Rhonda Lillianthal, Director of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School at JCC MetroWest, along with Joyce Goldstein, Co-Chair, JCC MetroWest Board of Trustees, accepted the Florence Melton Award recognizing the excellence of the JCC MetroWest Melton Program, now at 7 locations with 160 students. This award, launched in 2009, pays tribute to a truly outstanding Melton School, including a deeply committed director, a strong sponsoring agency with supportive leadership, exceptional faculty, and a dynamic and diverse student body. The award was presented at the 17th Annual International Melton Directors Conference in Los Angeles.

The Melton School at JCC MetroWest has grown 20-25% every year for the past 5 years through outreach to synagogues and religious schools in the community.  Melton sites include: Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC, West Orange; Adath Shalom, Morris Plains; Agudath Israel, West Caldwell; B’nai Abraham, Livingston; B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills; Mt. Freedom Jewish Center, Randolph; and Shomrei Emunah, Montclair.

“Rhonda Lillianthal has worked tirelessly to bring the best Melton experience to the MetroWest community. She understands the value of adult Jewish learning and has assembled a faculty of exceptional quality and dedication reflecting the depth and breadth of Melton’s academic curriculum,” said Alan Feldman, CEO, JCC MetroWest and a strong supporter of Adult Jewish learning.

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The Melton curriculum is based on core Jewish texts from the Bible and rabbinic writings and presents a series of viewpoints across the Jewish spectrum, meeting 2 hours every week for 30 weeks a year.  The Melton School brings together adults of all ages, perspectives, and knowledge levels, who want to increase their Jewish literacy.  Graduate classes as well as seminars in Israel, Spain, and Eastern Europe,  are offered to those who have completed the 2 year core curriculum and enthusiastic Melton graduates have continued their studies for several years.

“Melton’s success in the MetroWest community is the result of collaboration with the congregational community.  This partnership brought the high quality Melton model to our area synagogues,” said Lillianthal.  “None of it would have been possible without our dedicated rabbis and educators. They are absolutely amazing and I feel honored to work with each and every one of them. ”

In addition to serving as the Director of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School at JCC MetroWest, Lillianthal is the Director of the JCC MetroWest Center for Jewish Life. In that capacity she supervises and teaches many programs, including the Amelia and Ephraim Hirschhorn Senior Adult Jewish Education Program which brings hundreds of speakers and entertainers to more than 30 MetroWest Jewish senior sites. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Studies from Touro College in New York City and a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education from the Davidson School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Lillianthal has been a Jewish Educator for 21 years and has brought her love of Jewish learning to numerous Jewish agencies including Hadassah, the Board of Jewish Education of New York, Ramah Camps, and presently the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School.

Melton International Director Dr. Jonathan Mirvis stated, “In receiving the Florence Melton Award, Melton at JCC MetroWest has established itself as a global center of excellence.  The achievements of the school under the leadership of Director Rhonda Lillianthal now serve as a benchmark for our other Melton programs in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia.”

For more information and to join the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School of Jewish Education, please contact Rhonda Lillianthal at 973-530-3519 (rlillianthal@jccmetrowest.org).