Amidst Melton Directors from around the world gathered for the organization’s annual conference held this January in New York City, the Park Avenue Synagogue Melton School was awarded the prestigious Florence Melton Award. The award was established in 2009 to memorialize founder Florence Melton, z"l, and to recognize a Melton School who exemplifies the highest standards of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning. It was particularly momentous as Park Avenue Synagogue is celebrating its 10th year with Melton. Mara Bernstein, Director of Melton at Park Avenue Synagogue, and Rabbi Neil Zuckerman, accepted the award on behalf of the congregation.
In her remarks, Melton’s Executive Director Rabbi Rachel Bovitz highlighted part of the synagogue’s mission statement:
In practicing a Judaism filled with love, literacy, reverence, compassion, and joy, we strive to make our ancient tradition compelling and welcoming to contemporary Jewry and to serve as a light unto our fellow Jews and the nations.
She spoke about how the synagogue’s mission aligns so clearly with Melton in its commitment to lifelong learning. Rabbi Bovitz also highlighted the following ways Park Avenue exemplifies the best of Melton:
- Park Avenue has made Melton the centerpiece of its adult learning- taking full advantage of our many different curricula to keep their congregants constantly engaged in Jewish learning. Their classes are known to fill in minutes, so learners know that they need to jump on the opportunity to register for Melton learning or they will end up on a waiting list!
- All the rabbis of the synagogue teach Melton courses over the course of the year including Senior Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove and his wife Debbie, who often co-teach the Core Curriculum. This year the rabbis of the congregation are teaching Core, Medical Ethics, Social Justice, and more. The rabbis recognize that Melton learning builds deeper relationships with their congregants and raises important topics for further discussion in their community.
- Year after year, Park Avenue brings in full classes of learners to begin their learning journeys with the Melton Core Curriculum. They also have great success with Foundations of Jewish Family Living for parents raising Jewish children who begin with this course focusing on Jewish values.
While it was important to celebrate the work of the Park Avenue Melton School over the past decade, it is even more exciting looking ahead to Melton’s deepening partnership with this incredible synagogue dedicated to Jewish learning.