Independent Learning Project (ILP)

Independent Learning Project (ILP) is an elective course for students in Year 9 and 10. Students explore an area of interest as deep as they would like to commit to, over the span of a year. We are extremely proud of the work produced by the students taking the ILP course for 2021.




Junior School Hebrew Public Speaking Competition

Mazal Tov to Ziv on winning the annual Junior School Hebrew Public Speaking Competition. A special Kol Hakavod to all our finalists: Shakked, Natasha, Noa and Hayden. The students were given three topics to choose from, based on the topics they had learnt in class. Ziv’s topic was “יותר מידי” (too much).

Masada Students Lifting Community Spirits

Masada College students have been working hard to lift the spirits of those in the community who are struggling, as a result of COVID-19. They have been preparing cards and posters for the residents of Montefiore Home in Hunters Hill.  It has been a challenging time for the residents, who endured 14 days of isolation over Rosh Hashanah, due to a COVID-19 case.

The Masada Cottage ELC children have been discussing kindness, compassion and ways to perform mitzvot. After their teachers explained how many elderly people at the Montefiore homes are unable to have their family visit them due to COVID, the children agreed that colourful posters would help put a smile on their faces. They felt enormous pride, knowing the posters will be displayed in the Montefiore dining room.

The Masada College Junior School students were also keen to show how much they care and make a difference in their community.  They made personalised Rosh Hashanah cards for each Montefiore resident.  Head of Junior School, Danielle Blumberg said “The students wrote heart-warming messages to the residents, knowing that they would be alone for Rosh Hashanah. The act embodies the Masada value of inclusion and the Jewish value of Chessed.” The students also made thank you cards for the front-line workers and the children in the COVID ward at Westmead Hospital.  This week they are creating cards to send messages to cheer up the staff members in the Northern Beaches Hospital IUC ward.

“I am very proud of the way all our students have shown such resilience during this lockdown,” said Mrs Blumberg. “The care our students have demonstrated and their understanding of the impact the pandemic is having on particularly vulnerable groups, has shown a maturity beyond their years,” she added.

Roots Project Winners

This term Year 9 students completed the Roots Project which required them to research their family history, investigating their heritage and allowing them to appreciate their identity. This project is a UIA initiative, giving students a chance to win a $1000 towards a recognised program to Israel. Mazal Tov to joint winners Zoe Budai and Daniel Belzycki!

Zoe is planning to put the prize money towards the Masada Israel Tour (MIT), which takes place at the end of Year 10. “I have learned so much about myself, my family and my history. I also learned what it means to be Jewish and how much it impacts my daily life,” said Zoe.

Daniel said the project was very meaningful to his family as it opened an opportunity to learn about and pass on the stories of his family, some of whom had perished in the Holocaust. “I spent a lot of time talking to my grandparents and because of this, I have learned so much about my ancestors and their stories,” said Daniel.

We also congratulate the Roots Project finalists Joshua Marx, Gila Lewin, Arin Ginsberg and Ricky Maltz.

One of the judges for the Roots project was Penny Hurst, the KH-UIA International Women’s Division President.  Penny Hurst OAM said, “This year’s projects were of an exceptionally high standard and a credit to the school and their families. It was such a pleasure for me to read how their research further enhanced their love and connection to their Jewish heritage and Israel.”




Senior School “IVRITIME” language magazine.

The Senior School Languages Department is delighted to share with you its 5th edition of “IVRITIME” language magazine. This publication showcases the initiatives and programs at Masada College, aimed at developing the students’ language skills. ”IVRITIME” magazine features work from across the grades and explores a broad range of topics in both Hebrew and Chinese. This edition features an overview of our new initiatives, a classical Hebrew writing piece, and explores the learning covered in Chinese.
Our Project Based program has our students producing podcasts and video blogs for entry into language competitions, and students were absolutely delighted to receive The Sydney University award in recognition of their efforts. Such wonderful outcomes could not have been achieved without the hard work and determination of the students to excel in their language skills, as well as the consistent encouragement from their teachers.
I trust that you will enjoy reading the wonderful quality of student writing in the magazine. – Adi Halevi, Head of Languages.

