About us

The Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC) is an interdisciplinary centre that researches and teaches, in its breadth and diversity, the significance and evolution of Jewish civilisation and its contribution to the world. Our researchers are immersed in the academic study of the cultures, literatures, politics and histories of the Jewish experience. We pride ourselves on our strong tradition of community engagement and partnership, as well as our wide international academic networks.

The Centre was founded in 1992 under the leadership of Professor Bernard Rechter, followed by Professor Andrew Markus and Associate Professor Mark Baker. We have a proud history of philanthropic support from benefactors in the Australian Jewish community, who have enabled us to become a leading centre for Jewish studies in the Southern Hemisphere and the world.

Today, our six academic staff positions, created with philanthropic support, offer academic leadership, research excellence and community engagement across a variety of disciplines in Jewish Studies: Biblical studies and traditional Jewish texts; Philosophy and History, Israel and Middle East, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Jewish-Muslim relations, contemporary Jewish life, and Yiddish Studies. Together, we form a dynamic team committed to excellence in education in both the university classroom and wider community as well as an innovative and multifaceted research dossier that encompasses first, second and third generation Holocaust survivor experiences, early modern Yiddish texts and New Yiddish cinema, the history of Jewish humanitarianism, and Australian Jewish life, past and present.

We offer a far-reading curriculum of relevance to current issues of the day, covering a breadth of disciplines. The ACJC brings the experiences and diversity of the Jewish tradition and contemporary issues annually, to over 1000 students from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds. Our minors in both Jewish Studies and Holocaust and Genocide Studies include fur flagship overseas study tours that explore Holocaust memory in Europe and reconciliation in South Africa and Rwanda and offer life-changing experiences to cohorts of students.

In the postgraduate space, we offer Master and PhD study in the areas of Jewish Studies and Holocaust and Genocide Studies across diverse areas of expertise. We also offer a non-traditional Master and PhD Arts stream in Jewish Cultural Practice, which offers an opportunity for artists and practitioners to deepen their practice through the scholarly study of Jewish cultures today and throughout history.

We maintain a strong profile as public intellectuals that bridge the university and wider community. We deliver an annual program of public lectures and events in partnership with major cultural organisations, community events and festivals. Our public programs bring Jewish learning to diverse groups of people through lectureships by distinguished visiting as well as local scholars and thought leaders, including international conferences and workshops that stimulate ground-breaking research and reflect on the critical issues of the day. We remain committed to enterprising research and partnerships that engage with and deliver social and cultural impact to the Jewish community, the general public and industry sectors. This includes research partnerships with local organisations as well as education programs within and beyond the Jewish community.

ACJC Impact Report 2021

Rebecca MargolisFrom the Director, Rebecca Margolis

In an increasingly diverse society, intercultural understanding is increasingly valuable. As Australia’s leading Jewish Studies centre, the ACJC is committed to bringing the world of Jewish studies into a global conversation about the most critical issues affecting our future. We aim is to teach and inspire a new generation of thought leaders whose world view is impacted by the legacies and lessons of the Jewish experience. 

I invite you to reach out to learn more about the ACJC and opportunities around undergraduate and postgraduate study, research projects and community engagement, and philanthropic opportunities. 

Professor Rebecca Margolis