Centre for Continuing Education

Rhythms and Purposes Course II

Jewish Culture. Learn about Jewish Culture with us.

Learn about Jewish culture the smart way with Jewish Culture courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies
Course materials developed by The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning - a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For specific enquiries regarding the program, please contact Jillian Fine on 0410 497 870 or email.

Developed and led by the Melton Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it is a comprehensive, sequential series of text-based lessons. Rhythms introduces the beliefs and practices that shape Jewish festivals, and the life cycle. This enables participants to appreciate the depth and consistency of Jewish life. Purposes is devoted to the question why the Jews believe what they believe. The goal of this course is to identify the ultimate purpose of Jewish life as found in the Jewish texts and the historical experience.

Course content

This Jewish studies course covers the following topics:

The Rhythms of Jewish Living II

  • Birth and Brit
  • Bar and Bat Mitzvah
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Rosh Hashana
  • Yom Kippur
  • Succoth
  • Shmini Atzeret
  • Mikveh
  • Rituals of Death and Dying
  • Rituals of Mourning
  • Conversion and Adoption
  • Tu Bishvat
  • Channukah
  • Concluding Lesson

Course delivery

This Jewish studies course will be delivered as a seminar with group discussion.

Course outcomes

At the end of the semester, participants will be able to:

  1. Interpret the Jewish calendar and identify and understand the significance of the major holy days and their origins and contemporary expressions
  2. Understand the life-cycle rituals in Judaism and recognise and analyse the multiple and varied interpretations of their practice and meaning
  3. Develop an understanding that Judaism is a way of life, which affects everyday practices that have religious and cultural expressions

Course content

This Jewish studies course covers the following topics:

The Purposes of Jewish Living II

  • Is the Torah the Revealed Word of God
  • Revelation – Torah and Halacha
  • Theology in Practice – Driving on Shabbat
  • Mishkan/Mikdash ( The Sanctuary)
  • Providence
  • The Theology of Prayer
  • Leadership
  • Churban (Destuction) & Exile (Galut)
  • The Messianic Era
  • What happens after we die
  • Why do people suffer?
  • Responses to suffering in the Holocaust
  • The Religious Significance of the State of Israel
  • Talmud Torah
  • Concluding lesson

Course outcomes

At the end of the semester, participants will be able to:

  1. Become familiar with the primary sources of Jewish literacy – the Torah, Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible), Rabbinic Literature
  2. To distinguish between the positions of the major Jewish thinkers on selected topics
  3. Understand key Jewish attitudes to major theological and philosophical issues, such as the concept of chosenness; the symbolism of the Exodus from Egypt; commandments in Judaism, attitudes to leadership, revelation, Messianism, suffering and the place of the Land of Israel in Jewish thought and belief

Course reading

Participants are required to bring any edition of the Old Testament to class, either a Tanach/Jewish or Christian edition.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Certificate of completion

What others say.

  • I liked the way the information contained in the lectures was delivered in a non-personal and non-judgmental way, leaving you able to draw your own conclusions.