David Gad-Harf, UJA-NNJ’s associate executive vice president and COO, stressed that the federation will “honor its commitment to the students who completed their first year” in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, maintaining the international program’s second-year courses next year in three local venues. Also, he said, efforts are under way to maintain the program.
The COO said he is “really pleased that some synagogues who host Melton or who send students to it” have been discussing the idea of forming a consortium to take over the program. He noted that he and retiring program director Renah Rabinowitz met recently with 25 individuals interested in preserving Melton.
“We are beginning to define the transition,” he said, adding that the ultimate success of the venture will depend on the commitment of participating synagogues.
Gad-Harf added that “some congregations don’t want to lose momentum this year,” since they have “a critical mass” of students who wish to begin the program. They proposed, therefore, that federation continue Melton this year, “with interested synagogues bearing the additional costs of the program. The plan is under consideration,” said Gad-Harf, calling it a “positive sign that synagogues are stepping up and investing themselves” in the program.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer, the head of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis, told The Jewish Standard on Tuesday that “Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff has come up with the needed funds and will offer a Monday night Melton I course this year.”
According to the UJA official, Melton has gone through two phases – 10 years as a program of the JCC on the Palisades and 10 years as a program of UJA – and is now poised to enter a third phase.
“We hope [Melton] will continue into the future and afford the same excellent opportunities to future students” as it has to those who attended in the past, he said.