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Melton Welcomes New Staff

Adi Stein and Elisa Blank

Melton is growing … and so is our staff! We wanted to introduce you to two of the newest members of our team—Elisa Blank and Adi Stein. Elisa has joined us as our Director of Community Partnerships and Adi serves as our Online Learning and Community Engagement Manager. We hope you will take a minute to learn more about them and, when you have a chance, give them a warm welcome to the Melton International community.

Adi Stein, Online Learning and Community Engagement Manager

What's your name and where are you from?

My name is Adi Stein and I am from all over! I was born in Riverdale, but have lived in Israel, Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia, DC, and Manhattan.

What drew you to apply and then take your position at Melton?

What drew me to this position was the quality and style of Melton learning. I was raised in a Conservative (the sect, not the political ideology) Jewish household and went to Jewish day school my whole life. Melton learning – with its focus on text, dialogue, and pluralism – is the kind of Judaism that I was raised on. I feel right at home here. What put me over the edge into accepting this role was the people. Over the course of the interview process I had multiple, in-depth conversations with Rachel, Morey, Randi, Jody, and Andrea and it became clearer and clearer after each meeting that this was an organization run by incredibly smart people with a clear vision for its future. So far, I have definitely made the right call.

What have you enjoyed most about working at Melton thus far?

The thing I have enjoyed most about working at Melton has been the lively conversations. Whether we're talking about debates in a Zoom classroom between students and teachers, or passionate, exciting brainstorming meetings to plan the future of Melton online learning, I always walk away with new ideas and lots to think about. Melton has a uniquely insightful and well-educated following that forces me to be on my "A-game" at all times, which makes my work feel urgent and energizing.

What are your goals for your work at Melton?

My goals for my work here at Melton are to push the online learning program to reach its maximum potential and to foster an international Jewish community that is actively engaged in Jewish learning and practice.

With what Jewish historical/biblical figure do you most identify and why?

This is actually a very funny question to me because we played this game one Thanksgiving with my extended family and we went around the table and people said, "Aaron," or, "Miriam," or, "Ruth," but then we got to my grandmother and she said, "G-d," and my dad screamed, "Now do you understand how I got this way??" But in all seriousness, I think I most identify with Noah because I care so deeply about my family's well-being, I'm terrified of climate change, and my dog would be first on the boat with me if there was a flood.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The talent I would most like to have would have to be flying a plane. I am so scared of flying – I do it, don't get me wrong, but I'm always in panic mode – and I think that's because I have no clue what's going on and have no control over the situation. If I could fly a plane, I think that would alleviate a LOT of my stresses.

Elisa Blank, Director of Community Partnerships

What's your name and where are you from?

My name is Elisa Blank and I am from New York.

What drew you to apply and then take your position at Melton?

Throughout my career, I have been both an educator and a network weaver. I loved that this job had both opportunities all in one. I ultimately took this position because during the interview process, I met with both professional and lay leadership, and they were warm, friendly, knowledgeable, and described a working environment and sacred work that I would be proud to be a part of.

What have you enjoyed most about working at Melton thus far?

Meeting so many amazing, dedicated Jewish professionals has definitely been a highlight. I also enjoy being part of a community of engaged learners.

What are your goals for your work at Melton?

To grow our network of partners and to find new ways of bringing Melton learning to as many Jewish communities as possible.

With what Jewish historical/biblical figure do you most identify and why?

I have identified with Deborah for not following traditional roles. When I was studying for my Bat Mitzvah, I was told I could not chant the kiddish because in our congregation it was traditionally chanted by a male. I was introduced to Deborah as I learned the kiddish. She was the only woman judge to hand out justice on her own and she was on the battlefield, which was definitely not a place for a woman in biblical times.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I love singing but I know I don't have a good voice. I would love to have been able to sing or play a musical instrument. My family would joke that it would be great if I could have the talent to at least clap to a rhythm.
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