25 February 2010

From 2010, the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School (FMAMS) will come under the auspices of the University of Sydney's Centre for Continuing Education and Department of Hebrew, Jewish and Biblical Studies, headed by Associate Professor Suzanne Rutland. Jillian Fine, an educator currently working in the education department of the Sydney Jewish Museum has been appointed as Academic Director of the Melton Mini-School.

Lilly Maltz, former Principal of the NSW Board of Jewish Education has been appointed as Melton Consultant. This initiative has been made possible by a generous grant being given by the Education Heritage Fund. Michael Dunkel, the Fund's Director was the instigator of the new face of Melton as he believes that the Melton Program is essential to the fabric of Jewish life in Sydney.

The Mini-School is a world pioneer in the field of adult Jewish education, devoted to the enhancement of Jewish literacy among adults in 62 locations throughout the world. The program is a uniquely structured, pluralistic adult learning program, developed by the Hebrew University. It consists of four courses taught over two years, covering the major aspects of Jewish learning. The facilitators are all highly qualified and well regarded experts in the field of Adult Jewish Education, and are experienced in teaching within this program. The Sydney faculty comprises well-regarded experts in the field such as Rabbi David Freedman, Rabbi Paul Jacobson and Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod. Classes will be held in Bondi, Woollahra and Chatswood.

The continuation of the Melton Mini-School will be a great asset to Sydney Jewry, as it strengthens the community with its effective curriculum. In an exciting new development through the University of Sydney, it will be opened for the first time to both Jewish and non-Jewish students, thereby increasing an understanding of Jews and Judaism. This will create an opportunity to strengthen interfaith relations.

According to Jillian Fine "Melton is a dynamic program which enables students to gain awareness of the underlying values within Judaism. Its pluralistic approach makes it relevant to all members of our community. I am excited by the challenge of making Melton part of the Jewish landscape of this city. We are hoping that many previous first year graduates will take up the challenge of enrolling for second year."

Suzanne Rutland is delighted that the Melton program is being brought to the University of Sydney. "I believe strongly in the vital importance of adult Jewish education. My department has the expertise to provide support and facilitators for Melton. Having had the experience of teaching Judaism to classes of both Jews and non-Jews, I know how powerful a learning experience this can be both for reinforcing Jewish identity of my Jewish students and creating knowledge, understanding and empathy for my non-Jewish students."

The Centre for Continuing Education is pleased to be associated with the Melton Mini-School and the Department of Hebrew, Jewish and Biblical Studies. "This program will add another important dimension to our cultural studies program, enhancing our outreach mission and expanding access to the University's expertise and resources for the whole community," explains Professor Ann Brewer, Deputy Vice Chancellor and CEO, the Centre for Continuing Education.