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JCA Today

A Message From Our CEO

With February done – happy leap year to everyone and a special Happy Birthday to anyone born today and celebrating their birthday only once every four years :) 

We are well underway with planning for our 2024 campaign – you should already have received an email with a Save the Date for our Community Campaign Event taking place–Sunday 7th April. This year’s event has the makings to be one of our most impactful ever and my hope is we can sell out our iconic venue in record time and come together in solidarity as a community.

Our theme this year – You’ve Never Mattered More – is a call to action – every one of us matters as individuals, as families and as a group of people who love and support our local Jewish community and Israel.  We have, and must continue to bravely stand up in the face of rising hate and antisemitism that has gripped Australia since October 7th. As CEO of JCA, I hope we can stand together on the six-month anniversary of this horrific event and support each other.  Our speakers have been carefully selected – Nova Peris OAM OLY and Dr Sharon Nazarian will both leave you feeling hopeful as well as empowered (scroll down for more details).  We are in the works of confirming a third speaker and I will update you shortly. Formal invitations will be sent out in early March but if you’d like to register for early access to tickets, please email us at [email protected]

Our newsletter today is about Education. For me, in the current environment, what is of paramount importance is to ensure that through various channels of education, our children are proud, strong, engaged supporters of their Jewish identity and of Israel.  As we move further away from the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel it becomes even more critical to remind and educate ourselves and younger generations of what it has taken to get here and to be proud of our Jewish nation and peoplehood. We need to know that we can’t ever take these things for granted – our safety, our security, our place in society.  Jewish education amongst other things needs to tell our children, the next generation, why we are who we are and how we need to move forward as proud Jews, acknowledging and appreciating Israel and all its complexities and to be proud Jews within Australia.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom,

Alain Hasson
CEO

JCA Annual Event
You've Never Mattered More

We are excited to announce the date of our 2024 Major Campaign Event! Join us on the 7th April 2024 as our whole community comes together as one.

Get the best seats in the house and register for your early ticket access by emailing [email protected]

This promises to be one of the largest local community events this year.
We hope to see you there.

Monthly Mensch
Ben Ezzes

 

Ben Ezzes, our mensch for February, is passionate about Jewish education and finding new and exciting ways to meaningfully engage students in the study of Judaism. As the Assistant Head of Jewish Studies at Moriah College High School, he is inspired by his colleagues and dedicated to researching key trends in Jewish education that he then brings to the classroom.

Ben’s passion for education and our community extends to his work outside the school – he is Chair of the Education Committee at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, where he has provided insights about Jewish education at all levels of government, as well as to schools and organisations around Australia. Ben says his vision is to invest in the next generation of Jewish educators and build a stronger, more engaging Jewish education system. 

In an interview last year with the Australian Jewish News, when asked about what his highlight moment has been in his work with the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Ben said:

There are so many. The greatest privilege has just been listening. It is enriching and humbling to sit down with leaders from across many different communities. You learn how many challenges we share in common, and then you start to think about and enact meaningful solutions. If I had to highlight one moment, it would be my first meeting with the Education Minister about concerns regarding antisemitism in schools. It often feels like there is a great gulf between our Shabbat table conversations about the pertinent issues of our time and the halls of power – but if you believe it can be solved, at the JBD you can make it happen.

Kol Hakavod Ben!

Member Mention
Emanuel School

Primary School Project: Making Learning Stick
By Katie Brody, Director of Studies K-6

Emanuel is excited about teaching Mathematics! The school has refreshed and realigned its approach to match the new Math Syllabus, using the latest research on the best ways to teach the subject. Their goal is to make learning stick and meet the needs of all students. They were also lucky enough to be offered a place in the cohort of schools competing in the Numeracy Project with the Association of Independent Schools of NSW last year. Teachers at Emanuel have now been a part of extensive and rigorous professional development workshops to implement the latest teaching methods and classroom strategies.  

High School Leadership: Madatzim and Chanichim
A reflection - Ethan and Liberty, Year 11 Madatzim

Year 11 Madatzim (Young Leaders) travelled to Camp Somerset for the annual Years 7-8 trip, spending an amazing week canoeing, hiking, aiming for bullseyes in archery and sliding down mud slides before swimming in the majestic Colo River.