Continue reading “Senior School “IVRITIME” language magazine.”

Masada College students depict the stories of Holocaust Survivors

All Year 10 College Masada students were involved in the Living Historians Program, interviewing child Survivors of the Holocaust. This year they were fortunate to engage with George Sternfeld from Poland, Jacqui Dale from France, Egon Sonnenshein from Slovenia and Joe Symon from Hungary. Each story was pertinent to its respective time and place as well as huge sadness, loss and remarkable resilience in survival.

After a month of creativity, and with Years 7, 8 and 9 as their audience, the students depicted the stories of survival in script, drama, power point, artwork and music. All these renditions reflected thought, empathy and understanding as well as deep talent with which this cohort is blessed.

From Chopin’s Nocturne #20, Jakov Shwekey’s ‘We are a Miracle’ to a Klezmer band arrangement of a Psalm of David, the hall resounded with skill and verve. The audience and survivors alike were impressed. Rabbi Lewin calls Masada students the ‘Candle Generation’ – they have indeed demonstrated their light and continued respect for the stories of their elders. Kol hakavod to them all!

– Marion Seftel Senior History Teacher


Jewish Students Connect through the Global School Twinning Network

The Global School Twinning Network (GSTN) is an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel that provides an opportunity for Jewish students around the world to meet and have conversations around Jewish identity and social responsibility. The project successfully promotes connection with Israel through numerous virtual collaborative activities with a group of Israeli students from the Rogozin School. At the end of the two-year project, Masada students travel to Israel to meet their peers.

Masada College has been part of the GSTN since 2018, with Years 7 and 8 Hebrew classes currently involved. The students use an online bulletin board to communicate with their Israeli counterparts where they share short films about themselves and their communities. This enables students to develop a deeper understanding about each other’s way of life. Masada students reply in Hebrew and the Rogozin students reply in English which develops language skills for both groups of students.

This year, students also collaborated on a community project, Mishloach Manot (the Jewish tradition of sending gifts on the Jewish of holiday of Purim), and distributed packages to the Wolper Hospital with their message. Likewise, Rogozin students provided packages to children with disabilities.

The schools also designed a virtual Hebrew and English newspaper together and created language games for each other to enhance language skills. Both schools participated in an international project creating a Passover themed recipe book in Hebrew and English.

Adi Halevi, Head of Hebrew at Masada says the interaction with Rogozin School has been incredibly beneficial for all involved. “Students from both schools have improved their language skills and enjoyed learning the cultural differences and similarities in teenagers in the two countries,” she said. “The collaboration on a joint community project was very special. Allowing students to share cultural insights in this way is a truly unique opportunity. Students developed their IT skills and worked collaboratively, despite the geographical distance,” she said. Masada College and Rogozin School are currently developing new initiatives such as virtual tours of sites across Australia and Israel, as well as a photography competition. “We plan to work with the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Israeli galleries to connect high school students with artists and authors from the two countries,” said Mrs Halevi.

A year ago, our Junior School students also joined the Global School Twinning Network, beginning a partnership with a school in Israel called Aliza Begin. Our Year 6 Hebrew classes began their partnership by writing blessings to each other for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Year 12 2020 – A Resilient Cohort

Masada College Year 12 2020 students begin their HSC exams this week and what a challenging year it has been for this cohort.  These HSC students had barely completed four weeks of schooling at the beginning of this year when the threat of Coronavirus potentially closing Australian schools, first came to light. By the 25th March they found themselves in a foreign learning environment – learning online via Zoom. College Principal, Martin Tait, says, “Our students embraced the new way of learning with maturity and calmness and are to be congratulated on the way they handled the online platform, supported each other and navigated what has been a most challenging year.” “Equally, I am very proud of the dedication and creativity shown by our staff in working in a new technology space to support our Year 12 cohort,” he says.

