Burns visits Moriah College
Mikolot competition

Burns visits Moriah College

The 'leaders of today' faced off in the final of the Mikolot: Voices of the Future competition, which featured Josh Burns as one of the distinguished judges.

Josh Burns MP visited Moriah College to judge the annual 'Mikolot' public speaking competition. Photo: Supplied.
Josh Burns MP visited Moriah College to judge the annual 'Mikolot' public speaking competition. Photo: Supplied.

Member for Macnamara Josh Burns MP visited Moriah College last week, where he was one of the distinguished judges for the annual “Mikolot: Voices of the Future” public speaking competition.

The competition brings together Jewish students from Australia and South Africa to share their powerful ideas on a range of Jewish topics.

Burns also took the opportunity to speak with the incoming student leadership body at Moriah about principles of leadership and the importance of reconciliation, as well as visit a year 8 Jewish studies class for a Q&A and ‘shofar-off’ with educator Michael Sassoon.

Six students participated in the 2022 Mikolot grand final: Asher Freedman from Moriah, Asher Hasofer from Masada College, Dana Bagle-Zevin and Rebecca Paratz from Bialik College, Carmel School’s Naomi Kawaz and, travelling all the way from South Africa, Noa Nerwich from King David Linksfield.

Paratz was the winner, with Kawaz following in second and Nerwich finishing third.

“We were so excited to raise the profile of Mikolot this year by including South Africa,” said Moriah’s acting head of Jewish life and learning Ronnen Grauman.

“It is such a privilege to host a competition that encourages collaboration among Jewish students from different cities and countries, cultivates better public speaking skills, promotes expression of Jewish voices, and assists students to participate in a gap year program in Israel. What an honour it is to witness our future leaders use their voices with such passion and commitment.”

Mikolot is a Moriah College initiative, backed by the Moriah Foundation, as part of its endeavours to bring innovative programs and global opportunities to students and the community.

Launched in 2014 together with JDC (the Joint) Australia, the competition aims to bring students from Jewish schools together, cultivating public speaking skills and fostering a more refined expression of Jewish voice in the modern world.

The grand finalists were asked to participate in an impromptu task, as well as prepare a four-minute speech on the topic, “Do I really matter?”, in front of a judging panel featuring Burns, Justice Rabbi Marcus Solomon, TEDx Sydney chair Cheryl Bart and Paul Rubenstein from Arnold Bloch Leibler.

“Listening to the grand finalists grapple with God being omnipotent and all-knowing versus human beings having true free choice, in an erudite and original fashion, with such poise and confidence, was an oratory delight,” said Moriah College principal Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler.

“It reinforced the fact that they aren’t the leaders of the future, but rather the leaders of today.”

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