Madatzim ran the programs for students – a combination of games and activities structured to allow Chanichim to bond with their tutor groups and grow as individuals. This also provided an opportunity to develop leadership, teamwork, communication, and organisational skills.

Nosh Nook 
Jasmine’s Award-winning Sticky Date Cake

Jasmine Faul is a professional baker who runs her own bakery ‘Sweet Rustik’, located in Matraville. She won the title of ‘Sydney's Greatest Jewish Baker’ at the Jewish Food and Farm Festival in 2022.

"Shalom has helped me and my business to grow and help me give back to my community through my love of baking and food. This recipe was inspired by my time working on a date farm in Israel. I have chosen this recipe as it was the cake I made for the Jewish Food and Farm Festival in 2022. For a real treat, serve with the butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream."

 

Serves 8-12

Ingredients

Cake:
  • 250g dates

    Photographed by Giselle Haber

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 350g boiling water
  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 260g self-raising flour
Butterscotch Sauce:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 300g cream
  • 60g butter

Recipe:

Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Place dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heat-proof bowl
  3. Pour the boiling water over the dates and set aside
  4. In another bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar
  5. Add in the vanilla essence and eggs one at a time

    Photographed by Giselle Haber

  6. Using a stick blender puree the date mix
  7. Slowly alternate between the date mix and flour and add them to the butter mixture
  8. Combine to a smooth mixture
  9. Pour into a 20-25cm round tin
  10. Bake for 45-60 mins or until a knife inserted comes out clean
Butterscotch Sauce:
  1. Melt all ingredients in a pot
  2. Bring to the boil
  3. Let it cool and then pour over your cake

Note: Serve the cake with or without the butterscotch sauce and with a side of ice cream. Enjoy!

Masada’s Grow Your Mind Program
Building a Positive Wellbeing Culture!

 

Masada College has launched a new wellbeing program in the Junior School called 'Grow Your Mind'. The program promotes whole-school flourishing by introducing animals to teach children about their brain and some of its functions.

The program uses relatable characters like the guard dog (amygdala), the sifting sooty (reticular activating system), a sensitive octopus (insular cortex), an elephant who tries to remember (hippocampus), and a wise owl (prefrontal cortex). 

Linking social and emotional well-being habits to the brain provides purpose and sparks a child’s interest in topics that may otherwise be less engaging.

“At Masada College, we believe that education is about more than just academic achievement,” says Head of Academic Care Desray Maltz.  “We develop well-rounded students who can navigate the complexities of life. When children have the skills of resilience, emotional regulation and perspective, they thrive socially, academically and physically.”

“Masada is proud of our wellbeing program ‘Grow Your Mind’,” Mrs Maltz continues. “It’s pleasing to see the children using the language, recognising their emotions and encouraging their friends to shift their mindsets.”

From Kindergarten to Year 6, students start their day learning to look after their minds by shrinking their Guard Dog, waking their Sensitive Octopus, growing their Wise Owl, calling on their Remembering Elephant and sharpening the focus of their Sifting Sooty. 

“We also have opportunities to incorporate five minutes of wellbeing throughout the day,” says Mrs Maltz. “These activities are reflective and responsive to the needs of our students and might include mindful breathing exercises, plans to be kind, listening to one of the 'Grow Your Mind' songs, moving our bodies, challenging unhelpful thoughts, practising positive affirmations or simply picking up rubbish around the school.”

The College values prevention and building a positive wellbeing culture. The 'Grow Your Mind' Program equips students and teachers with a toolkit of strategies to promote enduring good mental health.

“The program has been embraced by our students and staff, and we look forward to inviting our parent community to a workshop in the coming months,” says Mrs Maltz.

“At Masada Junior School we strive to equip our children with a strong understanding of emotional wellbeing, enabling them to become productive lifelong learners with the ability to thrive in all areas of their lives.”

AUJS
A Safe Space For Jewish Students On Campus

The university year has just begun and AUJS has been working tirelessly to create a safe space for Jewish students on campus. Unfortunately, there is no denying that antisemitism is rife on campuses, but the strength of our young Jewish community is far greater. The AUJS NSW Executives proudly ran their O-Week stalls throughout February and brought in a record-high number of memberships. 