There have been many hurdles for HSC students on an academic level in preparing for the HSC in this uncertain year. Preparation of bodies of work for subjects like Visual Arts, Design and Technology and performances for Drama and Music have all had been very demanding with the goal posts moving several times.  “Our students have taken the changes in their stride and although there has been the usual pressure of deadlines, our students have prepared themselves well and we are proud of their final completion of work,” said Mr Tait.

Masada College was extremely mindful of student wellbeing, throughout year, for their Year 12 cohort. “Our wellbeing support programs with our dedicated team of Patrons and College Psychologist were motivating students to attend all online classes and encouraging students to have a well-balanced lifestyle,” says Mr Tait. Each Year 12 student was also assigned an individual Year 12 mentor from teachers, support staff to administration, which was a first-time initiative for Masada.

There have been many milestone events that Year 12 students across the country were not able to enjoy due to Coronavirus – those momentous occasions, that make that final year of school a special memory such as the last Athletics Carnival, the Valedictory Dinner with parents and for a Jewish school, a significant moment for parents – the Blessing from the Rabbi. Masada College have worked within the NSW Health guidelines to ensure the safety of staff and students to provide parent involvement via Zoom to as many events as possible. School Captain, Ran Ashkenazi, says “I believe that the missed events aren’t what truly matters. Our journeys; the day-to-day that defined our Year 12 experience – are more significant than the missed milestones. I am grateful to have shared this journey with amazing peers and staff. We go into our HSC exams confident that our teachers have supported us phenomenally, despite the unprecedented year we had.”

“Each and everyone of our Year 12 students has unique, special and admirable personal qualities that are far more important in the long run, than simply academic results,” he says. “The 2020 cohort has been a particularly united and cohesive group. They will be definitely be remembered for their resilience and flexibility,” says Mr Tait.

Alex Symonds Appointed to RBA Educators Advisory Panel

Mr Alex Symonds, Economics and HSIE teacher at Masada College has been appointed to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Educators Advisory Panel (EAP). The EAP was established by the Reserve Bank in 2017 to provide expert guidance to the Bank on matters of education. Specifically, the EPA provides feedback on educational resources and events commissioned by the Bank in support of its public education objectives as well as helping to keep the Bank abreast of curriculum developments.

“We are very proud that Alex will represent other educators as well as our school,” said Masada College Principal, Martin Tait. “This is a deserved honour for Alex. He is an innovative and dedicated teacher, always seeking to spark students’ enthusiasm for Economics.”  Over a number of years, Alex has been rolling out ‘flipped learning’ methodology in teaching his Economics classes. In this model, students learn the content for ‘homework’, watching videos created by Alex to help them understand key concepts. In class, students then look to apply the content – engaging in questioning and thinking routines to help them more deeply understand the subject.

“This model has been very effective with my Year 11 and 12 students as we’re able to maximise class time to help students apply their knowledge and link the content they’ve examined at home to real-world events,” Alex said.

Alex uses his YouTube channel to host his videos on Economics content. He says that the video format is very helpful in allowing students to progress through content at their own pace, including rewinding and pausing material. “I’ve found that students value the opportunity to review the content through the videos, and come to class familiar with the material and loaded with questions,” he says.

There are 12 members on the RBA Educators Advisory panel, including the chair, Jacqui Dwyer, Head of Information Department of the Reserve Bank and representatives from Universities and Economic Teachers Associations from across the nation. Alex and Timmee Grinham from Fintona Girls’ School will help provide the perspective of teachers at secondary schools.  Appointments are for a three-year term and the panel usually meets in person two to three times per year, however, due to COVID-19 the panel will have its first meeting for 2020 via Zoom in June. “I have no doubt that Alex will be an asset to the RBA Educators Advisory Panel. On behalf of all the staff and students at Masada College we congratulate him on this impressive appointment,” said Mr Tait.

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