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Year 11 Religion and Society

Mt Scopus Smorgon Outreach program

Each year, as part of the comparative component of Religion and Society Unit 1, our Year 11 students engage in Interfaith Dialogue with our neighbouring Jewish school, Mount Scopus College. We participate in a peer-to-peer run program designed to encourage and support the students from both schools to explain their faith tradition to the other. 

An experience of synagogue is an essential part of the program and hearing a student read from the Torah in Hebrew is quite profound. Judaism within synagogue is explained and our students are encouraged to ask questions and view the beautiful presentation of the Torah, handwritten on parchment.

In small groups, we are told the story of Passover, Pesach, and of the fulfilment of the Covenant. The rituals of Pesach are explained to our students by their Jewish peers and the sampling of the Matzah (kosher unleavened bread) is a highlight. Both traditions recognize this great opportunity for enrichment and learning.

Some student comments include:

‘It is interesting to be immersed in the Jewish religion and hear how adherents live their lives as Jewish people. It made me realize how interesting and diverse our society is.’

‘It was fascinating to see how religion is practised by a person who is our age. It made it much easier to identify with a peer who is explaining Judaism. The students from Mount Scopus practise their faith in different ways, some stricter than others. The students who are passionate about their religion were quite inspiring.’

‘Seeing the Jewish faith as central to every aspect of the school was eye-opening and my expectations of learning were challenged. I enjoyed hearing about the culture also, day-to-day life, and the rituals and ethics of another faith tradition.’

‘Being confronted by the strict security on the gates of Mount Scopus led to some great discussion about why this could be necessary and I learnt much about events in Israel of which previously I had no understanding. It was also fascinating to have explained why synagogues separate men and women, sometimes from one floor to another, sometimes with curtains, such as at Mount Scopus College.’ 


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