Building on thirty years of pioneering work in the field of adult Jewish learning, the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning is launching its fourth decade with the announcement of new leadership. The Board of Directors is pleased to appoint Rabbi Rachel Bovitz as the Executive Director and Rabbi Morey Schwartz as the International Director of Education and Innovation, both effective July 1, 2018. They will take the helm as a team leading the largest pluralistic adult Jewish education network in the world offering adults the opportunity to acquire meaningful Jewish literacy in an open, trans-denominational, intellectually stimulating learning environment.
With the retirement of current international CEO Judy Mars Kupchan this June, the Board is excited to promote two of its respected staff members to the senior positions in the Melton School organization. Board Chair Donald Katz has high praise for Rabbi Bovitz and Rabbi Schwartz, noting, “Their shared vision and dynamic leadership bode well for Melton. We are very lucky to be able to provide a seamless transition for Melton.”
While their rabbinic training was different in orientation, Rabbi Bovitz (ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies) and Rabbi Schwartz (ordained at Yeshiva University), both spent time as congregational rabbis. Both developed a profound appreciation for the role of adult Jewish learning in the lives of their congregants and in the community. Their transition to work with the international Florence Melton School afforded an opportunity to pursue their passion for teaching and adult learning in a larger context as Melton learning takes place in North American communities as well as London, South Africa and Australia.
In his previous sixteen years with the Melton School, Rabbi Schwartz has been responsible for the development of the Rachel Wasserman Scholars curriculum, a series of fourteen courses at present, which expand on the four signature courses of The Melton School core curriculum. In order to focus on excellence in teaching, Schwartz also created the Melton Faculty Seminar, an annual orientation to best practices in adult learning. Rabbi Bovitz was the founding director of Melton in the Los Angeles area and joined the international Melton staff two years ago as Chief Strategy Officer. The partnerships and relationships she has established thus far will provide the seeds of new strategic directions that both Bovitz and Schwartz see as a critical part of the future of the Florence Melton School. Growth of the Melton School into new congregations and communities is also on their agenda, as is the creation of new learning platforms, adaptations for new audiences, and new opportunities to impact the future of the Jewish people.
Kupchan, who is retiring after more than two decades at Melton, the last eight as CEO, is gratified to see her colleagues promoted. “Both Rachel and Morey have been inspiring and creative partners in our work. As committed pluralists and Torah scholars, they represent Melton’s core values, and also are ready to take us into the next decade with new ideas and fresh approaches. “
Rabbi Bovitz will be located in our office in New York City and Rabbi Schwartz will continue working from his office at the Florence Melton Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.