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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

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, December 7 – January 25
Time: 10:45 am – 12:00 pm CT
School: Melton
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.

The Jews of Christmas

Santa Claus would not be coming to town — at least not with such a musical flourish — without Jewish songwriter Fred Coots, who penned the song in 1934, when it became an overnight hit! Are you surprised a Jewish songwriter wrote one of the most iconic Christmas songs?

Come join Mark Kreditor as he tells the story of 20th century Jewish American songwriters and their connection to your favorite annual Holiday classics. You will be amazed at how many songs you have been listening to about Christmas for your entire life were written by Jewish songwriters. The stories behind these songs are humorous, interesting and of course the songs are fun to sing.  Learn when and how Christmas become an artistic opportunity for Jewish songwriters to reinvent this time of year into an American non-religious musical celebration about weather, gifts and family. Bring your best Chanukah voices as we celebrate the music of the other December holiday as well as sing some Chanukah standards.

If any of you have ever been to an “informational sing a long” program with Mark Kreditor you know this will be a memorable evening of fun! Register early to reserve your seat.

Dates: Thursday, December 23
Time: 7:30 pm CT
Location: The Legacy Midtown Park | In-person
8240 Manderville Lane, Dallas, TX 75231
School: Gesher
Instructor: Mark Kreditor
Tuition: $18

COVID-19 Update: This entertaining program is a project of the Aaron Family JCC and Legacy Midtown Park and will take place at Legacy Midtown Park. The Legacy requires that all participants be fully vaccinated and that community members wear masks while on premises. The Aaron Family JCC and The Legacy Midtown Park follow CDC guidelines regarding in-person events and gatherings to determine the mask and social distancing requirements for all programs. 

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.

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, January 13 – February 17
Time: 10:45 – 11:45 am CT
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.

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
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.

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

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).

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.

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.