Current projects

Centre-wide projects

Gender in Jewish community organisations

In 2019, the Victorian branch of the National Council of Jewish Women Australia Victoria (NCJWA Vic.) launched its gender equity campaign, #MakeSpaceForHer. This aimed to increase the representation of Jewish women within Jewish communal organisations in Victoria, recognising that only 14% percent of the boards of Jewish organisations had a balanced gender composition.

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Jewish Melbourne COVID-19 online archive

This archive is a documentation of Melbourne Jewish life during COVID-19, reflect the many different ways that Melbourne Jews (individuals, families, and institutions) adapted to life under quarantine. The archive is part of Journal of the Plague Year, a global undertaking initiated by Catherine O'Donnell, Richard Amesbury, and Mark Tebeau in the School for Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.

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The ACJC Jewish-Muslim Forum

The Jewish and Islamic intellectual and spiritual traditions are deeply intertwined with one another. The Jewish-Muslim Forum’s aim is to explore the common intellectual and spiritual heritage of Islam and Judaism, with a focus on the highest expressions of Jewish and Islamic philosophical and mystical thought.

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Rediscovering 'Joy of the Soul': Fusing creative arts and Jewish scholarship

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Elkhonen Kirhcen’s (1655-1735) Simkhes ha-Nefesh (Joy of the Soul) was a best-seller. Working with internationally renowned Melbourne composers/performers, we will  produce 14 new songs based on Kirchen’s lyrics and musical notation, and a website housing a plethora of creative works.

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Staff projects

New Yiddish cinema

The rapid expansion of Yiddish-language cinema in the 1930s in its European and American centres came to an abrupt end after the decimation of the Nazi Holocaust. After some seventy years of silence, some two dozen movies and television series with spoken Yiddish-language dialogue have appeared over the last twenty years in the United States, Canada, Israel, and Europe.

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Feeling familial separation: unaccompanied Jewish youth migration to the United States, 1933-1945

The story of Nazi refugee youth is typically presented in post-war testimonies and current historiography as one of victimhood and loss, which lays in stark contrast to how refugee youth presented themselves at the time. This project knits together the history of emotions and the experiences of youth to make several critical interventions into existing scholarship on the experience and migration of Nazi-era Jews.

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Metropolises of memory: Holocaust survivors in comparative perspective, 1946-1984

This project investigates how Holocaust survivors in different cities tried to make sense of their traumatic pasts; although they found themselves resettled in cities with very different urban and political environments, a global sense of survivor identity emerged in the post-war decades.

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Golda’s emissaries: African development and the gendering of Israeli foreign policy in the Cold War era

In the late 1950s, Israel launched a sweeping development aid program focused on sub-Saharan Africa which has been largely overlooked by historians and forgotten by the public. Golda’s Emissaries will tell this neglected story for the first time, using untapped archival sources and new interviews, and weaving together the voices of both Israeli and African women.

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Esotericism and exotericism in old Yiddish texts

Yiddish has also been the bearer of the Jewish mystical tradition in important ways. This project aims to produce critical editions of three particular works from the 17th and early 18th centuries, mapping what was and wasn’t translated, how and why.

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Beyond the era of the witness: testimony, digital media, and the afterlives of Holocaust memory

This project is an exploration of new media representations of the Holocaust; an interdisciplinary collaboration looking at issues of ethics, testimony, trauma, and representation, new media pedagogy, AI and cognitive science, and arts-based research practice.

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