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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

The Journey, the Vision and the Hope

In his book A Letter in the Scroll * Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (z”l) traces the revolutionary series of philosophical and theological ideas that Judaism created — from covenant to shabbat to formal education — and showing us how they remain compellingly relevant in our time, Sacks portrays Jewish identity as an honor as well as a duty. The Ba’al Shem Tov, an eighteenth-century rabbi and founder of the Hasidic movement, famously noted that the Jewish people are like a living Torah scroll, and every individual Jew is a letter within it. If a single letter is damaged or missing or incorrectly drawn, a Torah scroll is considered invalid. So too, in Judaism, each individual is considered a crucial part of the people, without whom the entire religion would suffer. Rabbi Sacks uses this metaphor to make a passionate argument in favor of affiliation and practice in our secular times, and invites us to engage in our dynamic and inclusive tradition. In this course Rabbi Shapiro addresses material not previously covered in his classes focusing on the journey toward a rich Jewish life and the hope for our collective future.   A Letter in the Scroll Parts 2-4 are utilized as primary text. Purchase of the book is optional.

*Live Streamed upon request to rweisscrane@jccdallas.org

Dates: Tuesdays,  October 5 – December 14
Time: 9:30 am – 10:30 am CT
Location: Dallas JCC
School: Gesher
Instructor: Rabbi Peretz Shapiro
Tuition: $180 members | $225 non members

COVID-19 Update: This course is offered by the Aaron Family JCC. Please note that we will reevaluate in-person programs, week-by-week as more information becomes available. The Aaron Family JCC will follow CDC guidelines regarding in-person events and gatherings. As an agency, we respectfully request that participants wear masks in all public spaces and adhere to the guidance provided regarding social distancing each week.

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.

Love, Loss and Wisdom

Discover, during this six-week course, the Jewish responses and rituals that take us through mourning and arrive at a place of healing. When death inevitably enters our lives, Jewish wisdom and ritual can help us cope with heartbreak and loss, the anguish of why suffering exists. We will also seek to understand the big questions of what Judaism says about life after death and its understanding of messianic times. With a wider lens, we gain a context with which to better understand l our moments of anguish as individuals and as a community.

Dates: Tuesdays, October 5 – November 9
Time: 10:45 am – 12:15 pm CT
Location: Dallas JCC
School: Melton
Instructor: Laura Seymour
Tuition: $179

COVID-19 Update: This course is offered by the Aaron Family JCC. Please note that we will reevaluate in-person programs, week-by-week as more information becomes available. The Aaron Family JCC will follow CDC guidelines regarding in-person events and gatherings. As an agency, we respectfully request that participants wear masks in all public spaces and adhere to the guidance provided regarding social distancing each week.

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.

From Sinai to Seinfeld: Jews and Their Jokes

This course reveals a treasure of irresistible jokes from the Israelite relationship with God to the growing divide between cultural and religious Judaism in the early 21st century. Treating Jewish jokes as text, this course invites learners to analyze and interpret the evolving concerns, styles, rhythms, preoccupations, and values of the Jewish people buried deep in words. Long since part of the Jewish soul, humor throughout history, has elevated our spirit and bonded us as a people.

Dates: Tuesdays,  October 5 – December 14
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 pm CT
Location: Zoom
School: Melton
Instructor: Beri Kaplan Schwitzer
Tuition: $295 – Includes textbook

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.

For You and for Me: Ethics of Jewish Living Part 1

This course explores the ethics of personal responsibility from a Jewish perspective. This text based course will address topics including the significance of human life, imitation of God, the power of the spoken word, equity and justice and personal virtues through a uniquely Jewish lens.

Please register by September 13 so we are sure to have books for you. Those who live locally will receive notice to pick up books at the J when they arrive.  Be in contact with rweisscrane@jccdallas.org if you need to make other arrangements to receive the book.

*Live Streamed upon request to rweisscrane@jccdallas.org

Dates: Wednesdays, October 6 – November 17
Time: 11:00 – 12:15 pm CT
Location: Dallas JCC | In-person
School: Melton
Instructor: Laura Seymour
Tuition: $210

COVID-19 Update: This course is offered by the Aaron Family JCC. Please note that we will reevaluate in-person programs, week-by-week as more information becomes available. The Aaron Family JCC will follow CDC guidelines regarding in-person events and gatherings. As an agency, we respectfully request that participants wear masks in all public spaces and adhere to the guidance provided regarding social distancing each week.

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.

Great Jewish Artists, Entertainers and Intellectuals

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, October 7 – November 18
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

COVID-19 Update: This course is offered by the Aaron Family JCC at The Legacy Midtown Park. The Legacy requires that all participants be fully vaccinated.  Please note that we will reevaluate in-person programs, week-by-week as more information becomes available. The Aaron Family JCC and The Legacy Midtown Park will follow CDC guidelines regarding in-person events and gatherings to determine the mask and social distancing requirements for this program. As an agency, we respectfully request that participants adhere to the guidance provided each week.

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 Many Faces of Antisemitism

This course begins by exploring the motifs that have defined antisemitism both over the centuries and into our own time.  Moving then into the contemporary world, we will consider the three primary sources of the phenomenon of Jew hatred: the political left, the political right, and political Islam. Finally, the course will end with a discussion of how one might respond to the rising tide of antisemitism and what might be done about it.

Dates: Wednesdays,  October 13 – November 10
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 pm CT
Location: Zoom
School: Gesher
Instructor: David Patterson
Tuition: $125 members | $156 non members

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).

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