The Florence Melton School & Adult Jewish Learning

Come for the learning. Stay for the community.   


                  CLASS DESCRIPTIONS    



Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, enables adult learners from all backgrounds to study Jewish heritage and culture in a challenging and inspiring course of study. If you desire a strong foundation in Jewish learning that can be incorporated into your daily life, then this is the place for you!

Come study in an intellectually stimulating, pluralistic learning environment with outstanding local faculty. The sophisticated, sequential curriculum introduces the shared heritage of the Jewish people and its development into contemporary forms of Judaism.

Embark on a trip through the drama, intrigue, mystery, intellectual challenges, spirituality, richness and continuity of Jewish life.

Explore classic Jewish sources, from Biblical through contemporary texts, and investigate issues of Jewish thought, history, practice and ethics.

Classes are held September through May on Monday evenings or Tuesday mornings on the Dell Jewish Community Campus. Knowledge of Hebrew is not necessary. There are no tests and no required homework. Graduates of all four curricula receive a Certificate of Jewish Studies from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Applications are now being accepted.  

Registration for the 2017 Melton School year is openLooking for Hebrew classes? Click here!

Melton Programs Fall 2017 Click on Course Below

Melton Core Curriculum - Monday Evenings Starts Octber 2, 2017 

Melton Core Curriculum - Tuesday Mornings Starts October 3, 2017

Melton Foundations for Jewish Family Living - Part 1 “A Year of Values: Exploring Values Through The Jewish Holidays” 

Melton Foundations for Jewish Family Living  -Part 2 “Day To Day Values: Exploring Values For Everyday Family Living”

Melton Scholars - The Star & The Crescent  Coming January 2018

Melton Scholars - The Holocaust Diaries - Starts January 24, 2018

Melton Scholars – BeMidBar -  Starts January 8, 2018

Melton and Jewish Life & Learning Educators  

Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin, Texas, a growing congregation of 640+ families. He holds Rabbinic Ordinations from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York and the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. Rabbi Blumofe also holds the diploma of Hazzan (Vocal Cantorial Arts) from JTS. His academic interests include researching reactions and responses to post-modernism and exploration of the writings of SY Agnon and their importance in revealing a sustainable Judaism in the 21st century. In these investigations, questions of worship, ritual performance and spiritual leadership are paramount. Blumofe is on faculty at St. Edwards University in Austin and is a jazz composer and a recording musician. In addition, Neil is active in social justice work in Austin — serving on the Executive Committee of the Texas Freedom Network and the Advisory Board of the NPR affiliate radio station in Austin, KUT. He is part of the Hevraya of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality and has been a Rabbinic Fellow in Rabbis Without Borders for 2011-2012. His divrei Torah can be found at the site, Chirga d’Yoma --


Dana Baruch teaches Crossroads of Jewish History and Purposes of Jewish Living, and she has taught several other Melton courses, including Bereshit I and II, Jews in America, Denominations, Modern Living, Dramas of Jewish Living through the Ages, as well as several courses on Women in Tanakh.  She is a teacher at heart, having woven her love and passion for Torah, history and spirituality into her “sponsor” studies with many b’nei mitzvah students throughout the years. She has 25+ years of experience leading, guiding, and consulting in community-based and educational organizations. Dana is the Founder of Austin Jewish Academy, co-Founder and lead educator of J-LEAD (young adult Jewish leadership program) and a former long-serving board member of Challah for Hunger and Shalom Austin, where she served as Board Chair.  When not engaged in Jewish educational and community leadership pursuits, Dana is a life-coach and organizational consultant. Her consulting work extends from small start-up non-profits and early childhood centers to top-tier research institutions.  Her particular areas of interest include planning, leadership development and strategy. She received her MEd from Tufts University and undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

Rabbi Amy CohenRabbi Amy B. Cohen joined Temple Beth Shalom as their Rabbi Educator in July, 2012, following her ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. Raised in Sudbury, Massachusetts, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work with a double major in Jewish history and civilization and a Master of Arts degree in social work from New York University. Rabbi Cohen also earned a Master of Religious Education and Master in Hebrew Letters degrees from Hebrew Union College. Previously, Rabbi Cohen worked as a Youth Educator at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Massachusetts. During her time at Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Cohen worked at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn as a Family Educator; she spent a year at New York University Hillel teaching an adult B'nai Mitzvah class and advising the Reform students at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life; and she spent a year at Jewish Family and Children's Services leading support groups and offering counseling services. As a Rabbi-Educator, Rabbi Cohen has combined her passion for social work, education, and Jewish life. Rabbi Cohen serves on the Jewish Family Services Cabinet and she believes that the Jewish community has the potential to create large-scale social change, as well as provide support for individuals experiencing life transitions and mental illness. Rabbi Cohen believes in the power of relationships and she feels extremely blessed to be a part of a community that values each and every one of its members.


