Melton Classes

WELCOME!

Welcome! Melton invites you to discover, through a world-class curriculum and outstanding faculty, a profound understanding of what it means to be Jewish.

Our interactive, pluralistic learning is designed with you in mind. 

Melton offers a structured course where you can learn, discuss and debate with others from across the Jewish spectrum, in a stimulating and non-judgmental environment.

There is no homework, no exams or Hebrew required.

ABOUT THE Conejo West Valley MELTON SCHOOL OF ADULT JEWISH LEARNING

Our Purpose: Melton engages learners in a life-enhancing study of Jewish texts and ideas that nurtures and deepens Jewish community worldwide.

What You Can Expect:

  • An Engaging Curriculum: Developed by insightful scholars, taught by highly-skilled educators, and reviewed by experts at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • Interactive Classes: We encourage open dialogue and discussion between learners and educators as we approach every topic with curiosity and sincerity.
  • Wisdom For Life: We make Jewish texts and ideas accessible, inspirational and enriching for our learners.
  • Jewish Community: Through Melton, you become part of a worldwide movement of learners that spans many continents. Our online learning and travel seminars create meaningful global connections.

UPCOMING CLASSES – FALL/WINTER 2022-2023

Welcome to a delightful new line-up of learning opportunities geared for curious adult Jewish learners. At Melton, we engage in exciting and thought-provoking discussion, where we ask questions and debate Jewish text.

New CORE is forming with both evening and morning time slots available. If you have heard about Melton and always wanted to experience the GREAT JEWISH CONVERSATION, now is the time to get started. No interested learners are ever turned away, so come check out these great classes.

Click here to learn more https://www.meltonwestvalley.org/course-descriptions.

For our over 400 community members who have been taking Melton Scholar’s Courses, participating in meaningful dialogue, and making life-long friends, we have a variety of diverse and interesting learning opportunities available. Please see attached for courses being offered this Fall: Jewish Mysticism, Zionism and Its Critics, Angels and Demons in Jewish Art, The History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Who Wrote the Bible, Press Pause and Shabbat Through the Ages, and the Book of Ezekiel.

Click here to register for classes https://tec.shulcloud.com/form/Melton-Registration.

Our excellent local faculty of teachers and rabbis are eager to learn Jewish text with you and discuss a variety of commentary, both ancient and modern, while weaving your experience into the conversation.

Are you interested in traveling and learning while engaging in unique, quality experiences? Check out our upcoming Melton Travel Seminar, Biblical Insites, in Israel November 7-17, 2022. We have a very limited number of spaces still available. You do not need to be a Melton student to participate.

For more information and to register, click here https://meltonschool.org/travel-seminars/biblical-insites

Due to on-going COVID restrictions, we are remaining on Zoom for classes, but look forward to inviting you to community-minded outdoor social gatherings so we can mingle and see each other in person. Look out for invites!

If you have any questions or need help with registration or payment, please contact Pamela Rooks, Conejo West Valley Melton Director, at pamela@templeetzchaim.org. Pamela is always ready to help you find the right Melton class to fit your needs.

Rabbi Lotker – Shine a Light on Antisemitism

Join Rabbi Michael Lotker for this important and interesting program described below. All the 30 minute sessions will be recorded. By clicking to register, you will receive links to join live or view afterwards. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meetings.

The program for the Eight Evenings of Chanukah will look like this:

#1 (Sunday, 11/28) – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Join Rabbi Lotker for a discussion – “Why is Antisemitism Still Around”

#2 (Monday, 11/29) – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Join Rabbi Lotker for a discussion – “Whose Fault is Antisemitism?

#3 (Tuesday, 11/30) – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Join Rabbi Lotker for a discussion – “Is Criticizing Israel Antisemitic?

#4 (Wednesday, 12/1) – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Join Rabbi Lotker for a discussion – “Do Jews Cause Antisemitism?

#5 (Thursday, 12/2) – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Join Rabbi Lotker for a discussion – “Is Antisemitism Still Relevant?

