Volunteer Profile: Louise Fishman

June 9, 2015

When did you start volunteering with the Museum?
In 2013

Why did you become a volunteer at the Museum?
I decided I wanted to connect with schools and the students so as to give them a greater understanding of the basis of Judaism. If you don’t understand Judaism you can have a very different impression of Jewish people, their religion, and their culture; which leads to misunderstandings.

What kind of work do you do as a Museum volunteer?
I work with the School’s Program team, guiding student groups through the Museum galleries and presenting a mock Shabbat ceremony. I also often volunteer to assist at the Museum’s special events such as during the Andy Warhol exhibition Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s, Dining for One and the play reading Fifteen Minutes Of Fame.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with the Museum?
I loved my Jewish upbringing with its rich, colourful traditions. Imparting part of that and experiences in my life is very fulfilling especially when the students leave and say how much they have enjoyed their visit.

What has been your most memorable moment since volunteering with the Museum?
When I became a volunteer the Museum had a wonderful exhibition containing works by a Parisian artist, Mark Lopez Bernal, showing his interpretation of Aleph Bet, the Hebrew alphabet. His paintings and interpretations were so amazing I took every opportunity to show people as well as coming often to visit when I wasn’t volunteering. One of the highlights was actually speaking with the artist during his time in Melbourne and sharing his feelings on this work. If I close my eyes I can still visualise many of those pieces in front of me.

What have you learnt as a volunteer at the Jewish Museum that you didn’t know before?
I have learnt more in-depth knowledge from attending lectures at the Museum and especially during orientation sessions with Jenny Better, who does great work as the Museum’s School Education Coordinator.

What is your favourite object in the Museum and why?
I have two favourite objects. The first is the incense shovel used at the time of the first Temple.

The other is the Sephardic Torah, which is displayed in its amazing tooled traditional metal case that is typical of the North African countries.