Adult Jewish Learners Celebrate a New Year
Melton Graduation
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
by M Groogan

Adult Jewish Learners Celebrate a New Year

Houston, TX – Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston announces the graduating class of Houston’s Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. After two years of studying together, the class gathered with their families, friends and teachers at Congregation Or Ami for their graduation ceremony. 

Houston Melton Director Rabbi Samantha Safran welcomed the guests and commented on the auspiciousness of graduation falling this year on the holiday of Lag b’Omer, a day which disrupts the traditional observance of mourning in the Jewish calendar for weddings, festivals, and other joyous occasions.  Cantor Mark Levine, and Rabbis Gideon Estes and Annie Belford also addressed the graduates as instructors who have guided and facilitated their learning. Rabbi Belford remarked of the Melton program, “We aren’t just studying Torah as it is; we are studying Torah as it applies to daily life.  This makes our learning richer, more meaningful, more challenging, and so much more filled with blessing.”   On behalf of the graduates, Sara Norris commented, “Being a class member has let me meet and connect with members from all parts of the Houston Jewish community and from different demographics that I might never have known without Melton. It has strengthened my connection to the Houston Jewish Community and the material we studied has deepened my identity as a Jew.”

Rabbi Safran presented the graduates with certificates from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Rabbi Jill Levy, Melton instructor and Director of the Bobbi and Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living and Learning at the J, offered a special blessing to the graduates as they gathered under a tallit.

This year’s graduates are part of 3000 Melton students in 52 sites around the world attending graduation ceremonies this month.  The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the largest pluralistic adult Jewish education network in the world and the Houston school is proud to be a part of this global network.

The Melton graduation ceremony marked the end of one Melton year and the beginning of another. If you’ve always been curious but never made the time to learn about Jewish holidays, theology, history, and ethics, The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning is for you. The Houston Melton School, run by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center for over twenty years, provides the perfect opportunity for adults of all backgrounds and perspectives to explore and take ownership of their Jewish heritage. The Melton School uses a pluralistic curriculum created by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to explore Judaism in a meaningful way. The program has touched the lives of hundreds in the greater Houston Jewish community. Registration for the next Core Melton Program, which consists of four classes taken over the course of two years, opened on June 1st. Throughout the month of June, all who register for the Core program will receive forty dollars off of their tuition.

            This year, to ensure that participants can choose an option most convenient to them, Houston’s Melton Core Program will offer options at the J, as well as an option in tandem with the city’s collaborative Hebrew High School program Kehillah High. Additionally, Congregation Beth Shalom of the Woodlands will enter into their second year of the Melton Core Program.

The J will offer Melton & More graduate classes in the fall. Registration for the graduate classes opens July 1. Wondering if the program is right for you? Contact local Melton Director Rabbi Samantha Safran at or 713.595.8163. Visit for more information about our programs and services. Find us on Facebook.

Photo Caption: Front row, from left to right: Cantor Mark Levine, Richard Smith, Marion Smith, Linda Katz, Norma Belkin, Karen Olener, Marshall Kramer, and Rabbi Jill Levy. Back row, from left to right: Frank Weber, Terry Waldman, Helene Kramer, Lietzie Belford, Shelley Greenman, Herb Whalley, Sara Norris. Missing graduate: Iris Gardener.

Send this page to a friend