Melbourne Jewish Book Week was thrilled to present our first LIVE online event The Ratline. It has been more than one week and everyone is still talking about the conversation between Philippe Sands and Mark Raphael Baker. For those subscribers who ‘could not be present’ on the night, please enjoy at your own leisure.

 Catch up on the broadcast 


Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Plagues, Pandemics and Preventing Panic

While we continue to proceed with caution through these challenging (COVID 19) times, in trying to navigate the unknown future – what can the past teach us? Join Professor David Isaacs, paediatric infectious disease specialist and author of Defeating the Ministers of Death: The Compelling History of Vaccination, in conversation with Dr Elizabeth Finkel, as together they shed light on the history of pandemics.

Tuesday 2nd June
7.30 - 8.30 pm 
Free via Zoom – registration required
Register to Attend Online
The history of vaccination is rich with trial, error, sabotage and success. It encompasses the tragedy of lives lost, the drama of competition and discovery, the culpability of botched testing, and the triumph of effective, lifelong immunity. We may fear terrorist attacks, but in truth humans have always had far more to fear from infections.

Professor David Isaacs' Defeating the Ministers of Death offers unexpected insights for anyone who wants to understand our past – and cares about our future.
Professor David Isaacs is a consultant paediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, and Clinical Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney. He has been a member of every Australian national immunisation advisory committee for the last 25 years. He is passionate about bioethics, and has published and taught extensively on ethical aspects of immunisation. 
Elizabeth Finkel (AM) is a former biochemist who switched to journalism. She co-founded Cosmos Magazine, served as Editor in Chief (2013 – 2018) and is now Editor at Large. She has published two books: Stem Cells (2005) which won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, and The Genome Generation (2012). Elizabeth’s work is regularly anthologised in Best Australian Science Writing. Her journalism has earned her numerous awards, membership of the Order of Australia, and in 2019, a medal by the Australian Society for Medical Research.
Melbourne Jewish Book Week is proud to partner with ​FOJAM (​Festival of Jewish Arts and Music​), Plus 61J​, ​and Pathways Melbourne​ in this panel discussion.

Unorthodox : Stories of Escape 

What does it take to leave? Hear first-hand from writers who have bravely written their stories of exodus to share with the world. In a special FREE live panel event, Deborah Feldman (Unorthodox), Abby Stein (Becoming Eve) and Dassi Erlich will be in conversation with author and podcaster John Safran. Don't miss this deep dive into the ties that bind us to our families, our community, and to ourselves. What does it mean to break away? What do we hold onto, and what parts of our identity do we need to let go? Register now — places are limited.

Thursday 4th June,
8pm - 9.15pm AEST

Free via Zoom – registration required
Register to Attend Online

Deborah Feldman ​was born and raised in the Hasidic community of Satmar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her native language is Yiddish. At the age of 25 she published the New York Times bestselling memoir, UNORTHODOX​: ​The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots which was adapted as a limited series for Netflix aired on the platform worldwide in March 2020. She lives in Berlin.

Abby Stein is an American Jewish educator, author, speaker, and activist for trans people of Orthodox background. She was born and raised in a Hasidic family of rabbinic descent, and is a direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Abby attended Yeshiva, completing a rabbinical degree in 2011. In 2012, she left the Hasidic world to explore a self-determined life.

John Safran i​s an award-winning documentary maker of provocative and hilarious takes on race, the media, religion and other issues. Safran first hit TV screens in 1997 on ​Race Around the World.​ Since then has won Australian Film Industry awards, been nominated for Logie awards and published several articles and books.

Dassi Erlich ​​is an advocate for child sex abuse survivors and has led the international campaign to bring Malka Leifer, the former principal of Adass Israel School in Melbourne, to justice. Dassi Erlich grew up in Melbourne’s segregated ultra-Orthodox Adass community and only transitioned away within the past 10 years. She is currently writing a book about her journey. 


MJBW is offering FREE live-streaming events to showcase some of the fabulous guests we had planned for the MJBW 2020 program. 

As we are committed to paying our participants the fees they would have received if the program had proceeded normally, we hope you will support our literary community of writers, moderators and keynote speakers, both local and internationally which will help us to keep everyone connected in the Melbourne Jewish Book World.
Donate to MJBW
Melbourne Jewish Book Week is a not-for-profit organisation with registered charitable and Deductible Gift Recipient status. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. We appreciate your support and welcome all contributions.

Stay safe, stay well and keep reading everyone

If you wish to contact us, please email

Melbourne Jewish Book Week takes place on the land of the Kulin nation. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future.
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