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Jewish Learning

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The Melton School

The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning is a global network of 60 community-based schools that offer adults an opportunity to gain Jewish literacy in a non-denominational, intellectually-stimulating learning environment.

The curriculum, created by scholars at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explores the texts of Jewish tradition, both ancient and contemporary. Join us for spirited dialogue, meaningful study, and the opportunity to gain a profound understanding of what it means to be Jewish.

Gesher Program

The Gesher Program is a dynamic, engaging, and life-changing Jewish learning opportunity at the J! Gesher courses that are developed by the Dallas area Rabbis and Educators for JCC Dallas.

Upcoming Classes

Timeless Tales, Modern Sensibilities: A deep look at the books of Esther and Ruth

Discover contemporary meaning in timeless texts during this ten-lesson course on the stories in the Scrolls of Esther and Ruth. Explore themes of Jewish identity, gender, God’s role in human affairs, and comedy. Delve into the lives of these two heroic women who changed the course of history, leaving a legacy that influences our lives today.  Topics include: The book of Esther as literature, dismissing Vashti, victory and violence, history and destiny and so much more.

Dates: Tuesdays February 22 – May 3
Time: 10:45 am  -12:15 pm CT
School: Melton
Location: Zoom
Instructor: Laura Seymour
Tuition: $295 includes textbook

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Laura Seymour

Laura Seymour has been known by many names throughout her long tenure of 40+ years at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas. Today her official title, and first love, is Director of Camping Services. Laura writes a weekly column in the Texas Jewish Post and is known as “The Shabbat Lady” and she teaches in Melton School at the J. Laura is a Jewish educator for all ages sharing her love and knowledge of Judaism with toddlers to seniors. She makes Jewish learning fun and thought provoking while remaining accessible to all learners. Laura and her husband Jeff have raised three children in Dallas and have been involved in all aspects of the Jewish community.

Stage and Screen: Jewish influence from Broadway to Hollywood and our TV Screens

Join Mark Kreditor each week for a one-hour class that will take an entertaining look at some of the greatest Jewish creative minds of the 20th century. Mark has taught classes on Jewish songwriters, entertainers, movie moguls, comedians, business icons and journalists. He especially likes to feature Jewish women in his classes that have left a great impact on the world. This will be a multi-media experience and very often the class will include sing a longs as Mark loves to play the piano.

Dates: Thursdays, February 24 – March 31
Time: 10:45 – 11:45 am CT
Location: The Legacy Midtown Park | In-person
8240 Manderville Lane, Dallas, TX 75231
School: Gesher
Instructor: Mark Kreditor
Tuition: $100 members | $125 non members

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Mark Kreditor

Mark Kreditor is the grandson of a cantorial student from the Ukraine and sang in Synagogue, leading services, since he was 8 years old. As a student in Boston he played piano 5 nights a week in sing-a-long bars and pubs, where he began to correlate the biographical connections of the Jewish songwriters, their religious upbringing, and the melodic flavors of their songs. While building a residential property management company in Dallas, he also taught music history and lectured around the country about the Jewish songwriters that built the American Songbook. He has spoken annually at The Highland Park Methodist Church in the Rejebian lecture series and at many other churches and Synagogues in the Metroplex. As a songwriter, his original compositions have been featured at area religious day schools and nationally at real estate conferences. He lives in Preston Hollow with his wife Carol, a former executive at Trammell Crow Company. Mark is a past VP of the J Board and is a much beloved faculty member in The Gesher Program at the Aaron Family JCC in Dallas, dynamic, engaging and life-changing Jewish learning opportunity at the J! Gesher courses are developed by the Dallas area Rabbis and Educators for JCC Dallas.

He is immediate past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

The Great Partnership – Torah and Science’s complicated relationship

Science and Religion are nowadays often seen by many to be utterly incompatible. But is this the case? Does a believing Jew have to ignore Science in order to embrace belief in G-d? Does the Biblical account of Creation pass scientific muster? What about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? Can we ever hope to reconcile these two worlds or are they simply destined to conflict forever?

