Adult Jewish Learning Thrives in Greater Philadelphia

Gratz College Melton Adult Mini-School Graduates 11th Class, Gears Up for New Season.

— Liz Nover

“What we did this past year and the year before was no less than to forge a link in the chain of the immortality of our people… minds were opened, eyes were opened, hearts were opened!”  These were the words of Gloria Salmansohn, Gratz-Melton Class of 2010, addressing the graduates, their instructors and guests at the June 2 Commencement. Salmansohn and about three dozen others hailing from the five-county area were celebrating the culmination of two years of interactive text study together through the Gratz-Melton program.

The graduates, who reflect great diversity in their Jewish backgrounds and levels of observance, took four university-level courses over two years, giving them a broad and deep understanding of Jewish practice, beliefs, ethics and history, through exposure to classical and modern Jewish sources.  Theirs was the same curriculum that is used in the over 60 Melton sites around the globe, and its goal, well-accomplished according to fellow graduate Betti Kahn, is for students to recognize “how specific teachings [from our sages throughout history] are precisely applicable to our own and our families’ lives.”  In a unique Diaspora-Israel partnership, the Melton curriculum is developed and continually revised at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Students have the opportunity to continue their habit of weekly study in Gratz-Melton alumni and community courses that are designed both at Hebrew University and here in Philadelphia by the faculty members themselves.

Since 1998, the Gratz College Melton Adult Mini-School has been an integral part of Gratz College.  The Gratz-Melton faculty members, area residents who are scholars, rabbis, professors, and passionate laypeople, are as diverse as the students.  They bring their backgrounds, knowledge and practices to the table while embracing a pluralistic and tolerant perspective in a sophisticated, warm atmosphere.

The entire community is invited to Gratz College to “Experience Melton” during Camp Melton, August 2-6, with additional times and locations on the Main Line, in Center City and in Phoenixville.  “Campers” have a choice of morning, afternoon and evening sessions with Gratz-Melton faculty.  These sessions are illustrative of the type of classes taking place during the academic year.  Camp Melton offers an opportunity to learn about the program and ask questions with actual students, teachers, and the Director, Liz Nover.

Gratz-Melton will open its 13th season with locations in Elkins Park, Main Line and Center City.  Alumni and community courses on a wide variety of subjects will be offered at these locations, and in the Chester/Delaware County area as well.  For further information please contact the Gratz-Melton office, 215-635-7300, x143, or [email protected]  

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