Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning and PAS Graduate Offerings



Core Program

The Melton School core curriculum is a comprehensive, sequential series of text-based lessons, studied over two years. More than 30,000 adult learners have participated in this international program designed by expert educators at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The two-year course meets most weeks from October – May/June each year.


The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning:
Year 1

Thursdays | beginning October 18 | 9:15-11:30 am
Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove and Debbie Cosgrove
Learn what we as Jews believe and why in Purposes of Jewish Living. Examine the ideas, beliefs and lifecycle and holiday practices involved in living Jewishly in Rhythms of Jewish Living.

The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning:
Year 2

Wednesdays | beginning October 17 | 7:00–9:15 pm
Rabbi Ethan Witkovsky and Rabbi Shmuel Afek
In Ethics of Jewish Living, students learn how Jewish teachings shed light on contemporary issues such as the environment, inter-personal relationships, end-of-life decisions and stem-cell research. Crossroads explores the lessons of Jewish history and investigates how the Jewish past gives meaning to the Jewish present. 
Prerequisite: completion of Melton Year 1. 


Classes for Melton & Context Graduates

Prerequisite: Completion of Melton or Context core program. 
Cost: $290/member; $350/general before September 5
           $315/member; $375/general after September 6 and onward

Spring 2019 Classes

The Star and the Crescent: The Long Relationship of Judaism and Islam
Wednesdays | beginning February 13 | 6:45–8:00 pm | 10 sessions
Rabbi Shmuel Afek

Jews and Muslims have co-existed, both peacefully and contentiously, for more than a millennium. What do they have in common? What are the sources of tension and conflict? During the first thousand years after the founding of Islam, it was better to be Jewish in a Muslim country than in a Christian country. Only after that period did the relationship between Jews and Muslims deteriorate, particularly in the Middle East. Outside the Middle East, though, Jews and Muslims continue to find ways to coexist peacefully and often productively. This course will examine the longstanding relationship between Judaism and Islam, broadening our understanding and challenging our assumptions.

From Mill Street to Park Avenue: The History of the Synagogues of New York City
Wednesdays | beginning February 13 | 7:00-8:15 pm | 10 sessions
Dr. David Kaufman

In commemoration of the 135th anniversary of Park Avenue Synagogue, this course will trace the history of the synagogues of New York, thus honoring Park Avenue’s place in our communal history. The synagogues of New York will be seen in the multiple contexts of: the greater development of the synagogue throughout Jewish history, the early modern and modern European synagogue, the American synagogue beyond NYC, as well as in the context of ‘Jewish architecture’ beyond the synagogue. With the use of slide images, we will trace the history of the New York synagogue through several stages, culminating with our own landmark synagogue on 87th St.

BeMidbar: Leadership Defied and Defended
Thursdays | beginning February 14 | 9:15–10:30 am | 10 sessions
Rabbi Charlie Savenor

Israel's fateful journey through the wilderness of Sinai presented numerous challenges to the leadership of Moses and Aaron; at times the nation challenged their competence as leaders, and at times individuals arose to challenge their very right to lead. As students explore the biblical narratives describing forty years of wandering in the wilderness, they will be surprised to note the timeless nature of those stories. How can the lessons learned from the past be applied to solving the communal challenges of the present and the future?

Dilemmas of Faith
Thursdays | beginning February 14 | 9:15–10:30 am | 10 sessions
Rabbi Neil Zuckerman

In an age of radical polarization in modern society, with a rise in religious fundamentalism on the one hand and a rise of atheism on the other, how does the Jewish tradition approach dilemmas of faith? Together with some of the scholars from the Hartman Institute (via short video clips) we will engage in broad and deep analysis of some of the many dilemmas that faith in the modern world raises, both in classical Jewish tradition and in contemporary Jewish thought and life. We will address the big questions raised by the intersection of faith and reason, faith and history, faith and politics, and the faith experience.