Centre for Continuing Education

Rhythms and Purposes Course I

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.

This interactive Jewish Studies course, developed and led by the Melton Centre at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is a comprehensive, sequential series of text-based lessons. Rhythms of Jewish Living and Purposes of Jewish Living are taken together. 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:

  • What is Jewish Time
  • Introduction
  • Introducing the Jewish Calendar
  • God
  • Purim
  • Creation
  • Jewish Reminders and Symbols
  • Mankind
  • Pesach 1
  • Sin
  • Pesach 2
  • The Chosen People – Why Us
  • Yom Ha’Shoah and Tisha B’Av
  • What it means to be Chosen
  • Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut
  • Eretz Israel
  • Shabbat 1
  • The Exodus from Egypt
  • Shabbat 2
  • Miracles
  • Shavuot
  • Revelation at Sinai
  • Beit K’nesset
  • Mitzvot I
  • Blessings
  • Mitzvot 2
  • Prayer and Tzedakah
  • Women – Ancient Paradigms
  • Laws and Customs of Kosher Observance
  • Women – Contemporary Perspectives

Course delivery

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

Course outcomes

At the end of the Jewish studies course, 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
  4. Become familiar with the primary sources of Jewish literacy – the Torah, Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible), Rabbinic Literature
  5. To distinguish between the positions of the major Jewish thinkers on selected topics
  6. 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 suitable for

This course is suitable for anyone who is interested in learning about Jewish culture and history.

Course reading

Participants will be required to bring their own Bible (Tanach) to the lessons. Any version of the Old Testament is acceptable.


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

What others say.

  • As a Christian I found this course fascinating. It gave me a greater understanding of Jewish beliefs and traditions which is a party of our shared heritage. I would recommend other Christians to participate. It is an enlightening experience.