The Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University is creating an archive documenting Melbourne Jewish life during COVID-19.
Our aim is to collect a range of materials from individuals, families, and institutions that reflect the many different ways that Melbourne Jews adapted to life under quarantine. We invite you to contribute digital artefacts as well as reflections on how your life changed in regards to your Jewishness and Jewish practice as the spread of coronavirus forced us into isolation.
There are no restrictions on how 'Jewish' you need to be submit to this archive: we're looking for contributions from people across the full spectrum. You might consider yourself well inside the mainstream community, or you might have no interaction with it, or somewhere in between. Any contribution that relates to a Jewish activity (however you define it) is welcomed.
We are interested in the ways that the lives of individuals and families were affected, the disruptions and adaptations to the daily and weekly cycles of Jewish life, the impact on schools and community organisations, educational and cultural programming and on the celebration of holidays and memorial days - Pesach, Yom Hashoah, Yom Ha’atzmaut, Shavuot and more. We want to know about the moments of sadness and loss as well as the unexpected joys and triumphs.
The archive is part of Journal of the Plague Year, a global undertaking initiated by Catherine O'Donnell, Richard Amesbury, and Mark Tebeau in the School for Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.
What should I contribute?
We are seeking a range of materials including the following:
- Photographs and videos of Jewish family life during isolation, such as Shabbat and Pesach seders
- Social media posts and memes (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, Snapchat) commenting on Jewish life in isolation
- Advertisements for, links to and videos of community events such as Holocaust commemorations, lectures, shiurim, synagogue services (or alternatives), Tikkun Leil Shavuot events etc
- Running sheets and other behind-the-scenes documentation of community events
- Emails, text messages, newspaper articles or material in any other format reflecting on Jewish life during COVID-19
In addition, we invite individuals to submit written reflections on life in quarantine.
You may wish to reflect on:
- Either a specific occasion (such as Pesach, Yom Hashoah etc) or the overall experience of COVID-19 in relation to your Jewishness.
- How are you and/or your family have been adapting your Jewish practices in the circumstances?
- To what extent have you been able to maintain a meaningful Jewish life while adhering to social distancing guidelines?
- What have you introduced that is new, and what have you had to let go of? What new ways of doing things do you think you will continue in the future?
How do I contribute?
Click on "Share Your Story" on the menu above. You will be taken to a form where you will need to fill in details about the item/s you are submitting, and attach relevant photos, videos, documents and other files.
*** Please include the words "Jewish Melbourne" in the field "Give your story a title". ***
If you have large files (eg videos) that take too long to submit, please contact Project Curator Dr Jordy Silverstein at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, to arrange an alternative way to submit this material.
What will happen to the material I submit?
All contributions submitted for the Jewish Melbourne collection will be reviewed and published by a curatorial/research team at the ACJC, comprising Associate Professor (Practice) Rebecca Forgasz, Associate Professor David Slucki and Dr Jordy Silverstein, who will also use the materials for research purposes.
When you submit, you can opt to make your submission accessible to the public or to keep it private, so it can be viewed by researchers only. For further information about usage and access to materials submitted, please see the Journal of the Plague Year terms of service.