Dates: Tuesdays, January 11 – March 15
Time: 9:30 am – 10:30 am CT
School: Gesher
Location: Zoom
Instructor: Rabbi Peretz Shapiro
Tuition: $180 J Members | $225 Non Members

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Rabbi Peretz Shapiro

Rabbi Peretz Shapiro is a Chabad Rabbi and spiritual leader of The Jewish Life Network, a Chabad-Lubavitch organization committed to enhancing the spiritual lives of Jewish senior citizens by creating meaningful, educational, spiritual, and cultural programming. He is also a chaplain at Vitas Healthcare Hospice and has been an instructor in the Melton and Gesher Adult Educational Programs at the J since 2005. Rabbi Shapiro lives in Dallas with his wife Michal, Judaics teacher at Yavneh, and four daughters and one son.

Pray it Forward

Prayer provides a means to express gratitude. Prayer can be silent. Prayer can be communal. Prayer expresses our deepest needs and appreciation. This course follows the development of prayer, from the Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai, to the Temple in Jerusalem, to the Synagogue of today. The course will also explore some of the concepts behind prayer and blessings, as well as the power of meditation, as we link our past, present, and future, to the immediate and the transcendent. This is a journey of the soul—start today.

Dates: Tuesdays, January 11 – February 15
Time: 10:45 am – 12:00 pm CT
School: Melton
Location: Zoom
Instructor: Laura Seymour
Tuition: $179

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Laura Seymour

Laura Seymour has been known by many names throughout her long tenure of 40+ years at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas. Today her official title, and first love, is Director of Camping Services. Laura writes a weekly column in the Texas Jewish Post and is known as “The Shabbat Lady” and she teaches in Melton School at the J. Laura is a Jewish educator for all ages sharing her love and knowledge of Judaism with toddlers to seniors. She makes Jewish learning fun and thought provoking while remaining accessible to all learners. Laura and her husband Jeff have raised three children in Dallas and have been involved in all aspects of the Jewish community.

Biblical Women: Emerging from the Margins through Midrash 

In this ten-lesson course, learners will delve into reading classical and modern midrash, exploring some of the major female figures of the Bible, and gaining multiple perspectives on their characters, relationships, and choices. By utilizing the midrash’s strategy that reads texts very closely, the “behind the scenes” will be uncovered—clarifying issues that are seemingly unaddressed in the biblical text but can be found when looking for textual hints. Learners will discover how the form and content of midrash changes as contemporary writers and artists add their interpretations to ancient traditions. In the fertile ground of midrashic study, these biblical women emerge from the margins of the biblical text becoming full characters whose legacies guide and inspire.

Dates: Tuesdays, January 11 – March 30
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 pm CT
Location: Zoom
School: Melton
Instructor: Beri Schwitzer
Tuition: $295 includes the book

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Beri Kaplan Schwitzer

A native Las Vegan who didn’t have the aspirations to be a showgirl, Beri Kaplan Schwitzer put her time, energy, and enthusiasm into education. Upon graduating the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in Journalism, she began a career that has provided her with extensive experience in Jewish education, non-profit management, and corporate human resources/training. Her true passion remains in Jewish education where she has served in a variety of capacities over the last twenty years. Beri is a nationally recognized Jewish educator honored by Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) and by the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) for her work in creating a special needs learning lab and curriculum in supplementary Jewish education. She believes in creating a welcoming environment where students can grow in a Jewish playground allowing learners of all ages to romp and wrestle with their spirituality, history, and rich heritage. Beri and husband Joel are proud parents to twins, Miriam and Hannah. She is a marathoner, an amateur genealogist, and veracious reader of Jewish fiction.

Timeless Tales, Modern Sensibilities: A deep look at the books of Esther and Ruth

Discover contemporary meaning in timeless texts during this ten-lesson course on the stories in the Scrolls of Esther and Ruth. Explore themes of Jewish identity, gender, God’s role in human affairs, and comedy. Delve into the lives of these two heroic women who changed the course of history, leaving a legacy that influences our lives today.  Topics include: The book of Esther as literature, dismissing Vashti, victory and violence, history and destiny and so much more.

