At Central Synagogue

What is Melton?

Named for Florence Melton, its founder, Melton is an internationally renowned, formal program for adult Jewish study. It offers a well-rounded and sophisticated approach, and provides a comprehensive exploration of Jewish thought, practice, ethics and history utilizing a cross-denominational curriculum. It is designed for all levels of Jewish knowledge and practice – there is no Hebrew knowledge required, nor are there tests, grades or homework. In its 30 plus years, the Melton program has graduated more than 30,000 students from its classes in “mini schools” all over the world. Hailed as “the best of the best adult Jewish education,” Central Synagogue created its Melton Mini School in 2012 and has graduated more than 125 of our own Central students. Detailed descriptions of the classes we offer can be found below.

Who can attend Melton?

Melton is open to anyone in the Jewish community (members or non-members of Central) who wants to study on a regular basis and acquire a comprehensive foundation of Jewish literacy. It is appropriate for all levels of students (no Hebrew knowledge is required) and there are no prerequisites for Year 1. For members of Central Synagogue, the classes may also be applied toward becoming an Adult B’nei Mitzvah. The next Adult B’nei Mitzvah program will begin in 2017.

Who teaches Melton?

Our faculty consists of Central Synagogue clergy and other specially trained, New York- based clergy and educators.

How often does Melton meet?

The core curriculum is taught once a week for two hours, thirty weeks a year, for two years. New students entering the program will have a choice of studying on either Tuesday mornings or Tuesdays evenings. Year 1 students will be taking Rhythms of Jewish Living and Purposes of Jewish Living. Year 2 students will be taking Crossroads of Jewish History and Ethics of Jewish Living. Class descriptions can be found below.

What if I can’t commit to two years?

Fair enough. Come for one year. We think you’ll be hooked.

What happens at the end of the two years?

Students will “graduate” Melton and be honored at a special Graduation Ceremony where they will receive certificates. For those Central members who were working toward becoming an Adult B’nei Mitzvah, they will be called to the Torah in unique ceremony and recognized in the community.

Can I keep studying after I graduate?

Of course! Central Synagogue offers Melton Scholars Courses. These ten-week courses are only open to those who have completed the first two years of Melton (either at Central or another Melton site). The fall Scholars Courses will run from September-December, 2016 and the spring sessions will run from February-April, 2017. See below for more detailed information about our Scholars classes.

Are there any other perks?

Yes! Not only will Melton provide you with an outstanding Jewish education, participating in it is also a wonderful way to meet new people and become part of your own small community. We find that our Melton students develop long-lasting friendships amongst themselves and strong bonds with their instructors. We also host a large, festive Shabbat dinner for Melton students and their families and offer a Melton-only trip to Israel. Stay tuned for more details about the trip.

What exactly am I going to learn at Melton?

Year One (open to anyone)

  1. The Purposes of Jewish Living: 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.
  2. The Rhythms of Jewish Living: What’s the point of 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, life-cycle observances, and Jewish practice.

Year Two

Open only to those students who have completed Year 1 at Central or another Melton site.

  1. Crossroads of Jewish History: How do the turning points in Jewish history influence our lives today? This course seeks to reclaim the richness of Jewish history and explore the role that Jews played, not just as passive victims, but also as active shapers of our shared identity and destiny.
  2. The Ethics of Jewish Living: How do Jewish teachings shed light on contemporary issues such as the environment, inter-personal relationships, end-of life decisions, and stem-cell research? This course explores the wisdom of ancient and modern rabbis, scholars and thinkers, offering multiple Jewish approaches to conducting our lives in the communal and private spheres.

Spring 2017 Course

Jews in America: Insiders and Outsiders

Join Central’s Director of Youth & Family Education, Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal for this band new Melton Course. Lessons will explore such topics as the role of education, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, the changing place of Zionism and the State of Israel and the Civil Rights Movement (as a case study of distinctiveness and involvement). This 10 lesson course asks the question, “Is the cup half empty or half full?” as optimists and pessimists debate the future of Jewish Identity in America. This class is open to anyone – no pre-requisite needed. Registration required.

When do the classes meet?

For the Year 1 classes, students must enroll in either the morning or the evening option and may not alternate between classes.

Year 1

Both the Year 1 morning and Year 1 evening sections are full. To be added to the waiting list, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Tuesday mornings, September 13, 2016-May 23, 2017
9:30-10:30am: Rhythms of Jewish Living taught by Rabbi David Kalb
10:30-10:45am: Break for snacks and socializing
10:45-11:45am: Purposes of Jewish Living taught by Rabbi Ari Lorge

Year 1 – Evening Option

Tuesday evenings, September 13, 2016-May 23, 2017
6:30-7:30pm: Rhythms of Jewish Living taught by Rabbi David Kalb
7:30-7:45pm: Break for snacks and socializing
7:45-8:45pm: Purposes of Jewish Living taught by Harman Grossman

Year 2

Prerequisite: completion of Year 1 of Melton, at Central or another Melton site.
Tuesday mornings, September 13, 2016-May 23, 2017
9:30-10:30am: Crossroads of Jewish History taught by Rabbi Nicole Auerbach
10:30-10:45am: Break for snacks and socializing
10:45-11:45am: Ethics of Jewish Living taught by Rabbi David Kalb

Spring 2017 Course

Jews in America: Insiders and Outsides

Wednesdays, February 1-April 5, 2017, 6:30-8pm
Taught by Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal

What does it cost?


Year 1: $600
Year 2: $600
Scholars Courses: $200 (for each 10-week course)


Year 1: $750
Year 2: $750
Scholars Courses: $250 (for each 10-week course)


Registration for all other Melton courses is currently closed.