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
 

Fall 2018 Classes 

Rambam II: The Letter on T’hiyat Ha-meitim (Resurrection)
Wednesdays | beginning October 10 | 6:45–8:00 pm | 11 sessions
Rabbi Shmuel Afek

This class will follow up on last year’s class about the great medieval sage Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known as Rambam or Maimonides. We will study the letter Rambam wrote about his belief in t’hiyat ha-meitim (resurrection) in the original and as it is explained in David Hartman’s book Crisis and Leadership: Epistles of Maimonides. This course will take up many of the themes from last year and provide a deeper understanding into Rambam’s religious philosophy. Rabbi Afek will teach a pre-course class on Wednesday, October 10, as an introduction for new students and as a refresher for those who participated last year.

Melton Graduate Course: Bereshit I - From Adam to Abraham: The First 20 Generations
Wednesdays | beginning October 17 | 7:00-8:15 pm | 10 sessions
Rabbi Charlie Savenor

The stories in this course take us from the universal tales of the creation of the world, the flood, and the Tower of Babel to the foundational tales of Abraham and Sarah, and the beginnings of the Jewish people. The themes of family and faith, honor and dishonor, passion and power provide a rich exploration of our people and ourselves.

From Mill Street to Park Avenue: The History of the Synagogues of New York City
Thursdays | beginning October 18 | 9:15-10:45 am | 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.

Melton Graduate Course: Vayikra (Leviticus) – A Call to Holiness
Thursdays | beginning October 18 | 9:15 - 10:30 am | 10 sessions
Rabbi Neil Zuckerman

Chosen by the Rabbinic sages as the first book to initiate children to Bible learning, contemporary readers often perceived Vayikra as inaccessible. Yet, embedded in the laws that focus on the prescribed sacrificial practices, laws of ritual impurity and purity, and the pursuit of holiness are messages and values that have relevance to the universal condition. In our study of Vayikra, we will examine themes including the role of rituals, responding to tragedy, confronting birth and parenthood, seeking forgiveness, balancing the place of the individual and the community, bringing sanctity into one’s daily life, and more. Through a textual study of selected passages, this course uncovers the depth and wisdom of the third book of the Torah and reveals its enduring messages that touch our lives to this very day.

 

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.
Register here.

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.
Register here.

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?
Register here.

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.
Register here.