#6 (Friday, 12/3) – Shabbat Shalom:  Rest and Rejoice!

#7 (Saturday, 12/4) – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Join Rabbi Lotker for a discussion  – “Could a Holocaust Happen Again?  Could It Happen Here?

#8 (Sunday, 12/5) – Join Our Community Chanukah Festival at the Collection in Oxnard from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. for food, music, crafts, kids activities, shows, free gifts, and our Menorah lighting.

URJ Happenings Nov., 2021

From classes to fellowships to Chanukah… There are opportunities from the Union of Reform Judaism for our entire community!

Explore the biblical roots of this ancient Jewish water ritual that has soared in popularity in the last decade. Experience a virtual tour of the Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh of greater Boston – without getting wet! Learn what happens at an immersion and the many reasons – ancient and contemporary – that bring people of all genders to the mikveh waters. ASL Interpretation/Live captioning available with two weeks advance request. Contact Learning@urj.org.

  • Jew v’Nation JOC 2022 Cohort – Application Deadline: November 19, 2021

We’re launching our fifth JewV’Nation Fellowship cohort, the 2022 Jews of Color (JOC) Cohort. This is a six-month fellowship supporting Jews of Color through professional development, networking opportunities, identity work, community building, and the opportunity to engage with leaders in the Reform Movement and beyond. Learn more, apply, or nominate someonetoday!

Lights in our Homes, Light in Our Souls: Hanukkah Mussar with Alan Morinis and Guests -November 21, 2021, 4-5 PM ET

Join The Mussar Institute’s founder Dr. Alan Morinis and guests, as we open the hidden treasury of the Mussar tradition’s teachings on Hanukkah. How can Mussar, and the much-needed soul-traits of determination, persistence, hope, trust, and faith, help us make our celebration of this year’s Festival of Lights even more uplifting as we bring light to our souls as well as our world?

Live closed captioning and/or ASL Interpretation available with two weeks advance request. Contact Learning@urj.org.

  • Celebrate Hanukkah with the Reform Movement as together we bring more light into the world through inspiring music, stories, and teachings. Join us on Facebook Live November 28, 8PM ET. Keep an eye out for more information on other ways to access the video and share with your congregation.
  • Jewish & New-ish: A Supportive Online Space for Those Who Have Recently (0-5 Years) Converted to Judaism–Thursdays, December 9January 13February 10, 8-9 PM ET; Plan to attend 1, 2 or all 3 free sessions.

Have you converted to Judaism in the past five years? Join an online gathering where you can make connections, process your experiences, and continue your learning through a Reform Jewish lens. Ask questions without fear, share triumphs and challenges in a nurturing environment, and continue to explore your journey with Judaism in a community of care. Facilitated by Sue Bojdak (she/her) and Yanira Quiñones (she/her). Live captioning and/or ASL interpretation available with 2 weeks advance request. Contact Learning@urj.org.

Finally, we are excited to share that we are launching new cohorts of both Introduction to Judaism Online and Learn to Read Hebrew for Adults in January 2022. Be in touch with Ellen or Emily (respectively) for questions about either program. Learn to Read Hebrew images and Intro Online images are available for you to share.

Rabbi Lotker Zoom Classes – September, October

Virtual Classes – via Zoom

A Taste of Judaism & Jewish Literacy
with Rabbi Mike Lotker

Wednesdays & Thursdays, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
9/29/21 – 2/10/22

Rabbi Lotker’s Zoom Room –  https://zoom.us/j/8190896166

The three-part Taste of Judaism class, designed to introduce the main tenets of Judaism, will be followed by a 15-week Jewish Literacy class. These classes are ideal for Jews, for their spouses, for those who are exploring conversion, and those who simply wish to broaden their knowledge about the fundamentals of Judaism’s extraordinary history, beliefs, and faith. The 15 sessions of Jewish Literacy touch on most of the areas of concern and interest to adults who wish to explore the holidays, sacred literature, history, spirituality, mysticism, and living a full Jewish life. This class is required for conversion candidates. 

