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MeltonKC Course Offerings

If you are seeking a profound understanding of what it means to be Jewish, and an opportunity to connect with other adults on inspiring and intriguing topics, we invite you to join MeltonKC. Explore the texts of our tradition, discover their ideas and stories, and find new meaning in how they apply to your life today. With new offerings and the return of popular topics, MeltonKC’s 2020-21 curriculum has something for all learners – new and returning.

MeltonKC will begin all fall 2020 classes via Zoom. Zoom information will be provided for your class after registration. We intend to return to in-person classes when it is safe to do so. We will keep students informed if/when the time comes to return to an in-
person class format. 

Most Melton courses are $250/student, plus materials. Thanks to the support of generous donors, MeltonKC provides subsidies as needed. Click here to register, or contact Megan Pener, MeltonKC Director, (913) 327-8161.

MeltonKC's 2020-21 Course Lineup

The Purposes of Jewish Living
Why do Jews believe as they do? What are the big questions of life and how do Jewish thinkers answer these questions? This course explores both ancient and modern responses to many of the major issues of Jewish thought and theology.

Two class options available!
Wednesdays | 7:00-8:30 pm | 25 weeks: October 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11, 18, December 2, 9, 16, January 6, 13, 20, 27, February 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24, April 7, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19
Faculty: Marla Brockman
Location: Zoom
Special Program: Thanks to the generosity of Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, Ben Gurion Society members are invited to register for Purposes of Jewish Living – and its follow up core course, Rhythms of Jewish Living – for the price of one course. Rhythms of Jewish Living will be taught in 2021-22. 


Social Justice: The Heart of Judaism in Theory and Practice
This new Melton course will draw from text and history to explore how social justice work goes beyond addressing short-term needs and looks at structural causes of injustice today. Topics include issues related to poverty, immigration and environmental degradation. Participants will be encouraged to identify issues that are particular to their own communities and which they would like to explore in greater depth.

Multiple dates and locations available!
Fridays | 9:30-11:00 am | 10 weeks: October 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20, December 4, 11, 18
Faculty: Marla Brockman
Location: Zoom

Thursdays | Beginning Fall 2020 | 10 weeks (specific dates and times TBA); For KU Hillel students only
Faculty: Suzy Sostrin and Ira Kirschner
Location: Zoom

Coming 2021 | Dates & Time TBA | 10 weeks
Faculty: Rabbi Alpert
Location: Zoom


BeMidbar (Numbers) – Leadership Defied and Defended
Israel’s fateful journey through the wilderness of Sinai presented numerous challenges to the leadership of Moses and Aaron; at times the nation challenged their competence as leaders, and at times individuals arose to challenge their very right to lead. As students explore the biblical narratives describing forty years of wandering in the wilderness, they will be surprised to note the timeless nature of those stories. How can the lessons learned from the past be applied to solving the communal challenges of the present and the future? BeMidbar introduces significant literary tools often used by scholars in the study of the Bible, and invites participants to revisit and rethink commonly held beliefs about the perceived heroes and rebels of the biblical narrative.

Mondays | 6:45-8:15 pm Central Time | 10 weeks: October 26, November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, December 7, 14, January 4, 11 
Faculty: Rabbi Amy Wallk-Katz
Location: Zoom


Exploring a Forgotten World: A Social History of Medieval Jewry as Revealed in the Cairo Genizah

This ancient-era version of reality TV gives you a front-row seat to the drama, gossip, legal transactions, and other daily intrigues – straight from the Middle Ages. This course brings to life an exotic era in Jewish history, revealing the inner thoughts of real-life characters and exploring the daily interactions and behaviors of Jewish men, women and families living along the Mediterranean more than 1,000 years ago. All of this has been uncovered through the discovery of a collection of worn-out scraps, text fragments and documents from ancient times. Come along for a journey of intrigue and adventure!

Thursdays | 6:30-8:00 pm | 10 weeks: November 5, 12, 19, December 3, 10, 17, January 7, 14, 21, 28
Faculty: Rabbi Javier Cattapan
Location: Zoom


Jewish Answers to Life’s Most Challenging Questions
Taste of Melton course. When dealing with life’s hardships and disappointments, when the suffering is overwhelming or the loss is devastating, many people ask themselves some very difficult questions: Why do good people suffer? Why is there so much evil in the world? Is everything that happens pre-ordained? Don’t I deserve a miracle? A four-part course of study titled Jewish Answers to Life’s Most Challenging Questions explores answers to these timeless questions through the eyes of the rabbinic sages as well as those modern thinkers and presents multiple Jewish approaches to the quest for understanding.

Coming 2021 | Thursdays | 12:15-1:15 pm | 4 weeks (specific dates TBA)
Faculty: Alan Edelman
Location: Village Shalom; This in-person class will take place once it is safe to meet.
Cost: $36, includes course and materials; Free for Village Shalom residents


Beyond Borders: The History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
This course provides students with a strong, text-based historical overview from the late nineteenth century through today. The complexity of the conflict forces students to grapple with issues of religion, culture, history, politics, economics, identity and survival—all reflected through primary sources, including newspaper articles, poetry, songs, government documents, speeches, photographs and memoirs.

Coming 2021 | Thursdays | 7:00-8:30 pm | 10 weeks: Feb. 4, 11, 18, March 4, 11, 18, April 22, 29, 6, 13
Faculty: Bill Greenberg
Location: Zoom


Girls in Trouble
Locally designed. How do stories of women in Torah reflect the complexity of our own lives? How can we deepen our connections to these ancient texts? The Girls in Trouble curriculum, by Alicia Jo Rabins, brings women in Torah to life through text study, music, art, and personal reflection. Join us on a journey into the fascinating world of women in Torah.

Tuesdays | 7:00-8:30 pm | 10 weeks: October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 10, 17, 24, December 1, 8, 15
Faculty: Farrah Udell
Location: Zoom


Crisis and Creativity in Exile
Locally designed. Rabbi Scott White charts a course through peaks and valleys between Judaea’s fall in 135 to the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the long night of powerlessness when all but a tiny fraction of the Jewish people lived outside the Land of Israel. Explorations include The Crusaders’ Bloodletting, the Fall from Glory in Spain, Codification and Kabbalah in Safed, the messianic pretender Shabtai Zvi, the birth of Hassidism, the German Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), the Dreyfus Affair, the Rise and Fall of Russian Jewry, the Great Migration to America, and the Birth of Modern Zionism.

Coming 2021 | Dates & times TBA
Faculty: Rabbi Scott White
Location: Jewish Community Campus; This in-person class will take place once it is safe to meet.


The Aish Kodesh, The Holy Fire
Locally designed. Before the Shoah there was a Hasidic community under siege – their adversary wasn’t an evil empire, but the enlightened ideas of modernity. Enter a Chasidic master from exurban Warsaw, Klonymus Kalman Shapira, who was fated to
be the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto. He was posthumously known by the name given to his essays during his time in the Ghetto. Now he is known as The Aish Kodesh, The Holy Fire. We will study his essays before the war, and those he wrote while the world burned around him.

Dates & times TBA
Faculty: Rabbi Avi Weinstein
Location: Zoom