Jewish education at Emanuel is as much about creating meaningful learning experiences and enduring memories through moments of joy, celebration and commemoration, as it is about classroom learning and exploration.
At Emanuel, we strive to offer a Jewish Studies program that is challenging and rigorous, as well as personally meaningful to our students, addressing present-day concerns.
We explore subjects and concepts within the sphere of Jewish ethics and morality, together with Jewish history and tradition. While focusing on both law and lore, we discover and grapple with our values, practices and beliefs as expressed within the primary biblical and rabbinic texts of our religion.
Chagim (Festivals), Commemorations and Celebrations
We come together to celebrate our holidays and commemorations, both in terms of appreciating our shared traditions, as developed throughout our history, and in finding and making present-day meaning for ourselves.
Purim is a time of joy throughout our campus as we engage in creative masquerading, share the Megillah story with a contemporary flair, create and deliver mishloach manot to our senior citizens and distribute food baskets to the poor and marginalised (matanot le-evyonim). Our school community engages in a Purim for Plitim (Refugees) project, donating food and household items to the Asylum Seeker Centre, as part of understanding our interconnectedness and responsibility to all peoples (areivut).
For Pesach, we explore present-day slaveries, in a shared seder and ritual, asking how we, a people of the liberation, might make for greater freedom for enslaved and oppressed peoples within our world. Our students visit the residents of the B’nai B’rith Princess Gardens Retirement Village in Rose Bay, singing Pesach songs, playing music, and presenting gift bags and boxes of Matzah.
On Yom Ha’Atzmaut, we celebrate the miraculous history of the Jewish State, while looking at present-day Israel, its challenges and promise, while our Yom Ha-Shoah and Yom Ha-Zikaron commemorations are a time for solemn reflection and looking ahead as to how we can create a more peaceful and promising future.
During Sukkot, we invite the homeless into our Sukkah, sharing songs, personal stories of challenge, hope and triumph, and a festive meal, and creating a community of wholeness and peace (sukkat shalom). In this way, our students gain a new understanding of Sukkot, which signifies the temporary and fragile nature of our presumed security.
In experiencing all our holidays and commemorations, we come together as a unified community, celebrating in a manner that recognises the diversity and pluralistic nature of our student body and staff and how we each contribute to a meaningful experience of our Jewish tradition. We seek to make these times of celebration and commemoration student-centered and student-led, empowering our students to be agents in creating a living Judaism that speaks to them.