Jewish Literacy, Wednesday nights.  This class is intended for non-Jews interested in conversion to Judaism, non-Jews just interested in learning more about Judaism, and to Jews who would like an in depth exploration and discussion of our traditions.

Conversion Discussion, Thursday nights.  For those of you contemplating conversion (no commitments necessary at this time), Rabbi Lotker will host a much smaller and more informal session on Thursday evenings following our main class on Wednesdays.  This will be an opportunity for non-Jews to raise question and engage in discussions that you might not feel comfortable with in the larger sessions.

New for this year: Each week we will have a Thursday evening small session for those who are not Jewish and especially those interested in Conversion to Judaism.

Texts: No texts required for the 1st Three “Tastes” sessions
For the Jewish Literacy sessions, the following texts will be used:

  • Lotker, A Christian’s Guide to Judaism, Paulist Press 2004 (available from Rabbi Lotker or online)
  • Olitzky & Isaacs, The Complete How To Handbook for Jewish Living (3 Volumes in 1), KTAV, 1993 (available online)

Introductory Sessions (3 session overview)

  • 9/29 A Taste of Judaism—God (Jewish views of God, spirituality etc.)
  • 10/6 A Taste of Judaism—Torah (Jewish sacred texts, Jewish way of life)
  • 10/13 A Taste of Judaism—Israel (the land, people, and modern state)

Sacred Time

  • 10/20 The Hebrew Calendar, cycle of holidays and Shabbat
  • 10/27 The High Holy Days
  • 11/3 Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot

Sacred Literature

  • 11/10 Bible
  • 11/17 The Mishna & Talmud
  • 12/1 Midrash, Halacha, Jewish legal codes and issues
  • 12/8 Jewish mysticism: Kabbalah & Zohar
  • 12/15 The Prayer book

Jewish History

  • 12/22 All of Jewish history in 90 minutes
  • 1/5/22 Judaism and Christianity—the parting of the ways
  • 1/12 The 20th century (Zionism, antisemitism and the Holocaust)

Living a Jewish Life

  • 1/19 Temple and Synagogue: Home and kashrut
  • 1/26 Life Cycle: Brit Milah, B’nai Mitzvah, marriage (and inter-marriage), divorce, funerals
  • 2/2 Jewish community: Conversion, movements, synagogue life, etc.
  • 2/9 What does Judaism say about sexuality and ??? (students select topics)

And here are some key things to remember as we begin:

  • The first three sessions (Sept. 29, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13) will be a broad overview called “A Taste of Judaism.”  Since there’s so much to cover, these first 3 sessions may last a bit longer than the 90 minutes planned.
  • The following 15 sessions called “Jewish Literacy” will be a more detailed investigation of Judaism.
  • Thanks to the sponsorship of the Jewish Federation of Ventura County, there is no charge for these classes.  Those wishing to make a contribution to the Federation may do so at https://www.jewishventuracounty.org/ways-to-give
  • There will be two books to buy for the Jewish Literacy class but nothing to buy for the “Taste” sessions.
  • Sessions will be recorded and available for viewing on my website https://www.lotker.com/Lotker.html and on my You Tube Channel.

Will the sessions be recorded?  Yes and they will be sent to you by email and also posted on my YouTube channel.

Is There a Fee?  No, the classes are sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Ventura County and Joel & Barbara Aaronson & The Affordable Living Choices Trust in my role as Community Rabbi.  You can donate to them here at  https://www.jewishventuracounty.org/ways-to-give.

How do I register?  Simply Email Rabbi Lotker lotker@aol.com (you will get class reminders and alerts of changes -if any)

Can Bring a Friend?  Sure!  Just pass along this e-mail

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Rabbi Lotker Zoom Classes – July and August

TWO Classes:

Introduction to Kabbalah

Wednesday evenings, July 14th, 21st, and 28th at 7:00 p.m.

Children of Abraham: Comparing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Wednesday evenings, August 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th at 7:00 p.m.

