On any travel experience, the educator's rapport with the group is a key ingredient for success. Melton travel educators are among the finest in the Jewish world and will help make sites and texts come alive and relevant to your ongoing dialogue with the past and future of Israel and the Jewish story.
Sara Aroeste, PhD
Sara has an extensive academic background in Fine Arts, having studied extensively in the US and in Mexico, where she obtained her MFA and completed her PhD. She has also been engaged in both academic and pedagogic work, developing curricula for post graduate studies in the Arts, and has curated exhibitions in the US and in Mexico. In addition, Sara is an art critic, gives international conferences, and has published articles and texts for art related books. In 2018, Ambar Diseño published her most recent book, El taller del artista, that presents 25 of the most renowned artist studios in Mexico.
Sara has devised and conducted numerous art tours since 2005, exploring Pre-Columbian art, colonial art, the Mexican muralists, and the Mexican contemporary art scene. She has led many encounters with museum and gallery directors, curators, and art collectors, and has visited more than four hundred studios of renowned contemporary artists. Since 2016, Sara has served as an Associate Scholar for the company Mexico Cultural Travel. She has also served as the Regional Director for Art Quest International since 2015, and guided tours with a focus on Mexican Judaism, whether for groups like The American Friends of The Israel Museum or various missions for Jewish Federations from the US; Moishe House’s On the Road trip to Mexico City; and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Haim is the former Director of Travel Seminars of the Florence Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning. Since 1989, he has worked with the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem with in-service training programs for teachers, and he directed the Melitz Israel Experience Staff Training Institute for nine years. For over 40 years, he has enjoyed learning and teaching about Israel and its manifold narratives, and about various European Jewish communities. His studies at Hebrew University have led to an MA in Contemporary Jewry and Jewish Education, as well as a Teacher’s Diploma. Haim makes his home in Pardes Hanna, along with his wife, Sandy. Their three kids and two grandchildren are dispersed around the country.
A Brooklyn native, Avi Ben-Hur moved to Israel in 1983. From 2003-2008 Avi was Director of the Archaeological Seminars School for Israeli Tour Guides. In 2008 Avi participated in re-writing the curriculum of the National Guiding courses for the Israel Ministry of Tourism. As a "Scholar in Residence", Avi has lectured, taught and facilitated workshops in Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin and Greece. From 1996-2000, Avi taught in the International School for Holocaust Studies – Yad Vashem. As a guide, Avi has specialized in working with organizations focusing on political issues, inter-faith programs, and Holocaust studies. At present, Avi is on the faculty of the University of Haifa Tourism School, is an examiner for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is the scholar in residence of Classrooms Without Borders.
Born in South Africa and living in Israel since 1995, Jonty has managed to touch thousands of Jews of all ages, whether accompanying groups as an educator or lecturing on specific subjects. Jonty has served as an educator on the Israel Seminar staff of the Florence Melton School since 2005. He and his family spent two years in Sydney, NSW, where Jonty worked at Moriah College, serving as the Director of Experiential Jewish Education. Jonty has also lectured in various countries, including Australia, England, South Africa, Canada and the United States. "I think my love for what I do is infectious," he says. Jonty studied for a number of years at Yeshivat Har Etzion and received his Master's Degree in Jewish Education from Hebrew University's Melton Centre for Jewish Education. The wisest decision Jonty ever made was to marry Abi Ofstein. They live in Jerusalem with their four children.
Professor Marc Epstein
Winner of the 2015 Jewish Book Award in Visual Arts for Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts, Marc is the product of a mixed marriage between the scions of Slonimer and Lubavitcher Hassidim and Romanian socialists, and grew up, rather confused, but happy, in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently Professor of Religion at Vassar College, where he has been teaching since 1992, and was the first Director of Jewish Studies. At Vassar, he teaches courses on medieval Christianity, religion, arts and politics, and Jewish texts and sources. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, received the PhD at Yale University, and did much of his graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written numerous articles and four books on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews. A long-time student of Italian Jewish culture, he is the Director of Beit Venezia, the home for International Jewish Studies in Venice, Italy.
Miriam Levinson's passion for history was sparked by her father's captivating discussions from her earliest memories. Since her teenage years, Miriam has extensively explored Jewish history and culture in various countries. Over the past eighteen years, she has orchestrated and led numerous trips to her native Cuba. Miriam's expertise in Jewish Latin America, particularly Cuba, adds a distinctive dimension to her portrayal of these communities. Her unique personal insights and experiences from life in Cuba contribute to a fresh perspective. Currently, Miriam is actively working on a book recounting her memories of life in Cuba.
Rabbi Fred Morgan
Rabbi Morgan studied and taught the religions of India at universities in the US, England and India before entering the Leo Baeck College in London, where he received his rabbinic ordination. He has served congregations in the UK, Hungary and Australia, where he is currently Emeritus Rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne. Over the years he has led Jewish-themed tours to locations worldwide. In 2013 he was awarded membership in the Order of Australia for his service to the Jewish community and to interfaith relations. Rabbi Morgan and his wife, Sue, have three children and several grandchildren.
Judy has a BA in History from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Science in Education from Northwestern University. She worked as a Religious School teacher for 11 years in both Baltimore and Chicago, and taught in Jewish Day Schools for 3 years, before "graduating" to become a star Melton teacher in Chicago. Judy served for five years as an educational consultant and Israel Resource Specialist for the Marshall Jewish Learning Center in Northbrook, Illinois, running workshops for both teachers and students. In Israel, Judy wanted to continue impacting on her students and has joined the ranks of outstanding guides here, with the added advantage of specializing in the "Melton technique" of on-site text study. Judy, Phil, and their family have lived in Israel since 2005.
Dr. Rachel Seelig
Dr. Rachel Seelig is a scholar of modern Jewish literature and a freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of Strangers in Berlin: Modern Jewish Literature between East and West, 1919–1933 (University of Michigan Press, 2016) and the co-editor of The German-Hebrew Dialogue: Studies of Encounter and Exchange (De Gruyter Press, 2017). Since receiving her PhD from the University of Chicago, Rachel has held teaching and research appointments at Harvard, Columbia, the University of Michigan, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Toronto. Beyond her academic writing, Rachel’s essays regularly appear in a variety of publications, such as Kveller, Today's Parent, Canadian Jewish News, and the Globe and Mail. Together with her partner, Erol Boran, she also writes and publishes children's books under the imprint Lovely Books.
Joellyn Wallen Zollman
Joellyn holds a PhD in Jewish History from Brandeis University. Her areas of specialization include religious material culture and American Jewish History. She has worked with exhibits and collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the Skirball Museum, and the San Diego History Center. Dr. Zollman has been teaching in the Melton Program since 2011. She teaches the Crossroads/History year for the Core Curriculum annually. In addition, she has taught From Sinai to Seinfeld (a student favorite!), Jewish Denominations, Jews in America, and We Are What We Remember.