Archive for February, 2012

Cyber Bullying

Susan McLean, Australia’s foremost expert in the area of cyber safety and young people was invited to talk to Year 7, 8 and 9 students last week in the Kobritz Auditorium.
Susan was a member of Victoria Police for 27 years and is widely known as the “cyber cop”. She was the first Victoria Police Officer appointed to a position involving
Cybersafety and young people.

Susan’s vast knowledge and expertise in this area makes her a sought after presenter and advisor.

Susan spoke to the students about leaving a digital footprint that remains on the internet indefinitely. Also, the fact that anonymity does not exist on the internet. Susan urged students to speak up and take action if they are aware of cyber bullying or they
are victims of cyber bullying.

She also emphasised the importance of customising Facebook privacy settings.

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Shabbat Shira

On 4 February, the Centre for Living Judaism hosted its inaugural Jewish Music Workshop. Over 30 participants came together to learn a few new melodies and to sing some old favourites. Attendees included rabbis, cantors, lay leaders and congregants representing all four Victorian Progressive Synagogues. The group included some of the most senior members of Melbourne’s Jewish music community, as well as a few younger folks, interested in an introduction to Jewish music and songleading. Also in attendance were members of the board of Progressive Judaism Victoria, as well as some of Netzer’s most prominent leaders.

The gathering was particularly meaningful because it was held on Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat on which we read Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea. From the joy of Carlebach’s niggunim, to the spice of Craig Taubman’s V’shamru, to the hope expressed in the Israeli classic, Nurit Hirsh’s BaShanah Haba’ah, participants in the workshop lifted their voices in song and prayer, just as Miriam and the Israelites did when they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt. The workshop featured new Jewish music as a way to connect to the liturgy, rituals and traditions that have kept Judaism vibrant for thousands of years.

The workshop was conducted by the Centre’s Jewish Life Fellows, Marshall Voit and Stephanie Gratch, each of whom has years of experience in Jewish music education. Their particular experience has been focused on less traditional styles of Jewish music than chazzanut, which made for an interesting discussion about the evolving role of music in services.

Going forward, the Fellows are anxious to continue the discussion about how we can use singing together to engage our congregants, both during and outside of services. As a platform for the discussion, Marshall and Stephanie will be leading one service per month at each of Melbourne’s Progressive Shuls, with the goal being to engage congregants in singing at every turn. In addition, the Fellows will be issuing one vodcast (video podcast) per week in which they will teach a new melody or revisit an older one. New videos can be found each week on the Centre’s home page, www.livingjudaism.org.au.

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King David School’s Robotics Team Golem

King David School’s Robotics Team Golem

On Sunday 20th November a group of 4 boys from Years 8 and 9 participated in the FIRST LEGO League Victorian Championship held at Melbourne Grammar. Our King David School team, known as Team Golem, finished second from a total of 15 competing teams. The team was subsequently invited to participate in the Australian Championship held at Macquarie University in Sydney. Though the national competition was held on a Saturday, the organisers from Macquarie University were able to arrange for our team to compete on the Friday afternoon whilst keeping true to the school’s Jewish faith and maintaining Shabbat. The team competed well in all four key facets of the competition: Robot Performance, Research, Technical Interview and Team Work. The organisers commended the school and the team on its gracious professionalism. The boys each received a small gift from BAE Systems, and a medallion from the national organisers of the Robotics Championship.

A proxy team, provided by Macquarie University, volunteered to drive our robot on Saturday on behalf of our team, as a way of showing the other competitors that the King David School team was a part of this national competition but was unable to compete on Saturday as it was committed to its Jewish faith and keeping Shabbat. The boys trained their proxy drivers in the use of their robot before heading off with their accompanying teacher Milorad to North Shore Temple Emanuel for Friday evening service. We were very grateful to Rabbi Gary and Jocelyn Robuck for inviting the team to a Shabbat meal with their family, and for being so warm and welcoming into their home. The team returned to Temple Emanuel for Saturday morning service. Though we returned to Melbourne on Sunday morning minus a trophy, the team were excited with the experience that they had enjoyed. The King David School is grateful to Melbourne Grammar for arranging for kosher food to be available during the Victorian Championship, to Macquarie University and their partner BAE Systems in facilitating the school’s participation on Friday, and to the Robert Feigin Memorial Scholarship Trust for their ongoing support of the school’s co-curricular Science programs.

Professor Mike Heimlich from Macquarie University has praised The King David School on its recent participation in the Australian FIRST LEGO League Robotics tournament in Sydney, and is helping the school to establish Melbourne’s first FRC team, an advanced robotics program which will bring together high school students, university mentors and industry experts (such as Boeing and  BAE Systems) to work on a sophisticated (part autonomous, part remote-controlled) robot. The school will then compete in an inaugural battle of the cities FRC regional event, Sydney vs. Melbourne. The international FRC Championships held in the USA brings together teams from around the world, including several teams from Israel. The Sydney FRC team consists of several inner Sydney high schools run by Macquarie University. The Melbourne team will be coordinated by The King David School, in a kind of David vs. Goliath battle; but all in the spirit of good fun, sharing ideas, learning and gracious professionalism.

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Yesh Israel Trip

By Justin Kanowitz

Yesh was a wonderful experience. The best parts were when we explored the natural surroundings and the environment, such as going to Kibbutz Lotan. There I saw how a tiny community in the middle of the Arava desert is trying to lessen the effects on their environment by reusing rubbish as building material for houses and using organic waste as fertilizer. We saw greenhouses in the middle of the desert which were producing A-grade food, turning sand into fertile ground.

I also thought that the Baha’i gardens in Haifa were a highlight. In fact the whole area of the Galilee was my favourite for seeing nature at its best. I especially enjoyed the hike near Haifa and the Hula Valley. I must not forget that meeting Israeli people and seeing how they live was a unique experience for me and being billetted with them in the Arava was also great fun.  I have made new friends whom I hope to see next year when they visit Melbourne

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