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The Melton Learning Experience: Text-Based, Pluralistic and Interactive

coupleFoundations of Jewish Family Living is a new curriculum for parents that provides a thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. Developed by the renowned Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a project of The Hebrew University, the curriculum brings to life the master stories from our tradition and the profound messages they convey.

This rich learning experience for adults will provide an opportunity for you to bring the Jewish conversation home to share with your young child. At a time in your family's life when your child is experiencing his or her own Jewish education, Foundations of Jewish Family Living provides you with the learning, the language, and the confidence to be a teacher to your own children.

Foundations for Jewish Family Living:
Values for Parents to Share with Their Children 

(20 lessons)

Foundations of Jewish Family Living is a new curriculum for parents that provides a thought-provoking encounter with the core values of Judaism. The curriculum brings to life the master stories from our tradition and the profound messages they convey.

Part I: A Year of Values: Exploring values through the Jewish holidays

  • Lesson 1: Stories and Values — Introduction to FoundationsFoundations CVR
  • Lesson 2: Reflecting the Source — Creation, Rosh Hashanah, and our Godly Image
  • Lesson 3: The Gift of Self Improvement — Teshuvah (Repentance), Yom Kippur, and the Golden Calf
  • Lesson 4: Embracing the Other — Welcoming guests, Abraham, and Sukkot
  • Lesson 5: Living Beyond the Day to Day — Shabbat: creating holy time
  • Lesson 6: Making Our Own Miracles — Chanukah, Maccabees, religious freedom
  • Lesson 7: Protecting Our Eden — Protecting our world, teaching our children, Tu B’shvat
  • Lesson 8: Rising to the Occasion — Esther, Purim, freedom of choice and heroism
  • Lesson 9: Forever Leaving Egypt — Passover, Jewish Identity: Israel and the Diaspora
  • Lesson 10: Joining the Jewish People — Ruth, Shavuot and covenant

Part II: Day to Day Values: Exploring values for everyday family living

  • Lesson 11: On the Move — Abraham and heeding the call
  • Lesson 12: Creating Jewish Spaces — Jacob’s dream, the home, the objects within
  • Lesson 13: Gratitude – David and Saul
  • Lesson 14: Essential Judaism — Hillel and treating others the way you would want to be treated
  • Lesson 15: Words that Hurt — Miriam and avoiding gossip
  • Lesson 16: Healing Process — The value of visiting the sick
  • Lesson 17: Overcoming Anger — Joseph and his brothers, avoiding grudges
  • Lesson 18: Clearing a Path for Others — Building trustworthiness
  • Lesson 19: Giving Respect, Expecting Respect — Honor between generations
  • Lesson 20: Eternal Hope, Concluding Lesson

About the Author

Catriella Freedman, a Los Angeles native, was previously a Melton School teacher, and is currently part of the Gandel (Israeli version of the Melton School) faculty. She has received degrees from Princeton and Harvard in Religion and Jewish Studies, and has studied at the Drisha Institute in Manhattan and Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem. She lived for many years in Albany, NY, where she was an adult educator and Jewish Studies Principal of the Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy. She currently resides in Zikhron Ya'akov, Israel.

Taking the Lessons Home

PJ LibaryThe Florence Melton School in collaboration with The PJ Library® - Jewish Bedtime Stories & Songs for Families has developed a special section included at the end of each lesson called Taking the Conversation Home. This section includes a helpful list of major themes and ideas in the lesson, topics related to the lesson for parents to discuss at home with their children, and a list of The PJ Library® books, arranged according to age-level, that reflect or reinforce ideas raised in each lesson.

The PJ Library program supports families in their Jewish journey by sending Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to children from age six months to five, six, seven, or eight years old, depending on the community. Created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, The PJ Library is a national program implemented by local communities.

The selections here are suggested by Vivian Newman of The PJ Library professional staff. More information about each of these books and about The PJ Library is available at their website:

Shalom Sesame-logo-CMYKAn additional resource for creating meaningful and relevant discussion at home is included in the Taking the Conversation Home section of the student reader. The values presented in each lesson will come to life for children through watching the Shalom Sesame video clips linked to our website, organized according to lesson. (Learn more here.)

Produced by Sesame Workshop, the non-profit creator of Sesame Street around the world, Shalom Sesame offers children and families an introduction to Jewish life and Israel through video, games, and resources for parents and educators. The series includes twelve episodes on DVD, a website and a broad range of community outreach initiatives. For more information about Shalom Sesame, and to view more of their video clips, go to their website at


Click the links below to download an introduction to Foundations and a table of contents. We invite you to also review the sample lesson, PJ Library "Taking the Conversation Home" handbook, about Melton School information page, and consider offering Foundations to your parent community next year.

Introduction and table of contents

Sample lesson, Faculty Guide

Sample lesson, Student Reader

PJ Library "Taking the Conversation Home" handbook

Information about the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to contact us to discuss how we can partner together to serve your school community.

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