Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning

Melton School of Adult Learning

Louisville’s Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning promotes Jewish literacy in an open, pluralistic, egalitarian and stimulating environment. Students come from Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and unaffiliated backgrounds.

Core Curriculum

The Purposes of Jewish Living (28 lessons)
Tues. Evening 6:30-9 p.m.
Sept. 6-May 23 | $225
Thurs. Mornings 9:30 a.m.-noon
Sept. 8-May 25 | $225
Why do Jews believe as they do? What are the big questions of life and how do Jewish thinkers answer these questions? This course explores both ancient and modern responses to many of the major issues of Jewish thought and theology.

The Rhythms of Jewish Living (28 lessons)
Tues. Evening 6:30-9 p.m.
Sept. 6-May 23 | $225
Thurs. Mornings 9:30 a.m.-noon
Sept. 8-May 25 | $225
What’s the point in living Jewishly? What ideas, beliefs, and practices are involved? This course examines a wide variety of Jewish sources to discover the deeper meanings underlying Jewish holidays, lifecycle observances, and Jewish practice.

Rachel Wasserman Scholars Curriculum

Bereshit I (10 lessons)
Tues. Evening 7:50—9 p.m.
Jan. 10—Mar. 7 | $125
From Adam to Abraham.

Bereshit II (10 lessons)
Tues. Evening 7:50—9:00 p.m.
Mar. 14—May 23 | $125 or $50 book fee if in Bereshit I
The Story of the First Jewish Family.

Shemot I (10 lessons)
Thurs. Morning 9:30—10:40 a.m.
Jan. 12—Mar. 9 | $125
From Slavery to Sinai.

Shemot II (10 lessons)
Thurs. Morning 9:30—10:40 a.m.
Mar. 16—May 25 | $125 or $50 book fee if in Shemot I
Revelation and Revolution.

Beyond Borders (20 lessons)
Thurs. Morning 9:30—10:40 a.m.
Jan. 12—May 25 | $125
This course provides students with a strong text-based historical overview from the late 19th century through today. The complexity of the conflict forces students to grapple with issues of religion, culture, history, politics, economics, identity & survival—all reflected through primary sources, including newspaper articles, poetry, songs, government documents, speeches, photographs & memoirs.

Israeli Literature as a Window to Israeli Society (10 lessons)
Tues. Morning 9:30—10:40 a.m.
Sept. 8—Dec. 15 | $125
This course offers a fresh and fascinating examination of Israeli society since the birth of the State in 1948. Participants encounter an Israeli society that is original, contemporary, honest & proud. Reflections of the mythic Israel are matched by poetry & prose that are challenging & self-critical, & offer profound insights into the Israeli national psyche.

Jews in America (10 lessons)
Thurs. Mornings 10:50 a.m.—noon
Mar. 16—May 25 | $125
This course provides students with the opportunity to consider the challenges of Jewish acculturation to American life & the sacrifices as well as the contributions made in the last 200 years. Lessons will explore education, the Three Generation Hypothesis, Anti-Semitism & the Holocaust, Zionism & the State of Israel, the Civil Rights Movement, & other issues that address American & Jewish culture & identity.

Jewish Denominations (10 lessons)
Tues. Evenings 6:30-7:40 p.m.
Sept. 6-Dec. 13 | $125
Thurs. Mornings 10:15 a.m.-noon
Sept. 8-Dec. 15 | $125
This course examines Jewish identity and religious expression against the backdrop of dramatic political and social change. Students gain extensive insights into the historical & ideological developments of the major movements, & explore the impact of gender, assimilation, Israel & post-denominationalism on the movements of the Jewish people.

The History of Jewish Humor (10 lessons)

Prerequisite: 1 previous Melton course
Tues. Evenings 7:50-9 p.m.
Sept. 6-Dec. 13 | $125
Thursdays 10:50 a.m.-noon
Jan. 12—Mar. 9 | $125
A treasure of irresistible jokes from the Israelite relationship with God to the growing divide between cultural & religious Judaism in the early 21st century. Treating Jewish jokes as text, the course invites students to analyze & interpret the evolving concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations, & values of the Jewish people that lie buried deep in words that make us laugh as Jews & bond us as people.

Louisville Melton Only

Magicians, Witches, Angels & Demons in the Bible & Beyond (10 lessons)
Tues. Evenings 6:30-7:40 p.m.
Mar. 14-May 23 | $125
Thurs. Mornings 10:50 a.m.-noon
Mar. 16-May 25 | $125
Does Judaism embrace belief in angels & demons? What are we to make of Biblical injunctions against magic? What’s a modern Jew to believe? Why does belief in angelic beings persist? In this course, we will read Biblical & Rabbinic texts to understand the classical Jewish views on existence & role of supernatural beings. We will see what can be learned from the texts & beliefs, identify the Jewish & universal values expressed. Ultimately, we’ll explore what each of us really believes & why.

Ruth, Judith & Esther (10 lessons)
Tues. Evening 6:30—7:40 p.m.
Jan. 10—Mar. 7 | $125
All were beautiful, brave, willing to risk all for the sake of their people. Yet some made it into the Hebrew Bible and some didn’t. Why? This is the question underlying our Melton graduate course on these, and if we have time, other ancient heroines of Israel. We’ll read the books of Ruth and Esther from the Bible and the stories of Judith and Susanna from the Apocrypha, biblical material preserved yet not made part of the Jewish traditional scripture. We’ll look for clues to their nature and the nature of their era that might explain why some were chosen and some sidelined. We’ll talk about what makes heroism and who decides.

What Makes the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning Unique?

Commitment to Learning
Students enroll in a two-year course that meets one day a week throughout the academic year. There are no exams and no homework. The only requirement is a commitment to learn and participate. Students have all kinds of backgrounds in Jewish learning. Melton will stimulate and provoke your thinking no matter what your level of Jewish literacy.

Four groups of texts make up the two-year curriculum. The courses are written by a team of experts at the Hebrew University’s Melton Center for Jewish Education – the world’s largest academic center for Jewish education.

Quality Teaching and Learning
Louisville Melton teachers are in a class of their own and their excellence has been recognized by the national Melton headquarters.

For more information, contact Melton Director, Deborah Slosberg at (502) 458-5359 or

Scholarships will be available. Contact Deborah Slosberg for more information.

For questions about registering over the phone, please call (502) 459-0660. Online registration is also available above.

The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning 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 provided by the Jewish Federation of Louisville.