In January, I attended the weeklong International Directors Conference of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning in Jerusalem, Israel. At the opening dinner, I was one of two Melton directors awarded “International Director Certification – Recognition of Achievement” for growth in enrollment between the first and second years of a local Melton program.
The highlight of the conference for me was visiting The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which concretized the connection between what we do as Melton directors for adult Jewish learning in our communities throughout the world and The Hebrew University itself, which created and continues to develop the curricula we use.
Professor Asher Cohen, rector of The Hebrew University acknowledged the importance of the local Florence Melton Schools to the mission of The Hebrew University, which is “to be the University of the Jewish People.” The conference included model teaching by Hebrew U.’s top professors of education, Dr. Howard Deitcher and Professor Jonathan Cohen.
Aryeh Ben David, the founder of Ayeka, Center for Soulful Education, demonstrated exciting new methods of combining the study of Jewish texts with enabling students to more deeply engage and personalize their learning and to explore their spiritual identities. We will be experimenting with this new approach in our teaching at Louisville Melton in the fall of 2015.
Haim Aronovitz, who is leading the Louisville Melton Israel Seminar with Rabbi Bob Slosberg and me this June, is the Melton Director of Israel Seminars, including the newest seminars to Spain and Poland. Aronovitz gave us a “taste” of an Israel Seminar with a culinary tour of Jerusalem’s outdoor market, Machaneh Yehudah, and an amazing visit to the Israel Museum.
He is able to stand in front of an archeological find or work of art and magically create the world and reality of that object.
The trip, June 8-18, will include the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, investigating “Why was Jerusalem Destroyed,” exploration of Tel Aviv: “A City Rises from the Dunes,” travel up the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea, then inland to mystical Tsfat and the Golan Heights, retracing “ the Last Two of Six Days.”
There will also be optional rafting on the Jordan River, beautiful hotels, a Kibbutz Guest House on the Sea of Galilee, and fantastic food everywhere we go.
Louisville’s Melton program was chosen as the core group for this trip because of its rapid growth. Please contact Rabbi Robert Slosberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 458-5359 for additional information.
My trip to the International Directors Conference is part of the Louisville Melton budget, which covers faculty development. Louisville Melton is sponsored by Congregation Adath Jeshurun in collaboration with the Jewish Community Center and with support from Congregation Anshei Sfard, Keneseth Israel Congregation, Temple Shalom and The Temple. This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, the Jewish Foundation of Louisville and the Dorothy Levy Memorial Fund. Scholarships are provided by the Jewish Federation of Louisville.