JCC Austin

The Florence Melton School & Adult Jewish Learning

Come for the learning. Stay for the community.          Bookmark and Share 


                  CLASS DESCRIPTIONS    



LEARN MORE about Seferad, Then & Now Spain and Israel Trip October 2017.

The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning is a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, enables Jewish adults to learn about their heritage and culture in a challenging and inspiring course of study. Our sophisticated, sequential curriculum introduces the shared, classical heritage of the Jewish people and its development into contemporary forms of Judaism. There are no prerequisites or enrollment; the School only asks that participants commit themselves to 2 1/2 hours a week over two years of study. Classes consist of readings, analysis of text, and discussions. We hold a Family Shabbat and Havdallah experience as well. Applications are now being accepted.  

Join us as we explore the texts of our tradition and discover how they relate to us today. The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning is the largest pluralistic adult Jewish education network in the world. With 50 locations in North America, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Hong Kong, the Melton School sets the standard for high quality, text-based, interactive Jewish study by offering world-class curriculum that informs and inspires adult learners from all knowledge-levels and backgrounds.

No examinations or grades. Upon completion, participants receive a Certificate of Jewish Study from Hebrew University

Registration for the 2017 Melton School year is open. For more information, registration forms contact Lisa Quay at 512-735-8086 or lisa.quay@shalomaustin.org.

Looking for Hebrew classes? Click here!

Melton Programs Spring 2017

 Israeli Literature as a Window to Israeli Society

Th I 7-8:15 PM I 1/26-4/6 (no class 3/16) I 10x I $140 Melton Graduate/ Member /$160 Nonmember

Melton and Jewish Life & Learning Educators  

Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe teaches Ethics of Jewish Living and 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 -- http://blumofe.wordpress.com/.


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 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.



Dr. 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) 735-8086 or email Lisa Quay. Upon completion, participants receive a Certificate of Jewish Study from Hebrew University. Applications are now being accepted.

See Our Other Adult Jewish Education Classes