The Florence Melton School of Adult Education

Come for the learning. Stay for the community.   

Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, offers an environment adult learners from all backgrounds to study Jewish heritage and culture in a challenging and inspiring course of study.  The sophisticated, sequential curriculum introduces the shared heritage of the Jewish people and its development into contemporary forms of Judaism. Come and learn! Like-minded life-long learners meet with skilled educators who guide stimulating discussions to feed your intellect and nurture your soul.  

Embark on a journey through the drama, intrigue, mystery, intellectual challenges, spirituality, richness and continuity of Jewish life. For more information, contact

Designed by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the highly interactive Core Curriculum offers an opening for adults to fill in the gaps of knowledge, ask questions, discuss issues of importance, to learn from great teachers and each other, and to enter a community of like-minded curious Jews who strive to be life-long learners.  Give yourself the gift of time to learn--whether for date night with a partner or nurturing your own soul, you will love what you discover.   

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 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.

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. 

Rabbi Rebecca Reice, the Solo/Senior Rabbi and Director of Education at Congregation Shir Ami in Cedar Park, is a native of Chapel Hill, NC. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and later, during her rabbinical studies, served as a Chaplain Intern in the Seton Network, based at Brackenridge and Dell Children's hospitals. Her rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) began in Jerusalem and continued in Los Angeles and led to a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters (2009) and a Master of Arts in Jewish Education (2010). During her studies at HUC-JIR, she was granted the Samson H. Levey Prize for Outstanding Student in Rabbinic Literature (2012), the Samson H. Levey Memorial Prize for the study of rabbinic literature and Talmud (2011), the Lorraine Helman Rubin Memorial Prize for Scholarly Writing (2009, 2012), and the Cutter Pastoral Scholarship for summer Clinical Pastoral Education studies (2009).

Following her rabbinical ordination (2012), Rabbi Reice served as Associate Rabbi and Jewish Educator at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, KS. Prior to that time, she also served in rabbinical and educational roles at Congregation Aitz Chaim in Great Falls, MT; Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA; Temple Emanu-El in San Diego, CA; Congregation Shir-Ha-Ma'alot in Irvine, CA; and Temple Beth Torah in China Lake, CA. After years of faithful service as both Rabbi and Educator, she was awarded the title of Reform Jewish Educator (R.J.E.) by the Reform Jewish Educator Title Granting Commission in the spring of 2015. Rabbi Reice has served Congregation Shir Ami since January of 2016. She lives in Northwest Austin with her husband, Asher Lazarus.
Cathy Schechter  is a Jewish Educator in charge of the Melton programs and Hebrew Ulpan for Shalom Austin.  After working 25 years as an entrepreneur/marketing consultant for her company Orchard Communications and SUMA/Orchard Social Marketing, Cathy returned to graduate school to earn her Master of Arts in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College (2016), and to become an ordained Maggidah/Omanit (Master Storyteller and Educator) from Reclaiming Judaism (2017).  An award-winning magazine writer and video producer, she co-authored Deep in the Heart: Lives & Legends of Texas Jews (Eakin Press, 1990) with Ruthe Winegarten, z”l, and contributed to “Stars of David,” edited by Hollace Weiner & Rabbi Ken Roseman (Brandeis Press, 2007).   She also contributed the first entry about Austin’s Jewish community to the most recent edition of Encyclopedia Judaica.   She is an alumnus of Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and studied Talmud for 14-years with the late Rabbi Dr. Judith Abrams, z”l.   In addition to her work as Jewish educator for Shalom Austin, Cathy also offers private lessons to individuals and groups around the U.S.  Cathy began her volunteer life in Austin’s Jewish community as one of seven founding mothers of the Child Development Center at Congregation Beth Israel, which she counts to this day as her most outstanding achievement (other than rearing children!).  She has also served on the Boards of Shalom Austin, ADL, Panim, CAA Sisterhood, and JFS.