Rabbi Monty
Rabbi Monty Eliasov
has served as rabbi of Congregation Shalom Rav (CSR) in Austin since its inception. CSR is affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities and also sponsors Renewal Judaism teachings. In the year 2000, Rabbi Monty established a non-profit organization, the Twelve Tribe Torah Institute, which has published CDs devoted to exploring a mythological-historical view of early Judaism. He also teaches text-based lectures on Midrash, on the Chassidic path of the Baal Shem Tov, and on Hebrew, all through his dba of KabbalaHebrew which explains how the Hebrew language and grammar is integral to understanding Kabbalah. Rabbi Monty considers Kabbalah to be the symbolic language of the spiritual Torah which in effect constitutes the “hidden feminine tradition” of the Jewish people. Rabbi Monty regularly teaches through the Jewish Community Association of Austin and has also taught the “Mysticism and Kabbalah” course as part of the Florence Melton School’s “Scholars Curriculum.”


Rabbi Rebecca Epstein is the Director of Education at Congregation Beth Israel. She enjoys delving deeply into Jewish texts in order to find meaning, perspective, and guidance for today. She is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College of New York in 2009.  She and her husband Barak reside in Austin with their three daughters, Noa, Aviya, and Sonia.
Rabbi Alan Freedman has been the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom since 2002. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and he also holds a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  In addition to serving at Temple Beth Shalom, Rabbi Freedman has taught in the SAGE Program at UT and is an active member of the interfaith clergy community.  He also serves as a member of the Ethics Committee for the St. David’s Hospital system as well as serving on the Board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, where he chairs the Clergy Advisory Counsel.  Sharing his commitment to faith in action is his wife Lori and daughters Erin, Lindsay and Jessica.

David Hazan was born in Israel and has a B.Ed in Bible (Tanach) and Israeli studies, and a M.A. in Hebrew Literature and Jewish History. Hazan was a director of the Learning Leadership division of the Milah Institute for Education and a member in a subcommittee of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), which discussed integrations of Art in Mama”d Schools. In past years, Hazan worked as a school principal, a teacher’s trainer and as an educator in several states. He edited the Literature section in Ma'ariv and is currently an editor-in-chief of the Hebrew magazine, Ha’Israelim in SE, which is published in seven southeastern of the United States.

sandy kressSandy Kress made a personal decision 25 years ago to transfer the energy and spirit he had devoted earlier in his life in the partisan political arena to the task of reforming public education. Kress was appointed in 1990 to chair a commission in Dallas to propose major reforms to improve the operations of the Dallas Public Schools. The school board adopted most of the reforms the Commission proposed, and Sandy Kress ran for and won a Board seat in 1992 to push for implementation of the reforms. He subsequently served as Vice President and President of the Board. Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock noted the progress in Dallas and appointed Sandy Kress to the State Education and Economic Policy Committee. There, Kress chaired the subcommittee that designed the education accountability system that the Legislature subsequently implemented in 1993. This accountability system was one of the first of its kind in the nation and led to significant student gains in Texas over the years that followed. President George W. Bush named Kress as his senior education adviser in the White House with respect to helping develop and pass NCLB. Subsequently, Governor Perry asked Sandy Kress to Chair the Commission for a College Ready Texas and serve on his Competitiveness Council. In recent years, Kress has begun to devote considerable time and energy to the study and teaching of religious matters, particularly Jewish sacred text.


Rabbi Daniel Millner
grew up in Glencoe, IL. He graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with a B.A in Jewish and Religious Studies. Rabbi Dan attended Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, Israel from 2008-2010, and during that time, worked as an intern at the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation. Following his studies in Israel, Rabbi Dan attended Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a Modern Orthodox rabbinical school, where he received smicha (rabbinic ordination). During his studies at YCT, Rabbi Dan served as rabbinic intern at both the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (2012-2014), and Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, CA (2012-2014), as well as Rikers Island Prison, the Hebrew Home for the Aged, and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Rabbi Dan also proudly serves as a Chaplain Candidate in the US Navy. In addition to his love of Judaism and passion for Torah, Rabbi Dan loves playing his mandolin, Clawhammer banjo, guitar, harmonica, spoons, and Highland Bagpipes! Rabbi Dan is married to Yael, a native of Berlin, Germany. 

For further information or to RSVP for the “Taste of Melton” call (512) 735-8004 or email Upon completion, participants receive a Certificate of Jewish Study from Hebrew University. Applications are now being accepted.

See Our Other Adult Jewish Education Classes