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New MeltonKC: Powered by HBHA director looks forward to new year

Pictured at the recent Melton New Director and Faculty Seminar in Chicago are Rabbi Morey Schwartz (from left), Melton director of education; Annie Glickman, director of school services, North America; Megan Pener, director MeltonKC; and Shelley Rissien, new Melton faculty member.

The Talmud teaches us that more than any other mitzvah, the study of Torah transcends them all.

Growing up in Overland Park, I had the privilege of attending Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and being exposed to Torah and Jewish study beginning in elementary school. Later, in public school, my exposure to Jewish study was very limited. Now as an adult and a parent, I find myself wanting to explore Judaism from a new perspective.

That’s where Melton comes in. MeltonKC: Powered by HBHA is part of The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a unique project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Melton offers world-class curricula and a commitment to a pluralistic approach that welcomes all viewpoints. Its goal is to develop knowledgeable individuals through a systematic course of study, and to provide a closer connection to Jewish identity.  

Together, Melton and HBHA bring an unprecedented level of Jewish learning to our community. 

“We are all about educating our community. Though HBHA’s focus is K-12, it is a natural extension to support adult learning,” HBHA Head of School Howard Haas said.

I have had the privilege of working with Annie Glickman for the past few months as I transition into my new role as MeltonKC director. She is a role model and mentor to me, as well as an inspiration to many Melton students in Kansas City. While we are sorry to see her moving on from MeltonKC to engage in new opportunities, I assure you that I will proudly carry on her great work.

In early August, I attended a conference in Chicago with several other new Melton directors. I learned about the impact Melton has on communities worldwide and was inspired by many ideas I would love to implement in our program. In addition to conferring with our educators about the courses that are offered, I plan to survey members of the community to determine new topics of interest and hope to engage the younger generations of adults who have yet to study.

One course that will be offered this year is The Foundations of Jewish Living, specifically for parents raising Jewish children. Melton will also feature courses designed by local instructors, in addition to the regular world-class Melton curricula. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 913-219-6740.

I want to thank HBHA for housing MeltonKC and acknowledge the generosity of the Menorah Heritage Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, our consortium partners and the many individual donors who help make MeltonKC a success. I will continue to focus on fundraising so that subsidies will be available to any individual who is interested in becoming a student. 

MeltonKC encourages multi-faith couples, multi-generational families and people of all ages to participate.

MeltonKC student Shira Zigler said, “Learning through Melton has helped me enhance my Jewish identity and teach Jewish values in a tangible way to my children.”

Jennifer Scholzman, another MeltonKC student, said, “Melton has given me the space to explore my Judaism. As a mother of two young children, I am encouraged to create a Jewish environment in which my children can evolve into their own identities as Jewish individuals. The connection within the class has taken me beyond the books. Because of Melton, I continued my exploration in Israel this summer. I found acceptance for my own journey and a new love and appreciation for our lessons.”

A “Taste of Melton” is coming up soon for those who want to learn more about the programs.

I look forward to a great year of study!