The first session of Beit Sefer Yalbalinga – an online course in partnership between the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Sydney Jewish Museum – kicked off this week to great success.

J-Wire Newsdesk
4 June 2021

Beit Sefer Yalbalinga, a combination of the Hebrew and Wiradjuri terms for “place of learning” is a new course designed to raise awareness of the shared history and values of the Jewish and First Nations communities.

‘Story,’ the June 1 session, was the first in a series of five lectures and focused on the importance of storytelling and oral history in both cultures. In a conversation hosted by First Nations woman Ashlee Wone featuring Pastor Ray Minnecon and Rabbi Benjamin Elton, the discussion covered how storytelling is universal to the human experience and how one engages with others through stories, which are more than just a recitation of facts. Through stories, people share passions, fears, sadness, hardships, and joys, and we find common ground with other people.

Running on Tuesday evenings throughout June, the next session will be held on June 8 at 7:00 pm and will focus on the significance of land to culture and history in an Australian context.

According to the United Nations, Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which have a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories. They are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories and their ethnic identity as the basis of their continued existence as peoples. The significance of land is clear in discussions of environmental justice and reclamation of land.

Hosted by Dr Lisa Sarzin, this lecture will feature Rowan Foley, Tony McAvoy, and Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins in conversation.

“We are envisaging a lively and compelling evening of conversation and cross-cultural dialogue – exploring not only our commonalities but our different perspectives and practices relating to land, place and physical belonging,” Dr Sarzin said.

To register for the next session of Beit Sefer Yalbalinga, visit