AUJS Hubs in NSW/ACT are located at: 

  1. The University of Sydney
  2. The University of New South Wales
  3. The University of Technology
  4. Macquarie University
  5. The University of Wollongong
  6. The Australian National University

Interest has been received from students across NSW who are keen to establish a Jewish presence on their campus. For anyone interested in getting involved – AUJS can be contacted here.

If your current campus doesn’t have an AUJS Hub, all students can become a member here and receive personalised letters to request their religious observance, be awarded special consideration by the university when a Jewish holiday falls on a due date or an exam. 

By becoming an AUJS member, students get access to events across NSW that celebrate Jewish way of life. Recently, AUJS at UNSW hosted a welcome event for members to come together, have some fun and meet new friends. In addition, AUJS UTS and USYD collaborated for their welcome event and saw over a hundred Jewish students from all campuses meet, chat and share a pizza.

Not only is AUJS creating space for Australian Jewish students it is also the temporary home for Jewish students on exchange who are craving a tasty Shabbos meal. If you can host Jewish exchange students for Shabbat dinner and chagim, please let us know here

To the Jewish students starting their year on campus who are feeling afraid to express their identity on campus, you are not alone – you aren’t the only Jewish student on campus or even in your class. Please get in touch – AUJS are there to support you, guide you and remind you that we are always stronger together. 

Coming Up In Community
Events & Activities

JewishCare NSW

Grief Speaks

Date: Thursday 7 March 2024
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Book Now

NSW Seniors Festival Concert

Date: Monday 18 March 2024
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
Book Now

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Date: Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th April
Time: 9am - 4pm both days
Book Now

Brave Talks

Date: 8th May 2024
Time: 7:30pm
Book Now

A Weekend Away

For information on how to apply, click here
Want to be a volunteer? Click here to learn more

If you have a holiday home that A Weekend Away can use, please get in touch with them by emailing [email protected]

Maccabi NSW

Megacamp

Yr K-2: Book here
Yr 3-6: Book here


Masada
Stay & Play Babies & Toddler Free Monthly Class

Parents and grandparents are welcome to enjoy an hour filled morning in our ocean side playground with music, fun, sensory stations for babies & toddler (0 - 2 years old).

Upcoming Dates: Wed 20 Mar, 10-11am & Thur 18 Apr, 10-11am
Book for March session HERE

Mount Sinai College
Open Week: 6-13th March

Book a tour HERE

Shalom
Jewish Food Festival

Event: Jewish Food Festival
Date: Sunday 10 March
Time: 10am - 3pm
Location: Entertainment Quarter
Book Here 

 

Embark on a culinary journey steeped in tradition and flavour as Shalom’s Jewish Food Festival returns for its annual celebration of Jewish cuisine, culture and food sustainability. Taking place at the Entertainment Quarter, the Festival promises a range of food stalls with sweet and savoury delicacies that trace the journey of Jewish migration across the globe. In addition to the opportunity to fress, there will be live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, cooking and sustainability workshops and a dedicated kids area. This event is generously sponsored by the JCA LotBen Fund

 


Education Focus:

You might come for the food stalls but you will stay enthralled by the cooking demonstrations and Adamama workshops. Learn from some of the best, most celebrated chefs including Ella Rossanis, winner of The Great Australian Bake Off, Rami Tal, food content creator and ‘Fast’ Ed Halmagyi of Avner’s Bakery and television.

Shalom’s Jewish urban farm, Adamama, will host sustainability workshops covering Fruit and Veggie Drying, Plant Propagation, Sourdough Focaccia Creation, and Fermentation. Additionally, the Jewish Climate Network's Electric Tent introduces attendees to the future of eco-friendly cooking with veggie sausages grilled on an induction cooktop, powered by an electric vehicle, charged by solar energy.

Sydney Jewish Museum

Mardi Gras Tour

Date: Sunday 3 March 
Time: Session 1 @ 12.30pm - Book Here
& Session 2 @ 2.30pm - Book Here 

Expert Talk with Professor Jeffrey Veidlinger

Date: Wednesday 6 March 
Time: 1 - 2pm
Book Now

Expert Talk with Sarah Grandke

Date: Wednesday 13 March
Time: 1 - 2pm 
Book Now

Meet the Author: Maya’s Dance

Date: Sunday 24 March
Time: 2pm
Book Now

Expert Talk with Lucy Adlington

Date: Wednesday 3 April
Time: 7pm
Book Now

Sydney Jewish Museum
Celebrating A Milestone

Holocaust survivor John Gruschka celebrated his 100th birthday recently, and the milestone was made even more memorable when he received a card of congratulations signed by His Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Gruschka proudly brought the card to the Sydney Jewish Museum where he has been a volunteer in the curatorial department since 2011. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1924, Gruschka’s life took a dramatic turn during the German invasion.

