s Jewish Geniuses exhibition opens in November and you will have free access to the exhibition on Tuesday evenings as part of the course.

Cost: $245 (non member) $220 (member)

Click here to book online!



Deborah Stone Deborah Stone is a writer, editor, speaker and trainer whose professional goal is to make words work effectively. An award winning journalist, she is Editor of ArtsHub, – the leading online media resource for the arts industry. She was previously Editor of The Australian Jewish News and a feature writer and reporter on The Age, The Sunday Age, The Australian and the New Zealand Herald. She is engaged in progressive & cultural Judaism, has taught Melton courses in Jewish literature and is interested in Tanach as literature.


Steven Prawer Steven is a professor in the School of Physics and the Inaugural Director of the Melbourne Materials Institute (MMI). He has a world-wide reputation in advanced diamond science and technology with over 25 years of experience and over 300 scientific publications. His latest work is to use diamond to build a bionic eye to enable blind people to once again be able to read large print and recognize the faces of loved ones. Steven was elected to the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2010. He is married with seven children and enjoys cycling, and caravanning around Australia and philosophizing about the unity of science and religion.

Sidney Bloch Sidney Bloch is Emeritus Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.  He was chief editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry for 13 years and Associate Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry for 10 years. He has published 14 books, several of which have been translated. Understanding Troubled Minds was selected by the mental health organisation SANE as its Book of the Year in 2012.

Amanda Castelan-Starr Amanda Castelan-Starr is Jewish Studies Curriculum Co-ordinator at Mount Scopus College. She has been teaching there since 2000 and taught in London at Immanuel College (2004/5). She completed the Senior Educator’s Programme at Hebrew University (2009/10) and has lectured regularly for the Melton Education programme and Jewish Museum. She has a passion for exploring the nexus between art and Jewish life.

Charles Slucki After 20 years as Head of Drama at Sandringham College and 9 years as Director of Performing Arts at Mount Scopus College, Victorian Teacher of the Year in 1995 in Victoria, Charles founded Theatrica Performing Arts Tours in 2006. Charles continues his love of directing and producing and much appreciated mentoring of past and present students and other performing arts professionals. And this year Charles was awarded with the 2013 Who's Who's "Professional of the Year representing the Arts, Media and Entertainment Industry". .He was an actor and the director of the Melbourne Yiddish Theatre at the Kadimah for many years. Charles will be directing “My name is Asher Lev” with Saltpiller early next year.

Helen Webberley Helen Webberley has been a lecturer in history and art history at Melbourne’s Centre for Adult Education for 24 years. Helen’s many areas of interest include the Arts and Crafts movement, France’s Belle Époque, the Vienna Secession, Bauhaus, Bezalel and art defined in Germany as degenerate. Her blog, Art and Architecture, mainly, covers Jewish and non-Jewish historical themes.

Justice Michael Sifris Justice Michael Sifris was appointed to the Supreme Court of Victoria in July 2010 and currently sits in the Commercial Court. He was admitted to practice in Victoria in 1987, having previously practiced in South Africa. Whilst at the Bar, his Honour specialised in banking and finance law, corporations and insolvency law. He has acted for many leading financial institutions, was retained in many of the high profile corporate collapses and regularly appeared for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the corporate regulator. Michael was a member of various committees of the Victorian Bar including the Human Rights Committee and was Chairman of List A Barristers in 2009-2010. In 2007 his founded Lonsdale Chambers, a group of barristers specialising in corporate insolvency law.

Avi Cohen Avi Cohen is head of Jewish Studies at Mt. Scopus College. He has lectured on the topic of Israel for the last decade at a range of institutions including Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Deakin University in Melbourne. Avi’s courses are multimedia offerings filled with insight and knowledge, enhanced by his truly balanced perspective of the world. He is also trying to balance life on the home front with the busy schedules of his four children and time out for himself at the gym.

Paul Forgasz Paul Forgasz’ career has spanned
both the secondary and tertiary sectors of education. For more than a decade he was the Headmaster of the secondary school campus of Mount Scopus College. Currently Paul lectures in Jewish history at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Education and he also teaches about Jewish education in the university’s Faculty of Education. Paul has maintained an active involvement for many years in Jewish adult education. For a number of years Paul was the head of faculty at the Florence Melton Adult Mini School in Melbourne. He has also developed and taught a great many of the Jewish Museum of Australia's short course programs with which he is still involved. Paul has contributed regularly to Limmud OZ since its inception. He has been the community scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Education Institute in Pittsburgh,
the Shalom Institute in Sydney, The Abraham
Institute in Adelaide and the Wellington Jewish Community Centre. Since 2010, under
the auspices of the Jewish Museum of Australia,
Paul has led a number of sell-out study tours
focusing on Jewish medieval Spain and on the Jews of Germany. In 2014, he also plans to conduct a Jewish heritage tour of Eastern Europe.

Tal Spinrad Tal Spinrad is a trained Jewish family educator who has run a range of programs for communities in America and Australia. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy from San Francisco State University. Tal has served as the Director of Education at the Bentleigh Progressive Etz Chayim synagogue and also as the educational coordinator of Kedem .As a Jewish family educator Tal has worked with young children, teenagers and young adults as well as offering adult education classes including Melton. He is also the proud father of 3 young children who speak with foreign Australian accents that he is still getting used to.

Ittay Flescher has been exploring and observing Jewish life for as long as he can remember. He is dynamic and creative educator who currently teaches Jewish Studies, Religion and Society and Jewish Music at Mount Scopus Memorial College. In 2007, Ittay lived in Jerusalem for a year as a fellow on the Hebrew University’s Senior Educators Program. His other love is music and his guitar playing has enriched many of his teaching sessions.His short courses are distinguished by his impeccably researched choice of audio visual and written materials and his balanced approach.

Johnny Baker is a graduate Hebrew U of Jerusalem. Currently President of Ameinu Australia, Australian Friends of Yad Vashem and member of the AIJAC Editorial Board Past President SZC of Victoria, (1988-1994) and Mount Scopus Memorial College (1994-2003). He has lectured extensively on Holocaust, Jewish Identity, Israel and Zionism. Because of his very broad reading and reflections on Israeli politics he is a much sought after chair at many community events including the recent Limmud Oz festival. Johnny is also a father of five and grand-father of one ken yirbu.

Rabbi Fred Morgan Rabbi Fred Morgan retired last year after serving for 16 years as Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel. Prior to entering the rabbinate 30 years ago he taught the religions of India at Bristol University in the UK. He is currently Emeritus Rabbi at TBI as well as Professorial Fellow in theology and dialogue at the Australian Catholic University, and he is involved in promoting a major project in "Grass Roots Dialogue" for the Council of Christians and Jews.Rabbi Morgan has offered courses in the Melton program and at the Jewish Museum of Australia for a number of years. He is a very popular lecturer at Church and interfaith gatherings, loves text study (Torah, Midrash, Shoah studies, Jewish theology) and his shiurim are very interactive. He was recently made an Honorary. Fellow at the Australian Catholic University. Fred has three children, one of whom has made aliyah.

Marlo Newton has been an integral part of Melbourne community life. She is a writer, community activist and educator. As the Coordinator of Jewish Life at the King David School, Marlo was responsible for the supervision of Jewish studies staff, writing curricula and preparation for the festivals. Marlo has also written delivered courses on Judaism and Jewish history for adults. Currently she is the Executive of UJEB (United Jewish Education Board) in its important work in bringing Jewish learning and values to Jewish students at non-Jewish day schools. She is also a regular contributor to the Australian Jewish News and an occasional contributor to The Age, The Herald Sun and the Brisbane Courier Mail.