With more than 1,000 local graduates of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School in the Pittsburgh area, starting an alumni association seemed like a logical step.
So that’s what the school did.
The newly formed Pittsburgh Melton Alumni Association, which consists of graduates of the program over its 16 years of existence here, will join Judaic scholar Jonty Blackman for “Dinner and Drash,” as its kickoff event, Sunday, Nov. 7.
Melton alumni associations have been established in about 25 of the 60 cities where the Melton curriculum is taught, according to Amy Karp, local coordinator for the program, but the Pittsburgh branch is just forming.
Melton graduates are invited to join the association in exchange for a tax-deductible contribution. The funds collected will be used to promote continuing programming for the alumni, as well as to provide scholarships to assist other adults who wish to enroll in the Melton program.
“We started the alumni program at the end of the summer with the hopes of reconnecting Melton alumni throughout our city to participate in special, alumni-only events,” said Karp. “So far, we have 85 people who have joined the association. It is our goal to have 100 members by the end of the year.”
Blackman, whose presentation is entitled “And then the rain begins to fall,” was born in South Africa, and has lived in Israel for the past several years. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of multigenerational Jewish education. Sunday’s program will be presented in association with the Global Day of Jewish Learning, a day designated for communities from around the world to celebrate Jewish dialogue and exploration.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of reconnecting Melton alumni from the last 16 years,” Karp said. “It’s a wonderful way to bring together students past and present.”
The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School is an international program, developed by educators from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Students enrolled in the program take four courses over two years, taught by local experts. Current fist year sessions in Pittsburgh are being held at Temple David, Temple Emanuel of the South Hills and Beth Shalom Congregation. Second-year sessions are running at Adat Shalom, Temple Sinai and Temple Ohav Shalom.
“Melton provides a tremendous Jewish learning opportunity for our community,” Karp said. “And Rabbi Scott Aaron, the community scholar for the Agency for Jewish Learning, is continuing the wonderful tradition of solid Melton education.”
(Toby Tabachnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)