On his 15th birthday in 1939, his parents made the difficult decision to send him to a distant relative in England. While safely in England, Gruschka received many letters from his mother Helene, in Prague. On September 8, 1942, Helene was transported to Theresienstadt and on February 1, 1943, she was sent to Auschwitz where she was murdered at the age of 53. Gruschka immigrated with his wife to Israel to join his father and sister in 1950, and moved to Australia 10 years later in 1960. 

During his time as a Sydney Jewish Museum volunteer, Gruschka has translated an impressive 530 documents, averaging one per week, from the museum’s collection. He also regularly shares his lived experiences with students at the museum, providing a first-hand account of what he went through.

Congratulations to John on this milestone birthday!

Moriah College
Understanding Our Children's Brains

What’s happening in the brain of our Primary School children?

As a staunch advocate of prioritising a particular pathway in early years education, Lynda Fisher, Head of Primary School at Moriah College, is a specialist in explaining why it is critical to send your child to Moriah College Primary School as early in the learning journey as possible. To answer this question, we must first understand what is happening in the brains of primary school children aged between five and 12.  

What the research tells us is happening in the brains of Primary School-aged children 

Neuroscientists tell us that children's brains go through a growth spurt in their early years and are usually fully developed by the age of eight. During this time, their brains are shaped through a combination of biological development and early childhood experiences. From eight to 12, there's another chance to tweak those neural pathways before the teen years kick in.  

“Because the developing brain of a child is particularly responsive to environmental stimuli and is in a phase where neuroplasticity is at its prime during these early years, it's the perfect time to give them a high-quality all-round education that sets them up for success,” says Lynda.  

For this reason, Lynda says it is critical that students enter a high performing primary school during their early years, particularly in kindergarten, because it is during this phase of development that neural pathways are grown most prolifically.  

“From the moment a child steps into Year K, a team of Moriah College educators and specialists use data to understand the specific profile and needs of individual students and then, collectively, they foster the growth of ideal neural pathways through 10 key offerings to support the best possible cognitive, physical, spiritual, emotional, and social development,” says Lynda. 

Lynda identifies the 10 key offerings at Moriah as:  

  1. Individualised Support: Utilising data, educators tailor learning experiences to meet each student's specific needs, ensuring no child is left behind.
  2. High-Quality Teaching: Educators are trained in cognitive science and best practices to foster authentic learning experiences, emphasising higher order thinking skills and retrieval practice.
  3. Optimal Learning Pace: Ensuring each student receives appropriate instruction at the right rate and pace, maximising learning opportunities throughout the day.
  4. Active Learning: Prioritising hands-on, play-based experiences to engage students actively in the learning process and build foundational skills.
  5. Positive Relationships and Wellbeing: Emphasising positive relationships and wellbeing to create a safe, supportive environment where students can flourish emotionally and socially.
  6. Smooth Transitions: Preparing students for transitions between experiences, ensuring they are well-rehearsed in managing change and challenges.
  7. Sense of Belonging and Identity: Providing opportunities for students to develop a strong sense of belonging and personal identity, fostering self-confidence and resilience.
  8. Future Readiness: Equipping students with digital literacy skills while emphasising face-to-face communication and responsible technology use.
  9. Music Education: Prioritising music education to develop neural pathways supporting literacy and promoting social collaboration.
  10. Co-curricular Offerings: Offering a wide range of activities to expose students to various interests, supporting brain development and helping them find their passions.

The above ten offerings lay a strong foundation for children's development during their most receptive years. Starting early and providing the right environment and support enables children to thrive and reach their full potential in both school and life. Lynda encourages parents to consider the benefits of early education and the opportunities available at Moriah College to support their children's growth and development. 

Job Opportunities in our community

Communal Calendar 
March

Download this months calendar

We have gathered together some of the exciting activities and events taking place in our community in the coming month. 

Thank you for your support