Hillel said, “The more Torah the more life; the more study with colleagues the more wisdom” (Pirke Avot 2:8).
Because we of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School take this so seriously, expanding opportunities for adult Jewish learning in northern New Jersey has been one of our goals. Therefore, we welcome the latest addition to those opportunities (“A matter of Context,” May 20). The article, however, resulted in some confusion on the part of readers (through no fault of its author, it must be noted in fairness). Some wondered whether the arrival of Context was meant to fill the void left behind by the disappearance of the Melton program. The fact is we have not disappeared. Indeed, the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School is alive and well in our area. It is supported by a broad-based community-wide consortium of 17 congregations, two Jewish community centers, and UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey. This year four core Melton classes and five post-Melton classes were held throughout our community in Closter, Paramus, Woodcliff Lake, and Wyckoff.
As a pioneer in the field of adult Jewish education worldwide, the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School is the largest pluralistic adult Jewish education network in the world with more than 30,000 graduates. (Our community was one of the earliest sites for the program, which was launched at the JCC on the Palisades in 1989.) Currently, there are Melton Mini-Schools in 60 cities throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, attended weekly by some 5,500 students. The Melton curriculum, developed by team of experts at Hebrew University’s Melton Centre for Jewish Education – the world’s largest academic center for Jewish education – incorporates texts, teachers, and voices across denominations. Melton is inclusive; each Melton class has students spanning institutional, geographic, demographic, and denominational lines.
Our students explore Jewish texts, both ancient and modern, to understand how Judaism developed and what Judaism means to them. They examine how Jewish texts speak to the realities of modern day life.
Melton is more than an academic endeavor; it is a truly transformative experience. “Melton changed my life. It helped me understand my place on the Jewish continuum and helped me find my Jewish voice. It has empowered me to take leadership positions in my synagogue and the Jewish community,” said Melton Advisory Committee Chair Sharon Weiss.
We cheer the advent of Context. Nevertheless, we encourage Jewish Standard readers to sample a free “Taste of Melton” class on Wednesday morning, June 15, or Monday evening, June 20, at federation offices. To learn more about this internationally acclaimed adult learning program and to register for a free sample class, please visit www.ujannj.org/meltonschool.