Melton returns to Portland

Beginning in January, the Institute for Judaic Studies of the Pacific Northwest will partner with the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning to once again offer Melton classes in the metro area.

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.

In Portland the school existed for several years as an independent organization and then continued under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, before closing earlier this year.

The new Portland program will be the second in the state. The Eugene Melton School opened in the fall of 2013.

Portland will offer classes for both year one and year two core classes, with 25 lessons each. Year 1 of Core Melton consists of two one-hour classes: Rhythms and Purposes. Year 2 Core Melton consists of two one-hour classes: Ethics and Crossroads. The core classes will be taught by Jan Rabinowitch, Erica Goldman and Sylvia Frankel, who is also director of the Portland program.

“Since we are required to have a minimum of 15 students per class it is not clear whether we will be able to offer the full Core classes in the am and in the pm, but these are the options now,” says Sylvia, noting classes with enough students will meet Tuesdays beginning Jan. 5-June 21, 2016. Morning classes will be at Congregation Shaarie Torah 920 NW 25th Ave., and evening classes at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Hwy.

Rhythms of Jewish Living explores the central ideas and texts that inform our daily, weekly and annual rituals as well as life cycle observances.

Purposes of Jewish Living looks at the essential Jewish theological concepts and ideas as they unfold in the Bible, the Talmud and other sacred texts.

Ethics of Jewish Living explores ethical issues such as justice, life and death, sexuality and community, with case studies from Talmudic, rabbinic and contemporary literature.

Crossroads of Jewish History looks at the dramatic developments, experiences and issues from different periods in Jewish history as reflected in historical texts.

In addition to the core classes, Mini Melton classes are also planned.

Shemot II:  From Revelation to Revolution (10 lessons) will meet Thursdays Jan. 7-April 13, 2016.

Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, who founded the Institute for Judaic Studies, will teach the course. It will meet from 10:30 am to noon at Congregation Neveh Shalom, 2900 SW Peaceful Lane.

Our course follows the development of the emerging Jewish nation from their awe-inspiring encounter at Mount Sinai through the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The high points of divine revelation in “Ten Commandments,“ “Encountering God,” and “Face to Face with God” are sharply contrasted with the low points of the “Golden Calf: Revolt or Reversion.” The text addresses some of the specific laws and regulations that were to become part of Jewish living as well as the meaning, purpose, and relevance to our lives today.

Rabbi Ariel Stone will teach Mysticism and Kabbalah: Secret Knowledge in Judaism (10 Lessons) on 10:30 am to noon Wednesdays, Feb. 3-April 13, 2016. The class will meet at Congregation Shir Tikva, 7550 NE Irving St.

Despite the public chatter about Kabbalah, for many, this important aspect of the Jewish tradition remains a “closed book.”  This course presents the rich history of Jewish mysticism, along with understandings of many of the texts that have been so central to that tradition, speaking to the deepest mysteries of human existence and to many of life’s eternal universal questions.

Registration and class schedule at:
For more information, contact Sylvia Frankel at

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