Chanukah 2021: the light will lead the way

This year, the Jewish Festival of Lights (Hanukkah or Hanukkah) takes place from November 28 to December 6, determined annually by the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.

While originally commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem, modern eight-day holiday celebrations involve lighting a candle on the purpose-built Hanukiah each night, playing the dreidel (spinning top), and handing out gelt (coins). golden chocolate).

For many Jews around the world, it would be the first time in two years that families would be allowed to reunite, and there are plenty of events taking place across Australia to join in the festivities.


As one of Australia’s most beloved modern artists, a major exhibition by Mirka Mora takes place at Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne, now extended until January 30, 2022.

The largest survey to date, with more than 200 works never exhibited before, MIRKA offers an intimate view of her rich and compelling personal history that “radiates hope, love, joy and resilience,” said Jessica Bram, Director and CEO of Jewish Museum Australia.

The exhibit features a special commission from Australian audio concept artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, who created an all-encompassing soundscape, guiding visitors through the show through Mirka’s own voice telling stories and memories.

The show is a show that will lift morale, stay true to the celebration of Hanukkah – which means “dedication” in Hebrew – and can be enjoyed by all.

Read: Wild, Jewish Museum of Australia (VIC)

Bonus – check out Mirka’s new double-sided mural at 77 Fitzroy Street by street artist Tom Cerdan. He will be accompanied by Mirka Mora, a compilation of footage from the Mora family’s home movies from the 1950s in Melbourne, displayed through a window on location for six months.

The Sydney Jewish Museum is dedicated to preserving the stories of the Holocaust and the lives of survivors in the multicultural fabric of Australian life through its permanent exhibit, The Holocaust.

Recently, they launched an ambitious project to bring survivor stories to life using cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and language processing software.

First in the series of Dimensions in Testimonial (DiT) is Olga Horan, who answered around 1,000 questions about her life during the Holocaust to present an interactive biography capable of answering questions from the audience.

Visitors are invited to participate in public testing sessions at the museum. You will be able to see Olga’s virtual response to questions as if she is sitting right in front of you, sharing her stories of history, hope, survival and resilience.

The unknown paintings of Fred Zeckendorf will present works created in the Theresienstadt ghetto from 1942 to 1944, forming the grim reality of daily life in the Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic.

The priceless collection of over 30 works was donated by his son Otto Zeckendorf, who emigrated to Australia with his mother in 1949, and who saw the value of his father’s works even though Fred Zeckendorf was never trained in as an artist.

The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) currently hosts Coming Home – Alex Martinis Roe, a solo exhibition exploring the legacy of Adelaide’s lesbian feminist Jewish community (JAFL). Until January 9, 2022, the exhibition features a new video installation by Roe that chronicles a tender balance of identities, transgenerational advocacy, and how JAFL conducted queer kinship experiences while feeling a deep sense of belonging. Jewish people. His 2018 film Bliss Techniques will also be displayed in the PICA screen space.

PICA Director Amy Barrett-Lennard said: “By examining extraordinary journeys and bringing together a specific, and perhaps little-known Australian community, Martinis Roe expands our broader understanding of human connections, love, of ritual and kinship. “

Candles lit for Hanukkah. Image: courtesy of the artist. 4K video, Super 8, and archival material courtesy of JAFL, including digitally transferred photographs, VHS video and helical-scan videotape.

From December 9 to 12, the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Center and the National Library will present Bits of sky, a theatrical adaptation of Arnold Zable’s novel capturing the working class and immigrant life in 1950s Carlton. The event will launch the newly recorded audiobook of the 2004 novel, alongside dramatic monologues and live performances . The celebrations coincide with the 110th anniversary of Kadimah, Australia’s oldest operating Jewish cultural organization.

Read: Review: Last Words, Kadimah Jewish Cultural Center (VIC)

There is no doubt that Melbourne’s Jewish arts community is thriving, with the Jewish Arts Quarter also being developed to house the new headquarters of the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Center of Judaica, Kadimah Jewish Cultural Center and National Library and 4C Community Co-Lab. More updates via the JAQ site.


The Jewish Arts and Music Festival (FOJAM) is a platform for artists and anyone interested in Jewish culture to explore and showcase their work. Formerly known as Shir Madness, its mission is to expand perceptions of what it means, and what it looks like, to express being Jewish in the present.

A list of FOJAM’s Best of 5781 – the year numbered according to the Hebrew calendar – is filled with famous films to the best contemplative readings.

Estimated titles include “The Funny Neurotic Jewish Man from Melbourne” by John Safran Piece of puff and that of Sarah Krasnostein The believer which deals with the breadth of belief with six interspersed stories.

From the screen, there’s the frenzied Netflix show of Jewish writer and director Scott Frank, The Queen’s Gambit, Dave, a pseudo-fictionalized version of Jewish rapper Lil Dicky, and an unprecedented documentary about four Israeli teenagers in Transkids.

Other categories of Best of 5781 include music (accompanied by a Spotify playlist), and podcasts ranging from audio documentaries to self-improvement – and even a feminist and survivor-focused documentary series on Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and all its lousy adaptations.

For more words of wisdom, the Melbourne Jewish Book Week hosts a series of free live sessions on the second Tuesday of each month, with the next December 7 8 p.m. Zoom providing a summer reading guide with book lovers Elissa Goldstein, Bram Presser and Tali Lavi.

While the International Jewish Film Festival scheduled to return from March 2 to April 3, 2022 in Australian theaters, fans of Jewish and Israeli films and television can now access a library of acclaimed titles on Chaiflicks.

The best of past JIFF can also be broadcast via Classic at home, which builds on the festival’s 29-year history to bring Jewish and Israeli-themed films to a wider Australian audience.


Although completely virtual, the Jewish Museum of Adelaide has a special section dedicated to the rich history of Jewish people in the arts in South Australia. Such examples include the Othello actor of 1841, John Lazar who only played the role for a year before the Queen’s Theater closed in 1842 and the comedian Roy Rene who engaged in his role as a “Jew. sub-human of the scene ”and, through humor, provided a reflection on the human state.

These snippets of stories showcase individual aspirations, as well as struggles to become an artist as a cultural minority.

The Jewish Holocaust Center is also home to a wealth of resources, stories and artifacts that testify to the resilience of the Jewish people and their significant contribution to Australia’s cultural terrain.

In response to COVID isolations, they launched the Survivor Connect Program where you can interact with Holocaust survivors via email, hear their stories of resilience in the face of a lasting crisis and their wisdoms for recovery. A virtual tour of their permanent exhibition is also available for those who cannot visit.

Whether or not one celebrates Hanukkah / Chanukah, there is much to learn from this celebration of dedication where the light will lead the way.

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