Via Zoom: Rabbi Lotker’s Zoom Room –  https://zoom.us/j/8190896166


“Introduction to Kabbalah (July 14, 21, 28)

A three-week exploration of the world of Kabbalah we will explore the simple (is it kabb-a-LAH or ka-BAL-ah?) to the deep (how does the interpretation of word echad in the Shema affect our understanding of God’s nature and our relationship with God). Learn about the history and practices of Kabbalah. There will be time for questions and discussions. CLASS ONE: An Introduction to some of the key ideas about Kabbalah and its interesting history.  CLASS 2: Introduction to the central text of Kabbalah, The Zohar which is a work of pseudepigrapha (don’t know what that means?  Come and find out!).  Discuss the 10 Sefirot, the world of Gematria, the mystical names of God and more.  CLASS THREE: Explore Lurrianic Kabbalah, the Soul, Angels, Hasidim and focus on enhancing Jewish spirituality.

Children of Abraham:  Comparing Judaism, Christianity and Islam.(August 4, 11, 18, 25)

About half the people of the world worship the God of Abraham as members of faith traditions that trace themselves back 4000 years to this inspired individual.  In four classes, Rabbi Lotker will introduce these three faiths with a special emphasis on their similarities and differences. Read texts from the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Scripture and the Koran relating to the Garden of Eden, Abraham, Moses, and others to help understand the fascinating history and theology that shape our worlds to this day.  Explore differences in beliefs, historical origins and the reasons behind historical and current conflicts.  Take a detailed look at Holy Neighborhood of Jerusalem and the sacred sites to be found there.


Will the sessions be recorded?  Yes and they will be sent to you by email and also posted on my YouTube channel.

Is There a Fee?  No, the classes are sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Ventura County and Joel & Barbara Aaronson & The Affordable Living Choices Trust in my role as Community Rabbi.  You can donate to them here at  https://www.jewishventuracounty.org/ways-to-give.

How do I register?  Simply Email Rabbi Lotker lotker@aol.com (you will get class reminders and alerts of changes -if any)

Can Bring a Friend?  Sure!  Just pass along this e-mail

Many Jews are surprised to learn that Judaism has always held that there is something beyond the grave – a life in the “world to come.”  We just don’t know (or teach) the details because no one has come back to tell us and because Judaism’s focus is on this life.   In this class, we will explore the wide range of authentic Jewish beliefs about the afterlife and how these beliefs have affected Jewish traditions of burial and mourning.  In our sessions we will examine what the Bible has to say, the Rabbinic and Talmudic thoughts and commentaries, the amazing world of medieval commentary, mystical and kabbalistic insights and well as what modern thinkers contribute.  We will also explore the world of Jewish funeral and mourning customs and their origins.

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Rabbi Lotker Zoom Classes

What Happens After I Die? – Jewish Views of the Afterlife

When:  Wednesday evenings, May 26th, June 2nd, and June 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Where:  Rabbi Lotker’s Zoom Room –  https://zoom.us/j/8190896166

 


Will the sessions be recorded?  Yes and they will be sent to you by email and also posted on my YouTube channel.

Is There a Fee?  No, the classes are sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Ventura County and Joel & Barbara Aaronson & The Affordable Living Choices Trust in my role as Community Rabbi.  You can donate to them here at  https://www.jewishventuracounty.org/ways-to-give.

How do I register?  Simply Email Rabbi Lotker lotker@aol.com (you will get class reminders and alerts of changes -if any)

Can Bring a Friend?  Sure!  Just pass along this e-mail

Many Jews are surprised to learn that Judaism has always held that there is something beyond the grave – a life in the “world to come.”  We just don’t know (or teach) the details because no one has come back to tell us and because Judaism’s focus is on this life.   In this class, we will explore the wide range of authentic Jewish beliefs about the afterlife and how these beliefs have affected Jewish traditions of burial and mourning.  In our sessions we will examine what the Bible has to say, the Rabbinic and Talmudic thoughts and commentaries, the amazing world of medieval commentary, mystical and kabbalistic insights and well as what modern thinkers contribute.  We will also explore the world of Jewish funeral and mourning customs and their origins.

.