Dates: Tuesdays February 22 – May 3
Time: 10:45 am  -12:15 pm CT
School: Melton
Location: Zoom
Instructor: Laura Seymour
Tuition: $295 includes textbook

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Laura Seymour

Laura Seymour has been known by many names throughout her long tenure of 40+ years at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas. Today her official title, and first love, is Director of Camping Services. Laura writes a weekly column in the Texas Jewish Post and is known as “The Shabbat Lady” and she teaches in Melton School at the J. Laura is a Jewish educator for all ages sharing her love and knowledge of Judaism with toddlers to seniors. She makes Jewish learning fun and thought provoking while remaining accessible to all learners. Laura and her husband Jeff have raised three children in Dallas and have been involved in all aspects of the Jewish community.

Stage and Screen: Jewish influence from Broadway to Hollywood and our TV Screens

Join Mark Kreditor each week for a one-hour class that will take an entertaining look at some of the greatest Jewish creative minds of the 20th century. Mark has taught classes on Jewish songwriters, entertainers, movie moguls, comedians, business icons and journalists. He especially likes to feature Jewish women in his classes that have left a great impact on the world. This will be a multi-media experience and very often the class will include sing a longs as Mark loves to play the piano.

Dates: Thursdays, February 24 – March 31
Time: 10:45 – 11:45 am CT
Location: The Legacy Midtown Park | In-person
8240 Manderville Lane, Dallas, TX 75231
School: Gesher
Instructor: Mark Kreditor
Tuition: $100 members | $125 non members

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Mark Kreditor

Mark Kreditor is the grandson of a cantorial student from the Ukraine and sang in Synagogue, leading services, since he was 8 years old. As a student in Boston he played piano 5 nights a week in sing-a-long bars and pubs, where he began to correlate the biographical connections of the Jewish songwriters, their religious upbringing, and the melodic flavors of their songs. While building a residential property management company in Dallas, he also taught music history and lectured around the country about the Jewish songwriters that built the American Songbook. He has spoken annually at The Highland Park Methodist Church in the Rejebian lecture series and at many other churches and Synagogues in the Metroplex. As a songwriter, his original compositions have been featured at area religious day schools and nationally at real estate conferences. He lives in Preston Hollow with his wife Carol, a former executive at Trammell Crow Company. Mark is a past VP of the J Board and is a much beloved faculty member in The Gesher Program at the Aaron Family JCC in Dallas, dynamic, engaging and life-changing Jewish learning opportunity at the J! Gesher courses are developed by the Dallas area Rabbis and Educators for JCC Dallas.

He is immediate past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

For questions or more information, contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at rweisscrane@jccdallas.org.

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - Gerri Patterson

Gerri Patterson worked in Jewish Communal Service for over 30 years, in New York, Oklahoma, Memphis, TN and Dallas.  She is a graduate of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Born in New York, Gerri is married to David Patterson, mother of two daughters and grandmother of three grandchildren.

Click Here to View Instructor Bio - David Patterson

David Patterson holds the Hillel A. Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies at the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas and is a Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP).  He is a commissioner on the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and a member of the Executive Board of the Annual Scholars’ Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches.  He has lectured at universities on six continents and throughout the United States.  A winner of the National Jewish Book Award, the Koret Jewish Book Award, and the Holocaust Scholars’ Conference Eternal Flame Award, he has published 40 books and more than 240 articles, essays, and book chapters on antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Jewish studies.  His most recent books are Judaism, Antisemitism, Holocaust: Making the Connections (Cambridge, 2022), Shoah and Torah (Routledge, 2022), Portraits: Elie Wiesel’s Hasidic Legacy (SUNY, 2021), The Holocaust and the Non-Representable (SUNY, 2018), and Anti-Semitism and Its Metaphysical Origins (Cambridge, 2015).